Work Smart, Not Hard

My friend Bart was raised with the motto, “work smart, not hard.” When he was a teenager, Bart’s dad asked him to clean out a large cattle barn while his parents went away for a long weekend. Bart realized he would not be able to clean the barn himself with only a pitchfork in three days time. So he hired his family’s neighbor who had a skid loader to do the chore for him. When his father returned, Bart said his dad was proud (and surprised) he had accomplished the task. While bragging around town about what a good worker his son was, Bart’s dad learned from the neighbor that Bart had not cleaned out the barn himself. His dad returned home angry with him, but Bart reminded him that he had taught him to “work smart, not hard”. Bart explained he cleaned the barn using his brain instead of his back. His father couldn’t argue, and Bart carries this life lesson with him. He says he finds ways to work smarter every day.

As a roofing worker, the motto “work smart, not hard” seems easier said than done. Every day is physically demanding and consists of climbing, heavy-lifting and lots of bending. But there are ways roofers can work smarter, and Mark Carpenter, president of Tualatin, Ore.-based Columbia Roofing & Sheet Metal, shares a few of his company’s techniques in our “Safety” column.

Carpenter notes safety is his roofing contracting company’s No. 1 priority and, as such, he strives to keep his workers healthy and safe. Among his tactics is a program called “Save A Back” in which his employees are taught how to prevent back injuries through specific lifting methods and education. In addition, Carpenter’s foremen lead crews every morning in “Stretch and Flex” activities, which further help prevent on-the-job injuries.

I think Carpenter’s proactive approach to protecting his workers’ health helps them to work smart, not hard. After all, back injuries are difficult to cure and are expensive. Consider the following:

    ▪▪ More than 1 million workers suffer back injuries each year. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, D.C.)

    ▪▪ Back injuries account for one of every five workplace injuries or illnesses. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

    ▪▪ One-fourth of all compensation indemnity claims involve back injuries. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

    ▪▪ Thirteen percent of back injuries last two years or longer. (Source: National Council on Compensation Insurance, Boca Raton, Fla.)

    ▪▪ The average total cost of a back injury exceeds $24,000. (Source: The Journal of the American Medical Association)

As Carpenter states in his article, “You are never ‘money ahead’ making sacrifices related to safety. … The value of sending home employees and customers to their families in a healthy way—every day—is priceless.”

Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal Honors Children of Deployed Oklahoma Soldiers, Receives NRCA/CNA Community Involvement Award

In recognition of its efforts to help children of deployed members of the U.S. military, Oklahoma City-based Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal LLC was presented with the second annual NRCA/ CNA Community Involvement Award, an award sponsored by the National Roofing Contractors Association, CNA and the CNA Foundation. The award honors charitable works performed by NRCA contractor members.

Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal was selected for the 2013 award for its involvement with “Horseback Heroes”, an annual event to honor the children of Oklahoma soldiers. The event gives the children the rare opportunity to spend the day on a working farm, taking part in activities that include horseback riding, cattle roping, and tack and grooming.

The event took place on the ranch of Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal President and CEO Gerry Shepherd and was offered free of charge to more than 80 children, between the ages of five and 16, and their families.

The CNA Foundation awarded Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal with $5,000 for the Oklahoma 4-H Foundation, which co-sponsored Horseback Heroes. The donation enabled Horseback Heroes to accommodate 163 children in 2014, allowing organizers to stick to their goal to never turn a child away from participating. Shepherd and the Oklahoma National Guard are hoping to grow the Horseback Heroes program to accommodate children of deployed soldiers from other states in the coming years.

“Although it requires us to buy and add another bucking dummy and find 20 more horses and two more buggies with teams to pull them, it also requires many more volunteers, more breakfast foods, more drinks and more lunch items,” Shepherd says. “Because of the award we received, we will be able to serve every one of these kids.”

NRCA currently is seeking entries for its NRCA/CNA Community Involvement Award. NRCA urges its contractor members to submit any charitable project, activity or donation completed between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2014. One winning charity will receive $5,000. Two honorable mentions each will receive $1,000. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 31, 2014.

The awards will be presented during NRCA’s Awards Ceremony and Cocktail Reception Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2015, during NRCA’s 128th Annual Convention in New Orleans. For more information, contact me at (847) 493-7548, or visit NRCA’s webpage.

VIEW VIDEOS ABOUT HORSEBACK HEROES
A video highlighting the Horseback Heroes program
Gerry Shepherd, president and CEO of NRCA member Oklahoma Roofing and Sheet Metal, is interviewed in an Oklahoma National Guard video about his work with the third annual Horseback Heroes program, which took place Saturday, Oct. 18, at his Covey Creek Ranch.

A General Contractor Develops a Permanent Fall-protection Anchor Roofing Workers Will Use

The HitchClip’s main function is to provide roofing workers with fall protection.

The HitchClip’s main function is to provide roofing workers with fall protection.

Scott Fontaine was a general contractor for 30 years. Every day he was finding solutions to problems on job sites, one of which was convincing crews to wear safety equipment. He decided to put his problem-solving skills to work and created equipment that he could field test on the job. It was this entrepreneurial spirit that developed the HitchClip, a versatile and permanent residential fall-protection anchor.

Made from durable and lightweight powder-coated aluminum, the HitchClip is quick and easy to install (with six screws or six nails). Because it may be permanently installed, the HitchClip not only adds value to any home, but also helps reduce costs for contractors by allowing them to save money on temporary or one-use anchor options.

The HitchClip, which is now available for purchase from Qualcraft Industries, a division of Guardian Fall Protection, comes in black, gray or brown, and its sleek design allows it to easily blend in with nearly any roof. Its patented “key-hole” connection point allows it to be used as a standard fall-protection anchor and in combination with numerous attachment accessories, such as Qualcraft’s Bunk Jack, Roof Jack, Guardrails, Workbench, Platform Stage, Solar Panel Rack Bracket and more.

So far, the reaction in the marketplace has been enthusiastic. “The HitchClip system is widely used by contractors and homeowners alike,” Fontaine explains. “The simplicity and ease of use are a big factor, as well as the wide range of components that the system can utilize. There is no system quite like it.”

The HitchClip can help create a secure workbench on a residential roof.

The HitchClip can help create a secure workbench on a residential roof.

Inventors, though, can sometimes have a romanticized view of the product they’ve spent so much time developing. However, Justin Quick from Roofline Supply & Delivery, Eugene, Ore., says this is not the case with the HitchClip. “Roofers that I have sold HitchClip to love them,” Quick notes. “I like that they are an inexpensive add-on to an order that your customer will come back for over and over again.”

Learn More

Visit www.qualcraft.com.
Call (800) 231-5647.
Watch a HitchClip video.

“Roofers’ Choice” was determined by the product that received the most reader
inquiries from the May/June issue’s “Materials & Gadgets” section.

Commercial Roofs Will Be More Difficult and Expensive to Insure

Early in the evening hours of June 12, 2014, Abilene, Texas, was hit by a hailstorm that covered approximately 40 percent of the town.

Early in the evening hours of June 12, 2014, Abilene, Texas, was hit by a hailstorm that covered approximately 40 percent of the town.

Early in the evening hours of June 12, 2014, Abilene, Texas, was hit by a hailstorm that covered approximately 40 percent of the town. What made the storm unusual was the size of the hailstones combined with the intensity and duration of the storm. Hailstones varied in size from 2 to well over 6 inches and fell for more than 23 minutes. Most of the stones were frozen rock-hard; some pieces formed when two to three mid-size hailstones froze together.

Some residents reported multiple deck and ceiling punctures with several homeowners reporting stones that penetrated deck and ceiling to smash flat-screen TVs. The damage covered most of the downtown business district; Hardin Simmons and Abilene Christian universities; and a large regional hospital complex, including outlying medical and laboratory facilities. Auto damage was severe and widespread, exacerbated by the large number of visitors gathered downtown for a popular monthly event. There were a few injuries, but no deaths, other than some animals at the local zoo. Initial damage estimates topped $400 million, a sizeable amount for a town of 100,000.

Hailstorms are not unknown in our area though not as common as might be assumed. Since I have been in the roofing business, we have had damaging hails in 1967, 1973, 1988, 2011 and 2014. Our company, now in its 124th year, did not keep records of storms prior to 1967. It has been my experience that no two storms are alike, each taking on a life of its own with regard to how the insurance industry reacts. The last several years, Texas has had major storms in a number of areas, including Amarillo, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Austin and Rio Grande Valley. In these areas, roof claims litigation has exponentially increased, driven by a cottage industry of public adjusters, roof consultants, restoration contractors and attorneys, all making a business of inserting themselves between the insurance carrier and the building owner/policy holder. While there can be legitimate need for all these people at times, it does appear some may have crossed the ethical line to shake down insurance carriers with inflated claim demands.

The last several years, Texas has had major storms in a number of areas, including Amarillo, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Austin and Rio Grande Valley.

The last several years, Texas has had major storms in a number of areas, including Amarillo, the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Austin and Rio Grande Valley.

We experienced a little of this activity during our 2011 hail, but it was limited because the hail coverage area included few commercial properties. I was personally aware of several claims made in areas where there was no hail and the damages claimed far exceeded the value of the building.

In response to these perceived abuses, the insurance industry in 2014 has become much more aggressive in its claims handling, especially with gravel-surfaced built-up roofs. Gravel-surfaced roofs remain a significant portion of the roof inventory in this market. Adjusters have been paying for modified bitumen and metal roofing without too much argument. But, since the June hail, we have looked at dozens of buildings with gravel-surfaced roofs that, in our opinion, should be total losses, only to have the adjuster, who is often only vaguely familiar with gravel roofing balk at paying and call in consulting engineers to take sample cuts for lab analysis.

So far, it appears that in the absence of multiple punctures, the assumption is that there is no damage—or at least damage short of a total loss.

So far, it appears that in the absence of multiple punctures, the assumption by adjusters is that there is no damage—or at least damage short of a total loss.

My roofing intuition suggests this activity is a prelude to claims denial. So far, it appears that in the absence of multiple punctures, the assumption is that there is no damage—or at least damage short of a total loss. I can understand the adjuster’s desire to have incontrovertible evidence to base his payment or denial decision, but my experience as a contractor suggests that lab analysis is not foolproof. Some of the tests are based on theories that are at least debatable. The public adjusters and restoration industry have their own labs and tests to compete with the carriers. Regardless of tests, my experience as a contractor suggests that a built-up roof, even with gravel surfacing, is no match for a 20-minute pounding of baseball-sized hail. It is my hope that our industry does not devolve into an adversarial system, which pits dueling laboratories and experts into the claims process.

My suspicion is that it will become much more difficult and expensive to insure commercial roofing, with limits on coverage, much higher deductibles and more specific language to define what is damage. The real loser will be the building owner, forced to assume a much larger portion of the risk.

PHOTOS: JERRY SIEWERT

CentiMark Corp. Has a Culture of Giving

Although roofing is Canonsburg, Pa.-based CentiMark Corp.’s business, giving back to the community is the company’s commitment. Dedicated to helping people in need, CentiMark offers volunteer or financial support to hundreds of charities across North America that serve the hungry, homeless, at-risk children and families, domestic-violence victims, veterans and senior citizens.

CentiMark corporate associates deliver Back-to-School, Christmas, and Easter food and gifts to families in need and non-profit organizations.

CentiMark corporate associates deliver Back-to-School, Christmas, and Easter food and gifts to families in need and non-profit organizations.

Edward B. Dunlap, founder, chairman and CEO of the 46-year-old roofing company, leads by example in business and philanthropy. Since the early days of the company, Dunlap supported those in need in his community and encouraged volunteerism from his associates. “Giving back to the community has not shaped the CentiMark culture; it is the CentiMark culture,” says Timothy M. Dunlap, CentiMark’s president and chief operating officer. “The culture of giving back and volunteering has been ingrained in us for years. Now, as our company grows, we have more resources to help people.”

For example, in July 2014, 60 of CentiMark’s 80 offices throughout North America held food drives and made financial donations to food banks in their respective communities as part of National Roofing Week, sponsored by NRCA. They did the same thing last Thanksgiving, and they will do it again this Thanksgiving.

As part of their regular Friday routine, CentiMark corporate associates take turns delivering Meals on Wheels, a program near and dear to the heart of Edward Dunlap. “We are committed to the senior citizens in our community who need our help,” he states. Last summer, in the middle of a heat wave in western Pennsylvania, Dunlap instructed his associates to purchase and install air conditioners and fans in the homes of the seniors on the Meals on Wheels route who did not have the cooling appliances.

The company especially is committed to children and families. CentiMark associates teach Junior Achievement and host field trips at their corporate offices to show students how a business works. CentiMark Foundation Executive Director John Rudzik continues to teach Junior Achievement after 35 years. He remembers, “Even when I was a busy CFO and thought I didn’t have time to teach, Ed Dunlap told me I did have the time.” In addition, CentiMark associates regularly stuff backpacks for Blessings in a Backpack programs to provide meals for children on the weekends.

CentiMark participates in "Take Our Kids to Work Day".

CentiMark participates in “Take Our Kids to Work Day” to teach kids about how a business works.

Each year, CentiMark corporate associates deliver Back-to-School, Christmas, and Easter food and gifts to families in need and non-profit organizations. “When you give a child a book bag, school supplies, school clothes and shoes, you not only make their
day, but you reinforce the importance of education,” Edward Dunlap notes. “Plus the peer pressure is so great for children who do not have the latest book bag or school shoes. We try to help the parents who cannot afford all the back-to-school or holiday items.”

“Our non-profit partners tell us: ‘This was the first Easter basket that this child has received’, ” Rudzik adds. “Parents tell us: ‘There would not have been Christmas at our house without your help’. ”

“At CentiMark, we walk, run, bike and golf for charity; we teach school students; we deliver meals; we shop for winter coats; we place Christmas wreaths on veterans’ graves; we support people in need; and we give of our time,” Tim Dunlap says. “We take great pride in our success as a roofing company because our success enables us to increase our charitable and volunteer endeavors.”

How Is Your Fall-protection Plan?

Citing “record numbers” of unsafe roofing complaints in the Denver area during the first half of 2014, OSHA began its own outreach efforts and partnered with organizations, like the Colorado Roofing Association (CRA) and the Better Business Bureau (BBB), to make fall protection a priority among roofers and encourage consumers to hire roofing companies who do.

“In the past six months, we have received 63 complaints related to unsafe work practices, and this is the beginning of roofing season,” said David Nelson, OSHA’s area director in Englewood, Colo.

This emphasis contains two messages: the first to get consumers to hire contractors with a safety plan and good record; the second to prompt roofers to develop and follow safe work practices.

FOR CONSUMERS

Among its efforts, OSHA emphasized that home and business owners should use the OSHA website, CRA and BBB to hire reputable roofing companies with a safe work record without safety violations. OSHA advises consumers ask probing questions of roofing contractor’s safety plans, such as:

    ▪▪ Are the installers your employees or subcontractors?
    ▪▪ Are they insured?
    ▪▪ What is their past work history?
    ▪▪ How will the project be managed?
    ▪▪ What kind of fall protection will be used?

FOR ROOFING CONTRACTORS

For roofing contracting companies, OSHA hosted a 2014 National Safety Stand-Down week on June 2-6 that encouraged employers to stop work for one week to discuss fall hazards and safety measures.

At the end of June, the same OSHA Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota) announced it was going to spend extra energy enforcing safety in roofing following increased construction after a hailstorm.

“Falls from roofs, ladders and scaffolds can be prevented by planning ahead, providing the right equipment for the job and by training everyone working on a project to use the equipment safely,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in Billings, Mont.

These efforts demonstrate that roofing companies need to be prepared and committed to an effective fall-protection safety plan and be able to answer questions about it to prevent injuries and protect the company if an accident happens, as well as help win jobs if customers ask about the safety plan.

REVIEW YOUR FALL-PROTECTION PLAN

Considering the reasons for adhering to a comprehensive plan, take a moment and review your fall-protection procedures. This should be done annually, anyway.

Ideally, all potential hazards that could be encountered are eliminated or addressed through proper protection, work practices and training. Often, expertise, past experience or industry standards will point out these potential work hazards that need to be rectified.

According to information provided by OSHA’s outreach, a comprehensive fall-protection plan should include at least preventing falls from roofs, ladders and scaffolding. OSHA stresses the need to plan for safety, provide the correct equipment and ensure everyone is trained in safe work practices. Consider the following:

FALLS FROM ROOFS
Employees need to know when to wear a harness and how to ensure it fits. The proper guardrails and lifelines need to be implemented and used. Employees need to inspect all fall-protection equipment before using it and be able to determine when it is no longer safe. Holes, open stairwells, openings and skylights must be securely covered or guarded.

FALLS FROM LADDERS
Employees must know how to select the correct ladder and the proper way to safely use all ladders. Regardless of the type of ladder, users must maintain three points of contact; always face the ladder; and, without overreaching, secure the ladder on level footing; as well as never stand on the top step.

Extension ladders are not self-supporting and, therefore, need a stable structure and foundation to withstand the load. In addition, the area around the bottom and top of the ladder must have sufficient unobstructed space.

Plan to have an extension ladder that can hold at least four times the weight you intend to put on it. That includes any people and equipment and materials.

Also have a “competent person” visually inspect the ladder and secure the top of the ladder to a solid support. (A competent person is a technical term for someone who has the training and experience to know how to act safely and the authority to make a decision.)

Other safe work practices that should be followed include:

    ▪▪ Check the location of power lines before placing the ladder.
    ▪▪ Stay near the middle of the rungs while going up or down.
    ▪▪ Use barriers while on the ladder to keep traffic away, especially near doors and entryways.
    ▪▪ Only use the ladder for the purpose it was designed.

FALLS FROM SCAFFOLDS
Basic scaffold safety incorporates using fully planked scaffolds and ensuring they are sturdy, plumb and level with all guardrails completed and with stable footing. The scaffold must be used properly and accessed through a properly provided route; users should not climb on cross braces or stand on guardrails. Ladders also can’t be used on top of a scaffold.

A competent person—someone with the experience to recognize hazards and the authority to fix them—must inspect the scaffold before use.

STAY AHEAD OF OSHA

OSHA’s outreach is another example of it using incidents and complaints to focus attention on an industry. But it’s not just roofing contractors who are receiving increased attention.

In February, OSHA contacted communication-tower employers to remind them of their responsibility to train and monitor employee fall protection following 13 deaths in 2013 and four in the first weeks of 2014—a total higher than in the previous two years combined.

Ultimately, OSHA has reason to focus on particular industries, so it’s imperative you ensure your fall-protection program is effective.

Roofing Manufacturers and Contractors Embrace Recycling

In the early 2000s, as the green-building movement reached its tipping point, the roofing industry’s contributions to sustainability focused on increasing energy efficiency, improving long-term durability and addressing the heat-island effect. In the years since, significant strides have been made in all three of these areas for commercial and residential buildings.

In recent years, increasing attention has been given to the benefits and challenges of recycling roofing materials at the end of their useful life. This is no trivial task: Owens Corning estimates asphalt shingles alone comprise up to 5 percent of building-related landfill waste. This doesn’t take into account other roofing materials, including EPDM, thermoplastic PVC and metal.

Not surprisingly, rising removal costs, coupled with the growing demand in some areas of the country to legislate landfill content, are putting pressure on contractors and building owners to seek alternatives to traditional roof construction scrap and tear-off disposal methods.

In response, greater numbers of roofing manufacturers and contractors are driving strategies to avoid the landfill. A general review of emerging trends across the roofing industry suggests manufacturers and contractors increasingly are turning to recycling to steer these materials from the waste stream.

Steel is the most recycled material in building construction today. PHOTO: STEEL RECYCLING INSTITUTE

Steel is the most recycled material in building construction today. PHOTO: STEEL RECYCLING INSTITUTE

METAL

Metal roofing’s sustainable attributes are significant. Industry experts cite its ability to improve a building’s energy efficiency, and metal today contains anywhere from 25 to 95 percent recycled material.

On its website, the Chicago-based Metal Construction Association (MCA) encourages installing metal roofing directly over an existing roof, thus eliminating the need to dispose of the original materials. But when an older metal roof or new-construction debris must be removed from a site, contractors and owners in most regions of the country can quickly identify scrap yards that take metal.

“Steel is the most recycled material in building construction today,” says MCA Technical Director Scott Kriner. “There’s an infrastructure that supports it, and metal in general is virtually 100 percent recyclable.” Kriner notes MCA supports recycling as part of the metal industry’s overall commitment to environmental sustainability and transparency in business.

PVC

PVC has been used in roofing systems since the 1960s, and the post-consumer recycling of roof membranes began in North America in 1999—a nice symmetry when one considers roofs in terms of 30-year life cycles.

In general terms, the recycling of PVC roofing is a relatively straightforward process. The material is sliced into long strips, rolled up, lifted off the roof and transported to a recycling center. Recyclers run the PVC through a conveyor system, where fasteners and other metal objects are removed.

Initially, the recovered membrane was ground into powder for reuse in molded roof walkway pads. More recently, some manufacturers have been incorporating a granulated form into new PVC roofing membranes, exclusively on the backside to avoid aesthetic issues with color variations. The first installations of membrane produced with post-consumer recycled composition occurred in the mid-1990s. So far, its field performance has matched that of PVC roofing produced with virgin raw materials.

The Vinyl Institute, Alexandria, Va., says close to 1 billion pounds of vinyl are recycled at the postindustrial level yearly. “The vinyl industry has a history of supporting recycling,” the institute reports on its website, “and this effort continues as companies, alone and through their trade associations, expand existing programs and explore new opportunities to recover vinyl products at the end of their useful life.”

EPDM

Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer is used extensively on low-slope commercial buildings. Yet even this durable synthetic rubber membrane must eventually be replaced, and today recycling is a viable option.

The removal process generally involves power-vacuuming off the stone ballast, where present, to expose the EPDM membrane below. The membrane can then be cut into manageable squares, which are folded and stacked on pallets, loaded onto a truck and transported for recycling. The recycler grinds it into crumbs or powder, depending on the end use. A growing number of recycling centers nationwide now handles EPDM.

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Construction Writing

I recently reconnected with an old friend. We’d been in touch via social media but we hadn’t had a chance to actually sit down in the same room and catch up for many years. As we were talking about our careers, she asked me whether I like writing about construction. I actually am asked this question quite often, and I always admit construction wasn’t what I had imagined myself writing about when I dreamt about a career in writing. However, I am always quick to say how much I love it. There are a couple reasons why:

First, I’ve always wanted to make a difference in the world and hoped my career would allow me to give back to others. Construction writing does that. With each issue of the magazine and e-newsletter and post on the website, I am able to share innovative ideas that make buildings more energy efficient, help contractors find new ways of doing things and promote products that make everyone’s lives easier. I especially love when I hear someone completed one of his or her projects differently because of something that appeared in the magazine. For example, when Iain Fergusson, owner of Highland Roofing Co., Wilmington, N.C., first reached out to tell me about the Bermuda-style roofing project that became this issue’s cover story he shared the following with me:

    “You ran a series of articles a year or two back covering all aspects and types of metal roofing, including a section about traditional lead roofing. I had a custom builder at the time who wanted to use ‘something different’ than copper for 3,000 square feet of porches and dormers on a custom home. Having just read the article, I suggested lead and he liked it. We have just finished installing the 24-inch-wide flat lock and soldered lead panels. It’s very cool and different!”

Those of us who work on Roofing may not always know when an idea that appeared in the magazine is constructed somewhere in the country but I can tell you when we do hear about it, it makes for a very gratifying day!

Secondly, I have made a number of very special friends in this industry. I’ll admit I was a little intimidated when I attended my first construction trade shows and industry meetings many years ago. I assumed I was entering a “good ol’ boys club” where women weren’t readily welcomed. I was completely wrong. Everything I have learned about installing a roof, I’ve learned from industry professionals. I feel extremely lucky to work in an industry in which I look forward to trade shows and meetings because I know I’m going to see friends from all over the country. In fact, I’m excited about METALCON, which takes place Oct. 1-3 in Denver. Please say hello if you see my colleagues and me on the show floor.

Construction writing has been an extremely fulfilling career path. If given the choice again, I can’t think of anything I’d want to write about more.

Planning for Thermal Movement: An Essential Element of Copper Roofing Design

For centuries, copper has been used as a roofing material because of its ease of installation, adaptability to simple and unique designs, resistance to the elements and superior longevity. Copper’s warmth and beauty complements any style of building, from Gothic cathedrals to the most modern museums and private residences. Its naturally weathering surface, whether in a rich bronze tone or an elegant green patina, is a clear indication that the building owner will only accept the very best.

This detail indicates a method for terminating a copper roof at the eave. The fascia trim is bent to extend onto the roof deck to become an integral flashing apron nailed to the roof. The copper pan is secured to the apron lip to achieve vertical restraint. Horizontal movement of the copper roof sheet is accommodated by the loose-lock fold of the pan over the fascia lip. Click to view a larger version. IMAGE: <em>COPPER IN ARCHITECTURE–DESIGN HANDBOOK</em>

This detail indicates a method for terminating a copper roof at the eave. The fascia trim is bent to extend onto the roof deck to become an integral flashing apron nailed to the roof. The copper pan is secured to the apron lip to achieve vertical restraint. Horizontal movement of the copper roof sheet is accommodated by the loose-lock fold of the pan over the fascia lip. Click to view a larger version.
IMAGE: COPPER IN ARCHITECTURE–DESIGN HANDBOOK

Unfortunately, long-term performance of even the best construction materials can be compromised if the system is not designed or installed properly. For architectural sheet-metal installations, movement that occurs with changes in temperature must be considered during the design process. All metals expand when heated and contract when cooled. While this process is well understood, far too many contractors ignore thermal movement during system design or installation. Ultimately, this can lead to failure of the roofing and flashing system, causing extreme damage to the building. The Copper in Architecture–Design Handbook, which is published by the Copper Development Association (CDA) and available online as a free download, provides examples of how to accommodate for thermal movement of copper systems.

Calculating for the potential thermal movement of sheet metal is easy. Simply multiply a metal’s coefficient of thermal expansion by the metal’s expected temperature change by the length of the piece. Remember: It’s not the air temperature we’re considering; it’s the temperature of the metal. Anyone who’s touched a metal roof or the top of their car in the summer knows it gets significantly hotter than the air!

An example based on a 10-footlong piece of copper:

  • 10 feet (typical flashing piece length) x 0.0000098 per degree F (copper’s coefficient of thermal expansion) x 200 degrees F (possible metal temperature change from coldest winter night to hottest summer day) x 12 inches per foot = 0.24 inch. In this case, the calculated movement is a little less than 1/4 inch.

Remember, the coefficient of thermal expansion depends on the type of metal you are using. Aluminum expands and contracts more than copper, and most steels move less. Series 300 alloy stainless steels are very similar to copper in movement, or expansion/ contraction rate. Naturally, temperature change is dependent on building location and exposure to the elements. Many professionals feel comfortable calculating the design movement with a temperature change in the 175 to 200 degree F range, but it’s the project architect or engineer’s responsibility to determine if this is adequate.

Modern rollforming equipment allows contractors and manufacturers to make very long panels, so potential total movement is even more significant.

Let’s investigate one type of common flashing design—in this case, at the eave, which is relatively simple but can easily be installed incorrectly:

  • Based on the previous formula, with roof panels that are 20-feet long and installed at a temperature between the hottest day and coldest night: 20 feet x 0.0000098 per degree F x 200 degrees F x 12 inches per foot = 0.47 inch.

Having one of the largest copper roofs in the country, the historic Kingswood High School, Cranford, Mich., recently underwent a massive $14 million roof-restoration project. The copper-clad roof is comprised of batten seams on the upper slopes, interior gutter with internal rainwater conductors, and standing- and flat-seam panels on the eaves. An embossed copper fascia and copper soffit panels complete the system. PHOTO: QUINN EVANS ARCHITECTS

Having one of the largest copper roofs in the country, the historic Kingswood High School, Cranford, Mich., recently underwent a massive $14 million roof-restoration project. The copper-clad roof is comprised of batten seams on the upper slopes, interior gutter with internal rainwater conductors, and standing- and flat-seam panels on the eaves. An embossed
copper fascia and copper soffit panels complete the system.
PHOTO: QUINN EVANS ARCHITECTS

Because we’re installing mid-way in the temperature range and 0.47 inch is so close to 1/2 inch, dimension “A” can be 1/4 inch (one half the total potential movement). Naturally, the hem of the roof panel’s “loose lock” must coordinate with the length of the eave flashing to ensure the two are still engaged when the roof panels are fully expanded. While most contractors form eave flashings properly, some ignore the thermal movement gap “A” during installation, forcing panels to move fully onto the flashing. This eliminates the gap. When temperatures drop, the panels can’t contract, adding stress to the roofing system.

Through the years, countless thermal cycles and resulting stresses caused by expansion and contraction can take their toll. In the long run, something will fail. In some cases, work hardening of the metal can occur, causing it to crack or tear. In other cases, fasteners, such as those used to attach cleats, work back and forth, ultimately pulling them out of the substrate.

It’s easy, however, to avoid these problems. To ensure maximum performance of the roofing system, just follow the recommended design principles; understand how the different pieces of the system interact; and don’t cut corners. With a time-proven quality material like copper, proper workmanship and attention to detail can create a beautiful roof that could last the life of the building.

Learn More
For more information about architectural copper and roofing systems, visit the Copper Development Association’s website.

A Roofer Develops a Solar Solution for Ponding Water on Flat Roofs

The original Sentinel II XD Solar Roof Pump includes a rotatable 20-Watt solar panel.

The original Sentinel II XD Solar Roof Pump includes a rotatable 20-Watt solar panel.

When you say “flat roof”, many people cringe, thinking of stagnant ponding water, health concerns and damaging roof leaks. And it’s not unusual during very rainy seasons to hear about low-slope roofs collapsing under the weight of ponded water.

Auxiliary roof pumps and even solar roof pumps have been around for decades but can be unreliable. Nicholas Bryditzki, a licensed roofing contractor and certified infrared roof inspector, developed the Sentinel Solar Roof Pump because he wanted a more reliable option. “It’s not that I invented it; they already exist but none of them work,” he says. “I went to a premier solar engineer with the concept and said I want to make this thing ‘roofer-proof’.”

To Bryditzki, “roofer-proof” means the roof pump had to be very durable. Consequently, the Sentinel Solar Roof Pump is encased in spun aluminum that is powder coated with a DuPont coating to keep the patent-pending system cool. In addition, patent-pending cold-weather protection ensures the pump won’t freeze and burn out. To further protect the pump, a sensor detects when water needs to be drained, so the pump doesn’t run all the time; it uses a “siphon-effect”, per Bryditzki. The 20-Watt solar panel is large enough to recharge the battery.

The Sentinel II LP Solar Roof Pump is a stationary unit with an embedded solar panel.

The Sentinel II LP Solar Roof Pump is a stationary unit with an embedded solar panel.

“Roofers showed a little resistance to this until I showed them how to actually save a roof and service it until the owner was ready to re-pitch and re-deck or instead of installing expensive new in-roof drains,” Bryditzki adds. “That’s how it’s catching on right now.”

Currently, there are three Solar Roof Pump models available: the original Sentinel II XD Solar Roof Pump, which can be placed where it’s needed; the Sentinel II LP Solar Roof Pump, which is a stationary unit with an embedded solar panel; and Sentinel II XDR Solar Roof Pump, which features a removable solar panel that can be placed away from the pump. “We also developed a pan flashing; roofers install the pan in the roof, place the solar roof pump in the pan and, depending on the roof surface, it will help drain the roof down to virtually no water whatsoever,” Bryditzki adds.

The Sentinel II XDR Solar Roof Pump features a removable solar panel that can be placed away from the pump.

The Sentinel II XDR Solar Roof Pump features a removable solar panel that can be placed away from the pump.

Bryditzki is delighted by the Sentinel Solar Roof Pump’s success during the two years it has been available in the marketplace. He credits the success to the design of the roof pump itself. “The original prototype is still installed and running in the middle of New Mexico,” he says. “I was just out there last month and we tried to break it; we put mud, leaves and rocks in it and it was still draining.”

Learn More
Visit SolarRoofPumps.com.
Call (817) 771-5027.
Watch a Sentinel Solar Roof Pump video.

This “Roofers’ Choice” was determined by the product that received the most reader inquiries from the March/April issue’s “Materials & Gadgets” section.

PHOTOS: Nicholas Bryditzki