Posts Tagged ‘Metal’

Proper Care of Old Metal

June 9, 2011

This is just another one of those things that make me go Huhhh?  They did what?

After my estimator, Chris, returned from looking at a beautiful church roof the other day, he had to show me these photos and what they had done to the metal on the building.  If they just would have kept up with the paint this would not have happened.

Rusty metal

Rusty tin ledge

At the same church, they had beautiful copper gutters and downspouts. I love the way that the old copper gets a patina to show the age.  I think that we were told that the building was built in the mid 1800’s.  Someone decided that they wanted to change the look of the gutters and they PAINTED them.

Painted copper

Painted Copper Gutter

Once the copper gutters are painted, they become very difficult to repair properly.  The paint also takes a very expensive piece of metal and changes it to look like something much more common.  In my opinion they were just painting the wrong things.

Let me know if you have any questions about the care of the metal on your roof or spouting.


Residential Roofing Choices

April 22, 2010


There are many different types of roofing materials that you can find here in Lancaster County and Central Pennsylvania.  These roofing materials can be broken down into two separate areas, flat roofs and sloped roofs.


Single Ply roofs have really become the most popular choice for flat roofs due to their ease of installation and relatively low cost.  There are several types of single ply material and unfortunately they all go by alphabet names.

EPDM– The first and most popular single ply roof in Lancaster and York is EPDM, commonly known as rubber.  The rubber membrane is usually fully adhered to an insulation board which is mechanically fasted to your roof deck.  The membrane comes in various thicknesses (.045, .060, and .090).   I recommend the .060 membrane for most installations.  This comes in white or black, with black being less expensive and more widely used.

TPO– In the last ten years TPO membrane has begun to take some of the flat roof market share.  The TPO membrane is usually white although some manufacturers do have options.  The white membrane is highly reflective and if your roof is visible this is a very good choice.  The seams for these roofs are usually heat welded.

PVC– This material has made quite a comeback after a disastrous start a few decades ago.  One of its great strengths is the resistance to grease and chemicals.   The membrane is usually white and maintains its reflectivity and appearance very well.  These seams are usually heat welded as well.

In the past we used to install a lot of built-up roofing and modified roofing on flat roofs.  We still see a few of them each year.  These systems are asphalt based and have become unpopular in Central Pennsylvania due to the cost and the smoke and fumes often associated with their installation.


There are quite an assortment of choices for sloped roofs.  By far the most common choice is asphalt shingles.  Lately though, metal has really been making inroads into the roofing market in this area.   Here are a few of your choices for sloped roofs.

SHINGLES- There is a wide variety of choices in this category alone.  Shingles range from 25 year type to Lifetime and come in many colors and styles.

METAL- Once again there are a lot of things to choose from just in the metal category.  There are different kinds of metals copper, aluminum, or steel.  Alternate styles also exist, from traditional standing seam to metal shingles.

SLATE- This is one of my all time favorite roofing materials.   I like it for the aesthetics, durability and long life.   Slates come in a variety of sizes, colors and styles.   When installed properly it can outlast virtually any other roofing system.  We have installed many slate roofs in Lancaster and surrounding areas and they are all still in very good shape today.  Slate is often the top choice for universities, churches and upper scale homes.

There are a few other choices for sloped roofs like tile or cedar shingles.  We don’t see them too often in Lancaster County, but we do run into them more often down towards Philadelphia.

If you need help deciding which roofing material is right for you, feel free to ask me.  I love talking about roofing anytime.

Joe Heidler


January 13, 2010

Sometimes the best way to be “Green” and “Sustainable” is to make the things that you have last longer.  This way you are not filling up landfills with disposal, or wasting new resources with replacement and transportation.  It doesn’t always have to be about utilizing the best, newest, energy conscious systems.

This means that when it comes to the roof on your building, you do not have to wait until it gets replaced to be sustainable.  After the roof is on the building, the best way to make it last longer is through a good Preventive Maintenance Plan.

I could write at length on Preventive Maintenance for roofs, we have been doing it for many, many years, but I found that these articles from “Today’s Facility Manager” do an excellent job.

The Missing Link In Roof Considerations

Lessons in Roof Maintenance

A Roof Should Be An Asset, Not A Liability

What to do with a Leaking Metal Building

October 9, 2009


Did you ever walk through your building one day and notice a wet spot on the floor, maybe have a big wet drop hit you right on your head?  Immediately the thoughts go to how do we catch the water.  Then you may start to think, what am I going to do about this new problem.  If the source of your concerns is a leaking metal roof, here a few options for consideration.


Almost everyone goes to this option first, because it is the least expensive and it gives you time to evaluate the situation.  Almost always the problem stems from a poor seal at a penetration or a fastener head.  A good high grade caulking will probably take care of the problem(for a little while).

Metal Wall Flashing
Metal Wall Flashing


There are many manufacturers that have coating systems for metal roofs.   These may be appropriate if the metal is in sound condition.  Preparation is the key to a successful project.  Generally the fasteners are checked for tightness and possibly re-caulked or replaced.   The roof surface may be powerwashed to remove anything from the metal surface.  Seams and flashings are checked and stripped in with membrane.  A primer and one or two coats of the coating may be applied to the roof surface with either a roller or spray equipment.  Warranties are available from many of these manufacturers.


Several manufacturers have systems for the installation of a single ply membrane over existing metal roofs.  Usually a filler piece of insulation is installed to make a level surface.  Then a suitable substrate to receive the single ply is mechanically fastened to the existing roof.  This may be an insulation board, plywood, or Dens Deck.  Thicknesses can vary and cause the need for wood blocking for securement at the roof edges.  The single ply membrane is then fully adhered to the new substrate.  Weather tight warranties are available.  Note: You should make sure that the structure can withstand the added weight of the system.


Probably the most expensive option is removal of the existing metal panels and installation of new panels.  This is generally only considered when the existing panels are too deteriorated for any of the above options.  Make sure that the replacement panel is designed for the intended application.

Above all, make sure that you use a professional roofing contractor.  They can help you evaluate the various options.  Consider engaging them before the first drop hits the floor.  They may be able to provide preventive maintenance, thus allowing you to budget for the future and possibly prevent any costly damages or down time.