Replacing Structural Metal Deck in Re-Roofing Applications

Photo: A.C.T. Metal Deck Supply

The commercial roof replacement project has been specified, the tear-off process begins, and crews are surprised to find unexpected corrosion and damage in the structural metal decking — the cold-formed corrugated steel sheets connected to steel joists or beams that support the roof system. They soon realize that large areas of the deck will need to be replaced, and the project grinds to a halt as crews try to figure out what type of deck is needed and how long it will take to get it to the jobsite. This doesn’t happen every day, but it happens often enough that specialty metal deck suppliers have evolved to help roofing contractors cope with such emergencies — and, hopefully, work with them to prevent similar problems in the future.

Roofing spoke with metal deck suppliers about the common questions they encounter and the ways they can help roofing contractors meet their needs. We also spoke with a contractor and a roof consultant to get their perspectives on issues surrounding metal decks and asked them to share some recommendations for successful re-roofing projects involving the replacement of structural metal decking.

Frequently Asked Questions

Nick V. Polizzi is president of A.C.T. Metal Deck Supply, headquartered in Aurora, Illinois. The company got its start as a metal decking subcontractor, furnishing and installing metal deck in the Chicagoland, and it started stocking metal deck 27 years ago. A.C.T. Metal Deck eventually got out of the installation side of the business, and the company now has 15 locations in 11 states that specialize in metal deck distribution.

Polizzi sums up the most frequent queries from roofing contractors this way: “The most common questions we receive are ‘What is this existing deck?’ ‘What do we use if we can’t match it exactly?’ and ‘Can I get it today?’ That is, do we have it in stock.”

In industrial facilities, the deck is typically left exposed. Often corrosion and damage are easy to spot during a visual inspection. Photo: CentiMark

It’s the type of phone call that’s familiar to Matt Weiss, president of O’Donnell Metal Deck, headquartered in Elkridge, Maryland. The company has been supplying metal deck in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic for 35 years from its headquarters and a second location in Darby, Pennsylvania. “I do the same kind of dance every day,” Weiss says. “I hear, ‘Hey, we’re up on a roof and need some deck.’ I say, ‘What kind?’ Often there is just silence.”

John D’Annunzio, president of Paragon Roofing Technology in Troy, Michigan, has been a roof consultant for more than 25 years. He says he can’t remember a re-roofing job over a metal deck that didn’t require replacing at least some portion of the decking. Even with a thorough inspection, surprises can crop up. “There are times you look at it from the underside and don’t spot any problems, but when you start replacing the roof you find some issues,” D’Annunzio notes.

These are the types of problems Mike Horwath, Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager for CentiMark, tries to anticipate and avoid. CentiMark is a full-service roofing contractor headquartered is in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, that covers the entire country. Horwath’s office is in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. According to Horwath, his company’s crews are taught to identify the type of metal deck and the thickness before work on the project begins. “We determine what type of deck it is and have some of it sent to the jobsite, so that if we encounter any damage, we are prepared, versus shutting the jobsite down and going out to get it,” Horwath says.

When emergencies do arise, Horwath maintains it’s easier to get replacement decking more quickly than it was just a few years ago. Specialty deck suppliers often have a wide variety of materials in stock, and they can offer other services, including making deliveries in phases as the job progresses, to help with logistics.

Roof Inspections and Safety Precautions

D’Annunzio and Horwath try to go into every job with as much information as they can gather at the jobsite. If possible, D’Annunzio recommends obtaining documentation and as-built drawings. Horwath agrees, noting that the customer, building owner and facility managers can all be excellent resources. “They will have the history and context to discuss leaks, integrity issues or problem areas,” Horwath says, “Areas affected by high humidity levels or other processes from inside the building are also susceptible to deterioration.”

Workers must follow a site-specific safety plan with proper fall protection equipment during deck removal and replacement. Photo: CentiMark

The use of the building can be a critical factor. Certain industrial processes can raise a red flag. “Trash-to steam plants have ash houses with high pH levels. A pool environment can have very high humidity levels. Batteries and other manufacturing can involve acidic processes,” says Horwath. “Those are three of the most common points of concern: chemicals, high levels of humidity, and pH level.”

A visual inspection of the underside of the metal deck can provide crucial information. “We try to look at the underside of the deck from the interior, but it’s not always possible,” D’Annunzio notes. “In industrial facilities, the deck is typically left exposed, but in office buildings and retail locations, you often don’t have access from the interior to look at the deck.”

The underside of the metal deck should be examined for excessive corrosion, openings and abrasions, and structural damage, including deformation and deflection. “All areas that illustrate structural damage and/or excessive corrosion should be considered safety concerns and should be barricaded off at the roof level,” says D’Annunzio. “If the interior of the metal deck has been painted, a close-up inspection from a ladder or man lift may be required. The level of corrosion can often be determined by banging on suspect areas of the deck with a hammer.”

Sheets of metal deck are lifted to the rooftop. Decking should be secured by certified riggers. Photo: O’Donnell Metal Deck

Safety is the paramount concern, even at the inspection stage. Inspectors should never walk on a roof that isn’t safe. “First off, all personnel should have proper safety training and be properly trained to inspect decking,” Horwath states. “For our guys to go up on the roof, they have to be able to do an underdeck inspection and verify that no condition exists that would create a fall hazard in the roof. If they cannot do that, they would have to assume that there is a fall hazard, and they would have to set up fall protection to do that inspection.”

If a fall hazard can’t be ruled out, it has to be assumed that the potential for a fall hazard is there, and a site-specific safety plan with proper fall protection equipment is required until it can be proven that the decking is safe. If problems areas are discovered, they should be marked and barricaded off. “We will establish the level of severity and put together a fall prevention plan for the guys to follow,” Horwath says.

When inspecting the roof system on top of the building, core cuts can provide visual clues about the deck. D’Annunzio notes that core cuts are typically done on every project, and if corrosion is evident on the deck, he will expand the test cut to see how extensive it could be.

The inspection process should continue throughout the project, according to D’Annunzio. “During the remedial roof removal process, the metal deck should be inspected on a daily basis,” he states. “Deck panels that exhibit extensive corrosion and/or structural damage should be removed and replaced. Light rust and corrosion can be repaired with a wire brush and application of a rust inhibitor. Minor openings such as small holes can be covered with metal plates or overlay of a metal deck panel that is fastened to the existing metal deck panel.”

It’s not only workers on the roof that have to follow proper safety procedures. Everyone in the building below has to take precautions. “When decking is being removed or replaced, there can’t any workers below the area,” says D’Annunzio. “We’ve had instances in automotive projects where deck has had to be replaced, and the work has to be done during off-shift hours, whether it’s a night or a weekend.”

Identifying the Existing Deck

If the type of deck used isn’t available in the construction documents, the type, gauge and finish of the deck must be determined at the site.

The type of deck is based on the profile, which is designated by a letter. The most common types are A, B and F. (See Figure 1.) “The changes are in the shape, and the shape creates a different design strength,” notes Polizzi. “A-22 is not the same strength as B-22.”

Each profile has its own distinct measurements. “We give out a laminated profile card to all of our customers to keep in their trucks, so when they are out on the job, they can do a couple measurements to determine the profile,” Polizzi says. “It’s nice if they can measure both the bottom and the top, as we have measurements for both. If they aren’t sure, we can send them a sample, and they can take it out to the job and lay it into what they’ve got on site.”

According to Weiss, the simplest way to identify the type of deck on an existing building is to measure the gaps in the ribs on the profile. (See Figure 2.) “Check the top rib opening located between the top high hats or flanges of the deck,” Weiss recommends. “This dimension will quickly determine the type. Most of the time, the top rib opening is 2.5 inches, 1.75 inches or 1 inch, so you’re typically dealing with B deck, F deck or A deck — or it’s 3-inch-tall deck, and that’s usually N deck. However, the top rib isn’t always exposed until after a project has begun. In this case, the deck can be identified by the bottom width of the high hat.”

There are a few caveats, notes Weiss, as in some cases the deck might be from an older mill that doesn’t exist anymore. Texting pictures back and forth can help identify the type of deck.

The next steps are to determine the gauge and finish. “The easiest way to determine the gauge is by using a micrometer,” notes Weiss. “However, if you’re unable to obtain this measurement, a knowledgeable deck supplier should be able to recommend a gauge by understand the spacing supports and project requirements.”

The finish is usually determined based on visual inspection. The three most common finishes for roof decks are:

  1. Primer painted
  2. Galvanized G-60
  3. Galvanized G-90

“With no harsh environments, then painted deck is probably what’s used,” says Polizzi. “In wetter, harsher, more corrosive environments, galvanized finishes are more common. In very corrosive environments, stainless steel decking is used.”

The deck should be inspected for damage and corrosion throughout the course of the project. Photo: O’Donnell Metal Deck

B deck is the most common. “B deck, 22-gauge, with a galvanized finish is probably the most common type,” Weiss notes. “B-22, G-60 finish constitutes probably 70 percent of the roofing jobs we do.”

If the type of deck can’t be matched, suppliers can often recommend a compatible alternate. “Typically, when roofers are replacing a portion of an existing structure, the key is identifying the correct deck type to allow the new deck to lay into the existing flutes of the deck,” says Weiss. “This makes for faster install.”

B deck has the widest rib openings. F deck will nest inside B deck, and A deck will nest inside F and B. “They are all 6-inch centers; the difference is just in the width of the opening,” notes Polizzi. “The A deck is narrow, so it will fit on top of B, but if you try to put B on top of A, it will not work.”

“That’s why you still need these older roof profiles, because on a huge building with those narrow ribs, the 2.5-inch flute is not going to jam down into an inch,” says Weiss. “You can always take an F deck or an A deck and use it on a job with B deck because it nests in there.”

Removal and Replacement

By definition, deck panels are fastened to structural members, and this is crucial in determining the methods of removal and replacement — and determining the number and size of sheets needed for the project. “If it’s a new piece of decking, it has to be secured to a structural connection,” says D’Annunzio. “It should go from structural point to structural point. When covering major openings like skylight holes, for example, the replacement panel must span from joist to joist, and typically is nested in the existing deck.”

It’s critical to ensure the deck beneath a new roof system is sound and will perform well beyond the expected life span of the system. Photo: A.C.T. Metal Deck Supply

During the removal process, the safety plan must remain the top priority. “Ensure proper training and safety equipment is used on the roof and inside the building,” Horwath says. “Make sure the interior inspection limits the impact on the customer’s business. Clear out areas below the roof, make sure there is adequate material storage on the jobsite, and protect objects from damage. Keep the below area flagged off and keep people out of the area. The contractor should keep a fire watch to keep employees and people out the way. Remove and replace decking in full sheets. Remove and replace the roof and make it watertight by end of day.”

When installing new decking in a roof replacement project, the vast majority of the time fasteners are used, as often welding is not allowed. “CentiMark does not weld anything,” says Horwath. “We fasten everything down per Steel Deck Institute (SDI) standards or FM. We require our guys to be tied off until all of the decking is fastened down. With the stitch seams, they should be tied off while putting that together because it helps strengthen the seam joints. They should be tied off for the entire process until it is anchored and secured down.”

Fastening the side laps of deck together is typically done with a standard #10 self-tapping screw, according to Weiss. Fastening to beams or joist will depend on the project. A fastening pattern will determine the number and spacing of the fasteners to a support. The Engineer of Record (EOR) determines the fastening pattern based on the designed load calculations for building. “A fastener supplier can help guide you for qualified fasteners based on your needs,” Weiss notes.

If the profile cannot be matched or the decking won’t nest, it may be necessary to cut out the portion of deck to be replaced and butt the end of the new profile against the existing deck at the joist. When different types of deck are butted together, the gap is usually covered with a metal plate.

Common Mistakes

D’Annunzio pointed to roof details and penetrations as common problem spots. “The biggest areas of concern I see involve larger penetrations, such as a curb that’s 4 feet by 4 feet,” he says. “Contractors who replace the decking around the curb at an opening for an exhaust vent, for example, have to make sure it’s fastened correctly. If the deck is not properly fastened at the curb, it could lead to vibration, splits or openings in the roof system.”

Extreme care has to be used when removing old sections of decking, notes Horwath. “Be careful to watch out for electrical conduit and data lines,” he cautions. “No one wants to cut through conduit underneath the decking.”

Other common errors include underestimating the size and scope of the deck repair. D’Annunzio and Horwath recommend specifying the cost for deck replacement in every contract, even if the decking looks perfect. But estimating the amount of new deck material needed can be difficult, as total square footage is not the only concern. “It’s all about knowing what the bar joists spans are, and that determines the size of the panels you get,” Horwath points out.

Depending on the width of the building and the dimensions of the deck sheets, contractors might have to order an extra sheet to cover a given area. Weiss uses this example: “Let’s pretend you have a building that’s 76 feet wide. Sheets are 3 feet wide. Because it’s 76 feet wide, with 25 sheets, you still have an extra foot hanging off. So, what do you do with that extra foot? Technically you need an extra sheet, and you back lap that sheet.”

The spacing of supports and the cover width of the decking sheets are also critical, notes Weiss. “Knowing the spacing of the joist will allow a deck supplier to maximize your coverage while limiting waste from excessive overlap and save time by limiting field cuts,” he says.

Planning Ahead

Metal deck suppliers keep multiple profiles, gauges, finishes and lengths in stock at all times to help contractors. That’s a key part of their value proposition. But Polizzi and Weiss also emphasize that they are also available to help contractors plan ahead to maximize efficiency. After all, there could be lead times involved with some products. “Partnering with a knowledgeable deck supplier will save you time, money and frustration,” Weiss says. “We will aid you in the process by asking the right questions upfront to ensure a project’s success.”

Polizzi notes that some of his customers maintain their own stock of B deck. “Some roofers themselves will buy a couple of bundles from us so that when they do have an emergency or a tear-off, they can start to pull out of their own inventory,” Polizzi says. “They don’t have to keep a lot; they just have to keep enough to get going, and we’ll take care of the rest of the job.”

“It’s all about having it on hand and available and getting it to the contractor when they need it,” says Weiss. “But the more lead time they have, the better off the contractor really is. When projects become larger and/or supports are not typical or complicated, a specialty deck supplier should be able to provide shop drawings to include a deck layout to save time and minimize material waste.”

“In the past, roofers used to avoid anything to do with metal deck replacement because they often couldn’t get what they wanted,” notes Polizzi. “Today, we have helped these roofers create a new profit center because they know now they can go after that work and they can count on us to be there for them when they open up a roof.”

Replacing the deck can mean more profit for the contractor, but it can also adversely affect the schedule. According to D’Annunzio, when it comes to the deck, the key is to think long-term. “You have to go with the assumption that the roof you’re installing will last at least 20 years, and these days it can be much longer than that, with re-covers and maintenance,” he notes. “So, chances are you’re not going to see that deck again for more than 20 years. If it’s suspect, it’s better to deal with it while you are doing the remedial work.”

“We’ve been called in to examine projects with a roof that’s just a few years old where the deck below should have been replaced beneath the roof system, and it wasn’t,” D’Annunzio continues. “You can imagine the difficulty of replacing the deck at that point. When it comes to metal deck, my attitude is, ‘When in doubt, take it out.’”

Metal Deck Resources

For more information about metal decks, visit:

Steel Deck Institute, www.sdi.org

NRCA, www.nrca.net

SMACNA, www.smacna.org

Factory Mutual, www.fmglobal.com

A.C.T. Metal Deck Supply, www.metaldecksupply.com

O’Donnell Metal Deck, www.odonnellmetaldeck.com

Nailing Down Talent: How To Successfully Hire Workers

Finding skilled workers is becoming more and more problematic for many roofing contractors. According to the 2019 Construction Outlook Survey released by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), more than three-quarters of respondents expected to hire more staff in 2019. However, 78 percent reported difficulties filling salaried and hourly craft positions and 42 percent believe that hiring personnel over the next year will continue to be hard.

The current labor shortage is drastically reducing the number of potential prospects. In the third-quarter 2019 Commercial Construction Index report from USG Corp. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, 61 percent of contractors said they’re struggling to find skilled workers. That number is up from 54 percent in the previous quarter, indicating the problem shows no signs of improvement.

The effect of the workforce shortage impacts your day-to-day operations through higher costs, longer completion times and higher bid prices. So how can you attract, hire and keep qualified workers in the current state of the industry? Consider these tips:

Market and Recruit

A well-written job listing will help attract the best employees. Talk directly to the type of person you want to hire, list the qualifications you seek, and explain what’s important to your business.

When writing the job description, be specific about the type of work your roofing business does so you can attract people who are skilled and comfortable in those areas. And if you’re willing to teach someone the necessary skills, be sure to mention that too.

Jim Johnson, head coach for ContractorCoachPRO, advises taking your listing a step further by creating a recruiting platform and making it part of your website.

“Have multiple job postings for everything you’re hiring for,” he says. “Include some videos with employee testimonials, your company culture and what you’re all about. And then market it. Market that website. Market it on Google, market it on social media, market it, market it, market it.”

“Really, truthfully, you’re a sales organization, you’re a marketing organization, you’re a contractor — you’re all those things,” he continues. “But in the big scheme of things, you’re a recruiting company. If you change your perspective that way and recruit great talent, all the rest is going to be easy. You’ll change the whole [methodology] of what you do as a contractor.”

Johnson says you should always be looking for talent as you’re walking around every single day — anytime, everywhere.

Look For Specific Characteristics

A good roofing employee should be able to do more than hammer nails and carry bundles of shingles. He or she should also have characteristics that can help your company stand out from the competition, including:

· Fast learner — You can train someone to carry out specific skills, but you can’t teach that person to be a better learner. New employees — even those with experience — should be willing to learn and adapt to the way you do business.

Tip: Ask potential workers about the most recent thing they’ve learned and have them explain how they learned it. Or have them explain some of the differences in the way previous employers did things and how they adapted to those expectations.

· Tech-savvy — Many roofing businesses use construction apps on the job. Your crew members should be able to pick up these new technologies.

Tip: Ask applicants what roofing apps they like and which features they find most useful.

· Professional – Employees need to put customers at ease. If someone isn’t courteous and professional on the job, he or she could cost you referrals and reap bad reviews. Your crew represents you and your brand. Hire roofers you can trust to leave a good impression on homeowners.

Tip: Ask candidates why they left their last job. They should avoid speaking negatively about their employer or co-workers. Or ask how they would respond if a customer was rude to them.

· Safety conscious — Roofing has one of the highest fatality rates of all industries. One person’s disregard for proper safety could put your whole crew at risk. Ask potential candidates plenty of questions to see how well they know best practices and only hire those who take safety seriously.

Tip: Have interviewees explain the precautions they take while on a jobsite or what they would do if a co-worker was acting in an unsafe manner.

· Positive attitude — Roofing is already hard work, so you don’t need a negative employee adding to the everyday stress. Antagonistic people can quickly crush crew morale, which could result in sloppy work, unprofessional behavior or even high turnover. Hire someone who can go with the flow and be a positive influence on fellow workers.

Tip: Listen. Did possible hires answer previous questions to your satisfaction? Did they seem professional and eager to work and learn your way of doing things? Overall, trust your gut. You’ll know who will fit in best with the rest of your crew.

Johnson cautions that you should never hire someone during an interview.

“Resumes — I personally think they’re garbage,” he explains. “They’re usually inaccurate and embellished. They’re very time consuming for me to get through and great candidates can be missed. The best salesperson I ever hired in my entire life was a Pizza Hut delivery guy. The guy sold $6.3 million in residential sales in 2017. He’s been in it for 19 years now. So, great candidates can be missed by just relying on resumes.”

Be Competitive

Once you’ve found the right person, you want him or her to accept the job. Salary is an important factor, of course. What are your competitors paying? Find out and, if you can, match or beat it.

Money isn’t everything, though. Most people also want a sense of job security. Explain why your company has a good reputation and how it can offer stability.

Talk about other things that make your company attractive, such as taking on unique projects, participating in philanthropic opportunities, or having an excellent benefits package.

And after you hire someone, do things that will make him or her want to stay. “No one does anything without incentive,” Johnson says. “And incentive is not necessarily money. Incentive can be a lot of different things. It can be a reward — a gift card, a trophy, all kinds of stuff. Or it could be plain old recognition.”

These types of incentives will remind employees that they’re valued and respected members of your team, which in turn increases their level of commitment and builds loyalty.

Help Educate Potential Hires About the Trades

As a contractor, you know the financial, leadership, and entrepreneurial benefits of working in the roofing industry.

Volunteer for speaking opportunities at local high schools to educate students about the value of pursuing a career in the field. Or participate in a trade show, such as the CareerExpo and SkillsUSA Championships hosted by the Construction Education Foundation of Georgia (CEFGA), which allows you to meet students interested in trade careers.

Some high schools and community colleges have apprenticeship or co-op work opportunities as part of their vocational training programs. Getting involved with these institutions gives you access to people who want to work in a trade and allows you to offer them real-world experience, which could result in a position with your company.

As budget cuts continue to reduce the size of the U.S. military, veterans must transition to civilian jobs. What these motivated men and women lack in roofing experience, they make up for with other valuable qualities, including trainability, discipline, reliability, and leadership skills. Many national organizations, such as the U.S. Department of Labor, have programs that help vets get the training and experience they need for their next career.

Invest in Your People

Countless surveys show that workers leave a job because they’re unhappy and don’t feel appreciated. To help with employee retention, invest in your people by providing continuous training.

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) offers a wealth of training opportunities. Through the organization’s ProCertification program, workers who demonstrate substantial knowledge and skills can earn certifications in specific roof system installations.

“In the past, a roofing company would go to a job fair in their local community and try to present a career in the industry as one that’s truly professional,” explains Reid Ribble, CEO of the NRCA. “However, there was no way for [a trade worker] to become a master roofer. They could become a master plumber, master electrician or master carpenter, but there was really no professional certification for them to reach that same status in the roofing industry.”

By the end of 2019, the NRCA’s ProCertification program will have certifications available in six disciplines. Eventually, it will offer a total of 18.

“If roofing workers stack enough of these certifications on top of each other, they can achieve master status, as a master low-slope roofer, master steep-slope roofer, master service technician, or master solar technician,” Ribble says. “That’s a powerful tool that we didn’t have before to recruit workers. It’s a long-term, transformational shift away from making the roofing companies the primary to making the working roofer the primary. And that’s a big shift, but it’s the one that actually provides the quality assurance that customers need.”

The NRCA is taking stepsto get the ProCertification program recognized nationally. However, Ribble cautions that this push will not affect the licensing of roofing companies.

“We believe that, as a national association, it’s up to our state affiliates to make the determination locally as to whether or not they want a licensing program,” he says. “Some states do, other states do not. Some of our members do, other members do not. We don’t want to have a restrictive approach to people entering the roofing trade. But what we can do is create standards for roofing workers. Because, let’s face it, putting on an asphalt shingle roof in Georgia is no different than putting an asphalt shingle roof on in Wisconsin. You might treat the underlayment at the eaves different because of snow and ice, but for the most part, that roof goes on the same.”

The Bottom Line

Hiring workers is one challenge. Keeping them is another. So, while following one or more of these tips can help you build your business, you must also create an environment where your employees feel valued. After all, they determine the success of your jobs, which means your company’s reputation is only as good as the people you hire.

As Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup, once put it, “To win in the marketplace, you must first win in the workplace.”

About the author: Tiara Searcy is the content and digital marketing manager for Atlas Roofing. For more information, visit www.atlasroofing.com.

Bringing on Large Clients Can Result in Big Problems

So many salespeople and small business owners strive to hook the big fish — the large client. There’s a belief that these are the best customers and that there is validity and credibility attached to being able to say you’ve won those accounts.

I see it a little differently. When I think about hooking the big fish I think about long sales cycles, low quotes with tight margins, and diversion of attention. Let’s take a look at each.

1. Long Sales Cycles

Large clients often make decisions slowly. They have more people involved in the decision-making process and they have more priorities. I’ve seen a lot of salespeople struggle with the inability to move a sale forward. The reality is that larger clients have so many priorities that they may not feel any urgency for what you have to sell. Competing priorities go on all day, every day inside large companies. We can’t expect them to maintain interest in our product or service just because we’ve had a meeting with them. We have to continue to be persistent and patient — all at the same time.

Because these sales cycles are longer we have to also make sure we are pursuing smaller clients at the same time. We have to make sales and bring clients in while we continue to troll for the big catch. It can be challenging to juggle all of that activity. A lot of salespeople have a tendency to tread water while waiting for the big fish to bite. It’s pretty tough to make your quota or your sales goals that way.

2. Low Quotes With Tight Margins

Large companies are accustomed to negotiating price — in their favor. If we aren’t careful we’ll end up pricing too low to make the account worthwhile. We have to seriously consider the ROI of winning the big account. If the price is too low and the margins too tight, we’ll find it tough to grow. We need healthy margins to have money to invest in our business. And to be there for the unexpected.

Moreover, large clients typically aren’t loyal. They consistently shop their vendors to make sure they are getting the best for the lowest cost. What would happen to your company if your big fish left for a cheaper alternative? All that revenue gone. All that time spent working for them instead of building a client base. Dangerous. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. A company focuses on getting a large account, does all of the work to onboard them, allots resources to manage the account, and has very little left over for anything else. Then one day the client leaves. That company is now in danger of going under. They are suddenly top-heavy with expenses and devoid of revenues.

Once again it can seem like a major win to land that big fish. However, what may seem like a coup can turn into a nightmare if the revenue isn’t worth the effort. Consider the alternative. Instead of seeking large clients, what if you pursued and gained a significant number of small and medium-size customers? The margins would probably be relatively good, the relationship would probably be good, and the loyalty would most likely be there. If by chance a customer left it wouldn’t derail your company. The loss would be easy to absorb until you could replace it. And it wouldn’t be so difficult to replace.

3. Diversion of Attention

Large clients require and demand a lot of attention. We tend to favor them and understand that we have to consistently nurture them. These clients expect to be taken care of. They expect the VIP treatment. And because we were so focused on getting the business we fall into the same belief system once we’ve snagged them. We have to give them a lot of attention in order to keep them.

So, we commit resources to them. These are resources we could be using to bring in more medium and small clients. We could be building a foundation of loyal, well priced, evenly handled clients. We could be growing, and committing our resources in ways that would benefit our company more than having that big fish.

In addition, needing to assign a lot of resources to a large customer means that there is the possibility your other customers will receive less than stellar service. Now you run the risk of losing your other customers — the foundation or cushion — because they are being ignored.

Step back and consider what you want for your company. I’m imagining its healthy growth with loyal clients who respect and appreciate what you do for them; it’s reasonable margins and a deep bench of clients. If that’s the goal, and I hope it is, you should focus on adding a significant number of medium-size clients. Let someone else grapple with the behemoth. It may sound like success to hook the big fish. In reality, success is serving many clients and having the time and money to continue to serve them all well.

About the author: Diane Helbig is a leadership and business development advisor helping business owners around the world. She is the author of Lemonade Stand Selling, Expert Insights, and Succeed Without ‘Selling,’ as well as the host of the “Accelerate Your Business Growth” podcast. For more information, visit www.seizethisday.co.

Coated Glass Facers Bring New Performance Advantages to Polyiso Insulation

Photos: Owens Corning

Rigid polyisocyanurate (polyiso) insulation board is one of the most widely-used insulation products on the market today and is manufactured in various forms for use in wall, roof, and other building construction applications. The different types, classes, and grades of polyiso insulation board are defined by the classification system in ASTM C1289 “Standard Specification for Faced Rigid Cellular Polyisocyanurate Thermal Insulation Board” and may be classified by the type of facer or facing material used to manufacture the products.

Polyiso is a thermoset, closed-cell, rigid foam plastic insulation that is manufactured in board form (typically 4-foot-by-4-foot or 4-foot-by-8-foot sizes). Through a continuous lamination process, liquid raw materials that make up the foam formulation are mixed and in a rapid chemical reaction form a rigid and thermally stable polymeric structure. During manufacture, the facers or facing materials enable the manufacturing process by containing the viscous foam mixture as it is poured and cured into the rigid polyiso core.

After manufacture, facers or facing materials perform a number of key functions for the installation and use of polyiso products. At the jobsite, the specific type of facer or facing material can determine the insulation product’s compatibility with various substrates, which is an important consideration where installed as part of an adhered roof system. Once installed in a roof system, the facer or facing material can influence water absorption and water vapor transmission, which can be important characteristics in building envelope applications. In wall applications, polyiso may be used as a drainage plane to shed bulk water and with taped joints between adjacent boards can form both effective water resistive barrier and air barrier component. Facer or facing materials can positively contribute to the fire performance of the product and assembly, reduce air movement through the system, or provide for radiative properties. Finally, it should be noted that the same facer material is typically used on both sides of the polyiso board; however, different facer types may be used to meet specific project design and performance needs.

Facer Types

The three most common types of polyiso facers are aluminum foil, glass fiber reinforced cellulosic felt, and coated polymer-bonded glass fiber mat. The ASTM C1289 Standard contains classifications and descriptions for each facer type:

  • Aluminum Foil Facer (FF) is composed of aluminum foil that may be plain, coated and/or laminated to a supporting substrate.
  • Glass Fiber Reinforced Cellulosic Felt Facer (GRF) is composed of a cellulosic fiber felt containing glass fibers.
  • Facer (CGF) is composed of a fibrous glass mat bonded with organic polymer binders and coated with organic polymer, clay, or other inorganic substances.

Polyiso products as shown in Table 1 may also be manufactured with other facer types or facing materials such as uncoated polymer-bonded glass fiber mat (AGF), perlite insulation board, cellulosic fiber insulation, oriented strand board (OSB), plywood, and glass mat faced gypsum board. Depending on the particular project requirements, a certain facer type may offer specific benefits and the most attractive option for that application.

Coated Polymer-Bonded Glass Fiber Mat Facer

Coated polymer-bonded glass fiber mat facer (coated glass facer or CGF) is used in polyiso insulation products installed as part the building enclosure, including roof insulation, high-density cover board, and wall insulation products. Coated glass facers consist of multi-layer construction and a coating to impart a versatile weather resistant outer layer. CGF facers offer dimensional stability and resistance to water absorption. The glass fibers in the mat provide tensile strength and moisture resistance characteristics, making the mats an ideal solution for other product applications that require high levels of performance link flooring products, underlayments, asphalt shingles, roof membranes, ceiling tile, and other construction products (i.e., glass reinforced panels and industrial applications).

The CGF Manufacturing Process

For polyiso products, the CGF consists of a non-woven glass fiber mat as the substrate. The glass fibers that make up the mat are formed when minerals are batched together, melted in a large furnace, and extruded into strands through fine orifices in bushing plates. The fibers are mechanically drawn, cooled, and treated to impart the required handling and physical properties for the desired performance.

For non-woven applications, the fibers are chopped to the required length and sent to the mat forming line. The non-woven glass fiber mats (typically produced by a wet laid process on an inclined wire former) are impregnated with a synthetic water-based binder such as acrylic, urea formaldehyde, or renewable organic binders. The impregnated web is dried and cured in a direct gas-heated belt dryer. To produce the final coated glass facer, the rolled mat is coated with a mineral-filled latex coating to seal the mat. The coated mat is rewound and packaged according to individual product and customer specifications. After inspection, the mats are slit and wound in-line on cardboard cores in a turret winder.

The rolls of CGF are delivered to polyiso manufacturers where they are loaded into laminators to become the top and/or bottom facers of the finished polyiso insulation boards.

CGF and Polyiso Performance Benefits

Coated glass facers do more than hold the polyiso together as it cures; they add certain performance characteristics that can enhance the effectiveness of the final polyiso product. CGF as a material is noted for offering the following benefits for polyiso insulation:

  • Mold resistance
  • Enhanced fire performance
  • Excellent strength and durability
  • High moisture resistance
  • Excellent dimensional stability
  • Resistance to delamination
  • A reduction in knit line appearance

Since every type of polyiso product has its unique advantages and uses, choosing the right facer for the right application can have long-term impacts on the entire system’s performance and resilience. For example, some moisture is always present in our environment. CGF can provide added resistance to moisture absorption for polyiso products and help improve the performance and durability of the overall roof system.

Polyiso insulation products offer:

  • A high R-value per inch compared to other insulation products.
  • A certified LTTR value (roofing products).
  • The performance to meet today’s code required R-values while minimizing assembly thickness, and material and labor requirements.
  • Excellent performance in fire tests.
  • Ease of use and peace of mind, as polyiso products are designed for use in an expansive assortment of tested, approved, and code-compliant assemblies.
  • As a thermoset plastic, stability over a large temperature range (-100°F to +250°F) and can be used as a component in roof systems utilizing hot asphalt.
  • Versatility as a multi-attribute weather barrier product.
  • A continuous insulation solution to minimize heat loss through thermal bridges.

In summary, the combination of polyiso insulation and coated glass facers provide building owners and contractors with a solution that can meet thermal, moisture, and durability considerations. A wide variety of CGF polyiso products are available for specific applications in roofing or wall construction. Consult with a polyiso manufacturer for guidance on design and technical information for various insulation systems. Further information can be found at www.polyiso.org, the website of the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA), along with updated Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), and technical bulletins for polyiso applications.

About the author: Marcin Pazera, Ph.D., is the Technical Director for Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association (PIMA). Dr. Pazera coordinates all technical-related activities at PIMA and serves as the primary technical liaison to organizations involved in the development of building standards. He holds a doctoral degree in mechanical engineering from Syracuse University and, over the course of his career, has worked in building science with a focus on evaluating energy and moisture performance of building materials and building enclosure systems. He has expertise in building enclosure and product manufacturing encompassed-research, testing, product conception and development, and computer modeling/analysis.

Designing Roof Drains to Survive and Perform in Severe Storms

A well-designed and well-installed roof drain should not allow water to pond at the clamping ring and should be secured to the roof deck structure. Images: Hutchinson Design Group LTD.

The storms have become repetitive and the damage to infrastructure, buildings and life safety has reached historic proportions. From these catastrophes has arisen the concept of resiliency. If you haven’t heard of this movement, you’re not in sync with the current governmental building mindset. Sustainability is virtually passé; it was almost 25 years ago my co-chair Keith Roberts, Roberts Consulting, Abingdon, England, and I headed a group of international experts in roofing, under the auspices of CIB on the topic of “Sustainable Low Slope Roofs.” The resulting report included the “Tenets of Sustainable Low Slope Roofing,” and it is still available on the CIB website, www.cibworld.nl.

CIB determined several years ago that sustainability was no longer the crucial goal of the built environment: Why? Because the building industry was so good in educating clients in regards that sustainability is no longer a goal to be discussed but is a client assumption to be provided.

So, what is this resiliency?

In regard to roofing, the essence of resiliency is to design a roof that can weather the storm(s) with minimal damage and be quickly repaired so that the building in question can be operational.

A resilient roof design is not one designed to membrane manufacturers’ minimal standards and installed to current practice. A resilient roof cannot be summed up in a prescriptive specification.

A resilient roof design is:

  • Supported by the client.
  • One designed by a competent person, knowledgeable about the effects storms have on buildings.
  • One in which all the conditions on the roof are specifically detailed to the project. (OMG: Architects, engineers and consultants — you will actually have to understand construction and do what you’re being paid to do.)
  • A team effort involving the owner, designer, contractor and material suppliers.

There has been a great deal written about sustainability, and many of my colleagues are still confused as to what it all means. I don’t want the concept of resiliency to suffer the same fate. Thus, I would like to bring to you my ideas of how resilient detailing may look.

Over the next several articles, I will review how I detail for resilient roof systems in the hope that it may assist your understanding of what resiliency is and how you might design and detail for it.

The Roof Drain

It is amazing how many roof drains are pulled up and out of the roof deck when the membrane becomes loose in a storm. I guess with the drain gone it leaves a nice large drain. The challenge is I have some clients with hundreds of millions of dollars in product or equipment in the building below, where water is not appreciated. So, the first resilient detail I have chosen to explore is theroof drain.

The roof drain detail for new construction requires coordination with the structural engineer who will be specifying the roof deck and structural framing around the drain. Getting the engineer to place it in the low spot is a discussion for another day. This coordination is also required with the plumbing engineer so that the correct drain system and components are specified. Hint: I tell the plumbing engineer what to specify, give them the detail and provide specification information. It’s just so much easier than to try and get them to change it later. (We will discuss the 12-inch roof curb specification in a later article. Can’t the manufacturers just eliminate the 12-inch roof curb?)

Part of the coordination, and maybe the most difficult, is getting the structural engineer not to specify the drain sump that was for level decks with built-up roofs; we haven’t used these in 30 years. The other half of that is the plumbing engineer needs to specify the sump pan as part of the drain system. Now you see why I provide the spec.

Once this is all coordinated and you’ve spent the weekend exhausted and drank to excess, you’re ready to detail — the fun part.

The sump pan provided by the drain manufacturer allows the drain flange to set in the same pan as the top if the roof deck. This sump pan should be screw fastened, anchored to the deck. For steel decks I suggest a pan head self-tapping screw into each flute and 6-inch O.C. parallel to the flutes.

Securing the Drain to the Structure

After the sump pan is set, the roof drain can be set and secured in place. To do that, an underdeck clamp should be used. Typically, the roof drain has threaded receivers to which the under-deck clamp can be bolted and clamped to the sump pan receiver. But in a blow-off you would be relying on those pan head screws into the steel deck to prevent uplift. Sometimes that will be enough, sometimes not. To guarantee that the roof drain stays in place, 1-5/8-inch Unistrut should be extended from steel angle framing to steel angle framing that the structural engineer has designed. The under-deck clamp should then be placed on the underside of the Unistrut and bolted to the drain. You now have the roof drain compressed to the steel roof deck and the building’s structure. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The goal of a resilient roof drain is to prevent water damage in high-wind events. While an underdeck clamp should always be specified, to enhance the roof drain securement steel braces should be installed from deck framing angle to deck framing angle and the clamping ring placed below that to clamp the roof drain down and prevent disengagement with the drain pipe.

Roof-to-Drain Detailing

With assurance that the roof drain will remain in place during a major storm event, the roofing can now be detailed. The vapor retarder, which will act as a temporary roof in the event of a roof blow-off, needs to be specifically detailed to extend over the roof drain flange and then be secured in place with the reversible collar that will hold the extension ring. The vapor retarder should be adhered to the drain flange prior to the installation of the reversible collar which is bolted to the roof drain bowl.

With increased insulation values, an extension ring is required; this is basically 5 inches in Chicago. I highly recommend that a threaded extension ring be used: it offers easy adjustment and positive engagement with the revisable collar. The insulation should be cut and brought into the roof drain. All voids should be filled with spray foam insulation and trimmed flush. We specify a fire seal on the underside as well.

The roofing membrane should be set over the roof extension drain flange in a full tube of water block and the clamping ring set and bolted to the roof drain. The membrane should right then and there be trimmed back to within 1/2 inch of the clamping ring. Don’t wait to do this later or cut a hole the exact diameter of the drainpipe. Failure to trim the membrane back to within 1/2 inch of the clamping ring prevents that drain from properly functioning, and in a roof collapse situation, I will be hunting you down.

Coping With Severe Damage

Many buildings sustain wind damage associated with heavy rains. When the membrane is blown off the substrate and the drain is high, buildings can experience high levels of water damage. As shown in Figure 1 and as typically is installed, the roof drain is above the roof deck surface. Thus, for resilient roof systems, a roof drain should be installed at the level of the vapor retarder to drain the roof should the membrane be compromised. (See Figure 2.)

This is accomplished by inserting a baffle in the drain downspout that will prevent air vapor from moving into the roof system or water backup. The drain is hidden, ready for use in an emergency.

You’re now started on your resilient roof system design.

Author’s note: Thanks to John Ryan of DeFranco Plumbing in Palatine, Illinois, who has shared his decades of knowledge with me to assist in the detailing of roof drains systems.

About the author: Thomas W. Hutchinson, AIA, FRCI, RRC, CRP, CSI, is a principal of Hutchinson Design Group Ltd. in Barrington, Illinois. For more information, visit www.hutchinsondesigngroup.com.

New Test Protocol Provides Deeper Insight Into Performance of IR Shingles Against Hail

Hail impact testing takes place at the IBHS Research Center in Richburg, South Carolina. Manufactured hailstones are launched using a hail cannon designed to create an impact with the same kinetic energy as naturally occurring hail. Photos: Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety

Consumers deserve to have confidence that shingles labeled as impact resistant live up to their resilient expectations. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has dedicated years to collecting data and identifying unprecedented insights into the performance of impact resistant-labeled shingles.

IBHS is a non-profit, scientific research organization funded by the property insurance industry as a tangible demonstration of its commitment to resilience. Charged with advancing building science, influencing residential and commercial construction and creating more resilient communities, IBHS recreates real-world severe weather conditions to test buildings and building components, including asphalt shingles.

Background

Hail poses a threat to roofs across the country. It routinely causes more than $10 billion in insured losses each year according to a 2017 WillisRe study, and those losses have been growing. Yet, hail is not well accounted for in typical construction processes because hail-resistant products are not typically required by building codes.

There are three impact modes possible when hailstones hit shingles. Hailstones can bounce off the shingle cleanly, shatter into many pieces, or turn to slush leaving a residue behind on the shingle.

Impact-resistant (IR) asphalt shingles are marketed to consumers to perform better in hailstorms. Currently, those products are tested according to Underwriter’s Lab UL 2218 test or FM Approvals FM 4473 test, which use steel balls and pure water ice balls, respectively. They are based on diameter to kinetic energy relationships from the 1930s, and both tests launch projectiles at the roofing products and assume the damage severity is directly tied to the kinetic energy of the projectile. These tests evaluate products on a pass or fail basis using human evaluation to judge whether a crack has occurred, and in the case of the UL test, the damage is viewed from the backside — the side of a shingle a homeowner, roofer or insurance adjuster can’t see. Neither test, however, accurately replicates both the type and severity of damage found on rooftops after hailstorms.

Missing in the development of these test standards was an understanding of the material properties of natural hail. Historical studies had quantitative data on mass, diameter, and density, but qualitatively described the strength or hardness of hailstones. There were no quantitative hailstone strength data from which to base a laboratory test.

Filling a Knowledge Gap

IBHS began laying the foundation for what would become the IBHS Impact Resistance Test Protocol for Asphalt Shingles by collecting quantitative data on hailstone properties to expand understanding of the phenomenon itself in 2012. Researchers in the field have followed severe thunderstorms and collected hailstones to measure their mass, diameters, and strength. These data provided a deeper understanding of the kinetic energy with which hailstones fall, their mass to diameter relationship, and the strength of the hail itself.

IBHS partnered with Accudyne Inc to design the hail machine to manufacture hailstones in the laboratory to mimic the properties of natural hailstones.

After collecting thousands of data points, IBHS was able to fill the gap in the fundamental properties of hail that would affect damage. The data revealed that natural hail is slightly stronger than pure ice and current test methods overestimate the mass, fall speed and impact energy of hail. This was a significant breakthrough in hail science.

Recreating Hail in the Lab

Armed with these new insights, IBHS researchers could begin to replicate the properties of natural hail and achieve the right impact energies in the laboratory to develop a new test for impact resistance that would produce damage representative of natural hailstorms. Seltzer water was initially used to create the density observed in natural hail. Later, IBHS and Accudyne Systems Inc. developed and patented a hail machine to mass-produce manufactured hailstones for testing. The hail machine allows researchers to configure the density and strength of hailstones to mimic the variety that occurs in natural hail.

Figure 1. Hail causes three distinct types of damage to shingles. Hail can deform a shingle with dents, dislodge the protective granules on the surface of the shingle, and cause cracks or tears that breach the material.

Variations in strength and density led to the identification of three impact modes, or types of impacts, that occur when manufactured hailstones are launched at asphalt shingles. The hailstones may result in a “hard bounce” off the shingle remaining nearly intact, a “hard shatter” with the hailstone fracturing into numerous small pieces leaving no ice residue behind, or a “soft” impact where the hailstone turns to “slush” on the surface of the shingle.

The hard impacts typically caused granule loss and deformed the shingles, leaving dents and creating breaches. The soft, slushy impacts produced a larger area of granule loss, but left less noticeable deformations. These damages are reflective of damages observed on real roofs after hailstorms and may diminish a shingle’s water-shedding capabilities. Deformations to shingles can allow water to penetrate and get into the roof, which may damage the interior of a home. Loss of granules on shingles exposes the asphalt to UV radiation, which can cause them to become more brittle and prone to further damage and shorten the service life of the roof.

The Test Protocol

The IBHS Impact Resistance Test Protocol for Asphalt Shingles uses a hail cannon to launch 1.5- and 2-inch manufactured hailstones at roofing test panels. Unlike existing test methods, IBHS requires the shingles be purchased from distribution channels as a roofer or contractor would purchase the product.

Figure 2. An example of the Roof Shingle Hail Impact Ratings chart found ibhs.org. Each product recieves an overall rating in addition to a rating by damage type ranging from excellent to poor performance.

The test panel follows the UL 2218 method with a 3-foot by 3-foot frame with a middle structural member to simulate the presence of a roof truss. The panel has a plywood roof deck and underlayment. Shingles are installed according to each manufacturer’s instructions. Impacts are focused on the main portion of the shingles avoiding edges, joints, corners, the outer frame and the middle structural member.

When testing three-tab shingles, 20 impacts per hailstone size are required. When testing architectural shingles, 40 impacts per size are required — 20 on the single layer portion of the product and 20 on the multiple layer portion of the product. For each hailstone size, an equal number of hard and soft impacts are required. However, some variation is allowed between hard shatter and hard bounce.

Damage Assessment and Ratings

As part of the new test protocol, IBHS needed an objective tool to assess damages and improve upon the human judged pass/fail ratings of the existing test methods. IBHS partnered with Nemesis Inc. to create a cloud computing tool to measure the volume of deformations and the area of granule loss. The application runs on a computer or mobile device and uses at least 13 photos to generate gridded 3D data of the impacts. The 3D mesh allows the application to precisely measure deformations, including both the depth of dents and the height of the ridge surrounding each dent, as well as granule loss individually and in patches. The quantitative data allows for the severity of the damage to be evaluated, rather than treating all damage as equal. The third mode of damage, breach, is assessed by expert judgement to visually determine the severity level.

The damage severities for each of the 20 impacts for three-tab shingles or 40 impacts for architectural shingles are used to calculate the overall performance evaluation rating of a product for a given test size. IBHS publicly released results of the initial testing in June 2019. The published ratings provide the overall performance evaluation rating in addition to performance ratings by damage category.

The initial release included eight of the most widely-sold IR shingle products on the market. As part of the release, IBHS committed to retest the products every two years and to test new products introduced to the marketplace within six months of release. In October 2019, IBHS issued an update to the performance evaluation ratings, adding three newly released products to the list.

Summary

The IBHS Test Protocol differentiates the performance of widely-sold IR shingles currently on the market by replicating the properties of natural hailstones and providing a quantitative evaluation of performance. Moving beyond pass/fail testing provides more detailed performance information for consumers looking to purchase a better performing product, roofers looking to sell a better product and manufacturers who wish to improve their products.

As hail-related losses continue to rise, the IBHS Impact Resistance Test Protocol for Asphalt Shingles and its ability to more effectively determine which shingles may be more resilient to hail will help raise the level of performance and arm consumers in hail-prone regions with more information when selecting a roofing product.

To view the latest shingle performance ratings, visit www.ibhs.org/hail/shingle-performance-ratings.

About the author: Dr. Tanya Brown-Giammanco is the Managing Director of Research at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and has overseen the IBHS hail program since its inception in 2010. For more information on hail research, please visit ibhs.org.

How To Create Advocates — Not Adversaries

Everyone we come in contact with can either help us achieve our goals, or create obstacles. The outcome is dependent on how we engage with them. When we are looking to grow our business, we interact with many people in many different roles. How we see them informs how we choose to deal with them. If we are wrong, we can hurt our growth.

Everyone we meet is not a prospect. There, I said it. Moreover, it is really dangerous to assume that everyone is a potential customer. When we believe that everyone we encounter is a possible client, we approach them from that direction. We decide our communication structure based on that belief. The problem with this belief is that most of the people we meet are not potential customers. So, we are instantly alienating people instead of attracting them.

The truth is that no one likes being treated like a “kill.” We are better off not even thinking about our business when we interact with people. That way we are more interested in finding out who they are than we are in telling them about our product or service. It is that curiosity that will help us build relationships.

Consider it this way — throughout our travels we will meet all sorts of people. Some will be colleagues. Others will be referral sources and resources for our connections. Others still will be conduits to our prospective clients. And, of course, some will become clients. That array of possibilities speaks to the value of leading with curiosity and respect.

The more advocates we have in our business, the easier it will be to grow. When you call to speak with a prospect or stop by to see a prospect, everyone you encounter can either help you or hurt you. The gatekeeper can be one of your greatest supporters or they can keep you from getting in to see the prospect. The receptionist can patch you through or keep you out.

The people you meet at networking events can become great resources for you and your business or they can simply be people you meet. The beauty is that you get to choose the result because you choose how you interact.

Let’s break it down.

Networking

When you are networking, you can choose how you approach people. When you decide to be curious about the people you meet you are out of sales brain. That’s good! Being curious allows you to be fully present. You will be listening and learning. You will be determining who you want to continue to build relationships with. And you will be someone other people want to get to know.

What you won’t be doing is selling. You won’t be telling other people about your product or service. You won’t be trying to gain a client. And, you won’t be disregarding people you think aren’t prospective clients.

When you attend networking events looking for clients, you dismiss anyone you think doesn’t look like a prospective client. And when you do that, you miss out on discovering resources and referral partners. It’s a very shortsighted strategy. Remember, you need a variety of connections in your business community in order to be successful.

Prospecting

When you reach out to a person or company to make a connection you are probably not going to speak with the decision maker first. Most likely you will have to go through a receptionist, assistant, or connection. How you interact with them will have a direct impact on your ability to get to the right person.

Their job is to ensure the people they support are not interrupted unnecessarily. You aren’t the only person seeking a conversation. If the gatekeeper let everyone in, the decision maker would never get anything done.

Decide to engage with the initial contact with respect for their responsibilities and workload. Too often salespeople take this blocking personally. However, it has nothing to do with the salesperson. It has to do with the responsibilities the receptionist/assistant/connection has in their role. When salespeople realize they can actually help these folks become allies and advocates, the whole conversation changes. You need that gatekeeper in your corner. So, figure out how you can first be in their corner. How can you help them? Stop seeing them as an adversary. Take the time to build a relationship with them. That’s how you will gain access to the decision maker.

Elsewhere

Wherever you go you are building a reputation. It’s your decision whether that reputation is good or bad. Whenever you interact with people they are creating a view of you and your company. They are deciding whether you are someone they want in their world or not. Realizing you need as many advocates as possible can help you decide how you will interact with everyone. Build the best reputation you can. That reputation should be one of problem solver, helper, giver. The more you show up as someone who is more interested in helping others than in gaining business, the more attractive you will be. And the more business you will gain.

Everyone is not a potential client. Potential clients are not the only people worth speaking to. Other people can directly impact your ability to grow your business. Remembering these things will help frame how you engage as you venture out on your business building journey. Seek to gain advocates. It’s the best way to avoid gaining adversaries.

About the author: Diane Helbig is a leadership and business development advisor helping business owners around the world. She is the author of Lemonade Stand Selling, Expert Insights, and Succeed Without ‘Selling,’ as well as the host of the “Accelerate Your Business Growth” podcast. For more information, visit www.seizethisday.co.

How to Prepare Your Company for an Immigration and Customs Enforcement Audit

Although President Trump’s attempts to pass sweeping immigration reform have been largely unsuccessful, since his inauguration there has been a sharp increase in enforcement of current immigration policies in the workplace. One such policy is that employers verify that all employees are authorized to work in the United States. Since 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) requires employers to verify work authorization by reviewing each employee’s identification documents and completing (and retaining) Employment Eligibility Verification Forms (Forms I-9).

Enforcement of IRCA is largely accomplished through the initiation of I-9 audits conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). According to the National Law Review, in 2018, the number of audits conducted increased by more than 400 percent, from 1,360 in 2017 to 5,981 in 2018.

What Is an ICE Audit?

During an ICE audit, ICE officials are legally permitted to examine Forms I-9 for compliance and determination of fines or other criminal penalties for violations. ICE audits may be initiated based on tips from various sources, but companies are also subject to being randomly selected from a national database of employers.

In most circumstances, an ICE audit begins when an ICE agent arrives at the workplace and delivers a Notice of Inspection (NOI). Upon receipt of a NOI, the company is provided with three days to respond. In some circumstances, with good reason, an extension to respond may be granted. After the three-day period, or any extension, the employer is required to produce for inspection Forms I-9 for all active employees and any employees terminated within the retention period. (Forms I-9 must be retained for certain periods even after an employee is terminated or leaves a position.) ICE officials may arrive on site to conduct an inspection or investigation. While on site, ICE officials cannot enter non-public areas of a building or speak with employees on the premises unless the officers have a warrant or the employer’s consent, unless certain circumstances exist to permit further investigation without a warrant, subpoena, or the employer’s consent.

Preparing for an Audit

The key to preparing for a potential ICE audit is to be proactive. One of the most effective ways for an employer to prepare for an ICE audit is to conduct an independent self-audit to ensure they are in order and in compliance with all requirements. An employer may choose to perform the internal audit or hire counsel to do so. Hiring independent counsel that specializes in this area of the law to perform the audit provides the employer with several benefits. Counsel can walk the employer through the audit process, determine any deficiencies that exist, and prevent the possibility of any deficiencies being covered up by staff members or other employees. Performing self-audits not only gives employers an opportunity to identify errors, omissions, or other deficiencies, but is also evidence of a good faith effort on the part of the employer to make all reasonable efforts to comply with the requirements.

Employers should prepare to take immediate action to correct any deficiencies a self-audit reveals. Forms I-9 should never be backdated, as that evidences an attempt to willfully and intentionally deceive government officials. Deficiencies should be corrected in a conspicuous manner. Use a different color ink to indicate a correction and have the person making the correction initial it. In addition, the internal audit process should be adequately documented. For example, attach a memorandum to the deficient Form I-9 identifying the deficiency discovered and the steps taken by the employer to correct it.

In addition to performing an internal self-audit, employers should always review or establish sound policies and procedures for completing Forms I-9 and maintaining adequate records. Employers should always exercise due diligence when making employment decisions to ensure that each employee is compliant.

Here are a few quick methods to avoid or reduce exposure:

  • Ensure that there is a Form I-9 on file for every active employee.
  • Ensure all reverifications are completed where an employee’s work authorization has expired and form a schedule for ensuring that reverification is completed timely.
  • Maintain copies of identity and work eligibility documents.

In any event, hiring independent legal counsel will prepare employers for any potential ICE audits and provide employers with an additional layer of protection should the employer receive a NOI. Introducing a systematic approach to records maintenance will make it simpler for internal audits and shield employers from the significant penalties IRCA imposes. Technical violations, those which are inadvertent or procedural, can carry fines between $230 to $2,292 for first-time violators. Fines for knowingly hiring, employing, or continuing to employ unauthorized workers are between $573 to $6,878 for first-time violators and can reach up to $20,130 for the third (or later) violation. In addition to civil penalties imposed for failing to comply with the provisions of IRCA, employers should be aware of potential criminal liability if ICE determines that the employer engaged in a pattern of hiring or recruiting undocumented workers.

Impact on the Construction Industry

In the midst of a nationwide shortage of skilled workers, many contractors are struggling to adhere to federal hiring requirements, exposing many employers to civil fines and criminal charges which would ultimately challenge their ability to survive.

It is important to note that both general contractors and subcontractors bear the same responsibilities when it comes to maintaining Forms I-9 documentation. General contractors should be further aware that they could be held responsible if a subcontractor fails to meet all requirements. Ultimately, liability depends on knowledge. If a general contractor or even a large subcontractor is aware that a lower-tier subcontractor is employing undocumented workers, they can be held liable as well. To prevent any issues regarding knowledge, contractors should always make proper inquiries into hiring and employment practices of subcontractors.

As previously discussed, it is critical that each employer implement and enforce sound employment and employee documentation policies to ensure compliance with all federal requirements. Hiring independent legal counsel can assist with identifying and rectifying any deficiencies which an employer is not even aware exist. Getting out in front of deficiencies is critical to avoid civil or criminal liability should an ICE official come knocking on the door.

About the author: Lindsey E. Powell is an attorney with Anderson Jones, PLLC practicing in North Carolina and Georgia. Questions about this article can be directed to her at lpowell@andersonandjones.com. Author credit is also given to Keith A. Boyette, attorney with Anderson Jones, PLLC who may be reached at kboyette@andersonandjones.com.

Author’s note: This article is intended only for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal advice.

State Sales Taxes Create Administrative Challenges for Contractors

As most of us know, taxes are among the few certainties we can expect in life.

And a look at state laws nationwide indicates that sales and use taxes in particular are having a moment, especially laws imposing sales tax on certain types of real property improvements and services. According to a 2015 publication by tax software provider Avalara, at least 18 states impose a sales tax on at least some services that are considered improvements to real property. These states include Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin. States appear to be trending toward collecting sales taxes from end customers on materials, labor, repairs, and services associated with real property improvements.

The impact is not only an increase in construction costs for consumers, but will also push contractors to overcome administrative challenges and to keep their prices competitive in spite of additional tax costs they must impose on customers. As discussed below, this is especially true for contractors who do both taxable and non-taxable improvements. Anyone unsure of how their state’s law applies to their activities should consult with a CPA, tax attorney, or their state’s department of revenue.

What Services Are Taxable in my State?

Generally, most states have long imposed a sales tax on purchases of goods both on consumers and on businesses. The growing trend appears to be that some states are also imposing sales tax on certain services that may or may not be related to taxable goods. In at least a few states, the distinction between capital improvement projects and repair, installation and/or maintenance work is important. Often, contractors who perform work in both categories — work subject to sales tax and work that isn’t — can submit some type of affidavit or other paperwork in order to be excused from sales tax liability or from the responsibility to pass it to others. However, in many cases, the distinctions between taxable and non-taxable services is highly technical and can depend on the circumstances of the transaction in question.

In Florida, the distinction between “tangible personal property” and “real property” determines when contractors must charge sales tax to the end customer. Under the Florida Department of Revenue Rule 12A-1.006, if contractors furnish parts directly to customers, they must charge sales tax to customers both for the parts and for “adjusting, applying, installing, maintaining, remodeling, or repairing” tangible personal property. Section 192.001(11)(d) of the Florida statutes defines tangible personal property as “goods, chattels, and other articles of value … capable of manual possession and whose chief value is intrinsic to the article itself.” The statute defines “real property” to include “land, buildings, fixtures, and all other improvements to land.” Contractors performing labor to install permanent fixtures that constitute “real property” do not have to charge sales tax to their customers; contractors who will eventually charge their customers sales tax are entitled to purchase the materials as tax-exempt.

A Florida Department of Revenue online guide cites permanent carpeting, roofing, tile, and landscaping as example of “real property” improvements that are not subject to sales tax. However, the same guide states that “carpet” constitutes tangible personal property unless it becomes real property; this provision seems potentially confusing and likely requires flooring contractors to impose sales tax on some of their services but not others. Similarly, the guide states that “stepping stones” constitute tangible personal property; it would therefore seem that landscaping contractors are tasked with taxing some of their services but not others, as the guide generally lists landscaping work as a “real property” improvement.

In Ohio, contractors need to understand the legal distinction between “construction contracts,” which are not subject to customer sales tax, and “tangible personal property” contracts, which are. According to the Ohio Department of Revenue, tangible personal property becomes real property when it is permanently installed or affixed upon the real property pursuant to a construction contract. The Department specifically lists carpet, carpeting materials, and landscaping materials as tangible personal property. The Department advises that for transactions that are not construction contracts and that include the sale of tangible personal property (TPP) for sales tax purposes, contractors should present their vendors with a direct pay permit that will allow them to buy the materials tax free, charge customers sales tax, and then pay the sales tax to the state on a monthly basis.

New York and North Carolina require contractors and other service providers to charge customers sales taxes on the sales price of “repair, installation, and maintenance” work (commonly referred to as RIM), whereas “capital improvements” are not subject to sales tax. The New York Department of Taxation and Finance’s Publication 862 purports to give guidance to contractors and property owners on New York’s sales tax rules. It explains that “repair” and “maintenance” work — work done to keep real property in good working order, safe, or to restore it to a good and safe condition — is subject to sales tax. Publication 862 cites replacing damaged roof shingles, repairing a broken railing, and replacing a faucet as examples of RIM services that, along with the materials, are subject to sales tax. It goes on to discuss taxable installation services and provides that “freestanding appliances” like washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators are among items that, although installed, do not become a permanent part of the real property under New York law.

North Carolina law similarly sets forth particular activities that constitute RIM services — like “floor refinishing and the installation of carpet, flooring, floor coverings, windows, doors, cabinets, countertops, and other installations where the item being installed may replace a similar existing item … .” The repair or replacement of roofing, gutters, and flashing appears to fall squarely within North Carolina’s definition of RIM services for which contractors must charge their customers sales tax. North Carolina’s law — N.C. Gen. Stat. § 105-164.3(33l) — goes on to say that RIM services that are part of a real property contracts for capital improvements are exempt from the sales tax.

“Capital improvements,” on the other hand, are not subject to sales tax in New York and North Carolina. In New York, whether a project constitutes capital improvement work appears to depend heavily on the particular circumstances; even the method of installation can affect how the work is taxed. For example, some projects that ordinarily would qualify as capital improvements are not considered capital improvements if a commercial tenant installs items as trade fixtures. Whether they are taxable depends on whether the intent is for the improvements to remain permanent. In North Carolina, capital improvements include new construction; work that requires a permit (with some exceptions); installation of equipment or fixtures that is “capitalized and depreciated”; paint or wallpaper not incidental to RIM services; landscaping; and HVAC unit or system installation or replacement.

How Is the Industry Being Impacted?

For many contractors performing RIM or other sales taxable work in one or more of these states, distinguishing which services are and aren’t subject to sales tax is only the first step. Contractors also need to comply with the requirements and, when applicable, take the administrative measures needed in order to avoid what is effectively double payment. When contractors buy goods and materials from wholesalers, they are generally responsible for paying sales tax at that time. Typically, though, the states that impose sales tax on RIM or other similar services don’t require contractors to pay sales tax on materials that will be used in transactions where the end customer will have to pay sales tax. In many states, including North Carolina and Ohio, contractors can submit a form E-595E and potentially be exempt from paying sales tax on goods they will eventually resell and assess taxes upon. But for those contractors who buy goods and materials to be used both for RIM and capital improvements — for example, roofers who perform both new construction and repair work in North Carolina — the logistics of keeping the purchases separate (and keeping two sets of books, essentially) might be too administratively costly to justify the tax savings.

Mike Tenoever is the president and owner of The Century Slate Company, a roofing construction company in Durham, North Carolina, and he also is a member of the Roofing Editorial Board. Tenoever stated that even though the new sales and use tax laws took effect in North Carolina in 2016, some general contractors don’t seem familiar with North Carolina’s affidavit of capital improvement form when he submits it — something that indicates that not everyone is complying with or aware of the new law yet. If that’s the case, then it would appear that contractors who aren’t complying with the law and charging sales tax to end customers would be gaining a competitive edge over contractors who are following the law and charging sales tax on projects that constitute RIM under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 105-164.3(33l).

Furthermore, requiring contractors to determine what materials and supplies for which they should pay sales tax versus for which ones to tax customers is burdensome and, at least in Tenoever’s case, has effectively resulted in double tax payment because purchasing capital-improvement materials and RIM materials separately from the same vendors has been too administratively burdensome for his company.

About the author: Caroline Trautman is an attorney with Oak City Law, LLP, based in Durham, North Carolina. Questions about this article can be directed to her at caroline@oakcitylaw.com.

Author’s note: This article does not constitute, and should not be construed as, legal advice on any particular scenario. For specific advice, consult with an attorney licensed in your state.

The Top 40 Products of 2019

The following product roundup features the Top 40 products of the year, as chosen by the readers of Roofing magazine. The products were selected based on the number of reader requests for sales leads through the Reader Action Card in the print issue and the number of clicks on the website, www.RoofingMagazine.com, including those generated through our monthly e-newsletter. The product generating the most leads from each print issue is also featured as our “Roofers’ Choice” product, and the past year’s winners are also included here. If you have a new product you’d like us to consider for a future edition of our Materials & Gadgets section, please email Editor-in-Chief Chris King at chris@roofingmagazine.com.

Water-Repellent Sloping Material Promotes Positive Drainage

Polyglass U.S.A. Inc. launches Polyslope, a water-repellent, fiber-reinforced, cementitious compound designed to address standing water, promote positive drainage, and divert water off the roof. According to the manufacturer, the product is ready to use after adding water and mixing. Polyslope is mixed with 1.2 gallons to 1.3 gallons of water per 50-pound pail. It is easy to screed and paintable after 48 hours. www.Polyglass.us

Roof Vent Designed Specifically for Clothes Dryers

The DryerJack is the first roof termination specifically designed for the demanding needs of venting clothes dryers. Made in the USA of Galvalume and available powder coated in black, brown or white, DryerJacks feature a patented curved damper that meets code requirements and more, according to the company. To safely vent dryers, airflow restriction must be minimized to prevent lint blowback and the fire hazard that creates. A passageway of 21 square inches delivers nearly zero airflow restriction, allowing the dryer to operate at peak performance. www.DryerJack.com

Low-VOC Aerosol Contact Adhesive/Primer Applies Quickly

The new AeroWeb Low-VOC Aerosol Contact Adhesive/Primer from Mule-Hide Products Co. complies with VOC-related regulations in all 50 states. According to the manufacturer, the product delivers aggressive adhesion and a quick drying time while going on as much as 60 percent faster than traditional roller-applied adhesives. It can be used in a wide variety of applications, including adhering standard TPO and standard EPDM membranes to horizontal and vertical surfaces; adhering fleece back membranes to vertical surfaces; enhancing the bond between Mule-Hide F5 Air & Vapor Barrier and various substrates; and priming unexposed asphalt prior to applying Mule-Hide Helix Low-Rise Adhesive for insulation attachment. www.MuleHide.com

Waterproofing Membrane Is Solvent Free

Chem Link launches NOVALINK WM, a waterproofing membrane available in two- or five-gallon pails. NOVALINK WM is a cold-applied, single-component waterproofing membrane that cures by exposure to atmospheric and substrate moisture to form a continuous, tough, reinforced elastic seal. It is solvent-free and compliant with all known environmental and OSHA requirements, allowing its use in confined spaces with standard personal protection equipment. www.ChemLink.com

Structural Acoustical Roof Decks Reduce Noise Levels

Tectum Structural Acoustical Roof Deck solutions from Armstrong Building Solutions provide predictable noise absorption, durability, and sustainability to meet building design needs. Composite roof deck options provide R-values up to 44. By providing noise absorption up to 0.80, the panels often eliminate the need for additional acoustical treatments, providing faster and easier installations than standard steel roof decks. According to the manufacturer, Tectum Roof Decks are an ideal noise reduction solution for large, high traffic, exposed structure spaces such as auditoriums, gymnasiums, arenas, pools, ice arenas and multi-use facilities. www.ArmstrongBuildingSolutions.com

High-Temperature, Self-Adhered Underlayment

Boral Roofing offers its MetalSeal Underlayment, a high-temperature, self-adhered underlayment designed especially for metal roofing but suitable for any roof material in any climate. According to the company, Boral MetalSeal is easy to install and eliminates the need for an excessive number of nails, reducing installation time and cost. The high-strength woven polyester surface remains intact under high foot traffic and provides UV resistance up to six months. It comes in 216-square-foot rolls for a net two squares. www.BoralRoof.com

Vent Secured Roofing System

Carlisle SynTec Systems introduces the VacuSeal Vent Secured Roofing System, which uses special vents that harness the power of the wind to lock roof membranes in place. According to the manufacturer, VacuSeal systems are quick and easy to install and save cost and labor by substantially reducing the amount of glue, ballast, or fasteners a project requires. According to the company, there are no cold-weather limitations for installation and no VOCs or odors. The system is UL certified with uplift certification at 195 psf negative pressure. www.CarlisleSynTec.com

Extended-Length Aluminum Retrofit Drain

Marathon Roofing Productsnow offers an extended version of its Aluminator Retrofit Drain that is 22 inches long. According to the company, the Aluminator Drain is constructed of heavy-duty spun aluminum body, aluminum ring/dome and the ProSeal seal designed to prevent water backup issues. The Aluminator also has the option to be PVC or TPO coated for direct hot-air welding to PVC or TPO membranes. www.MarathonDrains.com

Versatile All-Weather Roof Flashing

New Seal-Fast Repair Hero roof flashing from Mule-Hide Products Co. is an all-system, all-weather maintenance and repair product. The solvent-based, fiber-reinforced terpolymer sealant adheres to all roof substrates, including asphalt, modified bitumen, metal, TPO, EPDM, PVC, Kynar, concrete, Elvaloy/PVC, Hypalon (CSPE) and polyisobutylene (PIB). According to the manufacturer, Repair Hero can be applied to dry or wet surfaces and under water. It can be used in any weather and in any ambient temperature. Repair Hero complies with VOC-related regulations in all 50 states and does not need to be mixed or stirred before use. www.MuleHide.com

Bulk Material Warmer Protects Temperature-Sensitive Products

Powerblanket Hot Boxes are designed to efficiently heat temperature-sensitive materials such as roofing materials, paints, chemicals, epoxies, resins, equipment, and pallets of any material. Easily assembled, taken apart, and moved from job to job, hot boxes are ideal for cold-weather storage and freeze protection, as well as transporting, jobsite heating, remote location use, and winter roofing projects. According to the manufacturer, the Hot Box can protect critical, temperature-sensitive materials and extend the roofing season and limit downtime to maximize profits. It is safe to leave on overnight for immediate use the next day. www.Powerblanket.com

Silicone-Infused Elastomeric Roof Coating

Nationwide Protective Coatings Mfrs. Inc. introduces PERMASIL, a new silicone-infused bright white elastomeric acrylic, ceramic insulating, waterproofing protective roof coating. The water-based, energy-saving formula is designed to beautify, protect and extend the life of roofing surfaces. Silicone technology adds extra waterproofing protection by sheeting off water from the dried coating surface. According to the manufacturer, the product is easy to apply and comes with a 15-year warranty. www.NationwideCoatings.com

Rooftop Walkway System Features Integrated Safety Railing

Kee Safety Inc. introduces Kee Walk with Guardrail, an OSHA-compliant rooftop walkway system with an integrated safety railing. Designed to provide a secure, anti-slip walking surface on all roof types including metal profile and standing seam roofs, Kee Walk with Guardrail accommodates steps, traverses, and sloped roofs with pitches up to 35 degrees, according to the company. Kee Walk with Guardrail helps to eliminate potential fall hazards by presenting a clear demarcation route for personnel accessing the roof. The corrosion-resistant walkway-railing system is compatible with other Kee Safety fall protection products to deliver a complete rooftop safety solution, according to the company. www.KeeSafety.com 

Self-Adhering, High-Temperature Roofing Underlayment

MFM Building Products unveils a high-temperature roofing underlayment, Premium HT Tile & Metal. This self-adhering roofing underlayment is composed of a high-grade, reinforced polyester fabric laminated to a high-temperature asphalt adhesive system. This premium product also has a fiberglass-reinforced core for extreme durability. Product features a 3-inch (7 cm) selvedge edge to ensure a secure, monolithic seal. The surface fabric offers excellent foot traction and for stacking tiles during construction. UV exposure is 180 days. Premium HT Tile & Metal will withstand the high temperatures created by metal and tile roofing with a high temperature rating of 250°F (121°C). www.MFMbp.com

PVC Pressure-Sensitive Cover Strip Eliminates Need for PVC-Coated Metal

Carlisle SynTec Systems introduces Sure-Flex PVC Pressure-Sensitive (PS) Cover Strip, a groundbreaking new product designed to help contractors save time, labor, and money. Carlisle’s new PVC PS Cover Strip is used for stripping-in flat metal edging and eliminates the need for costly PVC-coated metal or two-piece clip-on edge metal. PVC PS Cover Strip is compatible with a variety of metal finishes and is quick and easy to install; no welding is required. Simply apply PVC Step 1 Activator, followed by PVC Step 2 Primer, then install the PVC PS Cover Strip. www.CarlisleSynTec.com

New Roof Coating Products

EPDM Coatings announces the addition of several new products to its roof coating line, including its 97 percent volume solid EnergyMax, Bonding Primers, Rust Inhibitors and Clear-Coat specifically designed for coating skylights, brick and stucco. EPDM Coatings provides its customers worldwide with a full range of products, including many that have been ASTM tested and CRRC rated, Miami-Dade approved, as well as NSF approved for potable water applications. The company offers solutions for almost all types of roofs, including built-up, modified bitumen, metal, concrete, TPO, EPDM and foam. Also, for roofs on a budget, one base coat of the aromatic polyurethane can fix most leaks, and the application can be completed after a year to get the full benefits of a system. www.EPDMcoatings.net

Modified Bitumen Membranes Feature Highly Reflective Granules

Soprema unveils a new-generation of SOPRALENE SG and ELASTOPHENE SG modified bitumen cap sheets enhanced with 3M Highly Reflective Granules. These new-generation granulate-surfaced cap sheets bring improved durability and an even brighter white appearance to the market. Moving forward, the new 3M ultrareflective granule will be integrated into Soprema SG products to create solutions that provide the solar reflective index (SRI) ratings needed to comprehensively meet the highest U.S. and Canadian reflectivity requirements while providing the proven protection factor of multi-ply SBS-modified bitumen systems. The new lightweight cap sheets also feature robust opacity, protecting the asphaltic layer and extending the life span of the rooftop. www.Soprema.us

Porcelain Roofing Tile Replicates Slate, Timber and Clay

Daltile launches its Perennial Porcelain Roofing Tile, which is available in six colors and designs to replicate the look of slate, timber, and clay. According to the manufacturer, Perennial Porcelain Roofing Tiles are easy to install and the low overall weight of Daltile’s Perennial Porcelain Roof System adds to the speed of installation. Daltile utilizes its patented, cutting-edge digital printing process, Reveal Imaging, to produce Perennial’s tile designs. Made in the U.S.A., Daltile’s Perennial tiles offer all of the inherent advantages of porcelain tile: resiliency, longevity, resistance to frost, high breaking strength, imperviousness to water, 110 mph wind rating, Class A fire rating (fire resistant), Class IV hail impact rating, and walkability. www.Daltile.com/roofing

Ladder Personal Fall Arrest Systems Comply With OSHA Regulations

Design Components Inc. offers both rigid rail and cable grab style ladder Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS). This is in response to the OSHA requirements that went into effect on November 19, 2018. OSHA regulations now require that all fixed ladders over 24 feet be equipped with a PFAS. Design Components offers a variety of fall arrest systems that meet the new OSHA and existing ANSI standards. These systems are customizable and are packaged together to include the needed accessories, including the attachment hardware, trolleys, cable grabs, and deluxe body harnesses. www.DesignComponents.com

Sealer Designed Specifically for Metal Roof Applications

Drop-Stop sealer was specifically designed for application to metal roofs and problem areas such as gutters and expansion joints. According to the manufacturer, Dynamic Fastener, Drop-Stop can easily be applied over sloped, contoured surfaces and will give long-lasting, colorful protection. Made from select synthetic rubbers, Drop-Stop is applied as effortlessly as heavy-bodied paints and stretches and recovers to bridge roof joints in which thermal movement can be expected. With 1,500 PSI tensile strength and 600 percent elongation capabilities, the product can singlehandedly tackle most metal repairs. White Drop-Stop is stocked in 20-ounce sausage packs, 1-gallon pails, 5-gallon buckets and 55-gallon drums. www.DynamicFastener.com

Redesigned Strut Support Provides Improved Performance

Green Link Engineering offers its redesigned KnuckleHead Strut Support, which provides improved performance and more visually appealing aesthetics. The new design features a sleeker look with ribs flanking each side of the head. The new strut head features a 1 1/8-inch deep cavity for holding a standard steel strut. When mechanically fastening the strut into place, bolts or screws pass through the side of the head into the metal strut. The new design features a flat surface, instead of the previous curved design, resulting in easier installation and a tighter fit between screw and head. With shear strength of up to 275 psi, Green Link Adhesive/Sealant can replace mechanical fasteners making for easier installation. www.GreenLinkEngineering.com

Capped Skylight Conversion Kit

Kingspan Light + Air offers the Skyco Skylights Capped Conversion Kit, which converts old capless skylights to a more trusted capped system. With the kit, commercial roofers receive a universal fitting Polycarbonate dome, a custom-sized aluminum cap, and Tek Screw with EPDM gaskets. According to the company, using a cap around the perimeter of the polycarbonate dome creates a leak-free seal and eliminates cracking. The custom-fitted aluminum cap is fastened to the skylight frame with Tek-Screws instead of drilling through the plastic dome. Penetrating the dome with screws is a major cause for cracking. www.SkycoSkylights.com

Multi-Width Composite Shake Tiles Resemble Traditional Cedar

DaVinci Roofscapes has added a fourth shake profile to its composite roofing product offering: DaVinci Select Shake. Created with the authentic look of real cedar shake taken from natural wood profiles, the multi-width DaVinci Select Shake tiles resemble a traditional cedar shake look. Available in 8-inch and 10-inch widths, each DaVinci Select Shake tile is 22 inches long and has a 5/8-inch thickness. The 10-inch wide pieces have a simulated keyway to give the appearance of 4-inch and 6-inch width shakes placed together. The unique tile design of DaVinci Select Shake allows for faster installation than previous DaVinci single- and multi-width products. www.DaVinciRoofscapes.com

Polyiso Cover Board Offers Grade 1 Compressive Strength

Johns Manville introduces its ProtectoR HD High Density Polyiso Cover Board. According to the manufacturer, it provides excellent protection and can save time and expense for contractors. With a closed-cell polyiso foam core and inorganic coated glass facers, this high-density cover board has a Grade 1 compressive strength and an R-value of 2.5. The product offers excellent resistance to moisture, hail, wind uplift and puncture, plus its light weight makes it easy to handle. www.JM.com

Attachment Protects Standing Seam Roofs From Retractable Lanyards

SeamSAFE, a provider of fall protection for standing seam roofers, offers its Retractable Lanyard Disks, which fit over SeamSAFE anchors to help protect standing seam roofs from damage caused by dragging or dropping retractable lanyards during roofing projects. The disks serve as a shield to minimize the potential for roof scrapes and surface indentations. The Retractable Lanyard Disk is one of three new attachments designed to extend the utility and versatility of the company’s safety anchors. The other new accessories are SeamSAFE’s ladder attachment and toe board attachment. www.SeamSafe.com

Redesigned Cap Nailer Features Enhanced Magazine

National Nail introduces the newly-enhanced STINGER CN100B Cap Nailer with an innovative design that improves performance with an improved cap magazine for added durability. Lightweight at 4.9 pounds, STINGER’s CN100B features easy loading, upgraded tool life, and utilizes full, 1-inch collated plastic caps; it is capable of firing 200 caps/200 nails before reloading. The Electro Galvanized ring shank nails are 1-inch by .083-inch full round head nails. The unit also includes an installed belt hook, trigger with bumpfire and sequential modes, and durable carrying case. www.StingerWorld.com

Measuring Tape Specially Designed for Applying Architectural Shingles

The Roofers Tape is specially designed for installing 5-5/8-inch architectural shingles. Crew members can mark and layout the roof quickly and accurately without mistakes using the Red Points and Red Arrows as a guide, minimizing waste and saving money. All measurements of 5-5/8 intervals are marked on the 25-foot Roofers Tape. The 5-5/8 layout reveal complies with factory recommended installation, especially with wind damage. The Black Points are also included for marking short vertical starter lines or bond lines on standard three-tab shingles 6 inches before any even 3 feet. www.TheRoofersTape.com

EPDM Membrane Designed to Reduce Installation Time

Firestone Building Products Company LLC (FSBP) introduces FullForce EPDM. According to the manufacturer, FullForce EPDM can be installed more than four times faster than standard adhered EPDM and in temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing contractors to complete more jobs throughout the entire roofing season. The membrane is fully coated from seam to seam with Firestone’s factory-applied Secure Bond pressure-sensitive adhesive. With no seam tape, FullForce can be installed more quickly than traditional EPDM. Additionally, the solution is ideal for occupied buildings, as it contains zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs). www.FirestoneBPCO.com

TW Seam Tape Offers Added Protection for Roof Decks

TAMKO’s TW Seam Tape is used to close sheathing gaps on the roof deck and help keep water from entering the home. TW Seam Tape is a flexible, self-adhering SBS-modified bitumen membrane with a polymer film on the surface and a removable treated release film on the adhesive side. It is applied to all roof deck joints and seams after the roof deck installation, before the underlayment is applied. It is designed for application on a variety of surfaces, including OSB and plywood. It has a textured, skid-resistant surface and comes in 4-inch rolls, with each roll covering 61 linear feet. www.TAMKO.com

Upgraded Adhesive Dispenser Helps Increase Productivity

OMG’s PaceCart 3, the exclusive equipment for dispensing OlyBond500 Insulation Adhesives, offers more robust and faster pumps to help enhance rooftop productivity with the capacity to dispense enough OlyBond500 to apply up to 120 squares of insulation per hour – twice as fast as before. In addition, the PaceCart 3 includes several other features that help improve jobsite productivity including an easy-to-use, ergonomically designed manifold and a simplified electrical system with an easy-to-read voltage meter so contractors know when power is insufficient. Color-coded adhesive trays help prevent cross contamination of Part 1 and Part 2 components. www.OMGRoofing.com

New Line of Leading Edge Self-Retracting Lifelines

Malta Dynamics introduces its Edgehog Leading Edge Self-Retracting Lifelines. According to the manufacturer, the Edgehog line meets ANSI standard Z359.14-2014 for a worker capacity range of 130-310 lbs. Boasting a compact and lightweight design, the Class A Edgehog Leading Edge Self-Retracting Lifelines feature durable housing, a quick-action braking system, an integral shock absorber and a swivel top connection point. The Edgehog units contain shock packs on the end. When the cable becomes isolated over an edge during a fall, the shock pack engages to reduce arresting forces. This puts less force on the worker who has fallen and also doesn’t damage the cable. www.MaltaDynamics.com

Pipe-Style Snow Guards Designed for Tile Roofing

The three-pipe PP235LS from Alpine SnowGuards is height adjustable to 39 degrees to accommodate varying roof pitches. The bracket is available in aluminum mill-finish, powder coated aluminum and brass. The PP235 system’s base plate is sized to match your tile, and is also available in aluminum and brass. The image pictured here is the PP235LS three-pipe height-adjustable system for Ludowici Spanish Tile. www.AlpineSnowguards.com

Skylight Automation System Provides Natural Ventilation

VELUX offers VELUX ACTIVE with NETATMO help ensure a healthier indoor climate by automatically opening the skylights to air out the house. Smart sensor technology monitors CO2, humidity and temperature in the home, while the system also connects to online weather forecasts. It automatically opens the skylights if fresh air is needed inside and automates blinds to help control indoor temperature. Homeowners can also use the VELUX ACTIVE smartphone app to control their skylights even if they are away from the house. www.WhySkylights.com

Nine-Foot Self-Retracting Lifelines

FallTech introduces its DuraTech Personal Leading Edge line of single and twin 9-foot self-retracting lifelines (SLRs). According to the manufacturer, the new products were tested to meet ensure they meet ANSI leading edge standards to help protect against sharp edge hazards. Their innovative design features a lightweight and impact-resistant nylon polymer housing and proprietary integrated dorsal connector that provides a quick and straightforward push-button attachment. SLRs are calibrated for typical walking speeds and are available in single and twin-leg configurations with steel and aluminum snap hook, rebar hook, and carabiner lifeline connector options. www.FallTech.com

Advanced Polymers for the Manufacturing of TPO Membranes

Dow’s portfolio of materials for roofing membranes features advanced polymers for thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) systems. These proven solutions can help manufacturers develop custom-tailored formulations that fit specific designs, production processes, and end-use requirements. With several advantages over incumbent materials, ENGAGE TR Polyolefin Elastomers (POEs) represent the company’s current state-of-the-art for TPO-based membrane formulations. According to the manufacturer, ENGAGE TR POEs offer an ethylene-based solution that has inherently better longevity, and can be formulated to produce membranes with significantly improved flexibility and broad welding window. The unique design of ENGAGE TR also allows increased filler loading, which can, in turn, be used to improve fire performance. www.Dow.com

Shingle Line Available in Six New Cool Colors

IKO expands its Cambridge Cool Colors shingle line with six new colors that have an increased Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) of 20-plus, exceeding California’s Title 24 minimum standard by 25 percent. The expansion of this line offers three distinct color blends ranging from COOL PLUS, COOL and Natural COOL. The COOL PLUS color selection includes the darker options of Weatherwood, Harvard Slate, Dual Brown and Graphite Black. COOL shingles are available in SRI 20-plus in the medium color blends Canyon Oak and Sand Dune. The original color range, NATURAL COOL, has an SRI of 16-plus with an added benefit of Dual Grey also being algae resistant and Arctic White having the highest SRI of 23-plus. www.IKO.com

New Fluid-Applied Membrane Restoration System

Garland’s first ever fluid-applied seamless membrane, LiquiTec, is designed to form a virtually impenetrable surface over aged modified bitumen, metal and single-ply roof systems, adding years of waterproofing protection. LiquiTec is an aliphatic polyurea coating system with a tightly bonded molecular structure that provides strength and durability similar to truck bed liners. The product is built to protect roof surfaces from damage caused by hail, foot traffic, wind scour and other impact. According to the manufacturer, LiquiTec fully and partially reinforced systems exhibit extremely high tensile strength and remain flexible at temperatures down to -60°F (-51°C), which helps keep the coating from cracking or becoming brittle to ensure a complete watertight seal and long-term waterproofing protection. www.Garlandco.com

Ladder Extension System Helps Provide Safe Access to Rooftops

The Safe-T Ladder Extension System from Dynamic Fastener easily attaches to most standard extension ladders and allows for safe and easy access to rooftops. According to the manufacturer, it requires no tools, drilling, or bolting to install, and once installed, it provides two offsetting handrails that offer a point of walk-through to step on or off the ladder. This item will allow workers to comply with OSHA standard 1926.1053(b), which states, “When portable ladders are used for access to an upper landing surface, the ladder side rails shall extend at least 3 feet above the upper landing surface to which the ladder is used to gain access.” www.DynamicFastener.com

HDPE Step Flashing Offers Two Color Options

NuStep Flashing launches its innovative step flashing manufactured from high-density polyethylene (HDPE). The patented product was specifically designed to provide a faster, easier, and safer way for crews to install step flashing. According to the company, it is 75 percent lighter than traditional metal flashing with a pliability that is easier and safer to work with. Each piece of flashing has two color options. NuStep Flashing is manufactured in the U.S.A. and every production run goes through extensive testing using the ASTM process for impact, tensile, puncture resistance and UV exposure. NuStep Flashing has been recognized and certified by the International Code Council and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. www.NuStepFlashing.com

Cut-Resistant Gloves Designed to Help Prevent Jobsite Injuries

PrimeSource Building Products introduces a new range of cut-resistant gloves under its GRX brand. According to the manufacturer, the new range will provide better cut protection and more durability, without sacrificing comfort or dexterity. The 700 Series features PalmWick Breathable Palm Technology, which allows the hand to breathe on the palm side of the glove. The 600 Series features the ExaGrip Latex Palm, which combines best in class durability and grip. The new cut-resistant technology meets ANSI standards and comes in a range of ANSI A-2 (500 grams to cut) for light to medium cut protection, all the way up to ANSI A-6 (6,000 grams to cut) for extreme cut hazards on the job. www.PrimeSourceBP.com

Concrete Tile Lines Available in New Suite of Colors

Boral Roofing LLC unveils the Vista Collection. The new concrete roof tile options include five new varied neutral shades introduced to meet specific architectural, lifestyle and color trends emerging within the state of Texas. The new suite of hues is available with two of Boral Roofing’s most popular tile styles in the region – Saxony Country Slate and Shake. The shades include Charcoal Brown Blend, Chestnut Burnt, Dark Bordeaux, Weathered Cedar and Weathered Greige. The collection launch is a direct result of extensive research conducted into consumer lifestyle and home design trends happening within the state. The concrete tile offers a Class A fire rating. www.BoralRoof.com