Here are three new (at least kinda new) items we think are worthy of a serious look.

Roofing Contractor is always on the lookout for solutions to anything that gets between you and a safer, saner and more profitable enterprise. Here are three new (at least kinda new) items we think are worthy of a serious look.

Ridge Vent Installation Made Easier

Every now and again we all run across an item that causes us to wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Such was the case when we first saw the “FullFlow” shingle-over-ridge vent.

Roofing Contractor recently had the pleasure of meeting J. Charles Headrick, president of Headrick Building Products in Cumming, Ga., and inventor/manufacturer of the patent-pending FullFlow vent.

Headrick has a history in the ventilation business going back to the 80s when he was general manager for a manufacturer of aluminum ventilation and other building products. From there he went into business for himself manufacturing threshold and other products for the pre-hung door industry. Here he put a couple of patents under his belt and then sold the business in September 1998.

Now, together with son, Chuck, Headrick is back in the roof ventilation business beginning with the FullFlow shingle-over-ridge vent. What’s so special about this version of roof vent that has been on the market for years? Headrick will be quick to tell you about all the testing he has done to guarantee owners that they will receive all the “net-free area” of ventilation that is advertised. He will be eager to explain his new state-of-the-art manufacturing and distribution center, or his Website, www.headrick.net.

We are sure all of those things matter, but the real “gotcha” on this product is the fact that the 2 1/2-inch nails required to fasten it and the ridge shingles are attached to the vent itself. That’s right, the nails are lined up in a row ready to be picked off and nailed on. Since the maximum length for coil roofing nail guns is 1 3/4 inch, hand-nailing the shingle-over vent and ridge shingles is always required. Shinglers, particularly those who use nail guns, will really appreciate not having to deal with two different size nails. The nails they need are right there on the vent.

What a concept. Need a nail? Here it is. Manufacturing this unique product would seem problematical, what with placing all those nails into the side of the vent. According to Headrick, the process is mechanized to the point that the product (nails and all) is not touched by human hands until the final touches are put on the shipping cartons.

Getting Into The Zone

Malarkey Roofing Company, Portland, Ore., developed “The Zone” to give the roofer a reasonable shot at properly installing laminated shingles. Since we were first introduced to The Zone several years back, it has been awarded a U.S. patent, and is being licensed to another manufacturer of laminated shingles. In addition to this, Malarkey has enjoyed better than satisfactory results marketing its own product line with The Zone.

The problem for which The Zone offers a solution, according to Malarkey’s senior vice president, Greg Malarkey, is that with the conventionally specified laminated shingle, the applicator has nearly no margin for error where it comes to the nailing pattern. Most laminated shingles have a nailing line, or two nailing lines, that gives the shingle applicator a range between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch (top to bottom). The Zone shingles, according to Malarkey, raise that nailing window to 1 3/4 inch. No matter where you nail inside this “zone,” which is clearly marked on the shingle, the nail will penetrate both the underlay and overlay portions of the shingle, as well as the shingle beneath.

Roofing Contractor took samples of Malarkey shingles and compared them with laminated shingles from four other manufacturers. The difference in nailing area is remarkable. We support the idea that the applicator should be given a wider range within which he can properly place nails, no matter who the manufacturer of the laminated shingle may be.

We are certainly not the first to take manufacturers to task on this issue. For example, in their report to the North American Conference on Roofing Technology held in September of 1999, Thomas L. Smith, AIA, RRC of TL Smith Consulting, Rockton, Ill., and Matt Millen of Millen Roofing Corp., Milwaukee, reported on the “Influence of Nail Locations on Wind Resistance of Unsealed Asphalt Shingles.” While this informative report was not limited to the issue of nailing patterns, it did point out that manufacturers of asphalt shingle roofing products were not consistent in their nail-pattern recommendations.

In their conclusions, Smith and Millen point out, “In the analyzed data set, only 8 percent of the nails were located exactly as specified. However, the authors judged the fastener placement on the test decks to be more accurate than what is typically found on most projects. It is unrealistic to expect fasteners to be installed exactly in the specified locations. Some variations in fastener location is recognized by 13 of the 15 manufacturers that were contacted.” We do recommend you check out the whole report. The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), publisher of this report makes it (along with the others from the conference) available online at http://shop.nrca.net/pubstore/technical.asp.

Following through with more realistic expectations from applicators, Malarkey has begun a “Reality Roofing Initiative” that also includes side-to-side placement tolerances for its asphalt shingles. Check them out at www.malarkey-rfg.com.

Business-to-Business Online Becoming a Reality for the Roofing Industry

In recent history, we have seen the demise of darn near anything whose last name was “dot-com.” But that won’t stop us from recommending you check out the newcomer in the “dot-com” world, www.b2broofingnetwork.com.

B2B Roofing Network is building a unique platform for a variety of roofing business process solutions. Not the be-all end-all solution promised by high-tech gurus, but a real-world approach to driving costs out and putting convenience in the business side of roofing.

Our reason for recognizing B2B Roofing Network is the three basic areas in which it is different from others we have seen: people, purpose and vision. B2B Roofing Network is headed by three individuals coming from the three disciplines it should take to make this initiative work for the roofing industry. Bob Johnston is chairman, and a professional roof consultant along with being CEO of American Roof Technology Inc. Ed Murton, founder and former CEO of Murton Roofing of South Carolina, is CEO. Murton recently retired from 25 years in the roof contracting business to devote his attention to B2B Roofing Network. Phillip Heyden, president/Webmaster, has been involved with Website Development & Technical Support since 1995. Heyden was a licensed general contractor in Florida and California from 1977-1995.

The purpose for B2B Roofing Network is to build solutions to roofing contractors’ business problems. The vision for how B2B will build these solutions is “one at a time.” B2B Roofing Network was begun quite some time ago, and is just now emerging with limited online services. As each new offering is tested and perfected, it will be rolled out to the various markets around the country.

To illustrate, we will point to some of the things B2B Roofing Network expects to bring to the roofing industry, beginning with its e-market place. B2B Roofing Network has invested a considerable amount of time and money to put the software infrastructure in place to begin the process of bringing e-business to the roofing industry. This is arguably its biggest undertaking, and will be rolled out one market at a time. The vision of the e-market place is to offer roofing contractors a way to do their normal business with their normal trading partners over the Internet. Not just an “auction” site, but a way to place material orders 24 hours a day, to request quotations from several different suppliers at once, and to take costs and overhead out of the procurement process.

In February, B2B Roofing Network begins live testing its first e-market places. In conjunction with ABC Supply Co. branches in Colombia, S.C., and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., B2B will offer ABC Supply customers who normally make their purchases from those branches access to its full line of products. Online. It is partnerships like this that make this initiative complete. More complete than any we have seen up to this point.

Other goodies being offered by B2B include the “Real Time Job Cam.” B2B contractors, project managers, or building owners will be able to monitor their job site online via streaming video 24/7. Contractors will be able to download a commercial or residential specification that will be geographically code specific. In addition to this, contractors will be able to request online insurance quotes and have access to Doppler radar provided by The Weather Channel.

B2B contractors will conduct or participate in online safety meetings, participate in online auctions of surplus materials or equipment and search for a wide variety of professional resources with a geographically specific search engine. Plans call for an online billboard, a way to post or view daily listings of local, regional, or national jobs which are up for bid, and even a Voice Chat where roofing and related professionals may converse as well as post messages.

Bottom line: Check this site out, and keep checking it. It is free to sign up with B2B, and we do recommend that so you can keep up with the new additions and initiatives. Just for signing up, you will receive better placement when owners search for roofing contractors, so that should make it worth the effort alone. The industry continues to progress. If you have an idea that will make the roofing contractor’s life easier, let us know about it. Who knows, you may be the owner of the next great solution to the ever-present challenges of roofing.