A new roof is a major investment, so before you hire a roofing contractor, it pays to ask a few questions. Getting estimates from contractors is the easy part, but the contractor who promises to get the job done the fastest and cheapest, isn’t always the best choice. When you’re looking for a reputable roofing company, a few questions, and a little sleuthing, will ensure that you get the best roof for your money.
1. Contractor References
You know you’re supposed to ask for a contractor’s references, but most contractors offer a list of only those customers they know are satisfied with their work. Instead, ask for a list of the contractor’s last three clients. It’s important to talk to recent clients because their experience is a good indicator of what you can expect. In addition, ask the contractor to provide references from at least two clients with roofing projects that took place three or more years ago. These clients can give you better idea of the long-term quality of their roofs and how the contractor handled callbacks.
2. How Long Has the Roofing Contractor Been in Business?
Just because a contractor is the new kid on the block doesn’t mean that the company is substandard, but in the roofing business, longevity is a good indicator of quality and service. A company can’t stay in business for 20 or 30 years, unless it develops a strong and trusted customer base.
3. Proof of Insurance
A roofing contractor should carry commercial liability insurance to protect his clients from unforeseen events that can occur during the project. Many contractors will include a certificate of insurance when they submit their proposal. If not, ask to see a copy of the contractor’s policy and call the phone number on the policy to see if it’s still in force.
4. Manufacturer Qualifications
The manufacturers of some roofing materials require special training and/or certification before they allow a contractor to install their products. Ask the contractor which roofing products the company is qualified to install. In general, the more roofing products a contractor is qualified to install, the better your odds are of getting the best product for your roof.
5. Manufacturer’s Specification Sheets
Ask the contractor if he supplies copies of the manufacturer’s specification sheets. These sheets contain the proper installation methods and detail what types of fasteners, adhesives or other materials are compatible with the roofing product. The specification sheets serve as a valuable reference for inspecting the roof in the future.
6. Get a Copy of the Manufacturer’s Warranty
Ask the contractor to provide a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty for the roofing materials. Not only does this warranty let you know your rights concerning a defective roofing product, it also details circumstances that can void the warranty. For example, not performing regular preventative maintenance or using the wrong type of fasteners or adhesive could void a manufacturer’s warranty.
7. Contractor’s Warranty
Does the roofing contractor offer an additional warranty? If so, find out how long the warranty is in effect and what it covers. Reputable contractors offer workmanship warranties that cover issues arising from installation methods.
8. Scope of Work
What is the contractor’s scope of work? Can the company offer you a variety of roofing options? While it might be counterproductive to hire a roofing contractor that performs numerous other services, such as pouring concrete, installing swimming pools or laying carpet, it’s in your best interest to find a roofing contractor that can offer a variety of roof-related options. Does the contractor offer solar solutions? Will you have a value-engineered roofing system?
9. Will Subcontractors Perform Some of the Work?
Some roofing companies handle the entire project, but other companies depend on subs to perform specific jobs. If the company uses subcontractors, ask for each sub’s contact information, certification, proof of insurance and references. The roofing company should submit subcontractor bids as a part of the larger proposal. If a subcontractor will be used, will the contractor manage the crew on-site?
10. Maintenance Program
Find out if the roofing company offers a preventative maintenance program. Regular inspections and upkeep protect the life of your new roof by identifying and fixing potential problems before they require major roof repair.
11. Worker Knowledge
How does the roofing company train its workers? Do new hires go through a probationary period while they’re learning? Does the company train its workers in OSHA safety procedures? Are the workers skilled in installing the type of roof you want? Adequate worker training is essential, not only for a high quality roof, but also to reduce the risk of injury to the workers and to anyone else in or near the work zone.
12. Inspecting for Quality
How does the contractor ensure quality workmanship? Building codes determine some types of inspections, and depending on the regulations in your community, a building compliance inspector might come out and check the project at specific stages. It’s important, however, for the roofing company to have a knowledgeable expert on hand to exam the roof during installation and upon completion.
13. Industry Memberships and Affiliations
Find out what trade associations the roofing contractor belongs to. A reputable roofing company often holds memberships in a variety of trade and professional associations. These could be industry-specify, such as state and national roofing contractor boards, or they could be in related industries such as associations that serve commercial building owners or the owners/managers of shopping malls, restaurants, warehouses and other large-scale facilities. Memberships in a variety of associations signify the roofing company’s commitment to their client’s needs.
14. Is this Contractor a Safety Liability?
Ask the contractor to see a copy of their safety records. They should be able to provide a copy of their EMR rating as well as OSHA logs from recent years. A contractor lacking commitment to safety is a serious liability to your facility and should be avoided.
15. Is the Roof Edge Metal Code-Compliant?
If you’re installing a new roof system, you’re likely installing new roof edge metal too. Since the perimeters (edges) of the roof are most vulnerable to wind damage, it’s important the metal system you choose is ES-1 certified. If a contractor touts an in-house metal shop, make sure their designs, specifications and products have all been tested and approved to meet wind standards. Using an uncertified roof edge metal system is the quickest way to wind damage, which directly leads to water damage and roof failure.
Here at North American Roofing, your questions are always welcome. We understand that your new roof is a major purchase, and we want you to feel comfortable through every step of the process. Our business relationship with our clients is based on integrity, trust and a firm commitment to quality.
When frequent maintenance on an aging roof can no longer keep pace with leaks and deterioration, it’s time for a new roof. Facility managers are notorious for putting off roof replacement because choosing a roof system and the right contractor to install it, can be complex and confusing. At North American Roofing, we understand the dilemma facility managers face, so we’ve put together some tips to help guide you through the process.
Initial Roof Investigation
If the existing roof is failing, don’t immediately assume that installing an identical roof system will fix all the problems. Your building’s roof assembly is a complex structure, designed to protect the inhabitants and contents from water damage, so it pays to research design options with a qualified roofing professional. A roofing-design expert will inspect and address existing issues such as penetrations, terminations, transitions and roof intersections and offer design options that will extend the new roof’s useful life.
Additional Selection Tips
Armed with the results of the roof inspection, you’ll have a better idea of the types of roof systems suitable for your facility. Because the new roof should protect the facility for decades, it’s important to consider additional factors.
- Will local environmental laws apply?
- Is a part of the roof visible from other buildings?
- How much foot traffic will be on the roof?
- Is it important to minimize roof-installation disturbance to inhabitants?
- Is controlling utility costs a top priority?
- What type of ongoing maintenance is required?
Do your homework. The best practice is to prequalify contractors before asking them to submit proposals. In addition to contacting the contractor’s last three customers, consider the following factors:
- The contractor’s track record installing similar systems
- How many years the contractor has been in business
- Whether the contractor is certified to install the desired manufacturer’s brand of roofing
- The experience level of the installation crew
- Whether the contractor offers follow-up and maintenance services
If you’re on a budget, it can be tempting to jump at the cheapest bid, but that can end up costing you more in the long run. In no industry is the adage, “you get what you pay for” more fitting than in commercial roofing. Give every contractor detailed bid sheets that specify the desired products and methods. Don’t be swayed by a contractor that comes back with a one-size-fits-all solution at a bargain-basement price.
Give Us a Chance — We’ll Give You a Great Roof Installation
Reputation is everything. At North American Roofing, we’ve earned our reputation as the “most trusted and respected roofing company” in the nation because we put our customers first. Always. We’re not just another roofing company – we’re the roofing company you can depend on to install the right roof for your facility at the best price. We’re certified to install all major brands of roof systems, including EPDM, PVC and TPO membrane, metal roofing, solar arrays, modified built-up and roof coatings. We’ll walk you, step-by-step, through the decision-making and installation process. When it’s all said and done, we’ll add you to our long and ever-growing list of satisfied customers. Call us today at (800) 551-5602 to get started on the road to a successful roof installation.
When you think of single-ply EPDM roofing systems, you probably think about the membrane’s superior weatherability, its remarkable resistance to deterioration and its capacity to remain strong and flexible even in frigid temperatures. You might already know that rubberized EPDM membrane is recyclable and that it often comes with one of the longest warranties in the roofing industry. But, you might not know that when combined with ballasted installation and the right amount of insulation, EPDM roofing can go toe-to-toe with conventional “cool” roofing systems.
EPDM’s Cool-Roof Factor
In warm/hot regions where facility managers spend more to cool their buildings than to heat them, highly reflective single-ply membrane systems are popular. A ballasted EPDM roofing system that features natural river-washed stone or pavers, sustains a typical surface temperature of 90-103 degrees Fahrenheit, which is comparable to that of highly reflective membranes. An added benefit of ballasted EPDM is that it does not reflect heat onto overworked rooftop HVAC units or nearby windows.
How Does It Work?
The largest conclusive study to date was conducted by the Oak National Laboratory (ORNL) and lasted four years. During that time, heat data was gathered from different types of ballasted EPDM roofs and their “cool roof” competitors. The results were something professional roofing companies have known all along – under a layer of concrete pavers or river-washed stones, black single-ply EPDM will not exceed acceptable cool roofing temperature ranges. While ballasted itself is not reflective, it offers superior thermal mass; retaining heat instead of transferring it to the membrane. This thermal retention not only reduces cooling costs in warm climates, it prevents heat loss during winter in cooler climates as well.
Additional Benefits of Ballasted EPDM Roofing Systems
Ballasted EPDM roofs are aesthetically pleasing, and they have an enviable low life cycle cost when compared to some other roof systems. With wider membrane widths – up to 50 feet – less seams are required, making installation fast, efficient and less opportunities for water intrusion. Adding appropriate insulation beneath the ballasted EPDM further reduces heat transfer and resultant facility cooling costs. A ballasted EPDM roof decreases sound transfer and provides great wind uplift resistance. In addition, EPDM will not pollute water runoff.
Why North American Roofing for Ballasted EPDM Systems
With all the benefits ballasted EPDM offers, bear in mind that any roof system is only as good as the company that installs it. At North American Roofing, we’ve installed more EPDM membrane than any other roofing company around. We hold premier contractor status with major manufacturers including Carlisle SynTec, Firestone Building Products, and Johns Manville. Since 1979, we’ve installed hundreds of millions of square feet of EPDM membrane. We’re licensed in every state, so no matter where your facility is – we can help.
If you’d like to know more about the benefits of ballasted EPDM, and how it can protect your facility while reducing your climate-control costs, give us a call today at 800-551-5602. We’re here to help you make the roofing decision that’s right for you.
Corporate Disk Company
McHenry, IL l 2013
22,926 sq. ft. l 60-mil, Non-reinforced EPDM Ballasted Roof
After 20 years, the 22,926 sq. ft. roof on the Corporate Disk Company’s facility in McHenry, Illinois, needed to be replaced. The company, which manufactures digital media products and accessories, was looking for a long-term solution. The facility’s existing EPDM membrane and flashings had deteriorated to such an extent that maintenance and repair were no longer options.
Corporate Disk selected a new EPDM single-ply membrane, held in place with ballast. This roofing system was the best fit for their specific facility, the prevailing weather conditions and their roofing budget. While the old membrane was not salvageable, the existing insulation layer was still in decent shape and was re-used, while the old membrane was recycled.
North American Roofing completed the project in 2 weeks in the following order:
- Removed the damaged EPDM membrane
- Prepped and reattached the insulation layer (when necessary)
- Installed 60-mil, non-reinforced, single-ply EPDM membrane
- Secured with ballast
Operations continued at Corporate Disk during the re-roofing project. North American Roofing employed non-disruptive practices that allowed Corporate Disk to carry on its day-to-day activities.
The Corporate Disk re-roofing project was a success because North American Roofing was able to remove the old system and install the new one in two short weeks. The company originally contacted North American Roofing because the scope of the project required the services of a large, well-organized roofing company. It was important to complete the re-roofing project quickly so that it didn’t interfere with the scheduled installation of a new parking lot.
Because they’re flexible, durable and amazingly weather-resistant, single-ply roofing systems have grown in popularity with low-slope facility owners and managers. High quality EPDM, TPO and PVC membranes, manufactured under strict quality controls, are suitable for both new roof and re-roofing projects. Installation methods vary, depending on the type of single-ply system selected and other criteria, but in all cases, professional installation is critical to the life and success of the roof.
Mechanically Attached Roof Installation
A mechanically attached membrane secures to the roof substrate using individual fasteners. Depending on the roof decking, the fasteners could be concrete screws, nails, augers or other types of penetrating fasteners. If the facility has a steel or wood roof deck, if installation will take place in cool weather, or if the new membrane will be installed over an existing roof, mechanical attachment could be the best choice. A mechanically attached roof is affordable and relatively quick to install.
Fully-Adhered Roof Installation
A fully-adhered roof system features the use of adhesive to hold the membrane in place. We might recommend a fully-adhered installation if your facility’s roof is unsuitable for mechanical attachment. A fully-adhered membrane offers increased wind uplift resistance on structurally sound roofs, and it can be a good choice where substrate penetrations must be avoided.
Ballasted Roof Installation
For centuries, ship captains have used stones and sand as ballast to stabilize their ships on stormy seas. Likewise, a ballasted roof features a layer of gravel, washed river rock or paving stones, placed over the single-ply membrane to secure it. The ballast also protects the membrane from harsh UV rays and can do double duty as a roof-top plaza, patio or garden spot, if desired.
Induction Welded Roof Installation
Where mechanical attachment is feasible, but fewer penetrations are desirable, heat induction welding might be the answer. Induction welding systems, such as RhinoBond, feature coated plates, which attach to the roof deck before the membrane is installed. Once the membrane is in place, a special induction-welding tool bonds the membrane to the plates. The need for additional penetrating fasteners is reduced by as much as 50%.
What’s the Best Roof Installation Method for My Facility?
Roof structure, intended facility use, climate and budget all play a part in selecting a single-ply system and method of installation. At North American Roofing, we carefully analyze all aspects to determine the type of membrane and installation method best suited for your specific facility. We install all major brands of single-ply systems, and no matter what type of installation method we use, we make it a point not to interfere with your day-to-day business routine. Not all installation methods are suitable for all types of single-ply roofing systems, so a reputable roofing contractor must be involved in the scope designing process.
For more information on single-ply roofing, a free roof consultation, or to speak with one of our specialists, call us today at 800-551-5602.