Roofing contractors know from experience that the best tools and equipment can help them achieve their goals more quickly and efficiently. Roofers need tools that will work properly and get them through the job without interruption. Tools are essential for any company, and the right tool can make a difficult job a little bit easier.
You get the idea. A roofer’s best friends are his tools and equipment. Take care of your tools and equipment, and they’ll take care of you. Roofing Contractor spoke with some contractors who shared the tools and equipment they can’t do without.
Mike Zilka, President of G & Z Roofing of Renfrew, Pa., likes the Power Ladder from Power Hoist because his crew loves it. “The guys enjoy it because it eliminates them having to carry shingles up on the roof,” said Zilka. “It’s a time saver and energy saver to the guys. They are more refreshed not having to carry 20 squares up to the roof themselves.”
Zilka, a preferred contractor for Allied Building Products, said the Power Ladder is used each day on the jobsite. “It’s a daily piece of equipment,” he said. “We do more residential, and the Power Ladder basically comes in a light-grade and heavy-grade, which will carry more weight.”
The Power Ladder is powered by both a Briggs and Stratton motor and a Honda motor.
Tom Adams, owner of Adams Construction in Waukesha, Wis., utilizes Arrow’s T50 RED stapler for several reasons.
“One, it is lightweight and durable,” Adams said. “Two, the ease of not having to squeeze the handle in tight reaching spots with two hands - it only takes one. And because I have never had any problems with jamming with this particular stapler.”
Adams said he also uses the T50 RED in some insulation installations, including when stapling the flange of the insulation to the inside of the studs. “We use it in some vapor barrier situations as well, like when I can’t get the Arrow hammer tacker in specific spots,” he said.
Ken Kelly, President of Kelly Roofing & Energy Saving Solutions of Naples, Fla., uses the Flir B-Cam infrared camera to help locate and detect variations in temperature, and to detect active leaks and pinpoint problem areas.
“The Flir B-Cam helps locate and detect areas of sitting moisture and damp insulation under roofs without performing destructive testing,” Kelly said. “It helps by showing customers existing areas of energy loss by pinpointing holes, gaps and sealant voids throughout the building envelope.”
Kelly said he also uses the infrared camera for determining the surface temperatures of existing roofing systems in order to calculate the approximate savings a new, reflective roofing system would provide if installed.
“It is very reliable and easy to use,” Kelly said. “The camera also acts as a third party to help build trust. It saves thousands of dollars every year in labor and materials by helping us find the right area to fix. As a sales tool, we provide a detailed estimate - better than what a roof consultant provides - giving our company the edge in the bidding process.”
Paul Brant, Manager of Trust-All Roofing in Fresno, Calif., uses the Saiz Tool Company’s shingle cutting tool because “it’s the only hand-held cutting tool that quickly and easily cuts all of the composition shingles on the market.”
“I have been using the new cutting tool for several months and I can’t believe what a workhorse the tool is,” Brant said. “Once you use the new cutting tool, especially on thicker shingles like the 50-year and T/L shingles, there is no going back to the old comp knife.”
Brant said he uses the cutting tool on all his composition shingle roof jobs. “In fact, we now hook the tool up for every job, regardless of the type of roof, because we end up using the tool to cut a variety of other materials,” he said. “When it comes to cutting the hips and valleys for a composition shingle roof, the cutting tool is a real time saver.”
Also, cutting start-up patterns for gable roofs is quick and easy with Saiz’s new cutting tool, according to Brant.
“The cutting tool is also great for torch-down and any of the cap sheets, especially when you have to make long cuts,” he said. “When I most appreciate the new cutting tool, however, is when the weather is cold, making it nearly impossible to cut thick shingles with a comp knife. As roofers know, scraping the knuckles when using a comp knife in cold weather is very painful. I don’t have that problem with the Saiz cutting tool; it easily cuts composition shingles in cold weather.”
Cesar Munoz, a roofing expert for Stec Roofing & Exteriors of Naperville, Ill., said he uses the Duo-Fast Cordless Roofing Nailer because “it makes my life easier.”
“Whenever I can avoid bringing out the heavy compressor and hoses, I can save time, and time is money,” Munoz said. “Today, I used it instead of hand nailing. It’s cold and the shingles can tear when trying to hand nail when you’re installing a replacement shingle. This tool can get in under the shingle and avoid tears. It’s ideal for small jobs and roof repair. I use the Duo-Fast backpack that it comes with and I just climb the ladder and start my job.”
Munoz said he uses the tool for roof repairs, valley work, and installing skylights, windows, ridge, flashings, and drip edge.
Tools don’t have to be made of iron and steel to be effective. Ray Smith, Managing Director of AppliCad, said the company’s software delivers accurate cutting lists based on the actual verified and checked geometry of the roof.
To make software an even more valuable tool, Smith said AppliCad and Beck Automation announced a joint marketing and sales strategy that combines the respective skills of each company. AppliCad develops specialized 3-D roof and wall cladding take-off software with integrated output to various automated roll forming and folding machines. Beck is the developer of control systems for these machines.
The strength of AppliCad’s offering is the fact that they work in a 3-D environment that delivers accuracy and productivity benefits to their operators, according to Smith.
“The building envelope is modeled in 3-D easily and quickly followed by all dimensions being checked and verified,” he said. “This ensures an accurate output which can include the client proposal, full material lists, order forms and details, material cut lists of roof, wall panels and all trim and accessories. Output of the cutting and fabrication information from the AppliCad program can be sent directly to the machine controller, removing the need for the operator to key in cutting details thus reducing the chance of costly errors and improving efficiency.”