With the economy booming, it would seem logical that making money being a roofing contractor is simple, but the reality may be much different. A robust economy produces a tighter labor market, and you may find the battle for bodies to be exhausting. Material components are rising as well, and it is challenging to keep up. Finally, controlling risks in one of the riskiest businesses can, at times, be overwhelming.
Interviewing successful contractors around the country, has led me to share one simple approach to making more profit on roofing projects. Many cost factors in the roofing process are out of control of the contractor. One secret approach that these successful contractors use, is - value engineering the specification. Many roofing contractors are afraid of the “Written in Stone Specification.” They believe it is difficult, if not impossible, to get changes. This concept is key.
Value engineering the specification is all about positioning yourself and your company as an asset to your customer, whether it is the General Contractor, Architect or Building Owner. Learning and developing roofing expertise will allow for you to offer better value to the end user. I am a firm believer that a contractor should get paid extra for bringing better value to a project. That is what a true Roofing Professional is all about.
The approach is to offer Engineered EPS Insulation on every project. Each insulation has its positives and negatives, but Engineered EPS Insulation has numerous advantages over Polyiso. (See ISO VS EPS) The bottom line is EPS has many more advantages over Polyiso and (Get up to speed on Engineered EPS in Roofing) the Value Engineering numbers are significant.
Examining a standard $200,000 roofing project shows that the savings is generally around $9,600 - $10,200 changing to EPS, yet keeping the same R-value. That savings can be shared with the account 50-50 and the result is a margin addition of roughly 2.5%. If your a $5 million a year contractor, 2.5% would add $125,000/year in profit.
Knowing the numbers is one thing, but implementing an action plan, if you’re not experienced at it, can make this approach a challenge. Plymouth Foam can help and your customer will love it.
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The most popular solution is adding some insulation and retrofitting a new roof membrane over the top. This is were roof insulation Flute Fillers play an important role. Not only do they add R-value to the system but they can transition a flat surface for a new roof retrofit system. I typically see flute filler level with the top of the ribs/seams and one additional layer on top of that smoothly bridging the top of the ribs/seams. The question is can this system be improved upon?
The one area of thermal weakness in this system is where the original metal roof has seams (connection point of the two pieces of metal roof) that allow heat loss at those points. By installing only one layer of insulation over these seams, it allows for the potential of thermal loss at these junctures were the insulation joints meet these metal roof seams. This thermal loss could cause condensation and stress the membrane disproportionately causing future issues.
Some may say, there is insulation under the metal roof system already, those joints don't leak heat. Really? Take an infrared camera and scan that metal roof and look at the seams, you might be surprised what you find.
There are two solutions to fix this potential problem with retrofitting over a metal roof. The first solution is to add another layer of insulation and offset the joints. The second solution is to use Plymouth Foams RetroDeck™ with a cover board. This system has a built in seam offset. No roofing system is perfect, but eliminating as many potential problems can help a roof system last longer creating better value for our customers.
The biggest concern of condensation and its effects can be quit worrying for building owners and construction professionals. Water that forms in a system can cause damage such as:
✓ Corrosion of metal panels and components which can structural weaken the system
✓ Degraded and wet insulation reducing thermal performance
✓ Mold and/or mildew growth that can increase health risks
✓ Insect infestation which can contaminate systems
Condensation tends to occur in noticeable quantities and cause problems at surfaces where there is a sudden change of permeance, which causes an increase in local relative humidity sufficient to create dew point conditions. Condensation in metal roofs can be caused by air leaks around units, holes in vapor barriers/retarders, gaps in insulation just to name a few and no system is bullet proof. “Moisture moves by several mechanisms, including bulk drainage, diffusion (absorption), surface diffusion (absorption), capillarity, osmosis and convection.”
Condensation can occurs on a hygroscopic surface, such as wooden sheathing or insulation, then moisture is absorbed, lowering the vapor pressure and increasing the vapor pressure gradient, driving more moisture toward that surface.
Picking an insulation that is resistant to moisture and help stop condensation is important, but no insulation is 100% waterproof. When Polyisocyanurate (Polyiso/ISO) or Extruded Polystyrene (XPS) gets wet, they dramatically loss their thermal effectiveness. Engineered Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) has the ability to resist moisture but when it get wet has the ability to expel moisture. Most metal roofing systems are not waterproof but rather watersheds. Therefore, air can travel and flow through the upper metal roof system allowing drying to occur. Learn More Here is the Secret: EPS is the BEST Insulation Solution for Metal Roofs because it can expel moisture caused by condensation. EPS's R-value will stay stable and be an overall better value.
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