Clearing the Hurdles to an Attic Ventilation Upgrade

New ventilation products on this home were installed as part of a roof replacement completed by Ameritech Services, LLC, Deptford, New Jersey. Photo: Larry Deyo, Ameritech Services

The best time to evaluate and improve the residential attic ventilation system is during the installation of a new roof. Access and installation are generally easiest at that time, so a re-roofing application is an ideal time to fix existing problems and/or increase the airflow in an under-ventilated attic . But just because the roofing contractor determines the attic ventilation system needs a fix does not mean it happens.

We asked roofing contractors who have attended our best practices in residential attic ventilation seminars this question: What keeps you from upgrading the attic ventilation system during the installation of a new roof?Other than roof or house construction obstacles such as certain types of framing, incorrectly added house additions, or vaulted ceilings that are incorrectly insulated, here are the common hurdles — and suggestions to overcome them — from roofing professionals across North America.

HURDLE: “We’ve Never Had Ventilation, So Why Now?”

Many homeowners will challenge the roofing contractor who points out that the attic does not have enough ventilation — or any ventilation at all — if it’s been that way for a long time and there aren’t any noticeable problems. They reason that there’s nothing to fix.

“They typically say, ‘Well, it has been like this forever, why does it need to be changed now?’” says Clayton Putman, commercial project manager, Elite Roofing, Denver, Colorado.

Such comments are rooted in a reluctance to make an unnecessary purchase. “Customers do not want to pay for something they didn’t think they needed before and do not think they need now,” says Dale Johnson, project manager, HomeZone Improvements, Grand Blanc, Michigan.

Tips for Clearing this Hurdle: “I have trained our team to discuss the benefits of updating the attic ventilation system and count on them to present the information to the customer well,” says Putman. Here are some talking points to help overcome the hurdle of homeowners not wanting attic ventilation they previously never had or needed.

· Just because there are no obvious signs of trouble does not mean all is fine. Has anyone checked inside the attic to see the condition of the underside of the deck and the attic insulation? Any signs of mold or condensation buildup? Are there any signs of premature shingle failure?

· The house may be more airtight than in past years and will benefit from improved attic ventilation.Since buying this house have there been energy-efficiency upgrades such as new windows, doors, or insulation? If so, the house does not “breathe” as easily as it did previously. Tighter houses benefit from attic airflow to remove heat buildup in the warmer months, moisture buildup in the colder months and fight ice dams in snow climates.

· Your new roof will meet current standards. The full terms of the warranty that comes with your brand-new shingles is tied to proper attic ventilation. Current International Residential Building Code specifies the amount of attic ventilation needed and your attic does not meet those numbers. Even if the local municipality does not enforce building code, you’re knowingly paying for an inferior roof.

HURDLE: “You’re too Expensive.”

Good luck to the roofing contractor who is thorough, diligent yet considered too expensive compared to the other contractors who have submitted estimates to the homeowner. While price certainly should be evaluated, there is more to a roof estimate than just dollars.

“Very few contractors look at attic ventilation as an important factor in a new roof, so they do not include it in their estimate; and most of the contractors think there is a one-size-fits-all solution. As a result, their estimates are less expensive than mine,” says Matt Cooper, general manager, Redemption Roofing, Conroe, Texas.

Is less expensive better?

“Homeowners question my reasoning for additional attic ventilation since most other contractors do not mention the need. The homeowners almost feel as if I am trying to take advantage of them rather than make their roof ‘system’ a best practices/optimal operating one,” says Sabrina Johnson, president, KDCO Home Improvement Inc., Akron, Ohio.

Not understanding the overall project contributes to the price objections from homeowners. “Improperly educated customers make it challenging to upgrade the attic ventilation system,” says Greg Pike, project consultant, Campo Roofing, Twinsburg, Ohio.

If homeowners understood that all the exhaust vents in the world on their roof are useless without proper intake vents, perhaps price concerns would be reduced. “The main cause that prevents me from upgrading is the homeowner not wanting to pay for improved intake ventilation,” says Richard Turner, owner, R.J. Turner Remodeling, LLC., Winston Salem, North Carolina.

Tips for Clearing this Hurdle: “I will explain the importance of proper attic ventilation and provide documentation (brochures, website links, etc.) detailing why adding intake ventilation is critical,” says Turner. Here are some talking points to help overcome the hurdle of homeowners who believe the roof estimate is over-priced because the contractor included proper attic ventilation.

· Make sure we’re comparing apples to apples. A roofing estimate without intake and exhaust vents is not the same as a roofing estimate with a balanced system of attic ventilation. Those are two very different roofs that will deliver very different performances. I’m recommending a complete roofing system for longevity.

· Your new roof needs attic ventilation to perform properly. Anyone can install a roof covering. I’m installing a roof system that includes balanced attic ventilation to fight heat buildup in the summer, which will lighten the burden on your air conditioning system and improve the comfort in the living space. It will help fight the moisture buildup inside the attic from the 2 to 4 gallons of water vapor the average family of four generates indoors daily by occupying the house (cooking, cleaning, laundry, perspiration, breathing, etc.). And in snowy climates, attic ventilation helps keep the roof temperature fairly even so that ice dams are reduced.

· Our company has a great reputation. I’m not sure why the other contractors did not mention attic ventilation, but they should have. Our company always does because it’s needed for a properly installed roof. We’ve been in business here locally a long time and enjoy a solid reputation. We stand behind our projects which includes a comprehensive estimate for an entire roofing system.

HURDLE: “I’m Selling the House Soon.”

For the homeowner who is selling the house soon, spending money on the property for anything viewed as non-essential is a red flag. “People selling their home will not do anything they view as ‘extra’ like attic ventilation,” says Sue May, owner, A Better Way Construction and Roofing, LLC., Lincoln, Nebraska.

Tips for Clearing this Hurdle: Broaden the conversation to include the perspective of the potential buyer of the house. Here are some talking points to help overcome the hurdle of homeowners not interested in attic ventilation upgrades because they are selling the house.

· Your potential buyer will be looking very closely. I understand you’re selling the house and want to avoid any unnecessary spending. Someone will be buying your house and wants the best value for the money. If the potential buyer does not catch the lack of proper attic ventilation, the home inspector hired by the buyer likely will. You can avoid that possibility by addressing the attic ventilation deficiencies now. Otherwise, be prepared to negotiate with the potential buyers why your attic is incorrectly ventilated and how that will impact the selling price.

HURDLE: “Insurance Will Not Pay for It.”

A storm-damaged roof is being replaced and covered in price by the homeowner’s insurance policy but the cost to upgrade or improve the attic ventilation system is not. “If insurance will not pay for the upgrade, the homeowner will not either,” says Bryan Epley, former senior director of business development and sales, Gen 3 Roofing, Centennial, Colorado.

Tips for Clearing this Hurdle: Many roofing contractors will either arm homeowners with the needed information to get the insurance company to pay or will write a letter to the insurance company on the homeowners’ behalf. Here are some talking points to help overcome the insurance policy hurdle.

· Let’s change the insurance company’s mind. Let me get this right: Your insurance company is willing to pay the cost for a new roof — which is a significant purchase totaling thousands of dollars — but will not cover the cost of a needed attic ventilation upgrade, which is a small fraction of the cost of the total roof. We’re going to help the insurance company to reconsider. First, check your insurance policy for any “code upgrade” language. You’re about to get a new roof. If it’s not installed according to today’s building code standards, tell the insurance company. Second, the full terms of the warranty for your new roof are tied directly to proper, balanced attic ventilation. You don’t have proper attic ventilation. If we don’t upgrade your attic ventilation system, your insurance company will be paying for a new roof that has a reduced warranty. Third, the official representing organization of asphalt shingle manufacturers, ARMA, says point blank in its technical bulletin for residential roofing: the roof needs balanced attic ventilation. Let’s pass that along to the insurance company.

Willing to Walk Away

For many contractors, there is no insurmountable hurdle to upgrading the attic ventilation during a roofing project because they refuse to take the roofing project otherwise. For them, there’s no other option. It’s mandatory if the homeowner hires them. They are unwilling to put their company name on a roofing project knowingly done incorrectly. And if this requirement by contractors to upgrade the attic ventilation causes them to lose the project to other contractors, they’re fine with that.

“Our company will not do a roof without making sure it’s vented correctly,” says Jeffrey Heitzenrater, president operations, Triple Peaks Roofing and Construction, Inc., Olmsted Falls, Ohio.

“Nothing prevents me from upgrading,” says Sean Jegen, owner, Gorilla Exteriors Contracting LLC, Shawnee, Kansas. “I tell the homeowner these are mandatory improvements and if we don’t do them the shingle warranty is affected.”

“We always do it right or we don’t do it,” says Chris Arrington, vice president, Arrington Roofing, Dallas, Texas.

To the quality-conscious contractors in business for the long haul, doing it incorrectly just to make some profit is not worth the risks that could be lurking around the corner: callbacks and a damaged reputation.

“Contractors need to be smart and know when to walk away from a job to avoid getting wrapped up in a possible mold remediation or shingle failure claim,” says Jeff Barnett, Barnett Roofing and Siding, Inc., Canton, Michigan.

“We always upgrade,” says Sandra Daffer, owner, Hawaiian Built Roofing, Boise, Idaho. “It’s automatically in our bid if it’s needed. If the roof is a good one for ridge vent, then we go that route. Otherwise, we’ll pursue other venting options.”

“We will not upgrade to a ridge vent if the homeowner won’t upgrade an insufficient intake airflow system for balance,” says Corey Ballweg, owner, Mid Towne Construction, Inc., Cross Plains, Wisconsin.

“We check for proper attic ventilation on every roof replacement we do. We upgrade if needed, or we refuse to do the job,” says Trevor Atwell, owner, Atwell Exterior Services LLC, Greenville, North Carolina.

“We always upgrade the attic ventilation system,” says Patrick Readyhough, president, Pond Roofing Company, Inc., Fairfax, Virginia. “We include it as part of our whole roof system,”

Turn the Tables in Your Favor

Some contractors who take the hard stance of refusing to do the roof without upgrading the attic ventilation separate themselves from their competition in a positive way that actually leads to more business.

“Many times, we are hired because we make it a point to show the homeowner attic ventilation is needed,” says Heitzenrater. “All shingle manufacturers’ warranties that we deal with point out there is no warranty after a specified time unless there is proper attic ventilation.”

“After I teach the homeowner the importance of attic ventilation, nothing prevents me from upgrading the ventilation system,” says Ron Bastian, owner, Bastian Roofing, Richfield, Wisconsin. “Both in the summer and winter the homeowner clearly understands the benefits they will acquire by me doing their roofing project.”

About the author: Paul Scelsi is marketing communications manager at Air Vent Inc. and leader of its Attic Ventilation: Ask the Expert™ in-person seminars (www.airvent.com). He hosts the podcast “Airing it out with Air Vent” and is the chairman the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association Ventilation Task Force. He is the author of the book, Grab and Hold Their Attention: Creating and Delivering Presentations that Move Your Audience to Action.

MRA Calls for Strong Residential Resiliency Standards in Western States to Help Protect Against Wildfire Threats

The 2020 wildfire season came with a terrible awakening for many West Coast homeowners: Areas in Oregon, Washington and California that were not considered to be in the path of wildfire danger were under extreme threat, resulting in evacuations and unprecedented destruction.

As fires still rage in many areas, home resiliency experts say the priority moving forward needs to be on being better prepared. Except for California, which updated its residential fire codes for new construction in 2008, very few western states have considered mandates for wildfire resilient housing in wildland-urban interface zones. Now leading trade organizations such as the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) are calling for the adoption of standards and potential incentives that could help homeowners better withstand the growing threat of wildfire in states and regions that currently have no such initiatives.

Because of the behavior of wildland fires, how a home or building is designed and constructed is the most important factor in providing fire safety. Smart mandates have the potential to help homes survive a wildfire unscathed, as proven by the California codes that require homes built in wildfire vulnerable areas to be built with fire resistant roofs and siding, interior sprinklers, decks and patios made of non-flammable materials, heat resistant windows and more. Research shows that homes built to these codes have sustained far less damage from wildfire than homes built prior to 2008.

“Gulf Coast states devastated by hurricane destruction have learned hard lessons about the need to build more resilient homes that can stand up to severe climate impacts and have established standards designed to help reduce the damage and danger to homes, such as those set by Miami Dade,” said Renee Ramey, MRA Executive Director. “The West Coast now needs to adopt that mindset when it comes to the regional climate conditions that will increasingly impact homeowners in wildfire-prone areas.”

With a home’s roof being the single most vulnerable area for ignition in the event of a wildfire, materials such as quality metal roofing systems that carry a Class A rating for fire resistance are essential, yet their adoption in the west isn’t nearly as high as it is in other places. Fire-resistant building materials also aren’t particularly expensive, especially when considering a metal roof will last decades longer than other types of roofing materials. In fact, a study by Headwater Economics found that “a new home built to wildfire resistant codes can be constructed for roughly the same cost” as a typical home and certainly is much less costly than the potential damage to a home that a wildfire can cause.

As this year’s wildfire season damage on the west coast is still being assessed, the MRA is urging the housing trade, builders and local officials to help homeowners be better prepared for future wildfire seasons by considering the following:

Institute fire-resistant building mandates

Like California, the population in wildland-urban interface areas has grown tremendously in recent years. That’s where homes meet or intermingle with flammable vegetation such as near or in forested areas, raising the threat of wildfire damage to homes. New standards that call for Class A roofs and discourage highly flammable materials such as wood shake roofs, in addition to other fire prevention and safety measures, should be evaluated and adopted in locations subject to greater wildfire risks.

Offer incentives to boost fire safety

In some cases, owners of older homes that live in areas increasingly threatened by wildfire are unable to pursue renovations or upgrades necessary to boost the protection of their homes due to costs. Tax credits, low-interest loans, local grants and other incentives or assistance programs may be necessary to help them make the necessary retrofits. Case in point is Big Bear Lake, a community in San Bernardino County, Calif., which passed an ordinance in 2008 declaring wood shake shingle roofs “a severe fire hazard and danger,” and armed with state and federal grants, offered cash incentives of up to $4,500 for homeowners to replace their roofs with ignition resistant versions. Now it’s rare to see a wood shake roof in the area, which also helps protect not only individual homes, but the entire community.

Provide education, resources and information

There are many ways to help increase the odds that a home will survive a wildfire. Local communities that face wildfire threats would be well served to better educate citizens about the latest resilient home improvement/maintenance practices, and provide safety, preparation and emergency planning information not just during wildfire season, but well in advance. Free resources from the Insurance Institute of Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and local communities such as San Mateo, Calif., contain excellent information, lists of resources and links to wildfire safety education that can assist homeowners. Trade industry experts such as Green Builder also have in-depth information about resilient home best practices available for free.

“As we witness the horrible destruction wildfires have and are causing, the more we can do as an industry and community to help homeowners protect themselves against these increasing threats, the better,” said Ramey. “Investing in preventative measures now that help decrease risks is essential to guarding against costly devastation and suffering in the future.”

For more information, visit www.metalroofing.com.

Focused on Proper Residential Attic Ventilation, Roofing Contractors Documented These Mistakes

Since 1998 our best practices in residential attic ventilation seminars have featured the real-world situations roofing contractors are seeing. Here we cover a handful of attic ventilation mistakes contractors found in the field. (Note: Some photos show multiple mistakes but were chosen to highlight one.)

Problem: Bagged Wind Turbines Suffocate the Attic Airflow

Solution: Unbag the wind turbines.

Photo: Jake Jacobson, SF5 Construction, LLC, Little Elm, Texas

It’s impossible for a covered attic exhaust vent to work if it’s smothered under a bag. Attic ventilation is supposed to provide year-round benefits, fighting heat buildup in the warmer weather and moisture buildup in the colder weather. It’s sometimes forgotten (and maybe never known) that occupants of a house generate water vapor daily through activities such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, breathing, etc. It amounts to 2-4 gallons per day for the average family of four. That warm, moist air can make its way into the colder attic in the winter months, where it can condense and cause trouble as water droplets and frost.

Problem: Bath Fan Ductwork Terminating in the Attic Damages Roof

Solution: Run the bath fan ductwork either vertically through the roof or out the side gable wall.

Photo: Trevor Atwell, Atwell Exterior Services, LLC, Greenville, North Carolina

Even a perfectly balanced attic ventilation system cannot handle the quantity of moisture dumped into the attic by the bath fan. It overwhelms the system. That moisture should be vented directly to the outdoors without any pitstops into the attic. In the home pictured here, Trevor Atwell found three bathroom fans venting directly into the attic. He also found a lot of rotted sheathing.

Problem: Painted Soffit Vents Result in Reduced Intake Airflow

Solution: Buy pre-painted soffits, or paint them more carefully, or replace them with new vents.

Photo: Daniel White, Roof Life of Oregon, Tigard, Oregon

Soffit vents have a specified amount of Net Free Area (airflow capability) when they are manufactured. For example, 9 square inches of NFA per linear foot. That amount, by the way, would balance nicely with a ridge vent (exhaust vent) that is capable of 18 square inches of Net Free Area per linear foot (9 NFA at the soffit on the left of the ridge vent + 9 NFA at the soffit on the ridge of the ridge vent = 18 NFA at the peak of the roof). But the airflow capability of the soffit is reduced if the vent openings become clogged or blocked because of a careless paint job. While house exterior colors are important, don’t sacrifice attic ventilation performance. It’s possible to have both a nicely painted soffit and it’s full, intended net free area (airflow capability).

Problem: Two Rows of Box Vents = One Path of Inefficient Airflow

Solution: Always keep attic exhaust vents in one row.

Photo: Daniel White, Roof Life of Oregon, Tigard, Oregon

Let’s cut to the chase. If it takes two rows of attic exhaust vents to meet the attic’s exhaust ventilation needs, it’s time to find another category of exhaust (maybe horizontal ridge vent; or diagonal hip ridge vent; or a combination of horizontal and diagonal ridge vent; or a power fan). But when attic exhaust vents are aligned in two rows, the primary path of the airflow will be from one row to the next because air will allows follow the path of least resistance seeking the closest exit point from its entry point. The intake vents in the soffit or low on the roof’s edge are supposed to be the intake vents. The pictured scenario here is producing inefficient attic airflow and could cause one row of box vents to ingest weather.

Problem: Mixed Types of Attic Exhaust Vents = Problematic Airflow

Solution: Only use one type of attic exhaust vent on the same roof above a common attic.

Daniel White, Roof Life of Oregon, Tigard, Oregon

Regardless what combination of two or more different types of attic exhaust vents either the homeowner demands (we’ve heard the stories) or a well-intended but misguided roofing contractor recommends (it’s happening), do not mix two different types of attic exhaust vents on the same roof above a common attic. Pictured here are wind turbines with ridge vents; box vents with ridge vents; solar powered fans with box vents; and traditional electric power fans with ridge vents. Now shown is the all-time classic: Gable-end louvers with any other type of attic exhaust.

When attic exhaust types are mixed, it short-circuits the airflow system because air always follows the path of least resistance. The air is looking for the easiest, least difficult exit path. That path is inevitably the distance between the two types of attic exhaust vents because they are closest to each other. That means the airflow will be concentrated in that area of the attic; which leaves significant areas of the attic incorrectly vented. The intake vents low on the roof’s edge or in the soffit/overhang have been pretty much bypassed. Furthermore, if one of the exhaust vents is suddenly an intake vent, does than mean it’s ingesting weather along with the air? You do not want to find out.

Trevor Atwell, Atwell Exteriors, LLC, Greenville, North Carolina.

About the author: Paul Scelsi is marketing communications manager at Air Vent Inc., the leader of its Attic Ventilation: Ask the Expert in-person seminars, and the host of the podcast “Airing it out with Air Vent.” He’s also chairman the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association Ventilation Task Force and the author of the book Grab and Hold Their Attention: Creating and Delivering Presentations that Move Your Audience to Action. For more information about the company, visit www.airvent.com.

Tips for Improving Ventilation on Residential Re-Roofing Projects

During residential re-roofing applications, it is important to ensure the roof system is properly ventilated. Photos: John R. Crookston

If the question is “Should I provide ventilation on this steep-slope roof?” there is a simple, one-word answer: Yes. The problem with this answer is that it would make a very short article, and I am sure that is not what was expected. Let me explain!

Ventilation is required if you have unconditioned space, and it is that space that needs to be ventilated. In most commercial applications, you are dealing with a flat roof membrane over insulation installed directly over a metal deck. With no “attic” involved, there is no unconditioned space and, therefore, there is no space to ventilate. You still have to find a way to control the moisture, but this is accomplished through the use of mechanical air conditioning and heating units, and also through the introduction of outside air and air exchanges. For this article, I want to concentrate on a typical residential steep-slope application, and the basis for most normal houses all goes back to 1 John 1:1, which goes something like this: “Thou Shalt Ventilate.”

To help all of this make sense, it is important to define some terms I use. “Conditioned space” is anywhere in the house that we are attempting to control the temperature or humidity — the living space of the house. “Unconditioned space” refers to areas of the structure where we are not attempting to control the temperature or humidity — typically attics (although some attics are treated as conditioned spaces). Unconditioned spaces should be as close to the outside temperature and humidity as possible. To accomplish this, we would use vapor barriers, insulation, and ventilation. The insulation would be anything that would restrict the transfer of either heat or cold in either direction; the vapor barrier would be anything that stops the transfer of moisture between the hot and the cold areas; and ventilation would be the method by which we allow the hot or cold air to move between the inside of the unconditioned space and the outside atmosphere.

Erecting scaffolding at the roof’s edge ensures safety and gives technicians a comfortable spot to examine and repair intake ventilation at the soffits.

Current building codes and building technologies have improved the performance of homes greatly by making them able to “breathe” and at the same time resist that transfer of energy. Examples would include the newer thermo-pane windows with better weather stripping, and house wrap to stop the wind pressure from penetrating the house. There are also truss roof systems that incorporate high “energy heels” at the plate to allow insulation all the way out to the edge of the plate and still allow a 4 inch air space at the plate to allow the air to flow freely.

To make this all work, it is important to fully ventilate the soffit area, and to combine this with a system to get the air out of the attic space. This could include a ridge vent system, regular roof louvers, turbine vents or gable end vents. It is important to remember, however, that you cannot mix these vents. We need to understand that air is lazy and will always follow the path of least resistance. If we mix the different types of vents on the roof, the air will move from one to the other and short-circuit the airflow. For example, air might flow from a roof vent near the peak to the ridge vent just a couple of feet away, leaving the rest of the attic with no airflow. In this case, more is not better.

Wide Range of Energy Efficiencies

You will find that most of the houses built after the late ’70s used truss systems that incorporated the energy heel. This also corresponded with the “energy crisis,” which saw a massive increase in the amount of insulation blown into the attics. Four to 6 inches became 12 to 20 inches, and it is important to know that the more you tighten up a house, the more important it is to increase the ventilation. A fully insulated house demands a fully ventilated house to perform effectively. About 10 years ago, we built a house and a cheese-making facility, using R-panels, which are made from EPS foam sandwiched between layers of OSB panels. They are incredibly strong and energy efficient. They can get so tight it is difficult to open or shut a door because of the air pressure. That can potentially be dangerous in the event of poor indoor air quality and pollution. In this instance, we engineered a mechanical system to completely change the air twice an hour — and at the same time, saving the energy of the heated or cooled air with an air-to-air heat exchanger. The system supplied combustion air for the furnace and the stove, and also recycled the heated air from the bathroom fans and the oven exhaust, saving the heat, but exchanging the air itself.

The soffit should be removed as part of the tear-off process.

Our projects have ranged from this extreme of efficiency to some of the older homes — some more than 150 years old — that had no insulation. They were wonders of efficiency for their time, and the builders understood all of these principles. It was common to see some of these elaborate homes with what looked like a “widow’s watch” observation tower with windows all around at the very peak of a low-sloped hip roof. Combined with a large central staircase, the owners could open the windows and inside doors in the summer, and the central hallway and the “widow’s watch” acted as a large chimney, moving the hot air out and pulling cool air in without any fans or electricity.

Many churches and other large buildings used the same principle to control the air inside, using either the steeples or large towers to act as chimneys as well as architectural and design focal points on these buildings. Problems often begin when we try and upgrade buildings to modern standards without taking into consideration how the changes will affect the design and operation of the building. Addressing these large, complicated buildings will be the subject of another article, but right now I want to specifically address the needs of residential houses built from the ’20s up through the late ’70s.

Homes Built From 1920-1979

There are millions of them. Before World War II, most were built with perhaps some minimal insulation or some aluminum foil to act as a radiant barrier, but energy was cheap and to do more would have been a waste of money. Without much insulation, there was little need for ventilation, as the house was drafty and, by definition, a drafty house is ventilating itself. After the war, the ranch-style house was the rage and I worked on thousands of them growing up. I have home movies of myself on the roof with my father when I was only four years old. By the time I was 10, I could lay out a roof and knew exactly what I was doing up there. Today, they would call that child abuse, but back then it was life. The point is that I lived and worked through this transition. In the ’50s, 2 inches of insulation in the walls was common and 3-1/2 inches in the ceilings. We would install some roof louvers in the attics and they would install some 3 inch vent strips in the wooden soffits for an intake. It was not much, but it was enough. Then the oil embargo occurred in the early ’70s and energy prices jumped.

It may be necessary to remove the bottom sheet of plywood to access the area from above. Often insulation will be found blocking the soffit.

Demand for insulation to save energy skyrocketed, and suddenly there were six pages of ads in the Yellow Pages for insulators. If some insulation was good, then more was better, and they blew insulation everywhere. Some was installed in the walls, but the biggest bang for the buck was in the attics, and it seems that all of the soffits were filled and the opening at the plate was blocked. Without this intake, the only thing that the roof louvers could do was let out some heat; the air movement stopped. The water vapor still got into the unconditioned attic space through whatever insulation was installed, and since it could not get out, it would condense in the insulation and on the wood surfaces and cause mold, rot and mildew.

Since there was no air movement at the plate, and the insulation was packed tightly against the bottom of the roof decking, in northern climates the heat would transfer to the roof surface during the winter, and ice buildup became a huge problem. In the southern climates things were reversed, and problems cropped up during the summer months when the air conditioning was running. Simply put, “You cannot fool Mother Nature!” Shingles that used to last for 25 to 30 years were now “cooked” in place in 10 to 15 years. Mold and algae became a problem on roof surfaces to a much greater extent than in years past, and most of this is and was caused by a lack of ventilation.

Tips for Avoiding Mistakes

Roofing is so much more than just installing shingles, but we have to be able to see the bigger picture to understand why. As a third-generation union carpenter, who is still working on roofs at 67 years of age, I love what I do and I am very good at it. Since I see the same mistakes being repeated again and again, I feel obligated to pass on the experience that I have accumulated over the years. I have learned some hard lessons making all of the mistakes I am talking about here, and hopefully all of us can learn from them.

Installing proper vent baffles at the soffit creates an air channel into the attic from the soffit and prevents the insulation from touching the underside of the roof deck.

Here are some tips for avoiding common ventilation mistakes at each stage of the re-roofing process:

  • Check the attic space when you figure a new roof.
  • If you can’t see light coming from the soffit into the attic, then there is no air getting in either. · At this point, you either have to become a carpenter or soffit man — or hire one.
  • Take apart the soffit as you do the roofing tear-off.
  • You may need to remove the bottom sheet of plywood to see what you are doing from above.
  • If the soffit is aluminum or vinyl, chances are that there is an original wooden soffit beneath it.
  • Tear it all out. Take out the insulation that has been blown into the soffit at the same time.
  • Replace the old soffit with a fully vented aluminum or vinyl soffit system. Vented aluminum has twice the Net Free Area as vinyl for the same square footage, but they both work.
  • Install proper vent baffles at the soffit to create an air channel into the attic from the soffit. You cannot let the insulation touch the bottom side of the roof deck.
  • Check the bathroom vents and make sure that they are vented to the outside with a flapper vent through the roof and not vented into the attic space.
  • Do the same for any kitchen vents.
  • Install new sheeting along the bottom after you have fixed all of these problems.
  • Determine how much ventilation you need to vent the attic space (square inches). Normally, this is 1/150 of the attic floor space. (For example, if the attic floor is 30 feet by 50 feet, the attic floor area is 1,500 square feet. 1,500 divided by 150 = 10 square feet of ventilation.)
  • You need this much ventilation opening at the high point of the roof, ideally at the ridge.
  • If you install a ridge vent, take out and cover over the holes of the old roof louvers, turbine vents and gable end vents. You can just install some felt or plastic sheeting over the gable vents from the inside.
  • This will give you one intake at the soffit area, and one exhaust at the ridge. Don’t worry about having too much intake at the soffit, as it will only allow as much air in as it exhausted at the peak.
  • Install the new roof as per code.

Ensuring Safety and Efficiency

Making sure the new roof system is properly ventilated will maximize the service life of the shingles installed.

We will normally erect a scaffold around the perimeter of every job we do to give us access to this important area of the roof. This may sound like overkill, but that is the area where you want to spend the most time, as that is where the problems normally occur. It can be more expensive, but what we are talking about is value as opposed to price. Quite simply, I am not interested in talking to someone whose only concern is the cheapest price. On a steeper, higher roof, you will find that this is actually a faster and cheaper way to work, too. With a catch platform around the building, you have a place to work and store materials, you can see exactly what you are doing, and you also don’t need to have harnesses and ropes to obstruct you and still meet OSHA standards. Since I sell the jobs but also work on them, this is what I prefer. It is also impressive for the homeowner and it sets us apart from most of the competition. We have been doing it like this since 1986, so I know that it is a viable option. Scaffold is expensive initially, but when you have used it once, you will wonder how you did the work without it. It is also a line item on all of my bid forms, and after it has been paid for it is a profit center, too. That is the best of all worlds.

I have read that experience is what you get when you are looking for something else. I have many years invested in looking for “something else,” so I hope that this article helps you avoid just some of the mistakes that I have made in my lifetime.

About the Author: John R. Crookston is a roofing contractor and consultant located in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He has more than 60 years of experience in the roofing industry and has written technical articles for a variety of publications under the pseudonym “Old School.”

GAF Energy Aims to Transform the Residential Solar Industry

Photo: GAF Energy

Earlier this year, Standard Industries launched GAF Energy, a new company with a lofty goal: revolutionizing residential rooftop solar. Working in tandem with GAF, GAF Energy is driving the adoption of integrated and affordable rooftop solar solutions across GAF’s established distribution network. The business model is designed to tap into the strength of GAF’s network of more than 6,000 certified roofing contractors to offer homeowners a comprehensive and economical approach to solar installation.

“We’ve created GAF Energy to take on roof-integrated solar and bring it to the next level,” says Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy. “By leveraging GAF’s roofing expertise with GAF Energy’s solar expertise, we’ve created a solar kit designed specifically for roofers and their customers during the re-roof and roof construction process.”

The company believes that by standardizing these integrated solar solutions, they can be more easily installed on residential roof replacements and new construction projects. “By putting everything in a kit, we really simplify the process for a roofer,” DeBono says. “In fact, our target roofing contractor is someone who has never done solar.”

Connecting With Contractors

GAF Energy is currently working with GAF sales teams to identify contractors with residential sales teams that would be good candidates for adopting solar. Initially, the company is focusing on nine states, with plans to expand nationwide. The nine states are California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island. Key factors in the consideration of these markets included the climate, the price of electricity, and state and local programs for utility rebates and incentives.

The roof-integrated solar kit is designed to function as part of the roof system and be aesthetically pleasing. Photo: GAF Energy

If contractors seem like they will be a good fit, GAF Energy sets up a multi-pronged training program, which includes classroom training and training in the field for both salespeople and installers. “We have full day of classroom sales training with a professional sales trainer,” DeBono explains. “After contractors complete the sales training in the classroom, we provide field resources for in-home sales training and on-the-roof training. We have field resources that we send out with roofing contractors’ salespeople into the field. Once we have a successful sale, we also provide on-the-roof training for the first installation. All of that is done just for being part of the GAF contractor network because it is our belief that we need to enable a new generation of roofers to sell and install solar.”

According to DeBono, GAF Energy is then able to provide all of the services that roofers typically do not have, including electrical services, design services, and connection services. “If the roofing contractors have the wherewithal to continue the project with the electrical and the design, we’re happy to enable that, but what we’ve found is that roofing contractors like GAF Energy to do that. We work with the roofing contractors and their customers to determine which services we provide and which services the roofer provides. It really lowers the barrier for adoption for both the roofing contractor and the homeowner.”

Contractors are already selling and installing the system. “We launched the company in January, we conducted our first sales training sessions in February, and we’ve already received our first purchase orders,” DeBono notes.

The Solar Kit

The GAF Energy solar roofing kit arrives at the home complete with everything needed for installation, including the integrated photovoltaics (PV), flashings, all of the power and electronics that are necessary, along with the hardware.

The system itself screws into the deck and is flashed in a method similar to a skylight installation. Power electronics plug into each other below the system and out of sight, and leads are connected to the inverter, which can be installed by the roofing contractor or GAF Energy.

The GAF Energy solar roofing kit arrives at the home complete with everything needed for installation. It is flashed in a method similar to a skylight installation. Photo: GAF Energy

The kit — and the business model — are designed to provide synergy with the roofing contractor. “It is our firm belief that the roof is the domain of the roofing contractor,” says DeBono. “You do not want anybody other than a roofing contractor working on your roof. As part of the Standard Industries family, we were founded to tap into this market, but we have a strong heritage from GAF, so we completely subscribe to that. We built a solar offering explicitly for roofers. First and foremost, if the roof is not a waterproof barrier for your home, it’s a failure, and we would never allow that to happen.”

The kit is also designed to be aesthetically appealing. “It is a truly roof-integrated solar system — the solar becomes the roof,” DeBono says. “It’s lower profile to the roof, and it simply looks better. The roof being one of the largest influencers on the physical appearance of one’s house, and the house being one of the largest assets a homeowner owns, homeowners don’t want to put anything ugly on their roof. By making it beautiful, we immediately eliminate the objections of those folks who say ‘I don’t want solar on my roof because it’s ugly.’”

Value for Homeowners

The relationship with GAF Energy is designed to benefit the homeowner as well as the contractor. “The value for the homeowners is they have a local contact who sells and installs our system and will be there if there is ever an issue, and they are working hand-in-hand with a manufacturer to provide an unparalleled level of support,” DeBono says. “The solar kit is covered by the same warranty as the roof. It’s backed by a waterproof guarantee from Standard Industries, which has been around for over 130 years.”

Photo: GAF Energy

DeBono believes that for most customers, the decision to add solar comes down to the bottom line. “The primary reason people go solar is to save money,” says DeBono. “There is this vision that people go solar because they are green. But the tipping point to go solar is really about saving money. As we roll this program out, we’ve been focusing on the nine states that offer the best savings.”

DeBono notes the sales cycle for his company’s solar system is about the same as that for a re-roof. “It’s definitely not longer,” he says. “The reason for that is it’s a very simple sale. With our system, we are turning your roof from a static asset into an energy-generating asset that saves you money every month. The only increase in the sales cycle may be the matter of 15 minutes or 20 minutes in the home where we explain it to the customer. What’s critical about our model — remember we have our heritage as a roofing company — is our approach is perfectly compatible with the way roofing contractors sell and do business today.”

Customers calling for a new roof might be good candidates for solar, whether they know it or not. According to DeBono, contractors handling calls about a roofing estimate first check Google maps to determine if the location will be compatible with a solar application. If so, the discussion could lead to adding the solar kit: “The contractor might say, ‘In the same time frame it will take us to put in your new roof, we can make it a solar roof. Instead of this great asset that lasts for 25 years and keeps you warm and dry, you can have a great asset that lasts for 25 years, keeps you warm and dry — and oh, by the way, it generates electricity every day and saves you money every month.’ We’re seeing that people are really interested in that value proposition.”

With a background as a nuclear engineer, submarine officer in the Navy, and six years in the solar industry, DeBono believes the roofing industry is the key to expanding the rooftop solar market. “We at GAF Energy have this mission: energy from every roof,” he says. “And when you look at the size of the roofing industry compared to the size of the solar industry, if you really want to accomplish energy from every roof, it has to be done from a roofing platform.”

For more information about GAF Energy, visit www.gaf.energy.

MRA Reports Top 5 Regions Driving Demand for Residential Metal Roofing

According to the latest figures from the Metal Roofing Alliance, metal roofing is growing in popularity, especially in states that experience severe climate conditions.

The nonprofit organization, which serves to connect thousands of U.S. and Canadian residential homeowners seeking metal roofing with qualified member installers, says the top five states for interest in metal roofing are Florida, Pennsylvania, California, New York and North Carolina, with Texas close behind.

While these states represent major population hubs, they also have other factors in common: All have experienced increasingly severe weather and extreme climate conditions. From wildfires and hurricanes, to rooftop ice dams caused by polar vortex winter weather, all-season durability and performance have become top priority for homeowners in many states, especially for those looking to repair or rebuild after a climate-related disaster. Because quality metal roofing lasts 50-plus years, carries the highest Class A rating for fire protection and is strong enough to stand up to hurricane winds, hail and heavy snow, it is increasingly popular in regions where better protection against Mother Nature’s unpredictability is essential.

The latest MRA figures also suggest that local demand may be outpacing the supply of qualified metal roofing installers in some regions. In states such as California, New York and North Carolina, the high number of metal roofing leads provided by the MRA are keeping a small handful of member contractors extremely busy.

“It definitely represents a major business opportunity,” said Renee Ramey, executive director of the MRA. “Typically, metal roofing is a more profitable business because these homeowners are interested in durability and ensuring top quality protection versus trying to cut corners or find the lowest price. We are actively recruiting member contractors not only in these regions, but throughout the country who can help meet the growing demand for metal roofing from homeowners.”

The MRA expects metal roofing demand to continue to rise in regions experiencing climate extremes, as well as areas where environmental awareness is high.  These areas are candidates for additional growth, given the advantages metal roofing has for being an energy efficient, recycled/recyclable material and an ideal platform for rooftop solar systems. For these reasons, MRA is forecasting growth in locations such as Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and a greater swath of southern states. Yet the lack of qualified metal roofing contractors remains an issue when it comes to meeting local demand.

“Frankly, extreme weather and the need for more durable, resilient building materials is an issue that impacts nearly every region,” said Ramey. “That’s driving the need for residential metal roofing into brand new territories. Just as important is making sure there are local contractors ready to meet that demand, which is why the MRA is embarking on a full-court press to recruit more qualified metal roofing contractor members.”

With the popularity of metal increasing, MRA also is helping educate homeowners about how to protect themselves against fly-by-night providers who may use unscrupulous business practices or sub-quality materials to capitalize on the growing demand. This spring, MRA plans to put out a buyers guide for homeowners providing guidance on how to choose a quality metal roof and encouraging homeowners to do their due diligence when selecting a reputable, experienced metal roofing contractor.

“There’s no doubt that choosing a quality metal roof is one of the best long-term investments you can make for your home,” said Ramey. “Our goal is to help homeowners understand the benefits and steps that go into selecting their next roof wisely.”

For more information, visit www.metalroofing.com.

Metal Panels Highlight Rooftop Area of Washington Apartment Building

Reed Row apartments in Washington features a rooftop common area that provides residents with social space and great views of the city. Photos: Rheinzink

The brand-new Reed Row apartments in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of Washington, D.C., offers an eclectic, urban sophistication that is reflective of the area. Adams Morgan is well known for its broad mix of cultures and activities. The five-story apartment community includes 132 residential units in 100,000 square feet of space.

The site, located about 1.5 miles from the White House, was previously a parking garage. The developer demolished everything above grade but was able to retain portions of the below-grade structure.

The exterior expression of the architectural design, created by R2L:Architects, Washington, D.C., is influenced by the materials and scale of the traditional masonry buildings found in nearby districts. “We wanted to pay homage to the historic neighborhood with a material palette that offered the proper aesthetic fit,” says Donrico Washington, R2L project designer/manager.

Approximately 3,000 square feet of Rheinzink Flat Lock Tilesand 1,000 square feet of Rheinzink Standing Seam Panelswere used to highlight the rooftop amenity. Photos: Rheinzink

Two different Rheinzink profiles were specified for application in an “intimate, exterior amenity space,” Washington notes. The area is an inviting rooftop common area that provides residents with social space and a great view of the city. Approximately 3,000 square feet of Rheinzink prePATINA graphite-greyFlat Lock Tiles and 1,000 square feet of Rheinzink Standing Seam Panels highlight the rooftop amenity. “In the early stages of our design process, we noticed that numerous nearby buildings had mansard roofs with diamond-shaped tiles and shingles. That’s what led to our selection of the Rheinzink Flat Lock Tiles,” Washington says. 

The Rheinzink Standing Seam Panels were used to clad sloped roofs over stairways in the units below the roof deck leading up to outdoor terraces. “The reaction to the Rheinzink from the residents has been outstanding,” says Washington. “Everyone loves it because it’s a material that’s not typically seen.”

Installation of the panels was done by MSM Roofing, Hampstead, Maryland. David Peterson, owner of MSM, described the installation as “a piece of cake.”

Working With Homeowners Associations Means Taking on Big Challenges

Glenwood Townhomes in San Dimas, California, includes 185 residential units, a clubhouse, standalone garage and park restroom building. The re-roofing project encompassed 250,000 square feet of shingles. Photos: La Rocque Better Roofs

A quick glance at the numbers reveals that Glenwood Townhomes in San Dimas, California, is not your everyday residential re-roofing project. Featuring 185 units plus a clubhouse, standalone garage and park restroom building, and requiring the installation of 250,000 square feet of shingles, the project is expansive in scope, to say the least. But for nearly 40 years, La Rocque Better Roofs has enjoyed taking on challenging roofing projects, and the team put a plan in place to take on a very ambitious and complex assignment.

With literally hundreds of homeowners impacted by the re-roofing project, the Glenwood Townhomes Home Owner Association (HOA) board of directors through its property management company, Personal Touch Property Management Company, actively sought a roofing company that had been in business for 20-plus years and, most importantly, was experienced in working with HOAs. Doug McCaulley, owner of Personal Touch Property Management Company, has managed Glenwood HOA for several years and knew he needed a company that was large enough and had the proper labor force to handle the size of the project — and would also be around to honor its warranty.

La Rocque Better Roofs has served customers throughout Southern California since 1981, and approximately 80 percent its business is focused on HOAs. The company has developed a process for effectively managing the multiple parties and considerations involved in HOA remodeling projects. Beyond the HOA board, other parties commonly involved in re-roofing projects include property management companies, roofing consultants, and maintenance and service organizations. From a project management perspective, challenges involved in HOA remodeling projects include dealing with any structural or code-related discoveries that arise once the project begins and minimizing inconvenience to residents.

The HOA board selected the Owens Corning TruDefinition Duration shingle in Desert Tan. Members desired both the aesthetics and the benefits of solar reflectivity. Photos: La Rocque Better Roofs

Labor availability is a key consideration for HOA projects, as such projects require a sizeable labor pool to be available for an extended period. Rory Davis, vice president of HOA Sales at La Rocque Better Roofs, says a readily available roofing team was a key factor in the selection of La Rocque Better Roofs for the project. “We do not subcontract our workers and work with a team of 75-110 people, depending upon the time of year, so that the project stays on schedule,” says Davis.

While project management skills, logistical know-how and labor are all required for HOA projects, the most important element in a re-roofing project is satisfying the homeowners living in the community. All these considerations went into La Rocque Better Roofs’ approach to the re-roofing of Glenwood Townhomes.

A Customized Approach to Roof Removal

The design of the Glenwood Townhomes community presented some structural challenges. Detached garages adjacent to each building blocked access for workers during the removal process. La Rocque Better Roofs found a way to resolve this challenge, investing in customized, extra-wide, sturdy walk boards to bridge the distance between the homes and garages. The walk boards allowed roofers to remove roofing from the home and then walk the removed materials directly into the truck. “Walking the debris right to the truck was a big plus, because materials didn’t touch the ground and didn’t come into contact with mature shrubs and landscaping,” says Guy La Rocque, president and CEO. “It was reassuring to homeowners to know that nails and debris wouldn’t be dropped in their yards and exterior living areas.” The system also supported efficiency. La Rocque estimates the walk boards reduced tear-off time by four to five hours per building.

“Safety and efficiency on all of worksites are key factors in being a successful and sought-after company,” La Rocque states. “The rules and requirements are constantly changing with OSHA, and it’s our responsibility as the management team at La Rocque Better Roofs to make sure all our employees are always up to date with the latest information. Our weekly Tailgate Safety Meetings as well as our monthly safety and education meetings help us maintain a level of awareness. It’s one thing to be educated in OSHA’s safety requirements; it’s another thing to implement and monitor these safety procedures on our jobsites.”

Surprises are not uncommon when remodeling mature properties. During the re-roofing project, some fireplaces in the community were found to be unstable. La Rocque Better Roofs worked with city permitting officials and engineers to retrofit the fireplaces so that they remained safe and functional without requiring a complete tear-down and rebuilding of the fireplaces.

Communication and the “Contractor Bubble”

Among the many steps La Rocque Better Roofs employed to simplify the process, Guy La Rocque says communication with residents was especially valuable. “We scheduled after-hours meetings with the residents to keep them informed about the project, answer their questions and let them know what to expect,” he says. “Over the years, we’ve found the best thing you can do is get homeowners involved. You can never communicate enough, so we let residents know what time our crews would be on site, where the crews would be working and what we expected to accomplish. “

Crews from La Rocque Better Roofs made sure to protect the landscaping as the project progressed. The company has made working for HOAs its primary focus. Photos: La Rocque Better Roofs

From La Rocque’s perspective, too many contractors operate in a “contractor bubble,” losing sight of other opportunities to add value to both homeowners and the contractor’s business. Listening to homeowners helps open up opportunities that may exist for additional work. “When you get homeowners involved, you get a different perception of what needs to happen,” La Rocque says. “The majority of us are homeowners, but many times we forget the most important thing we want from a contractor is communication.” He adds that the construction industry has suffered from a perception that too often contractors show up and leave whenever they want, leaving the customers in the dark. No one likes to be surprised. Keeping the homeowner informed can go a long way toward achieving more satisfied customers and generating more referrals.

Davis says that communication has never been more important than today, in the era of social media. “Yelp has become the new Better Business Bureau,” he says. “Social media provides more opportunities than ever before for consumers to either pat us on the back or criticize us.”

 Changing it Up

The Glenwood Townhomes community was built in 1973, and the roof replacement provided an opportunity to introduce trending colors and technology improvements to residents’ roofs. The HOA board wanted to select a color that would lighten up the overall look of the community and also take advantage of solar reflectivity. The HOA selected the Owens Corning TruDefinition Duration shingle in Desert Tan.

Asked about the shingle manufacturer’s involvement in the project, Davis says manufacturers’ reps can make a big difference. “Availability is key, and a willingness to bring samples onsite or address any problems that come up is critical. You learn a lot by how a manufacturer deals with any problems that arise. We may go years without a problem, but when something happens, we want someone who will step up,” he says. He also likes the Owens Corning Sure Nail technology and says the strip that ensures optimal placement of each nail is a plus.

HOA projects are not for every contractor. But through planning, establishing strong relationships with engineers, permitting organizations and other partners, thoughtful approaches to on-site challenges and most importantly, listening to customers, HOAs present an opportunity for contractors to take on projects of size and style.

Elite Roofing Supply Celebrates its Fifth Year in Business with Six Branch Openings

Elite Roofing Supply recently added branches in Monroe and Bossier City, LA; Tucson and Mesa, AZ; and Denver, CO to its list of branch locations and is scheduled to open Lynwood, CA on September 1, 2018. Founded in 2013, Elite’s mission is to provide roofers with an independent distributor that is knowledgeable in both commercial and residential roofing and committed to being good stewards in the industry and serving the professional roofing contractor community.

Recognizing the Louisiana market was underserved, Elite opened two strategically-placed locations in Bossier City and Monroe. The Bossier City branch with its 11 team members and fleet of three trucks, serves the surrounding Shreveport area and is operated by Managing Partner, Robert McCalman. Robert is from Bossier City and has been in the construction industry for 25 years, 14 of which have been in roofing distribution. The Monroe, LA location serves customers within a 100-mile radius of its location. Managing Partner and Branch Manager, Doug Norman, a Louisiana native, has a long history in the industry having worked in building product distribution as an owner and manager for over 35 years. He oversees a team of 12 highly skilled people and a fleet of four trucks to serve the area.

With its roots in Arizona, Elite’s growth with its Mesa and Tucson branches expands its opportunity to service this important market. The Tucson location is led by Managing Partner, Rick D’Alessio, a seasoned professional with over 30 years in the roofing and construction industry. This branch employs 11 people and operates four vehicles in its fleet. Paul LeFevre is the managing partner of the Mesa branch, overseeing a team of 14 people and a fleet of four vehicles. Paul has more than 30 years of industry experience starting in 1986 as a truck driver and quickly moving into an inside sales position. He ascended the ranks holding different positions such as Purchasing Manager, Manager of Procurement and Regional Manager for one of the larger distributors.

The Lynwood, CA branch is placed at a key location close to where I-105 meets I-710 to serve the South Los Angeles area. Managing Partner and Branch Manager, Rick Sasseen has been in the building products distribution industry for over 30 years. Working in various roles including driver, crane operator, inside sales, operations and management, Rick knows the business inside and out. A native Californian, Rick will oversee a team of 15 people at this location with its five trucks and looks forward to opening their doors in September.

Elites’ CEO and Chairman of the Board, Brian Torry says, “We open branches in markets where we find synergies with the right people who have expressed interest in joining the Elite family. Our goal is clear – to be the preeminent independent distributor west of the Mississippi, and our expansion plans are determined by the strong partners who wish to be part of our independent distribution culture.”

“Elite offers a unique value proposition to our customers,” commented Chief Operating Officer, Sarah Weiss. “Each branch’s managing partner has long-lasting relationships in their markets, understands the challenges of the business and is empowered to partner with customers and vendors to create winning scenarios for all involved. This year marks our fifth year in business and with 12 branches open and more to come, we remain committed to our philosophy of being a locally-owned distributor that provides a customized customer experience and a comprehensive line of quality roofing materials.”

For more information, visit www.eliteroofingsupply.com.

MRA Offers New Marketing Toolkit for Metal Roofing Contractors and Installers

The Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) has unveiled a new digital marketing toolkit for its contractor and installer members to help them promote and grow their residential metal roofing business.

With the popularity of metal roofs increasing among U.S. and Canadian homeowners, the MRA is putting more resources in the hands of contractors and installers to support the growing demand. The new toolkit, available to members at https://www.metalroofing.com/professionals/contractors/ includes table tents, yard signs, literature, infographics, videos and ads. Many of the toolkit assets are customizable and are available in digital formats or as downloads.

“Contractors and installers are top priority when it comes to market adoption and helping homeowners understand the exceptional durability, value and sustainability benefits of metal roofs,” said Renee Ramey, executive director of the Metal Roofing Alliance. “Making sure our trade members have the right tools to communicate and market their metal roofing business is essential to us.”

The Metal Roofing Alliance also offers training, business development resources and a sophisticated lead-gen platform to help support manufacturers, installers and contractors throughout the U.S. and Canada. Earlier this year, the Alliance unveiled its new website designed to not only educate and inspire homeowners, but to highlight the work of its members and help homeowners connect with qualified metal roofing suppliers and contractors in their area.

For those involved with or who support the metal roofing industry in the U.S. or Canada, MRA offers a variety of partnership and membership opportunities. For more information, visit https://www.metalroofing.com/become-member/

For more information, visit www.metalroofing.com.