Why are roof prices sky-rocketing?
An interview with Michael Kearny of GAF Corp.
Lots of changes in roofing prices are on tap early in 2013. Increases to roofing contractors for insurance and healthcare have risen drastically and over the past few weeks RSI has received numerous price increase bulletins from most all major manufacturers and suppliers. This can mean a significant increase for your current or future project. However, you may be able to save a significant amount of money before we see the majority of the price increases. We sat down with GAF Corp.’s Michael Kearney to find out what is increasing and why.
Michael Kearney is a Commercial Specialist and Territory Sales Manager in Southern California for GAF, North America’s Largest Roofing Manufacturer. Michael has been with GAF for over five years and concentrates on the San Diego and Orange County markets, specializing in multiple technologies including TPO, PVC, Polyiso Insulation, Built- Up Roofing, Modified Bitumen, and Topcoat Coatings. Michael has a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from the University of Maryland and currently resides in Carlsbad, CA.
RSI: Michael, we have seen multiple price increase bulletins come our way which will be effective February 2013. What is driving the increases?
Michael: The volatile pricing climate of the asphalt industry has caused major roofing manufacturers to make tough pricing decisions for early 2013. GAF has recently announced price increases for asphaltic roofing products and polyiso insulation effective February 4, 2013. These price increases are in response to the escalation of key raw material costs and the forecast for their continued escalation. Driving these increases is the volatility of the asphalt market, as well as the increased price of granules and the production costs of manufacturing polyiso insulation. Another factor contributing to these increases is the rise in transportation costs for roofing products.
RSI: We have seen the increases across the board for asphaltic Built-Up Roofs, Shingles and Insulation. Do you expect price increases in any other products?
Michael: It should be noted that polymers that are a major component in the production of single ply membranes (TPO and PVC) are directly tied to petroleum prices, which are volatile at this time. While GAF does not have any TPO or PVC price increases announced at this time, it is extremely hard to forecast 2013 single ply pricing beyond the first quarter.
RSI: So on a typical 10,000 square foot building what might a Building Owner or Property Manager expect to see in the way of a percentage increase?
Michael: Industry wide roofing manufacturer price increases announced thus far for 2013 have been consistent across the board. GAF’s current announced price increases effective in February 2013 are for a 12-14% increase for all asphaltic products and 5% for polyiso insulation.
RSI: As contractors we have already seen a marked increase for workers compensation insurance as well as General Liability Insurance which is also going to drive the price of roofing up. Are there any other underlying structural expenses any that will contribute to the increased cost of roofing in 2013?
Michael: Roofing assembly components such as adhesives, sealants, and other accessories are subject to the same pricing instability concerns for 2013. Oftentimes, building owners’ focus strictly on membrane pricing when evaluating a roofing purchase, when in fact these peripheral roofing assembly components can quickly overshadow membrane pricing. These components are necessary to installing a roofing system that meets minimum industry standards.
RSI: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us, is there anything else you’d like to add that would be valuable information for our customers to have?
Michael: GAF applauds RSI Roofing’s efforts to educate and inform building owners regarding increased prices for roofing solutions. This is pivotal information for your clients, which allows them to make educated decisions in a volatile pricing market. GAF truly appreciates your work as a trusted advisor to your building owners. As a GAF Master Select contractor,RSI Roofing represents the best of the best not only in roofing installation, but understanding our industry and business climate. GAF’s Master Select contractors are the backbone of our certified contractor program, and we’re privileged to have RSI Roofing as part of this very select group.
In conclusion, with the price of materials in February and beyond in 2013 and the direct cost increases to contractors for insurance and health care; we expect a new roof to be as much as 5-12% more expensive after February. Our recommendation to building owners and property managers is to pursue a new roof as early as possible to save a considerable amount of money.
Think about your roof before you think solar
Solar has quickly become a trend in San Diego for both residential homes and commercial buildings. The only difference is; this trend is going to stick. According to www.gosolarcalifornia.org, California leads the nation for total solar projects and total megawatts installed. Homeowners and Building owners are quickly pulling the trigger on solar but often pay little attention to what condition their roof is in prior to the installation. This can be a very expensive mistake to make.
What owners don’t always know:
- Putting solar on their existing roof can possibly void any roof warranty.
Depending on the type of roof and system you install, your warranty may be at risk. The rule of thumb is that if you penetrate the roofing materials you must flash and waterproof to manufacturer’s spec’s to avoid voiding your roofing warranty. It is recommended that you contact your roofing contractor to get specific details on your warranty.
- The roof may be unstable to hold the amount of weight solar brings.
A solar panel installation adds 2 to 5 lbs. of load per square foot on average. Before you have solar installed, be sure to have a licensed roofing contractor inspect the roof to ensure that all PV Solar installations can be completed safely and without causing any damage.
- High heat sensitivity.
Solar systems can add high temperatures to roof tops, so it is important to be sure that your roof system is designed for these elevated temperatures otherwise, heat damaged roof membranes will deteriorate faster than normal and not be covered by a warranty. This is especially true of white single ply roofs.
- Sometimes you can keep your old roof system and still install solar
If you cannot afford a new roof and install solar, you may be a candidate for a leased roof system which can include the cost of a new roof or proved savings that will pay back the cost of a roof in a short period of time.
- Life of a solar system is about 30 years
This is something to seriously consider before installing solar. The roof you are mounting the solar on should have a 30 year or greater life expectancy. The costs associated with having to take up a solar system down the road in order to re-roof and then reconnect the solar will reduce the economic benefit of going solar in the first place.
If you are if you are unsure of how to go about organizing roof repairs or roof restorations prior to your solar panel installations, you should contact your local roofing contractor. Not all solar contractors know roofing and it’s important that you protect one of the biggest investments on your building.
Keeping Business in San Diego vital to our Economic Growth
Wise consumers look for value not just price. We may be willing to drive 50 miles to get a $500 savings for a car, only to find out that although it saved $500 in price, it cost multiple trips back for service which took time and money and often offset the savings we thought we received. The same goes true for the purchasing decisions you make here in San Diego. When we hire contractors outside of San Diego to perform work down here not only are we missing out on the local customer service but also we aren’t contributing to San Diego’s economic growth.
It may have more of an impact on you than you think. When you keep business local it stabilizes the work force and creates jobs. It’s an ongoing process and cycle. Those same contractors you hired will also hire a local supplier which again, keeps business local and sustains our local economy. Local contractors are almost always run by local residents. When you support that business the residents tend to stay and help San Diego’s economy thrive. From a community standpoint, supporting San Diego contractors can also have a major impact on our local charities. The San Francisco Retail Diversity Study, May 2007 by Civic Economics, found that local businesses donate 350% more, on average, to charities than larger retailers. Their taxes pay your police force and other much needed services around the city to keep it clean, safe, beautiful and prosperous. Also worth mentioning is the environmental impact it has. Workers commuting to San Diego = more gas/emissions.
Next time you are receiving bids from a service provider, I highly recommend you look beyond the cost. After all, you are hiring a SERVICE provider and getting high quality service from a vendor in Los Angeles or Riverside is highly unlikely.
So where’s the best place to find local service providers? Look at local industry trade associations, chamber of commerce or even the better business bureau. Be proud of where you live and support those who live here. Together San Diego can thrive through these tough economic times by supporting each other and it’s up to us to hold each other accountable on doing business locally. In return we’ll see loyal contractors and loyal customers which in the long run just might save us that $500 we were looking for.
8 Things all HOA Board of Directors should know before making a roofing decision
There’s a lot of Home Owners Associations out there that are managed by Property Management Companies but ultimately, the Board of Directors are the ones that make the budgeting decisions. Often times, roofing is a big part of that equation. With the roofs most likely being the largest investment throughout the property, it is vital that the roofing decisions that are made are the right ones. We’ve compiled a list that works not only for the Board of Directors, but also Property Management Companies that are in the process of making a roofing decision.
- First of all, you need to find out who the current manufacturer is of your roof/s to see if there is any remaining warranty.
- Next, you need to find a roofing contractor that you can trust. The best place to look is your local trade associations. For HOA specific associations, try Community Associations Institute (CAI), California Association of Community Managers (CACM), or if you are a property manager try Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) or Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM). Often times the websites will have an online directory if you are pressed for time.
- Make sure the roofing contractor has the proper Liabililty Insurance (with no HOA exclusions).
- Safety is a big one here. Ask the roofing contractor about their safety program and ask to see their safety program in writing, and make sure they are up to date and conform to all OSHA safety requirements/standards. You don’t want to be liable if an accident were to occur.
- Make sure the roofing contractor has the ability and resources to get the job done right and on time. Ask for references of similar jobs and call them!
- When the roofing contractor does preform the roof inspection, don’t be surprised to see unapproved satellite dishes, solar or other damage in the inspection report. Constantly remind your tenants of your policies, this will save you $ on roof leaks/repairs!
- When you do receive bids, it’s very important to compare apples to apples. It’s very common for bids to be thousands of dollars apart. That’s because there are so many variables on the roof. The best way to do this is to invite the contractors to a board meeting and discuss the details. This is also a good way to see if the company is a good fit.
- Finally, learn about the company and their reputation. Visit their yard and offices. Many roofing contractors are barely holding on by a thread through this recession. There are many documented cases where roofing contractors have pulled off of the job because of financial instability.
Dangers of a Dry Winter
As the winter of 2011-12 wraps up in San Diego you have to ask yourself, “What happened to the rain this year?? Is that all we are going to get?” Last winter we saw over 10” of rain in one month with this year barely topping out at .75 inches. When you go month after month without rain, roofing contractors like to use the common phrase “Out of sight, out of mind” which comes into play because most building owners and property managers disregard the care of their roof during these dry months and for the most part are just happy it DIDN’T rain!
Unfortunately, the roof is most likely your biggest asset on your building/s and it’s the one thing that protects it from the elements. Here’s a list of things that could go wrong without properly maintaining your roof during these long dry spells:
- Walk on traffic can be common on rooftops. Clothing, trash, and other loose items can clog up the drains when it does eventually rain, causing deep ponding eventual leaks and in worse case scenarios roof collapses.
- Vandalism is common with neglected roof tops. Vandals and gangs find roof tops idea places to meet out of sight of security officers or law enforcement. From graffiti to roof damage to starting fires- we have seen it all happen from these guys.
- Screws, nails and tools left behind can sometimes be left from previous contractors on the roof. When stepped on these become holes into which water can flow.
- Vegetation is another common hazard. Seeds and pollen land in low spots and start to grow. Their roots penetrate the roof causing leaks.
- Tenant adventures on your roof with newly installed equipment that you may not be aware of along with some Handy Man rigged penetration can cause severe leaks when it finally does rain- and who do they call? You, and then you get stuck with the roof repair bill.