Mike’s Blog

How White is White?

Mike-Sasse-Author

Mike Sasse
CEO

Even though we are getting ready to go through winter’s cold months, it might not be too early to begin planning for a roof replacement that can cool you down next summer (and for decades of summers thereafter). You might want to look into “cool roofs” for your commercial or industrial property. Heat-reflective roofs can bring big savings in cooling costs during the summer cooling season as well as make non-conditioned buildings more comfortable. But are some white commercial roof membranes more heat reflective than others?

Absolutely. When it comes to heat-reflective low-slope roofs, just because a membrane looks white doesn’t mean it’s highly energy-efficient. Infra-red radiation (heat) penetrates all the way into a membrane, so even if the top surface is reflecting visible light, the roof could still be absorbing heat into the building.

Many membranes look white only because the top layer or coating is white. If the lower layers of a membrane are grey or black, it can still absorb a lot of heat. This raises costs for cooling in summer, and these costs are never recovered during the winter heating season because of reduced sunlight duration and angle.

The Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) independently measures how efficiently a roofing material reflects heat and emits heat and sets each system’s Solar Reflectivity Index (SRI). A black rubber roof has an SRI of 2 while a white PVC roof will have an SRI as high as 111.

The SRI scores for some roofs that look white can go as low as 30 for a white granular-surfaced modified asphalt roof. That’s less than a third of the energy rating of the white PVC or TPO roof.

If reduced interior temperatures and cooling costs are important to you, it will pay to consider the SRI when designing or replacing your roof system. Call or click if we can help!


Using a Local, Established Roofing Contractor

Mike-Sasse-Author

Mike Sasse
CEO

When building a new building or re-roofing an existing one, you might think that it doesn’t matter much whether the roofing contractor you use is local and established in your area. Most roofs come with a manufacturer’s warranty, and a contractor is a contractor, right? Maybe not so.

Big national chain stores might use big national roofing contractors to install or replace their roof systems all over the country, and maybe there is an economy of scale in that. But what about when something goes wrong or needs to be serviced? Roof systems aren’t just a matter of installing and forgetting about. There are a number of ways they can demand attention and repair – changes in rooftop equipment, storm damage, and clearing leaves and debris are a few examples of preventative maintenance and repair that are often required. Having a relationship with a local, competent contractor can be a great problem-solving resource for maintaining and repairing your roof system over its lifespan.

Another unique characteristic of your roof is that it is designed to last so long – 20 to 30 years or more. If your roof was installed by an out-of-town contractor or a “storm-chaser” who was blowing through behind the latest storm, who will stand behind the installation and service it? What if your contractor is local but fairly new in the business? How can you be sure he or she is established and will be around long enough to service your roof? Finally, what if they have been around for decades but the owner is now in his mid-sixties (like I am) and looking to slow down or exit? If he doesn’t have a successor to continue the business, you could be out of luck as he retires and closes the business down.

Over the thirty-five-year history of Commonwealth Roofing, we have established a dependable business with a proven track-record with many of the most recognizable buildings in the area. Plus, as I have approached retirement age, we have been working with advisers and the University of Louisville’s Family Business Center (FBC) to establish a succession plan. This will allow us to smoothly transition Commonwealth Roofing from me to my oldest son, Nathan and continue our legacy of high-value roofing services.

So, remember how important it is for a roofing contractor to be both local and established to ensure that your roof gets the care and feeding it needs over its useable lifespan. Call or click if we can help!


Do I Really Need To Have Regular Roof Inspections?

Mike-Sasse-Author

Mike Sasse
CEO

There are lots of reasons not to neglect your commercial or industrial roof until water leaks into your building. Some of the most important benefits include:

  1. Clearing debris – Drainage on a low-sloped roof is critical. Clogged drains or gutters can cause water to back up and pour in or even overload the structure.
  2. Discovering, documenting and repairing damage – HVAC and other workers can cause damage to your roof. Even a moderate wind can cause a vent cap or other debris to tumble across a roof and perforate the membrane, and bullets falling from shots fired into the air (especially New Years and July 4th) can puncture your roof. Timely discovery and repair of leaks like these can prevent a lot of damage and extend your roof’s lifespan.
  3. Preventative Maintenance (PM) – You can often extend the life of your roof by repairing or coating it before it completely wears out. Regular inspections can help you plan this kind of pro-active approach to getting the most out of your roof.

Even if your roof has a manufacturer’s warranty, there are many things that can go wrong that won’t be covered by the warranty, and those are the owner’s responsibility to correct. Having a knowledgeable inspector examine your roof regularly can return real savings. Call or email if we can help you set up a plan for your building.


What Do Roof Warranties Really Cover?

Mike-Sasse-Author

Mike Sasse
CEO

Commercial low-slope roofs can carry different kinds of warranties including materials warranties from the manufacturer (10-20 years) and workmanship warranties from the installing contractor (1-5 years).

Then there are full-system warranties from the manufacturer that cover materials and labor for a substantial period of time – 10 to 20 years or more. Although these are still “limited” warranties, they are the most comprehensive and can be well worth it. They usually include an inspection by the manufacturer to ensure that the roof was installed properly by an authorized contractor.

Keep in mind that all warranties exclude “third-party damage,” which refers to problems caused by something other than the roof or the installer. Examples include hail, fire, gale-force wind, tornado, punctures, cigarette burns, and bullets falling after being shot into the air on the Fourth of July (we really see a lot of those).

All warranties are different and each one means exactly what it says, so reading and understanding your warranty is important. Remember, however, that even though a warranty is a comforting backstop in case something goes wrong, no 8½” x 11” piece of paper will ever keep water out of your building. We recommend concentrating on selecting the right roofing contractor and the right roof system. If we at Commonwealth Roofing can help, call, click or email.


Since roofing contractors aren’t licensed in Kentucky or Indiana, how can I tell who is trustworthy?

Mike-Sasse-Author

Mike Sasse
CEO

Well, it’s summertime in Kentucky again – time for family get-togethers, cookouts and…..thunderstorms! When high winds or hail hit, entire neighborhoods will be invaded by “storm chasers.” While most of these are reputable contractors trying to work with insurers and building owners to mitigate storm damage, others might just be con artists. How can you tell the difference?

Some say check into a contractor’s history and BBB rating. That’s a start, but what if an out-of-town storm chaser buys a distressed local company and operates dishonestly under that purchased cloak of credibility? Sounds preposterous, but that’s exactly what happened after the bad hail storms several years ago. Many consumers paid for work that was sub-standard or left unfinished after the storm-chaser left town.

So how can you tell the good guys from the fly-by-nighters? Over fifteen years ago the Kentucky Roofing Contractors Association (KRCA) established the KRCA Certified Contractor Program to verify that a roofing contractor is insured, bonded, knowledgeable and has agreed to the KRCA Code of Ethics. I highly recommend you use a KRCA Certified Contractor, and you verify if a contractor is certified at www.krca.org.

Commonwealth Roofing was one of the first KRCA Certified Contractors, and we’ve been serving Kentucky and Indiana with safe, quality, high-value roofing services for over 35 years. Call, click, or email if we can help you with your home or building!


What’s The Value of Preventative Maintenance for My Roof?

Mike-Sasse-Author

Mike Sasse
CEO

Savvy facility & property managers know the importance of preventative maintenance (PM) for their buildings’ roofs. No one really wants to hear they need a new roof, so pay attention to it in advance – have a semi-annual or seasonal preventative maintenance program in place. It costs so little yet can save so much!

Besides obvious things like clearing debris out of drains and gutters, PM can also reveal problems that can be corrected in time to prevent major damage to your building and its contents. We regularly find and repair cuts, tears, cigarette burns and bullet holes (yes, bullet holes – what goes up must come down!). Flashing issues, vent pipes, open seams, membrane shrinkage, and deterioration from the sun’s ultra-violet rays are some other roofing problems that need to be monitored and corrected.

It’s so important to tend to these issues quickly because timing can make a huge difference in the damage they cause and the costs to repair them. Call us at Commonwealth Roofing and we’ll give you a no-cost, no-obligation assessment of your roof’s condition and set a plan for getting the most value out of it.


What’s the real value of my roof warranty?

Mike-Sasse-Author

Mike Sasse
CEO

Most roof warranties are written to read like a medical Explanation of Benefits (EOB)…detailing what is NOT covered as opposed to what IS covered. It’s good to question what really matters when it comes to a roof warranty:

  • Does the warranty stand behind both the material and the installation?
  • Will it provide materials and labor to repair or replace defects?
  • Is the warranty pro-rated to cover less each year, as in most shingle warranties?
  • What are the exclusions and disqualifiers for interior damages, ponding conditions, or chemical discharges?
  • Are there requirements to pay for maintenance and inspections?

While it’s a good idea to understand what your roof warranty covers, keep in mind that no 8½” x 11” piece of paper will ever keep water out of your building. We recommend concentrating on selecting the right roofing contractor and the right roof system. What do the history and references say of both? Is your contractor a KRCA Certified Contractor (www.krca.org)?

Buying a roof system that performs is much easier than trying to force a roof warranty to perform if the system fails because of poor design or installation. At Commonwealth Roofing, we say what we mean and do what we say – help solve your roofing problems. Call or click if we can help!


Isn’t it a good thing when a contractor claims to be “licensed roofing contractor?”

Mike-Sasse-Author

Mike Sasse
CEO

Actually, in Kentucky and Indiana, it should give you major cause for concern if a roofer claims to be licensed – there is no licensing of roofing contractors in either state. Anyone who can afford a pickup truck and a ladder can claim to be a roofing contractor, so it’s caveat emptor – buyer beware!

The Kentucky Roofing Contractors Association (KRCA) has stepped up to the plate and developed the KRCA Certified Contractors Program. This gives consumers an easy and objective way to know if a contractor meets some pretty strict minimum standards.

A KRCA Certified Contractor is certified to be insured and bonded, agrees to the KRCA Code of Ethics, and participates in continuing education. You can view the Code of Ethics and more details about Certified Contractors at www.krca.org. It’s also a good idea to check with the BBB, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office, and references from people you know.

Commonwealth Roofing has been a KRCA Certified Contractor since the program was started over 16 years ago. Call or email if we can help solve your roofing problems or provide an inspection or maintenance on your roof. But whomever you choose, insisting on a KRCA Certified Contractor should be the way to begin.


What is “Sustainable” Roofing?

Mike-Sasse-Author

Mike Sasse
CEO

“Sustainable” literally refers to the ability to endure or to keep on going. In buildings, sustainable design refers to solutions that can conserve, recycle, or help renew natural resources over time.

In roofing, sustainability can be achieved through any or a combination of:

  1. Use of recycled materials
  2. Use of materials that are themselves recyclable
  3. Extended service life
  4. Efficient use of energy and other natural resources
  5. Actually renewing our natural resources

The key is to pay attention to what really matters. For instance, if a rooftop photo-voltaic collector requires more energy to manufacture, transport, and install it than it will ever generate, it’s not really sustainable even though it is producing energy.

On the other hand, if a new roof that is manufactured and shipped efficiently, is energy-efficient, has a long service life, and is recyclable, the criteria for sustainability is covered. Plus, there are systems that meet these yet cost no more or less than non-sustainable roofs.

A professional certified contractor like Commonwealth Roofing Corp. can evaluate the facility’s situation and help meet its performance, sustainability, and cost goals. Call or email us.


NRCA Advice Regarding Roof Maintenance

Mike-Sasse-Author

Mike Sasse
CEO

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) advises routine roof maintenance inspection and repairs. Experienced facility and operation mangers understand the benefits of regular inspections and repairs. Roof maintenance is part of a facility’s major component to extend a building’s life cycle.

To maximize the roof system’s life cycle, NRCA recommends preventative inspection and maintenance every spring and fall. Also after any major tornado, wind, hail or ice storms a thorough visual observation should be performed to look for damage and deficiencies. Most manufacturers’ warranties also make the same recommendations.

If the facility doesn’t have professional roofing staff to perform inspections and repairs, the NRCA recommends hiring a roofing contractor to perform the biannual inspections and repairs. Having an approved contractor perform repairs and maintenance will also prevent voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.

Commonwealth Roofing Corp. has a one-of–a-kind preventative program, RoofSmart™, which provides this important reporting and repairs to get the most out of your valuable roofing asset. Call us at 502.459.2216 for information.