Why Commercial Properties Choose EPDM for Flat Roofing

Your commercial roofing prospect might already be set on getting a membrane roof. Why would they lean towards EPDM over the other options like TPO and PVC? There is much more to EPDM than you may be aware of.

First, some science.  EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber.  Rubbers with saturated polymer backbones, such as EPDM, have much better resistance to heat, light and ozone than unsaturated rubbers. This makes it suitable for external harsh environments.  As such, EPDM can be formulated to be resistant to temperatures as high as 150° C, or 302° F for the metric challenged.  Properly formulated, EPDM can be used outdoors for many years without degradation.

Benefits of EPDM

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    You probably aren’t going to share all the scientific information with your client, though it could impress them if you did! In this blog, we’ll focus on the benefits EPDM offers.

    Initial Investment.  EPDM is the least expensive of the most common membrane systems (PVC, TPO and EPDM) to install.  That up-front savings may be the most important thing for your client to consider.

    Part of the reason for the lower investment is based on the wider roll sizes, which means fewer rolls to purchase to cover an existing roof.  Part of it is also based on reduced labor costs, due to the presence of fewer seams; again based on the wider rolls.

    Durability.  EPDM is tough.  Properly installed and maintained, an EPDM roofing system can last for decades, depending on location.  It is important to note that maintenance is key to a good, long-lasting EPDM roof. 

    One of the drawbacks of EPDM is seam separation.  Regular inspection and ongoing maintenance of those seams is crucial to maximizing roof longevity.

    Weather Resistant.  EPDM is basically rubber.  This makes it extremely resistant to impact-damaging weather such as hail or high wind related debris.   Available up to 90 mil thick, EPDM is about as good as it gets in heavy hail areas. 

    It is also ozone resistant, with an ozone-resistant rating of ‘A’ up to 100º F.

    Maintenance & Repair.  Though we did mention the importance of maintenance previously, EPDM has a reputation for being easy to maintain.  Additionally, repairs are usually straightforward and easy to manage.

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    This helps reduce your client’s costs in the long run, making EPDM a good long-term return on investment.

    Energy Efficient.  Depending on location, traditional EPDM is well known for helping keep a building warm, by absorbing and retaining solar heat.  In warmer climates, EPDM is available in white to reflect solar heat and keep the interior cooler.

    Once that EPDM roof is finished, the materials are fully recyclable.  Not only does that prevent wasting limited resources, it also keeps our landfills clear of unnecessary debris.  Another environmental bonus!

    There are other benefits to EPDM not discussed.  However, these are the top 5 most likely to be important to your clients.

    If you’re interested in learning about TPO and PVC, visit the following blog:
    TPO or PVC – What’s the Difference?

    Remember, the ability to answer questions in detail on the various systems available not only reinforces you as an expert in their eyes, it also underscores the value you place on your client’s needs.  Contractors that consistently meet the needs of their customers are contractors that get repeat business, excellent referrals and grow their business.

    5 Reasons Ponding Water is a Problem

    As a trusted, professional roofing contractor, your clients depend on you to advise and direct them. Every bit as important as the quality of your workmanship, your thoughtful direction will make or break your relationship with these professionals.

    You may already know the primary problems they may face with their flat roof system. It is your responsibility to impart that knowledge in a clear, concise, and understandable fashion to your current or potential customer. What is the best way to do that? You can share the information on your company social media (think Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). You can share expertise via your website blog. You can have a flyer made to provide various details. There are many options. What is not an option is failing to support your commercial clients with the information they desperately need to make good financial decisions.

    In case you are newer to flat roof systems or are looking for more information about their potential issues, we are sharing the top 5 reasons ponding water on a roof is a problem.

    Why is Ponding Water a Concern?

    The very nature of a flat or low-slope roof causes ponding water problems. Without a significant slope to remove it from the roof, the water will pond in low areas. Why is this a problem? There are several reasons to consider.

    Gravity. If moisture has nowhere else to go, gravity will cause it to seek any tiny imperfection in the roofing system to move downward. This leads directly to leak development and resulting structural damage.

    Vegetation. Stagnant water is a petrie dish for the development of mold, mildew and other forms of vegetation. Many of these use a root system, which can penetrate the roofing system and cause the very defects that lead to the development of leaks. Additionally, some of this vegetation is extremely unhealthy for the people the roofing system is designed to protect.

    Pests. Standing water provides the opportunity for pests to gather. Not only is it a breeding ground for mosquitoes, it provides a gathering location for birds, rodents and other pests to find their necessary water.

    Weight. Depending on the size of the ponding area, it could be adding unanticipated weight to the roofing structure. A single gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds. You can quickly see how large areas of ponding can add substantial weight to specific structural locations. Those locations may not be sufficiently reinforced to support that weight.

    Collapse. Over time, left unchecked that ponding water will lead to system failure and will eventually get into the structure. The structure will weaken and collapse. No roofing system or substructure can withstand the damage of unchecked water year after year.

    How to Address Ponding Water Issues

    There is no point in identifying a problem if you aren’t willing to offer some solutions. Here are a few ways to identify and address water ponding.

    Inspections. Scheduled inspections help identify the existence of a ponding water issue. Simply put, you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. The NRCA states water found standing on flat roofs for longer than 2 full days after a storm should be examined by a professional commercial roofing contractor.

    Maintenance. Appropriate maintenance of the flat roof system is paramount. This is how those small defects that may exist are corrected, reducing the risk of system compromise from the accumulated water.

    Repairs. Any repair should be made promptly and correctly. Though it doesn’t stop the water from ponding, it does reduce the likelihood of more extensive damage from occurring.

    Restoration. The application of a coating, spray foam or single-ply membrane improves the waterproofing of the system and helps seal any existing defects. If the ponding is due to collapsed insulation or other “low spot” in the roofing structure, it can also help fill in the area for a more even roof.

    Gutters. Gutters need to be cleaned and inspected at least twice a year. Debris build-up is another common reason water can begin to pond on a system. This is such an easy fix. There is no excuse for it ever occurring.

    Drains. The installation of drains may become necessary. Experts recommend a drain every 80 feet to allow for proper and efficient water removal.

    Replacement. If the problem is extensive or caused by issues like collapsing insulation, weakened structure or even a foundational issue, the only answer to the problem may be a full tear off and replacement to address the deficiencies.

    Remember, more than just an eyesore, ponding water is truly a hazardous condition to any flat roof system. Left unchecked, it will ultimately lead to system failure and the risk of a catastrophic loss to your client. Do them a favor, and make sure they know the risks. They will appreciate it.

    Why Are Roofers Dying?

    The roofing industry as a whole is a dangerous one.  I know we’re preaching to the choir here, but obviously some companies are simply not carrying the tune.  How do we know that not everyone is on board with safety?  A simple look at the numbers and trends will do it.

    Injuries And Deaths Are Increasing

    Looking at 2015 through 2019 shows a stark reality.  Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show the following fatalities for roofers, commercial and residential combined:

    2015 – 87 Deaths
    2016 – 115 Deaths
    2018 – 106 Deaths
    2019 – 134 Deaths

    In 2020, roofers had a work-related fatality rate more than 15-times the national average.  This makes roofing the 4th most dangerous industry in the United States according to the USBLS.  That is up from 6th place in 2015.  Remember, this is 2020 – a year many roofers had less business activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  How many would have died in a regular year?

    Injuries are not as directly tracked, so hard numbers are difficult to find.  The NSC (National Safety Council) links all construction trades, including roofing, together.  However, they also show a trend of non-fatal injuries ranging from 72,070 in 2015 to 77,560 in 2019. 

    Why Are We Dying?

    I don’t think anyone is surprised that falls are the #1 reason for fatality in our industry.  With an average more than 88%, fall fatalities are the single biggest risk a contractor faces. 

    Yet there is a plethora of safety items available to protect our teams. Harnesses, scaffolds, tie-offs, edge reminder systems and so forth.  It almost boggles the mind that there can be so many preventative options yet still have such an ongoing problem.  Clearly, there must be something beyond lack of available safety equipment behind the numbers.

    Demographics.  The average roofing fatality is in the mid-20s to mid-30s and is male.  There is a tendency among this demographic toward risk taking.  Even if the equipment is available, they may choose not to utilize it.

    Cost.  It’s no lie that safety equipment is expensive.  For an owner on a slim margin, the temptation to skip the cost or go with older equipment is ever-present.

    Convenience.  Particularly fall-prevention equipment like harnesses is inconvenient and time-consuming to team members.  Plus, it can be darned uncomfortable in hot or humid weather. 

    Lack of Knowledge.  If a young roofer is not schooled in the correct use and need for safety equipment, you can almost bet it won’t be used correctly.

    Changing The Trend

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      How can we turn the numbers around, change the trend and save our valuable people?  There are some steps every company owner or manager can take, regardless of the size of the organization.

      Safety Program.  Yes, it is an OSHA requirement; no, most companies do not do a very good job.  Your safety program should include safety equipment use, importance of that equipment and consequences for failing to use it.  Additionally, any time new technology or new equipment is being utilized, every person on the roof should be involved in learning how to use it safely.  This is a no-brainer as it meets your OSHA obligation, improves your insurance rates, and protects your most valuable inventory – the men and women on the roof.

      Equipment.  We all know equipment is expensive and you may not be in a position to purchase cutting-edge, brand-new safety equipment.  That does not mean you can’t ensure the equipment you have is in top condition.  Never send your workers out with sub-standard safety equipment.  The risk to them, and to your business, is simply not worth it.

      Safety Standards.  As a company, you should have written safety standards that all workers are required to know and comply with.  Written safety standards once again assist with your OSHA compliance requirements and can reduce your insurance rates.

      Safety Inspections.  If you aren’t on the roof at all times, your workers should know they can expect unannounced safety inspections by a senior member of the team.  These inspections should also come with known consequences should team members be found to be violating safety standards.  Those consequences need to be significant and in keeping with the risk of injury due to noncompliance.

      Model Safety.  Don’t be a “do as I say, not as I do” sort of leader.  If safety is to be taken seriously in your company, it is up to you as the leader to model it daily.  Don’t climb up on that roof without your own safety gear in place.  Make sure you are worthy of emulation.

      No one is going to change the risks associated with the roofing industry all on their own.  However, every single roofing business owner is responsible for reducing the risks within his/her own company.  If that responsibility is taken seriously, the trends will reverse automatically and more of our roofers will live to see another year.

      Benefits of Solar Panel Power for Commercial Building Owners

      Thinking of making the move to solar power?  We’re huge supporters of solar power and we applaud you. Solar power options are available for commercial, residential, and industrial roofing styles.  Not every roof is a good fit for solar; nor is every location appropriate.  It is imperative you work with a company that truly understands both the benefits and the limitations associated with solar panel power. 

      Benefits of Solar Panel Power

      Though solar power is not appropriate for everyone, for those who have the option, solar power has so many key benefits to consider. Here are just a few.

      Save Money.  This benefit is a no-brainer and probably your primary reason for considering the solar option in the first place.  By generating part, or all, of your electricity needs, you reduce or even eliminate what you spend on your local electric company each and every month…for a very, very long time.

      Control.  Solar panel power offers you control, financially, emotionally, and physically.  You have more control over rising energy costs, more control over your monthly finances and much more control should an emergency occur, and your electric grid is impacted.

      Incentives.  With the concept of net metering (where the local electric company can and does purchase excess electricity from you) and SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits), you can actually make money, in the form of cash or credits, while generating your own electricity.

      Investment.  The presence of solar panel power on a building increases its market value.  Depending on location, that increase can exceed 10% or more!  This can be a great investment.

      Environmentally friendly.  Many people are extremely concerned about the environmental impact of carbon emissions. Solar panel power offers a clean, sustainable energy source which will greatly reduce the carbon footprint of your business.

      Types of Solar Panels

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        There are 3 different types of solar panels on today’s market.  Each is made differently, with a different look and different strength/weaknesses.  Here’s a quick overview for you to consider.

        Monocrystalline.  The oldest of the solar panel types, monocrystalline panels have solar cells made of pure silicon.  A panel consists of 40 of these square-shaped cells and is black in color.  Other pertinent information about monocrystalline solar panels:

        • Reaches up to 20% efficiency.
        • Most expensive type of panel.
        • Temperature coefficient of -0.3% C to -0.5% C.

        Polycrystalline.  An update from the monocrystalline panel, polycrystalline panels are also made of pure silicon, though it is silicon fragments that have been melted together. This is then sliced into wafers which are assembled into the panel, which is blue in color.  Other pertinent information about polycrystalline solar panels:

        • Reaches 15% to 17% efficiency.
        • Mid-range type of panel.
        • Temperature coefficient of -0.3% C to -0.5% C.

        Thin-Film.  The newest of the panel options, thin-film panels are not always made of silicon, but may be made of cadmium telluride, copper indium gallium selenide or amorphous silicon.  The biggest difference is the panels are about 350 times thinner than the crystalline options. They may be either blue or black in color.  Other pertinent information about thin-film panes:

        • Reaches +/- 11% efficiency.
        • Most expensive panel style.
        • Temperature coefficient of -0.2%.

        Want to know more about solar panel power and your options?  Call us today at 800-670-5583 and schedule a no-obligation consultation. 

        Conklin Equinox® Breaks Temperature Barriers

        Many commercial roofers LOVE acrylic coatings.  They are easy to install, look great and usually represent a good investment for the client.  However, one of the biggest drawbacks for acrylics has historically been the limitations that ambient temperature can put on application.  If you happen to serve an area with a short summer, this limitation can reduce your market time and potential for doing business with this fine coating option.

        NO LONGER!  That’s right, our friends over at Conklin have re-formulated their popular Equinox® acrylic system to allow for a curing film development in the 36°F to 60°F range. 

        commercial rooferThis single modification has extended the sales window for countless commercial roofers across the United States.  The change has been so significant that Conklin reports between September and December 2020, sales “nearly doubled the best annual sales volume Equinox® had ever achieved in the previous 11 years in the Conklin product lineup”, according to an earlier article in Vision Magazine.

        For those who may be unfamiliar with the Equinox® product, it is an elastomeric, acrylic, monolithic roof coating in a bright white finish. 

        Equinox® is designed to waterproof a range of substrates, including metal, spray polyurethane foam, membrane roofs and Conklin’s Fabric Reinforced System.

        Applied at 1.6 gallons per 100 square feet, in the proper temperature range Equinox® has a dry time of 2-4 hours and dries to a 13.5 mils depth per coat, according to Conklin’s product spec sheet.

        Benefits of the Equinox® System

        Some of the benefits of the Equinox® system are:

        • Dark base coat for better heat absorption and improved moisture evaporation, even at lower temperatures.
        • Highly reflective white top-coat provides for 85% solar reflectivity, with resulting cooling cost savings.
        • Due to a high solids content, Equinox® requires about 20% less product per application than traditional acrylics.
        • The fully-cured membrane is extremely flexible and durable, providing for a superior waterproofing system.
        • Compatible with a wide arrange of substrates, including SPF, metal, and various single-ply membrane systems.
        • 10-year, non-prorated and transferrable warranty programs are available for material only and material/labor options, upon approval by Conklin.

        System Application

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          Conklin recommends the following steps to ensure the best possible Equinox® application outcome.

          Preparation – Prep the existing roofing system to specification and guidelines provided.  This is not a step to overlook or cut corners on.  Like the building itself, the Equinox® system must be built on a well prepared foundation.

          Staging – Though the new Equinox® formulation is less temperature sensitive that other acrylics, weather conditions do still play a role.  Conklin’s Equinox® sales sheet notes that “Excessive air flow, low humidity situations, and surface temperatures above 60° F increase the risk of flash drying, which will cause shadowing and telegraphed spray patterns on the roof surface effecting overall aesthetics”.  It is imperative you stage your project to allow for completion during optimal weather conditions.

          Verification & Documentation – To ensure an excellent application, you must verify appropriate weather conditions with a cell phone application, as well as a temperature gun.  This information may be crucial in your warranty application.

          Application – Your base coat and top-coat should both be applied only when conditions are right.  In this case, that is an ambient air temperature between 36°F and 60°F, relative humidity greater than 20% and air flow adequate to prevent flash drying and allow for wet edge maintenance.

          Storage – Store your remaining Equinox at temperatures less than 80°F.  Do not let it freeze and it will remain fully usable for your next happy customer within 6 months of manufacturing date.

          To stay informed and current on all forms of relevant information, why not join Choice Roof Contractors Group?  In addition to educational information, we provide mentorship opportunities, training information and membership in a national coalition of well-respected roofing companies.  For more information, please call us today at (800) 670-5583.

          Weathering the Commercial Roofing Slump

          The commercial roofing market has not been the best place to be over the last 16 months or so in many areas of the United States.  Though immediately after the “opening” of the country saw a spike in business, that demand is starting to drop off, leaving many looking for ways to keep companies moving forward.

          There are a number of reasons the commercial roofing market is currently down.

          Supply Issues.  We are all well aware of the supply chain issues our industry is facing.  Unfortunately, it is not just our industry, but a vast part of the nation as a whole.  Supply issues lead directly to cash-flow issues, particularly with commercial businesses. This is completely outside the control any of us have, and we will simply have to let the issue run its course.

          Economic Concern.  Business owners throughout the country are aware of the fluctuations of the economy.  There is an extremely high level of uncertainty about the direction the economy will be moving over the next year or two.  This leads many owners to a decision to hold on to capital and reduces investment in improvements.

          Small Business Decline.  As many as 1/3 of all small businesses have closed since the beginning of the pandemic.  Whether a temporary closure due to financial hardship or a permanent loss, the fact remains there are fewer commercial businesses out there.  Fewer businesses clearly mean fewer opportunities for the commercial roofing industry.  A recent study found up to 57% of small businesses still in existence could permanently close due to the Delta Strain resurgence.

          Demand.  Years 2018-2019 saw an unprecedented number of commercial roofs replaced or restored.  This high level of work during that timeframe means all those roofs are not in need of service at this time.  This also reduces opportunities for the industry right now.

          Ways to Keep Financially Afloat

          In spite of all the doom and gloom, one of the strongest assets the commercial roofing industry has is the NEED for roofs.  Every home, business, industrial complex or building of any type requires a roof.  Those roofs must be installed, maintained, repaired and protected.  As a result, we have a built-in bumper against the issues that may plague other, less critical, industries. It’s only a matter of time until service is REQUIRED.

          To weather the existing storm requires a re-evaluation of direction, both for your company overall as well as your marketing plan.

          Here are a few ways you may consider keeping the income streams flowing in.

          Residential.  Yep, we went there.  While the commercial marketplace is staggering, the residential market continues to jump.  With significantly more pent-up demand, a much larger potential client base and the unfortunate recent catastrophic storm events hitting regions of the country, residential roofing may be a direction to move, at least temporarily.

          Most commercial roofing contractors began as residential roofers, so the learning curve really isn’t an issue.  The equipment needs are reduced as well, plus the timeframes for roofing materials are not as long as those in the commercial roofing arena.

          Diversification is key in many industries, and it may be time to consider diversification in your own roofing business.

          Niche Specialization.  Fancy words, but basically, we are talking about finding a specific area and focus your primary attention on that.  For example, if you live in the desert Southwest, combining solar power with roofing services may be a key niche in your area to consider.  Another option might be a heavy promotion of wind-resistant systems in an area recently hit with a lot of storm damage.

          This step requires some research on your behalf into your local market.  The most important thing in niche specialization is a true understanding of what needs exist that aren’t being met, then finding a way to meet those needs effectively.

          Those companies that meet unmet needs quickly and effectively are the companies that will not only weather the existing storm, but will actually grow and benefit from the situation.  Reduced competition helps ensure more opportunity for you to actually get the project, though there may be fewer projects available.

          Marketing.  It is a natural tendency for business owners to pull back on marketing as “unnecessary” when faced with an uncertain time.  Consider this…if your competition is pulling back but you aren’t, which business will reap the benefit when an influx of roofing opportunities come up?

          The difference is you need to carefully target your marketing.  Rather than a “here we are” approach, it is crucial your marketing sets you apart from your competition and truly addresses why you are the best choice.

          Additionally, if you are expanding your services (such as pursuing residential options) or moving into a more specialized area, your marketing campaign truly needs to focus on those areas.  You want to shout it from the rooftops (so to speak), so anyone potentially interested in those services knows you are offering them.

          A few inexpensive ways to increase marketing include:

          • Increase the number of blogs or posts you put on your website or social media. If you aren’t a blogger, look through some of the blogs on the Choice Roof Contractor Group and upload to your own social media. You definitely want to show strong activity on social networking platforms. It will instill confidence when building owners research your company.
          • Offer a “special” on certain services and promote the heck out of it via an email blast. If you aren’t certain how to do this, reach out to us. We have plenty of tips for you.
          • Offer a discounted rate to referred customers and a thank you incentive to referrers. This can be promoted through your website, with 1-page flyers or with a mail campaign.  Give us a call for more ideas.
          • Print up some flyers and place them strategically in your area. Quality truly counts when it comes to your flyers.  They will directly reflect on the perception of your business. Don’t take the cheap home-made route.

          The good news is the commercial roofing arena is expected to improve drastically in the near term, assuming no additional pandemic issues arise.  Positioning yourself and your business to not only get through this time but be prepared for the upswing is the hallmark of a great businessman.

          What You Should Expect from a Commercial Roofing Estimate

          Having a roof replaced on your commercial building can seem like a daunting task.  After all, you aren’t a roofer, you are a business person running whatever type of company that building protects.  How are you supposed to know if you are being treated fairly and if the estimate you are receiving is complete?

          First, you should anticipate that the roofing company will want to conduct an inspection.  It is unfair to expect any form of estimate without allowing for time and opportunity to assess your current roof situation.  Some roofing contractors may choose to conduct their inspection either on the roof or via drones.

          Second, give the contractor some time to prepare that estimate.  There are some contractors who are comfortable doing an “on the spot” quote, but others want to take the time to ensure it is a complete and full estimate.  You wouldn’t commit to an important project without doing your due diligence, would you?  Consider granting your commercial roofing contractor the same respect and understanding.

          Part of the pre-estimate process frequently deals with discussing the type of system you are considering.  Not all roofs are appropriate for all systems nor do all commercial roofing professionals work with all types of potential roofing systems.  Sit down with the contractor and discuss your business goals as a part of this process.  Identify if your goals include energy efficiency, chemical resistance, improved longevity, or cool roof technology integration.  This information assists the contractor in determining the BEST system for both your building and your business.

          Elements of a Commercial Roofing Estimate

          Every contractor is different, so we’ve put together an overview of various elements you should look for in your commercial roofing estimate.

          Materials:  Exactly what type of materials, including manufacturer, is the contractor planning to use?  Like cars, there is a wide variety in quality and cost between different manufacturers.  A good commercial contractor may even prepare you options between XYZ and ABC manufacturers on the same type of roofing system.

          Labor.  Some contractors choose to include the cost of labor within the materials portion while others choose to make this a separate line item.  There is nothing wrong with either method.

          Protection.  Again, some contractors include the cost involved in protecting your property and business from damage within their overall cost projection.  Other contractors choose to show this as a separate line item on their estimate.  Either is fine, but it is important that you clarify the steps that will be taken to protect your existing business while that roof is being replaced.

          Warranty.  This area is important.  Your estimate should include a written outline of the warranty offered, both in terms of materials and labor.  You should anticipate paying more for a really great long-term warranty that includes ongoing maintenance.  Think of it as insurance for that roofing investment.

          Timeline.  Your estimate should include the timeframe anticipated to complete the job.  Please notice the word “anticipated”.  Like every other business, there are times when the unexpected occurs.  Roofing contractors are subject to the vagaries of weather or supply chain interruptions to a greater extent than many other industries.  That timeframe is an estimate based on past experience.

          Payment Due Dates.  Many large projects allow for payments to be made through the project completion.  If that is the case with your commercial roofing project, your estimate should include the exact date each payment is due, along with terms for noncompliance by either party.

          Elements that Affect Your Replacement Costs

          There are many elements that go into determining the cost of replacing a commercial roof.  Each is considered and calculated into that final estimate you will receive.

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          Size.  This is pretty obvious.  The size of your roof is a HUGE consideration in the overall replacement project.  Not only in materials and labor, but additional considerations such as debris removal, movement of materials over the scope of the project and even increased safety considerations all can play a part.

          System.  Different roofing systems have different costs.  That is also pretty straightforward.  If you and your contractor determine your roof is best suited for a PVC system, you will pay more than if it is determined that shingles will work better.  Why?  Because PVC costs more than shingles.

          Roof Style.  This one may come as a surprise, but roofs with multiple peaks and valleys will generally cost more per square foot than flat roofs.  Why?  A good part of it is due to increased labor costs as those steep angles require more time and more protective equipment than an open flat roof.

          Roof Access.  If your contractor is going to have to hire a crane to get materials and personnel up 10 stories, it is going to cost more than if they have to move those same items up 1 story.

          The bottom line is there are a LOT of considerations that go into a good commercial roofing estimate.  That is the best reason to work with a qualified, reputable, professional commercial roofing company.  If you are looking for an estimate, feel free to contact the Choice Roof Contractor Group at (800) 670-5583 or complete the inquiry form and we will put you in touch with a roofing company in your area.

          It Will Take How Long?

          If you are a commercial building owner or property manager facing a roofing situation, these are words you know well.  When you have a roofing problem, you don’t really want to hear 6-8 weeks or longer.  So, why is that what you hear from every contractor you call these days?  It is very simple, it is called material shortage or, for those who prefer fancier terms, a disruption in the supply chain.

          This shortage is a matter of materials not being available to your contractor.  That contractor really does want your business, but they are unable to obtain the materials, whether shingles, fasteners, adhesives or what have you, to do the job quicker.

          What is Causing the Shortages?

          If the shortage was as simple as a single material, like shingles for example, that would be an easier answer.  Unfortunately, the roofing industry is facing shortages on almost all of the materials utilized regularly.

          Without getting into any political quagmire, the root cause of the shortages is the Covid-19 pandemic.  The worldwide shut-down resulted in reduced availability of raw materials.  This reduced the ability of the manufacturer (many of whom were also on shut-down) to manufacture the supplies your roofer needs to repair your roof today.

          Without the necessary supplies and materials, your contractor is simply unable to make those repairs as quickly as you and they would like.

          A side-effect of the pandemic has also been a huge increase in roofing demands due to so much new construction taking place.  This increased demand has also increased demand for materials.  No doubt you can see the problem.  Increased demand with decreased supply results in significantly higher prices and longer wait times.

          Another unexpected side-effect has been a shortage of labor.  From the laborer that obtains the raw materials through the truck driver that delivers the finished goods, there is a widespread inability to hire or retain employees.  This issue is contributing to the shortage crisis and the inordinately long wait time to have your roofing project completed.

          If you aren’t sure this is accurate, go down to your local home improvement center and price some lumber.  If you can find what you’re looking for, you will see that prices have increased substantially.  This is due to that pesky supply/demand issue.

          What Can You Do?

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          • More Peace of Mind
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          Prioritize.  If you have an emergency repair situation, like a failing system or leaks throughout the building, ask your preferred contractor about securing the situation with a temporary repair until the materials can be obtained for a more permanent solution.

          Plan.  If your project is non-urgent, plan ahead and get that contractor scheduled as soon as possible.  Waiting is not going to improve the supply-chain issue. You might as well get your place in line. Experts are predicting a year or longer for recovery, assuming no additional shut-downs go into place.  Getting the project scheduled so your contractor can order the necessary materials and enduring the wait time is definitely in your interest.

          Patience.  As Americans, we are used to getting what we want or need right away.  Regardless of how many different contractors you call, you are going to face the waiting game.  This is an industry-wide problem.  In fact, it goes beyond the roofing industry and encompasses nearly all the construction trades.  In fact, depending on the type of business you run, you may be facing supply-line issues of your own.

          If you’re still looking for that commercial roofing contractor, call the Choice Roof Contractor Group at (800) 670-5583.  We would be happy to help put you in touch with a qualified contractor in your area.

          Material Shortage

          We know it is not news to tell you that our industry is facing a crisis with the inability to get needed materials in a reasonable amount of time. Today, we’re going to do a deep dive into this dilemma.

          What is Causing the Material Shortage?

          You are probably as tired of these words as we are, but the primary answer is Covid-19. The pandemic, regardless of how you may personally stand politically, caused a widespread shut-down of our economy. Unfortunately, that shut-down included not only the manufacture of the materials we utilize daily in our industry, but also the production and distribution of the raw materials necessary to manufacture them. This double-whammy is the root of our existing situation.

          Another side-effect of the pandemic is the pent-up demand. During the 2020 shutdown, many businesses, as well as citizens, chose to let their roof situation wait, rather than address it immediately. No doubt your bottom line reflected that decision. Now, with things getting back to a more normal level, there is a huge pent-up demand for roofing services. Again, we doubt this is any surprise to you. However, when you couple increased demand with decreased supply availability, we are seeing unprecedented price increases and wait times industry-wide.

          A secondary issue is the unusual level of storms in certain regions of the country. Whether your region is facing more rain than usual or stronger storm intensity, usual weather patterns have increased roofing service demand beyond the norm.

          Another, less recognized issue, is labor. We are all familiar with the shortage of applicants (qualified or not) we are facing for our own industry. However, we are not alone. Labor shortages are rampant in many of the industries we rely on. Distribution, for example, has been hard hit by a lack of laborers, truck drivers, delivery personnel and so forth. All of the labor shortage compounds an already bad situation.

          What To Do?

          Well, unless you have the ability to manufacture your own materials, your company is stuck with having the manage

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            the situation. If there is a positive side, your competition is facing the exact same situation. However, there are steps you can take to mitigate some of the resulting problems.

            Management of Expectations. As Americans, we aren’t very good at waiting. Unfortunately, that is what we have to teach our customers to expect at this time. Clear communication of wait times, with an explanation that those are also subject to change, will at least keep your customer from feeling lied to or betrayed when that roof project takes longer than anticipated.

            Research. Perhaps you don’t care for the concept but doing some research into alternative options may help reduce the wait. At the very least, knowing the available options and providing more information to your customers shows you are on top of the situation and underscores your level of professionalism in their eyes.

            Plan Ahead. If you frequently use the same basic materials on jobs, such as specific fasteners or a preferred type of adhesive, order a little extra with each job and try to keep them on hand. We aren’t advocating hoarding but having a few extras could be the difference between finishing the job on-time or not.

            Cooperation. Working together with your “competition” may be key to saving you both. Try to develop a team mentality with some of your colleagues and, should either of you be in a situation where material help is needed, perhaps the opportunity to share resources will arise.

            This “team” mentality is what Choice Roof Contractor Group is all about. Sharing knowledge, experience, strengths and resources in an effort to improve our industry and provide building owners with noteworthy professionalism and quality.

            If that is the sort of organization you want your company involved with, or if you would like more information on joining us, please call 800-670-5583 or reach out to us on the contact page.

            What Are Commercial Clients Looking For?

            Every growing commercial roofing contractor wants to know the answer to this very important question.  Figure out what those clients are looking for and your business is unstoppable!  Unfortunately, figuring that out, and then meeting that need, seems to be where many of roofing businesses fail.

            The Top 5 List

            Commercial building owners have a focus that is completely different than a residential homeowner.  They are business-people, first and foremost.  To get their attention, get their jobs, and keep them as ongoing clients, you must direct your marketing and your conversations toward that focus.

            Value.  Homeowners tend to worry about budget and cost.  A business owner, however, is more focused on the overall value.  They are much less concerned about the size of the initial investment if you can show them how it will outperform, outlast or in some other way be more beneficial over time.

            When making your proposal, show the cost/benefit analysis for the various solutions you may be suggesting.  If you’re suggesting a coating or single-ply option, include information on potential cost savings on labor installation, cost savings on utility bills as a result of lower cooling costs and, where appropriate, information on potential tax credits.  All of these add value to the installation and makes the decision-process easier.

            Follow through.  As a business owner, which would you prefer to work with… the person that promises the moon, but fails to deliver; or the person, even if more expensive, that always gives you everything they promised?  Now, which kind of roofing contractor are you?

            Commercial business owners are keenly aware of companies that fail to deliver on their promises.  Though you may be able to get that initial job, you will quickly find others getting future jobs from your clients if you are failing to follow through on your work or job quality.

            Organization.  Your potential client is running a business.  They don’t want to have to be involved in running yours as well.  The contractor that is well organized, able to set up independently and complete the job without interrupting the business owner unnecessarily is one that is a winner in that customer’s mind.

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              The secret to this is organization.  Your company and your crew need to be well organized, with clear procedures and processes in place to do the job without input from anyone else.  Make certain you have addressed all questions you or your customer may have, up front, before the job starts.  This type of organization shines out from the crowd.

              Clean up.  Seems like a trivial matter, but this is their business we are talking about.  Ensure that the entire area around the site is kept clear of debris on a regular basis, and that after completion clean-up is thorough.

              Paying attention to this level of detail reinforces your professionalism and underlines the level of respect you are showing to that commercial building owner and his/her tenants.  Though it may never be said, failure to do these things will definitely be noted and will weight heavily against any further, future projects they may have.

              Communication.  The commercial business owner or property manager has a lot going on.  Clear communication, whether in the form of an email, phone call or text, goes a long way.

              Materials didn’t arrive on time?  They’ve been there.  Send an email, detailing that the shipment is expected on XYZ date. Clearly state if this is going to impact completion dates or anticipated scheduling, then, if possible, offer any options that may work for them.  This is not an unnecessary interruption for your customer, rather it is an important communication as it directly impacts the promises you made and the schedule he/she may have in place.

              If you think about it for a minute, this probably sounds a lot like the kind of person you want to work with.  If you take the time to consider what type of person you would want to work with in YOUR business, you will have a better handle on what commercial clients want.

              If you are looking for more information, have suggestions or questions, or are interested in joining our group of industry professionals, please call us at 800-670-5583 or reach out to us on the contact page.