When volunteers get together to install a roof on a Habitat for Humanity project, it isn’t the time or place to learn from your mistakes.

THOR Systems roofing tools empowered an all-women’s team from Sandusky, Ohio, to become better roofers.


A roof nears completion by Habitat for Humanity volunteers.

When volunteers get together to install a roof on a Habitat for Humanity project, it isn’t the time or place to learn from your mistakes.

The last thing any Habitat for Humanity volunteer would want to provide is a leaky roof, and that is why a group of women from the Firelands Habitat for Humanity of Sandusky, Ohio, utilized a tool by THOR Systems Inc. to ensure that their roofing work was done correctly.

Firelands Habitat for Humanity is an all-women’s chapter whose members have the heart to perform volunteer work across the United States. While they may lack the expertise necessary to complete various construction activities, including roofing, they always take the proper steps to ensure that their work is done correctly.

One person who is helping to make their work easier is Ronald Hungarter, president of THOR Systems Inc., a name derived from an acronym for “The Helper of Roofers.”

“Awesome group,” Hungarter says of the Firelands Habitat for Humanity. “They were in Louisiana working on a project and one of the Habitat for Humanity chapters saw they were using my roofing tape.”

Hungarter of Larksville, Pa., was contacted by Firelands Habitat for Humanity and quickly donated rolls of THOR roofing layout tape that helped the all-women crew become better roofers.

“These women built a beautiful house,” Hungarter says. “They were thrilled about straightness and accuracy of the lines. They put on a perfect roof.”

The Firelands Habitat for Humanity build team from Sandusky, Ohio, prepares a roof using products from THOR Systems Inc.

How Things Get Done

Judy Hippler, a team leader for Firelands Habitat for Humanity, and also a member of the Habitat for Humanity’s RV Care-A-Vanners, learned about THOR’s roofing layout tapes during Habitat for Humanity builds in Slidel, La., and Leland, Miss.

“Judy is an unbelievable lady,” Hungarter says. “Having seen how helpful these roofing tools were in action, she requested the help of THOR for their all-women’s build in Sandusky, Ohio.”

Hippler, who lives in Castalia, Ohio, says she was merely looking for tools that would help the team perform Habitat for Humanity jobs correctly. “We were looking forward to having a perfect roof and a hassle-free installation,” says Hippler, who wrote a letter to Hungarter requesting a donation of THOR’s roofing tape.

“I can see how your tape would be a valuable tool for installing our shingles and make the installation process simple and instrumental in keeping the shingles straight. This is something that has been a serious problem on our two previous houses,” Hippler wrote in a letter to THOR Systems Inc.

Hungarter knew Hippler’s team could use his roofing tape. At the time, THOR was introducing new 16-inch on-center framing tapes, as well as new 8-inch, 9-inch and 10-inch siding tapes.

“I decided to attend the build in person,” Hungarter recalls. “What a great experience. What those women lacked in knowledge they more than made up in moxie and a willingness to learn how to do things right. I would not have traded that time with those volunteers for all the tea in China, as they say.”

Ron Huntgarter, right, of THOR Systems Inc. poses with Judy Hippler of the Firelands Habitat for Humanity all-women’s build team.

The Build

The all-women’s build team had already installed the trusses, roof decking and felt when Hungarter arrived on the jobsite in Sandusky. “Judy made it a point to tell me that the 24-inch on-center THOR truss layout tapes worked great and kept the entire truss layout exactly on mark without any creep or human errors.”

Meanwhile, Sandy Zitner, another team leader for the project, used THOR’s new siding tape and 16-inch framing tapes, Hungarter says.

With the roof deck prepared, the build team used THOR’s roofing layout tape to install 55/8-inch patterns of Owens Corning architectural fiberglass shingles. After the tapes were installed on the rear roof, lines were drawn with THOR’s double chalk called “Magichalk,” a non-staining and easily seen yellow chalk powder.

“These women were so anxious to get working that some started shingling at one end of the roof while the lines were still being struck on the other end of the roof,” Hungarter says. “Each volunteer knew exactly where each course of shingles would be installed without any manual measurements or other calculations.”

When the roof was completed, the team leaders posed for a photo with Hungarter. “The women did a great job,” he says. “Doing something right provides one with a sense of accomplishment that all volunteers hope to feel - the reason they are there in the first place. They did it, and did it as good as any professional roofer would have done it.”

Tale of the Tape

Hungarter says he has developed five different taping and chalk tools to help roofers solve their everyday problems. “When I came up with my inventions, I wanted to name my company THOR (The Helper of Roofers),” he says. “I developed five different tools, and each solved a problem, which created a system. It took me 12 years to get a Canadian patent and eight years to get a patent in the U.S. It’s been a hard, long process.”

Hungarter’s primary motivation in creating tools for roofers wasn’t the money. “My goal is to revolutionize the roofing industry,” he says. “It’s like PING golf clubs: The goal was to make the best golf club. The money followed, but it was a byproduct of the original idea to make the best product.”

Hungarter’s roofing tapes helps create a grid for roofers, establishing horizontal and vertical lines. “The tapes help you install any roofing project that needs a grid: shakes, asphalt, concrete, tile. If it needs a grid, the tapes create that grid,” he says.

“The tapes are part of the process. You have to snap lines. In order to snap lines, you need a chalk box. But you have to walk across the roof, too. Now we have two chalk boxes tied together. Instead of having to walk back and forth on a roof, you reel the line back into another box.”

Hungarter says he has a solution for roofers who work with chalk overspray that can stain a roof. “I have Magichalk, an iron oxide black on yellow or yellow on black chalk,” he says. “If you use the yellow Magichalk, it doesn’t stain.”

For more information about THOR Systems Inc., of Larksville, Pa., call 800-398-0376 or visit www.thortools.com.