How Does Roofing Work? Responsibilities, Pros, & Cons
Special Guest Blogger
Special thanks to Pascha Churbanov, age 12, for sharing this article about roofing with us and the community! Pascha has been working around the roofing industry with his dad, Sergei, since he was 5! Pascha, thank you for sharing your expertise as well as your research and writing skills!
How Does Roofing Work?
The roofing profession is a challenging but exciting form of building construction which is performed on an elevated surface in the air by a skilled team of workers. Roofers make, fix, and replace a significant variety of practical types of roofs. There are 64 to be exact. That does not include the rare, exotic, or custom-made roofs. Distinctly, an illustrious example of this is the domed roofs of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia. Of the 64 roof types, only three are commonly used. They are asphalt shingles, metal panels, and TPO membrane. Roofing requires a copious amount of willpower and patience, both in the business office gawking at a computer screen and on a roof working year round in the torrid heat and the frore cold.
What keeps the cool in and the hot out? Metal! Quintessentially, metal panels control circulation perfectly. Replacing a metal roof is easy. Before anything else, the first piece of metal is unscrewed by one worker and removed by another worker in that exact order because it ensures the safety of everyone on the roof. After the roof panels are removed, they are inspected for damaged or unsightly pieces, which are thrown away. If they are still presentable they can be reused. New panels are made from a new roll of metal sheeting provided by a supplier. Underlayment paper is laid down on the roof. The new metal panels are screwed on. As a finishing touch, all open seams are caulked with a caulking gun.
Different steps are taken if an asphalt shingle roof is refurbished. The shingles are completely torn off of the roof. Then the old underlayment paper, which is also called tar paper, is extracted. New tar paper is positioned in place. New asphalt shingles are situated according to objects on the roof like chimneys, exhaust pipes and vents. Industriously, all open seams are caulked. Old asphalt shingles are disposed of. Although most shingled roofs are ordinarily low to the ground, sometimes roofers encounter higher roofs. If so, a boom lift, forklift or boom-forklift called a Telehandler, might be utilized. As a result of a completed roof the equipment is returned to its designated property. Following these seven steps will result in a superb job, as Roof It Right is known to do.
TPO is easy to make. It’s cheap for customers. It’s reliable. TPO stands for thermoplastic polyolefin. TPO is waterproof and an ace UV-resistant material. It is important to ensure that the roof is dry before starting because if not, it could potentially cause leaks later. Once it’s dry, two layers of fiberglass insulation are bolted on. Insulation is cut out according to objects on the roof like exhaust pipes, plumbing pipes, chimneys and vents. An adhesive, which is low-VOC, is painted directly onto the fiberglass. This epoxy resin application contributes to the TPO’s membrane sticking. Closing all gaps is also tremendously important. The adhesive will create a watertight plug and do it in a very precise way. The TPO membrane is welded down over the unsealed edges that overlap each other with a special welding gun. If the TPO is covering a parapet, then it needs the same adhesive and special welding gun applications. TPO is a simple but splendid way to preserve a roof for a long time.
Skills & Training
Most construction companies require a high school diploma or equivalent. Having knowledge of basic math and being able to read and write well are needed in both office and field. Attending a roofing trade school, and participating in an apprenticeship, or on-the-job training accords proper roofing skills. Some states require passing a roofing license exam but the state of Kentucky does not. Roofers need a focused personality. A roofer should be persistent, independent, and inquisitive. A sensible roofer shouldn’t have a fear of heights. Good balance is ideal. Salaries for different levels of roof installers range between $12,000-$70,000 per year. In big companies salaries can be much higher.
One roofing company owner expressed these disturbing discoveries. The greatest strength of a roofing business is that people always need new roofs and rich people are always building new buildings that need new roofs. The greatest weakness is that insurance companies dictate prices many times. The other weakness is that many roofers do cheap low quality work. The way to improve this problem is by having staff go to peoples’ houses and explain which roofers will do a good job and which will do a low-quality roof. Also, the workers call insurance companies to negotiate prices.
The business goals are to have a good name and to have employees that are honest, humble, and patient. Field workers should preferably be mechanics. Everyone in the company should be emergency ready. They should have good English including reading and writing skills. While Roof It Right doesn’t require a high school diploma or an equivalent, it does offer extensive training. It provides education in the form of apprenticeships at all levels of fieldwork and one-on-one training in management, sales, marketing, safety, and office assistance. Continuing education is also provided in specialized fields.
Sir Issac Newton’s words were “every action has an opposite but equal reaction”. The same principle applies to roofing. There are disadvantages, for instance, the amount of skills and training needed. But there are advantages. One advantage is Roof It Right employees are eligible to have discounts both on repairs and full replacements. New recruits get a gift card. Employees who show an improvement in cooperation and responsibility are granted more pay or a bonus. With the “Right” people, roofing can be very fulfilling.
To sum it all up, roofers tear off the old roofing material and replace it with new materials. TPO, metal panels, and asphalt shingles are used to properly install roofs. It’s important to have roofing skills and training when on a job. There may be a few downsides to roofing, but they can always be worked out. Following these directions helps everyone to know how roofing works and how to do it properly.
Interview Churbanov, Sergei CEO of Roof It Right, Louisville, KY. Conducted by Pavel Sergeyevich Churbanov, November 10, 2022.