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Helping You Make Sense of The Dollars You Spend on Roofs

September 25, 2019 Kristen Pham

September 12 Roof Summit Highlights

Members of the Fund and the Texas Municipal League (TML) Intergovernmental Risk Pool joined us for a panel-driven discussion September 12 at Dollars and Sense: A Roof Summit. With severe weather being one of the top global risks in the United States and with Texas being the leading state for hail, it is important to consider roofs an investment in the sustainability of your buildings.

“Hail is not an area we want to be number one in. We are also seeing Texas continue to grow, with new schools and more buildings,” TASB Risk Solutions Division Director Janina Flores said. “This is an issue that is hitting public entities. We wanted to find a common goal and talk about roofs.”

Four industry experts spent the day with us to share their knowledge on roof types and roof maintenance and describe the various roles in the process.

The top six takeaways include:

1. Know your roof history and type

The first step to making roof decisions is being aware of the types of roofs on your buildings and years they were installed. If you don’t know this information, you can contact your roof manufacturer. Oftentimes, they can look this information up by address. If you have multiple buildings at the same address, it can be looked up by the size of the building. There are also sometimes stamps on the roofing material the manufacturer can reference to find a purchase date. When in doubt, call your roofing professional to help you figure this out. While there are resources and people who can help, it is ultimately your responsibility as a building owner to have this information.

2. Do your research on contractors and manufacturers

Before you commit to working with manufacturers and other contractors, you should do your homework. While manufacturers and other roof contractors can be a great resource for you, our panelists noted that Texas is a right-to-work and non-licensed state. You want to make sure that they have the qualifications necessary, your interest in mind, and are aware of their role in the process.

“Be careful of anyone who is willing to blur lines. Their interest could be overriding yours,” said Helene Hardy Pierce, vice president of technical services, codes, and industry relations at GAF. 

3. Read carefully before you sign contracts

Once you choose vendors to work with, you need to read the fine lines on the contracts. Once you do review and sign, keep copies of all records in case you need to reference them in the future. Understand roles and responsibilities, especially in the process of responding to damage or repairs.

“You need to make sure the contract protects the owner,” said Grady Slaydon, Regional Manager, TASB Facility Services. “Be sure you get what you want and the value you need."

4. Understand your warranties

Warranties include those for the individual products and those for the entire roofing system. The product warranty is the label warranty that covers defects inherent in the product. The system warranty covers the roofing material and labor to install it; however, both types of warranties can include language about what’s not covered and what actions can void it altogether.

“If you don’t read, you’re at the mercy of who sends [a document] to you,” Hardy Pierce said.

5. Invest in a roof that will last

When considering the type of roof to purchase, it may seem like the less expensive roof type will save you money, but that is not necessarily the case. In the long run, it can be worth purchasing a slightly more expensive roof system. With the severe hail most of Texas experiences, it is advised to invest in something that not only sheds water off your building, but also stands up to impacts of hail. While the type of roof membrane (protective cover of the roof) matters, it is also what is underneath it that counts.

“The density under the membrane dramatically helps or hurts it," said panelist Scott Franklin, consultant at 4T Partnerships, LLC.

Hardy Pierce agreed.

“Hail resistance is not membrane-centric. It is also what is under the membrane,” she said. “It’s the system. It starts with a good solid foundation.”

Our roof panelists also agreed that upgrading your roof membrane is worth the cost.

“It pays to upgrade your membrane. Your labor cost is not going to change,” said Jim Filipowicz, co-CEO at Cavalry Construction.

6. Inspect and maintain your buildings

While choosing a sustainable roof is important, maintenance is also a key component, regardless of roof type. Preventative roof maintenance should be done at least twice a year. If you invest in routine maintenance, our panelists said you can expect your roof to last at least five to eight years longer, depending on the roof type.

“Think about maintenance from an owner perspective like changing oil in your car,” Hardy Pierce said.

Other panelists:

 A TASB claims adjuster and a member of the TML Intergovernmental Risk Pool also joined the panel to discuss recent property claims:

  • Kendel Blocker, Property Claims Adjuster, TASB Risk Management Services
  • Zachary Cain, Risk Manager, City of Allen (TML Intergovernmental Risk Pool member)

How TASB can help

TASB Facility Services can assist with developing a long-range plan for TASB Facility Services members and the Fund can help with risk prevention services such as making recommendations for maintenance plans and addressing safety concerns. Th­­­is Roof Summit is one example of the education resources and training the Fund has offered on roofs and the property market. The Fund also launched roof inspection training this year that covers how to extend the lifecycle of your roofs. Contact your risk solutions consultant for more information about risk prevention services and education that can help you make decisions for your roofs.

Tagged: "preventative maintenance"