Archive for December, 2011

Flat Roof Materials, Not All Are Created Equal

flat roofFlat roofs face many challenges. As they already must combat the effects that gravity can play with their lack of adequate slope, these roofs are generally the most challenging type of roof for homeowners to maintain.

Finding someone for proper roof repair on a flat roof can also be challenging. While many roofers can repair a damaged flat roof, they may not use the best roof materials or even know about all the various flat roof material options.

Comparing Materials

The most important element to selecting the best flat roof material is water resistance and weather seal. It must be able to withstand lots of moisture without becoming damaged by standing water. Most flat roofs contain at least one type or rubber or plastic based sheathing to protect the underlying materials from water. It isn’t uncommon to find traditional asphalt shingles along a flat roof, which is not a problem as long as they are laid properly.

Flat Roofing Methods

One of the older methods for laying materials on a flat roof is constructed up roofing. This method consists of laying down multiple layers of tar and water resistant fabrics on the roof, which is then covered with gravel. This method is popular for its aesthetic appeal of the gravel, along with its affordability. However, the constructed up method often results in strong odors from the tar and gravel clogged gutters and drains.

The modified Bitumen method involves rolling a mineral covered surface onto the roof. The Bitumen mineral in the material reflects heat and sun rays, which can reduce the amount of energy consumed within the home to cool itself. This method is popular for its ability to be used by do-it-yourselfers.

One of the more weather resistant flat roof materials is the rubber membrane. This method involves laying a durable thick rubber on the roof. The rubber material makes it highly resistant to excess moisture and the nature of the surface makes leak detection a breeze.



New Roofing Software Makes Measuring Easier

A new software has been developed that will take some of the anxiety out of having your roof repaired or replaced. EagleView Technologies has created a program that gathers areal roof photos and creates a 3-dimensional image of the roof complete with pitch, colors and shapes. Giving the homeowner confidence knowing the true measurements of their roof when it comes time to get bids or insurance estimates.

The tool uses information from public and private records to generate the image of the roof. The software makes a model of the roof creating measurements, and then a technician reviews the model and the images and emails the customer with a report. The report usually takes one day to complete and costs anywhere from $20 to the more complex roofs at $80 or more.

Difficult to get Accurate Measurements with a Tape Measure

It is not as easy as it looks to get up on a ladder with a tape measure and get precise roof measurements. Both roofers and Insurers are using this service to create accurate measurements that all can agree on. Insurance companies tend to minimize roof dimensions and roofers have a tendency to over bid on the measurements.

EagleView, a 3 year old Seattle company, states that almost 20,000 contracting businesses and 25 large U.S. insurance carriers have used their service. The sales team expects to double that amount and add more roofers and insurers.

Contractor Recovery Fund

Another reason to hire a licensed roofing contractor is you have more options of recuperating money or damages from improper or dishonest conduct on behalf of your contractor. The Contractor Recovery Fund is a form of financial protection provided by licensed residential contractors to residential consumers.

Most states have a contractor’s recovery fund that compensates owners or lessees of residential properties who have suffered an actual and direct out of pocket loss due to licensed contractor’s fraudulent, deceptive or dishonest practices, conversion of funds or failure of performance.


“Improper or dishonest conduct” includes the wrongful taking or conversion of money, property, or other things of value which involves fraud, roof material misrepresentation or conduct constituting gross negligence, continued incompetence, or intentional violation of the Uniform Statewide Building Code.

The recovery funds are supported by assessments and fees paid by licensed contractors. To be eligible for the fund, you must be awarded a judgment in a court of competent jurisdiction against a licensed contractor.

How to File a Claim

Generally to file for the compensation, the state you are in will want you to exhaust all other avenues to recover damages from your contractor. Once done, you will need to supply a copy of your original contract, a copy of the certified award of judgment by a court within 2 years after the commission of the act on which the claim is based , proof of payments to contractor, and any other documents to support the claim. Some states require you to obtain 2-3 bids to complete the repairs.

If you feel your contractor has misrepresented himself or has defrauded you, type in contractor recovery fund and your state to find out what options you may have.

Apple Plans For Largest Solar Roof Project

apple solar roofAs if Apple Inc. wasn’t one of the leading sources of innovation in the world, they now plan to add a new roof project to their list of accomplishments. The Apple headquarters campus is planning to install a roof that is almost entirely made up of solar panels.

Attempting to become the largest solar roofing project in the U.S., the plans should bring Apple in the lead over a 4.26 megawatt (MW) system in Edison, New Jersey and the new 5.38 MW system of a ToysRUs in Sunny, New Jersey.

Breaking Records, Saving Energy

Apple’s solar roof plans are set to cover nearly two-thirds of the 750,000 square feet of surface area covering the roof. With an average of 10 watts per solar panel square foot, the main campus building alone should be able to generate 5MW of power. Apple plans to install solar panels on a few other buildings on campus including the parking building, which carries plans for 320,000 square feet worth of photovoltaic panels.

Currently, the Google building operates a 1.6MW solar panel system, capable of powering the buildings on its campus. The new 6MW solar plan for the Apple buildings could generate enough power to operate all of Apple’s daily operations, as well as store extra energy for back up purposes. The idea is to power itself through daily operations and only depend on the use of the normal electricity grid in back up emergencies.



Animal Rescue Center gets New Roof

Real Charrois, general manager of Mainroad Infrastructure in BC walked into Langley Critter Care animal rescue and asked if there was any work that needed to be done. Gail Martin, the founder of the rescue center, was thrilled with the offer since it would take them a long time to save the money for the needed repairs.

As they walked around the center, Martin pointed out many possible projects that needed repairs, thinking Charrois would take on maybe one project; she was delighted when he said his company could do them all.

New Roof

A roofing crew came out to strip the shingles from the triage center and is getting ready to put up a new roof. The repairs also include a new roof over the intern deck, and a rat proof food shed.

Other repairs were a fawn enclosure and to lay donated cement slabs in the new skunk nursery.

Gail Martin was pleasantly surprised to see a crew come out to reroof the triage center; she was expecting a patch job on the aging roof.

Martin said “we are so thankful” for all the work Mainroad has done for the animal rescue center.

Fund Raiser

The Critter Care Wildlife Society is currently running its annual fund raiser Christmas Shopping Spree with t-shirts, trivets, calendars and clothing with pictures of the animals. You can donate or learn more by contacting them at or at Critter Care Wildlife Society 481-216-Street, Langley, BC V2Z 1R6.

Remote Base Gets New Roof

The Forward Operating Base at Athgar in the Zabul Province Afghanistan, gets a new roof built by Virginia Army National Guard 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. The dining area of the bunker, previously exposed to the harsh weather conditions, was covered up on November 6th.

The two Virginia guardsmen that started the project are stationed at Athgar as communication equipment operators alongside Romanian and Afghan troops.

Bunker Built Into the Side of a Hill

Part of the base is built into the side of a hill and is so remote that building supplies had to be flown in by helicopter as sling loads.

Double stacked sandbag walls and plywood gussets for stability; the bunker roof now has 2×6 rafters and 1 inch plywood. The dining area is now comfortably protected from the elements.

Americans and Romanians Forming Friendships

Romanians joined in by day 3 and enthusiastically helped with the construction, making connections with the American’s while building up the roof.

Continuing on with improvements, troops are waiting for insulation to be airlifted in so they can make the remote base a little more comfortable.

New Delhi Roof Collapse Sends Five To Hospital

roof collapseTwo children and three adults were injured over the weekend when a building undergoing construction for a new roof, collapsed. Roof materials collapsed onto the occupants of a construction site building, sending all to the hospital in west Delhi on Sunday. It took two cranes and additional construction equipment to free the victims.

While the building’s owner was cited for negligence, the local authorities are investigating why the two children and one woman were inside the construction site. The addition two  people were construction workers and were reportedly working at the time of the accident. It is unclear as to why the woman and children would have been inside the building and why the building was open for non-workers to enter freely. Currently, no one is facing charges for the negligent actions.

An Unfortunate Lesson

Roof collapse isn’t an uncommon occurrence. There are many more stories like this each week around the world that surface, reporting serious injuries and death of victims of old roof materials. To make matters worse, most of the victims are children who are playing inside a building that should be considered dangerous and off-limits.

How can we prevent future accidents?

  • Parents — Teach children not to play in vacant homes, or homes undergoing construction.
  • Homeowners — Regularly inspect your attic and roof for proper performance.
  • Government or Industry –Educate consumers about the roofing process and how roof materials work.
  • Contractors — Follow safety protocols and ensure unattended work sites are free from potential dangers.


Metal Roof for Yellowstone Museum

The Yellowstone County Museum just outside of Billings Montana, will be receiving an update of a new metal roof. The museum was originally a cabin built in the late 1870’s by Paul McCormick, a firefighter and entrepreneur.

No one knows how old the shake shingles are that currently cover the cabin, so it will be getting a new red metal roof, hoping to protect the museum’s artifacts it for the next 50 years.

Remnants of an Old Sod Roof

Yellowstone County Museum director Chris Weldon thinks there may be an old sod roof under the shingles. He finds burlap strips between the ceiling logs and piles of dirt on the museum floor.

The museum holds artifacts from the Yellowstone Historical Society, Parmly Billings Library and collections from pioneering families.

Besides the roof remodel, other upgrades include new stain and seal for the log cabin exterior. A wireless security system was installed and cameras in every public room. New steel fire escape doors replaced the wooden doors and new fire and smoke alarms were installed.

In 1893 the cabin was moved to 31st street in Billings as part of the McCormick family home as a place for social gatherings in the back yard. In 1954 the cabin was moved to its current location and opened as a museum in 1956.

Homeowner Responsibilities For Hiring A Roof Contractor

rooferOwning a home requires a lot of maintenance, especially for important items like the roof. Anytime you need professional help repairing an aspect to your home it is important to know what to look for in a contractor. Hiring a roofer to conduct repairs or replace a roof is no easy task, as there are hundreds of roof contractors in your area competing for the same jobs. So how do you know if you have found the right one for the job?

Guidelines For Great Service

As a homeowner it is your responsibility to make sure the person you hire to conduct your roof repair is qualified and professional. It is important that you request written documentation of their professional licensing or credentials. Many cities and states require roof contractors to be registered with the local county office, something you should inquire with your local government about.

Another important document to obtain a copy of is the company’s insurance policy. Make sure the company you choose is insured and current on their liability insurance to avoid potential trouble down the road.

Don’t be shy about asking for references either. A high quality roofer should be able to provide at least two references of previous customers that you can contact.

Remember that you are the one paying for the work, which means that you maintain the right to obtain multiple quotes from different contractors, interview each and ask questions about how the work will be performed.  Anyone that is unwilling to take the time to answer your questions or is pushy about making the sale should send up a red flag.  Always use your instincts when choosing the right person for the job.