Certified Expertise and The Need for Skilled Workers

Reprinted from Professional Roofing, July 2018 Certified Expertise and The Need for Skilled Workers The roofing industry—similar to other trades—is desperately in need of skilled workers. To address this issue, NRCA is launching a national worker certification initiative, the ProCertification … Continue reading

UNDERSTANDING FLAT ROOF WARRANTIES – Understanding the Protection You’re Getting

For a commercial building owner having a new flat roof installed the warranty often plays an important role in evaluating the bids. Whether it is an EPDM roof, modified bitumen, TPO roof, or a PVC roof all warranties share the … Continue reading

A Review of Rubber Roof FAQ’s

1. How often should I coat my rubber roof?
Many building owners are under the impression that they have a rubber roof that needs to be coated periodically. There are some roofing contractors that sell Modified Bitumen membranes as rubber, THEY ARE NOT. True rubber membranes (ie: EPDM, TPO, PVC) do not need to be coated. Sometimes a building has a Modified Bitumen membrane which a) is not rubber and b) may need periodic coating. A Modified Bitumen membrane is an asphalt based membrane which can be applied by heating the underside of the roll with a torch, set in hot asphalt, or applied with a cold mastic. These membranes may be either smooth surfaced or have a granular surface. The ones with a smooth surface are the type that need periodic coating.

2. What is the difference between a Guarantee and a Warranty?
A guarantee is given by the contractor who installs the roof. This guarantee can be limited and is only as valid as the contractors word and is good for as long as the contractor remains in business. A warranty is issued by the manufacturer of the roof system. Warranties come in many forms – material only, limited material warranty (which is usually a pro-rated warranty), labor and material, and NDL (no dollar limit) are some of the types. The most common, a labor and material warranty, covers the costs to repair the roof from any leaks caused by a failure of workmanship AND/OR materials for the stated period and is backed by the Manufacturer. This means that even if the contractor goes out of business the manufacturer will pay another contractor to make the repairs.

3. Should I get a white roof?
Not necessarily. This area of the country is in a gray zone when it comes to deciding on a white vs black roof. While a white roof will reduce your cooling costs most building owners in this part of the country pay more per year for heat than they do for cooling. Studies have shown that regardless of which color you get the most effective way to increase your savings is with thicker insulation. Ridge Roofing can provide you with aTrue Roof Cost Life Cycle Savings Report which will show your energy savings and carbon reduction based on increased insulation values.

4. Can you install my new roof over top of my old roof?
Once it is determined a roof system has no remaining service life, the decision to re-cover or replace it must be made. There are a number of factors or conditions, called replacement triggers, that preclude the use of a re-cover roof system and dictate the tear-off and replacement of an existing roof system such as – Building Code Requirements, Roof Surface Condition,  Wet Insulation, Perimeter Conditions, and  Roof Deck Condition.

There are two types of replacement triggers, those that are absolute and those that are subjective.
The absolute replacement trigger topics are:
• building code requirements
• phenolic insulation over steel deck
• composite roof decks
• direct-to-deck polystyrene

The replacement trigger topics that are subjective are:
• roof surface condition (does it hold water)
• existing perimeter conditions
• wet insulation
• roof deck deterioration
• the necessity to install a vapor retarder
• non-reinforced PVC membranes

5. How do I know if my membrane roof was properly installed.
Visual examination at the time of application is the most effective means of evaluating the installation of single ply membrane roof.  Visual examination may include routine measurements where applicable. Common sense must be used in the evaluation of the application, and reasonable variances from specified amounts are to be expected. Significant deviations from any particular criterion should be corrected as soon as possible.

A few items to note are:
– The minimum number of fasteners is applied and spaced as specified; reasonable variances from
spacing distances are to be expected.
– Fasteners are properly driven.
– End laps and side laps meet minimum required dimensions.
– Where possible, all sheets are installed so side laps and end laps are not bucking water.
– When roofing over existing roof systems, the surface should be dry and free of ponded water, ice
or snow prior to, during,  and after the roofing installation.
– Perimeter wall flashing and flashing around vents, roof drains, skylights, and miscellaneous roof
projections are properly sealed as per construction documents and specifications.

Protection from the Top: The Importance of Commercial Roof Cover Maintenance and Repair

Reprinted from 2016 Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety The roof is a commercial building’s first line of defense from natural hazards such as wind, rain, fire, hail, ice, snow, and extreme heat. It is also the most vulnerable … Continue reading

The Cost of Independent Contractors

When it comes to commercial roofing and installing flat roofs there is a trend taking place that endangers businesses and building owners, many times without them even being aware of it. Classifying workers as independent contractors.

Many companies today, in an effort to out bid their competition, are classifying their workers as ・independent contractors・ instead of employees. This trend started in the residential market and has recently broadened into the flat roof market. By mis-classifying employees as independent contractors, commercial roofing contractors see a significant cost savings by not having to carry workers compensation insurance or having to withhold taxes and pay their share of payroll taxes. Business owners know the cost to overhead that workers compensation creates. Many commercial roofing contractors, unless they are very large companies, must get their workers compensation insurance through the state program.

gluing down the rubber membrane

gluing down the rubber membrane


The current rate in the state program for roofing is $43.12 per $100 of remuneration. That means for every dollar of wages paid to employees they pay an extra 43.12 cents. That is over 43% increase in labor costs they need to add to every bid they submit!

Why should this matter to building and business owners? When a worker gets hurt on the job there is a covenant by law – workers compensation pays all medical costs and a portion of lost wages, and in return the worker cannot file a lawsuit.(unless negligence is involved)

When a company classifies their workers as independent contractors there is no workers compensation to take care of the worker, therefore there is no covenant to protect the contractor OR the building and business owner.

That’s right, the building and business owner can be held liable for ALL

COSTS – medical, full lost wages, even punitive damages.

working at dawn

working at dawn


What can a business owner do? Require a ・certificate of insurance・ from the contractor during the bidding process. This certificate will come directly from their insurance agency, not from the contractor. This will provide proof that all of their workers are covered by workers compensation insurance and that you will be protected.

Contractors who engage in this practice also show savings by not having to withhold taxes or pay the employers share of employee taxes. In Pennsylvania that means paying an employer tax on the first $7000 of wages per employee for federal unemployment, first $9500 of wages per employee for state unemployment, AND their matching share of tax for both Social Security and Medicare.

This also deprives the worker of any contributions to their social security account thereby significantly lowering any amounts they would receive in retirement.

Studies have shown the extent of the problem. Studies have shown that in California more than 104,100 jobs were unreported. Other state studies showed these numbers of non-compliant employers misclassifying workers;

– in Maine 14 percent of construction employers

– in Indiana, 47.5% of all employers audited between 2007 and 2008

– in Minnesota in 2005, 14% of employees

– and in Pennsylvania last year alone, DOL investigations resulted in more than $74 million in back wages for more than 102,000 workers

loading the roof

loading the roof

Business and building owners looking for a new flat roof, rubber roof, or any commercial roof and/or building alterations should be aware of this situation and do their part to correct it.

Rubber Roofing – BLACK OR WHITE?


A full review of the article may be viewed HERE.


The days when heating and cooling costs were a relatively insignificant line item on a building owner’s budget are long gone. Oil prices, though lower than they were earlier in the year, remain high and extremely unstable. Natural gas and coal prices are also on the rise. All of these increases and instability have led to higher heating and cooling costs, and property

owners are doing all they can to keep them in check through the use of energy-efficient building materials.

An argument can be made that the focus on energy efficiency has impacted the roofing industry more than most. Numerous codes have been developed, organizations formed and regulations established—all in the interest of addressing the issue of energy efficient roofing. Over the past decade, energy efficiency within the roofing market has been focused on cool roofing, which utilizes light-colored materials such as thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) to reflect sunlight and solar energy away from a building and keep it cooler.

It has been proven through numerous studies that, under some circumstances, a building’s air conditioning-related energy consumption can be reduced through the use of reflective roofing materials. These studies, along with some irresponsible marketing efforts, have helped create a perception within the roofing industry that reflectivity is the best option for reducing energy consumption.

But, there is a catch with that philosophy and caution must be used when specifying cool-roof systems. The energy savings that buildings experience due to the use of reflective roofing materials are most often realized in warm, southern climates where Cooling Degree Days (CDD) outnumber Heating Degree Days (HDD) and air conditioning is more prevalent than heating. To help reduce heating-related energy demands, which are greater than air conditioning demands in northern regions, dark-colored materials such as EPDM membranes are most often beneficial. That is because materials like EPDM absorb heat and transfer exterior solar energy into a building, causing interior temperatures to rise, helping to alleviate the demands placed on heating systems.

Unfortunately, there continues to be a misconception throughout much of the industry that reflective roofing is the panacea for our buildings’ energy woes regardless of geographical location. This could not be further from the truth. If looked at strictly from an energy-efficiency perspective, research and data prove that materials like EPDM can provide the same, or better, energy savings as a light-colored alternative in many locations.

The numbers indicate that the move toward reflective roofing in many parts of the country may be unwarranted, and in fact, counterproductive to the goal of minimizing overall energy consumption. The numbers also suggest that there should be more focus on cutting heating costs, and not cooling costs, which makes dark-colored membranes such as EPDM an important asset in the push for energy efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in conjunction with its research wing the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), has developed a Cool Roof Calculator to help consultants, architects, roofing contractors and building owners determine the most efficient and cost-effective roof system for any given project. Accessible through the DOE web site, the Cool Roof Calculator simulates building energy consumption based on the type of roofing membrane and amount of insulation that is installed.

Users can pinpoint the analysis within the Cool Roof Calculator based on the zip code of their project, resulting in direct, head-to-head comparisons of various roofing assemblies. In most instances, dark colored membranes will prove to be more energy efficient than light-colored materials for projects located in cooler climates.