Honey, The Doors Stuck, Again!

Any of us that have older homes have had the same moment of pure frustration, walking up that closet door, and for 103rd time having the door stick. You pull and push, lift and twist, and maybe just maybe, get the door open. Well, this is one problem that can go away with a little project.

The first step is to determine where the door is sticking. In this case, were going to assume that the door is sticking on the side of the door opposite the hinges (Strike-Bound). That’s mostly because my closet door is strike-bound at the top corner. I know this because the door has rubbed the paint of the jamb in this area.
There are a couple ways to deal with this. The first option is to adjust the hinge side to give the door a consistent reveal (the space between the door and jamb) on all four sides of the door. If you have a newer home with three hinge doors, and a jamb that is level, plumb and a door that is square, this is the way to go.

Unfortunately  that is not the case today. My home was built in 1905, and this door is original to that period. It is a pine rail and stile 4 panel door hung on 2 surface mount hinges in a pine jamb.

Very old school, and very cool to my eye, but a real pain to adjust at the hinges. Because of this, I’m gonna go old school on the door and plane and sand it into compliance!

Here are the tools you’ll need-
Tool Dump
Stiff Putty Knife
Hammer- (Lighter is better here)
Trim Bar- Basically a really small crowbar
Sanding Sponge, or Sandpaper and Block
Small Hand Plane
Cleanup tools- Dustpan and broom, or a Wet/Dry Vac

The knife, crowbar, and hammer are only needed if your door is really, really stuck! Use them to very carefully wedge the door open.
Before @ the Edge
Once you have the door open, use the plane and sanding sponge to shave the edge of the door. A quick tip, most solid wood doors will have a small section of cross-grain wood at either side of the top and bottom of the door. Don’t bother trying to use the plane here. Its not designed to cut against the grain and will just create trouble. Use the sanding block if you need to work on these areas.
Continue shaving and sanding the door until you create enough room for the door to operate smoothly. You can do all of this with the door in place, or you can pull the door out of the frame and clamp it (standing on its long edges) to a set of sawhorses if you’d rather not try this in place.
Done Planing
When the door is operating smoothly, with a little room to spare, sand everything smooth. Then prime the areas you worked on, and repaint the entire door. (Just a side note, if your home was built prior to 1970, take precautions because lead paint may be present in your home. Refer to http://www.epa.gov/getleadsafe/ for more info)
All Better

Choosing the Right Roofer

Whether you need to put a new roof on after a hail storm, or your current roof has finally given up theghost, a new roof is a major investment, and having the right roofing contractor partner is critical to getting the best roof, and the best value for your dollar. Unfortunately horror stories from roofing jobs gone wrong are a dime a dozen. So, when the drip starts, how do you start looking for the right roofer?


1. Talk to your neighbors. Look for refferals and recommendations from your friends and family. Check out Facebook, Twitter, Etc. Another great source of info is your local material supplier. I am a little biased, as my company Builders Do it Center is a material distributor. We regularly reccomend contractors in the communities we serve. Most suppliers know their customers work, and hear the good bad and ugly from other homeowners. But, take this advice with a grain of salt! Remember, they are going to recommend roofers who will purchase material from them, and they will most likely not give you the whole truth as the contractors are often their best customers.

2. License, license, license! If your state, county, or municipality requires contractors to be licensed make sure they are. And don’t just ask whether or not they are licensed, verify they have the right type of license, and that the license is current. Most states (Mine being NM) have an online system for verifying contractors license stauses. See notes at the bottom of the article for links to that  system.

3. Insurance- Verify that your contractor has not only general liability insurance, but also workers compensation insurance that will cover the crew workign on your home. If they are not covered, and someone is injured, you may be liable.

4. If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is. Any offer you get froma contractor regarding pricing, deductibles, or warranty needs to pass the smell test. If it sounds to good to be true, it just might be. Regardless, get all promises in writing. (Personal, not legal opinion immediatley follwing-) Verbal contracts may be legal, but any attorney will tell you how difficult they can be to enforce in  court. Ultimatley the best reason for a written contract is to define the details so issues can be avoided down the road.

5. Do not pay for work that hasn’t been performed. While a reasonable deposit is a very normal part of many contracts, payment is your insurance policy to get the job finished correctly. Once you have paid, the incentive to finish is significantly dimished. If your new roof is being partially or completely paid for as part of an insurance claim, discuss payment terms with your roofer and adjuster. Also, if your locality requires inspections and permits, do not pay until the roof has been inspected and the permit marked as approved by the inspector. All of that said, once the job is complete as stated in the contract, please pay the contractor! At the very least, failure to pay will void your warranty from the contractor. And in many states (NM included) the contractor (as well as any subcontractors and suppliers) can file a lien against your property until they are paid. (If you need an explanation on liens, check out wikipedia.)

Now, go out and find the right roofer for your project. The vast majority of contractors are honest, professionals who truly want to help you get your home back to its best condition. They may volunteer most of the info I mentioned above. The best defense against the handful of crooks is information!



NMRCA Consumer Info-

NM CID Licensee Search
NRCA Resqual Form

What Makes Customer Service Exciting not Expected

It is only 11AM and I have already had three great customer service experiences today. Needless to say that is not the norm, and it got me thinking about what made each of these people great at customer service.

The first great service experience was from a clerk at the FedEx Office location in the Westin Downtown Indianapolis. Max, not only did what I asked him, but went out of his way to help me save a little money, and make a critical flight. He was engaging, and truly friendly not just the expected level of politeness.

I left Max, and stopped at Steak & Shake for a quick breakfast to sustain me for what is already a long day.  I walked in the door, and was told I could sit anywhere I liked. I picked a seat and was immediately uncomfortable in it, Ashley (my server) sensed this and asked if I’d rather have a booth facing a TV so I could watch ESPN. That was exactly what I wanted, and she sensed it. She told me that “I was lucky to have the best server in the place” and proceeded to prove it. She showed me the best way to get exactly what I wanted on the menu with having to order anything extra, and was incredibly courteous and energetic. I truly felt like I was her customer and she was going to take care me while I was there.

When I got through the security I was absolutely parched, and grabbed a drink at a shop in the terminal. The cashier was incredibly friendly, and offered a smile as a bonus to a very small transaction. I noticed his name tag had the corporate slogan “Making travelers days a little better”. He had absolutely managed to that in a very small way.

What does each of the stories mean? That how an employee does there job is as critical as what they do when it comes to serving customers. Max, Ashley and the cashier all took pride in their work, and realized that they were dealing with not only customers, but people and that they could make there life  a little better. The reality is that polite efficient customer service is only the minimum to be in business these day. Lets focus on letting, and helping our employees do what only they can do. Take customer service from expected to exciting by allowing our employees to help people, and hiring employees who want to help.


Roofing Warranties

Just wanted to  address some common questions regarding roofing material and systems warranties.

Lets start by defining some common terms found in these warranties-

NDL- No Dollar Limit- A kind of commercial roof system warranty wherein the manufacturer will not only warrant that the roof system will perform as promised for the specified period of time, but will pay for any costs incurred as a result of nonperformance. Basically this is an insurance policy on the roofs ability not to leak. Often times these warranties have maintenance, and inspection requirements,and fees associated with them. Be aware of these if you are purchasing an NDL warrantied roof.

Certified/Registered/Approved Installer- Many manufacturers, (But not all), will offer extended or improved warranty terms of the roof is installed by a certain roofer who as undergone extra training, or has registered with the company. Sometimes theses roofers are more qualified, but sometimes this is simply a tool to help sell roofing to roofers. Check with your chosen manufacturers warranty for details on what you getf or using these installers, and what the installer must to do participate in the program.

Weathertightness- Most roofing warranties, and insurance policies on roofs are for weathertightness only. This means that as long as the roof isn’t, or won’t eventually start leaking, you do not have a claim. In other words, ugly is not covered. Check with your chosen manufacturer regarding their particular details.

Proration Period- The length of a roofs warranty during which, the value of the warranty declines as time passes. IE: at 1 year, the warranty is worth $80/square, Year 2- $75/Square, Year 10- $30/Square, Year 30- $5/Square. This is common to virtually all residential roofing warranties, but the schedule will vary between companies.

Non Proration Period- Sometimes called a Right Start, or Full Start period. This is a common feature of residential roofing warranties. This is the period prior to the proration period during which the warranty is not be devalued as time passes.

Labor and Materials Warranty- A warranty which will cover not only replacement materials, but also the labor to install them. This is not common in roofing warranties, although some companies are offering them for an initial period of a few years as a selling point.

Materials only warranty- A warranty which only covers the performance of the materials installed, not the installation. This is the most common type of warranty offered on roofing materials. Also used to describe a warranty which onl;y covers the replacement of materials and not the labor to install them in the event of a claim.

Lifetime warranty- This is a very loaded term. It can mean anything from a warranty with an extremeley long proration period, to a warranty good for the life of the structure, to the time period the original purchaser owns the building on which the roof is installed, and often more than 1 of these definitions of lifetime is used. Make sure that you understand not only the definition of a lifetime warranty, but what you must do in terms of paperwork, maintenance, and inspections to continue the warranty coverage as time passes.

Wind Warranty- The wind speed that the material chould be able to withstand once installed properly. Oftentimes, this wind speed can be icreased with special installation procedures.

ASTM- ASTM International formerly known as the American Society of Testing Methods is a not for profit organization which provides a forum for producers and consumers to meet on common ground and to write standards for materials, products, systems and services. ASTM standards are often referred to in warranties and specifications.

FACTORY MUTUAL (FM):An organization that classifies roof assemblies for their fire characteristics and wind uplift resistance for insurance companies in the United States.

UNDERWRITERS LABORATORY & WARNOCK HERSEY: Organizations that test and classify consumer products such as roof assemblies to methods defined by objective forums like ASTM.

So, now that we speak the language, lets talk about whats important. what a roofing warranty mean to you.-

A roofing warranty is just another feature or benefit of a roofing system or product. As a home or business owner, you need to be aware of the implications of the warranty you are getting with your new roof.

Oftentimes, warranty is used as a overly hyped selling point, but ultimately it is a major factor in the long term value of your roof. Be sure to thoroughly read the warranty of not only the product you are planning to purchase, but competing products. Remember that what a warranty is called is not as important as what it says, and that the warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it. That said, don’t be sold just on a warranty, better products will always be better, and the most important factor in any roof is the installer. Consult with a Professional Licensed Roofer that you trust, regarding your project for the most accurate information for your situation.

This information is based on Manufacturers published information, and is only the opinion of the writer. This is not intended to be nor is it legal, or professional advice. Consult a licensed attorney for legal advice if needed, or an engineer or roof consultant for technical advice.

Roofing Systems Breakdown

Just wanted to share a quick breakdown of the features, benefits, and drawbacks of some common roofing materials for both low and steep slope roofs that I created for our sales staff. This data comes from the NRCA, and RCI, and manufacturers, but the opinions and interpretation are my own. This is not intended to be a complete analysis of available roofing systems, nor is it absolute. The actual performance of your roof will vary with many factors, including installation, weather patterns, maintenance, and your environment. Always inspect your roof biannually and after any major storm. Consult a Proffesional Licensed Roofer for more information, or regarding your particular situation.

Steep Slope Roofs
Cost Brand Names Service Life Pro’s Con’s
3 Tab Asphalt Shingles $ Glass Seal, Sovereign, Classic 15-25 Years Low Cost Short Service Life
Oxidized Laminated Asphalt Shingles $$ Timberline, Highlander, Heritage, Oakridge, Duration. 25-50 Years Depending on Grade and Weight Appearance, Ease of Installation, Availability Susceptible to Hail damage, Relatively Short Service Life.
Modified Laminated Asphalt Shingles $$$ Legacy, Landmark Special 40-50years Resistance to Hail/Wind Damage, Lifespan/Cost Ratio Cost
Through Fastened Steel Panels $$ R-Panel, U-Panel, Imperial Rib 15-25 Years Low Cost, Ease of Installation Susceptible to Long Term Leaks, Appearance
Concealed Fastener Steel Panels $$$ CF-Panel, Standing Seam, Seam-Loc 25-50 Years Length of Service Life Cost, Specialized Installation Techniques
Stone Coated Steel Shingles $$$$ Decra, Metro, Gerard, SteelRock 25-50 Years Appearance, Weight, Resistance to Wind damage Cost, Specialized Installation Techniques, Warranty Related Issues
Cedar Shakes or Shingles $$$$ 25-40 Years Appearance, Resistance to Hail (When Wet) Cost, Length of Service Life in Certain Environments
Clay Tiles $$$$$ Ludowici, MCA, Deleo, Gladding McBean, US Tile 50+Years Appearance, Length of Service Life Weight, Cost
Concrete Tiles $$$$ Eagle, Monier Lifetile, Westile, 50+Years Length of Service Life, Cost/Weight compared to Clay Tile Cost
Composite Shakes, Slate, or Tiles $$$$ Lamarite, Davinci RoofScapes, Ecostar 30-50 Years Weight Compared to Concrete/Clay Tile, and Real Slate, Length of Service Life Cost, Concerns about Durability/Warranty
Slate $$$$$$ 75+ years Essentially Limitless Service Life, Appearance Cost, Weight

Low Slope Roofs

Cost Brand Names Service Life Pro’s Con’s
EPDM $$$ Firestone, Genflex 15-30 Years Flexibility Black surface affects temp of building. Some products have had performance issues
PVC $$$ IB, Durolast, Flex, Carlisle 15-30 Years Relative Ease of Installation, Available Warrantys Some brands have had performance issues. Cost.
TPO $$$ Carlisle, Genflex, Johns Manville, Flex, Firestone 20-35 Years Relative Ease of Installation, Available Warrantys Some brands have had performance issues. Cost.
BUR $$ Tamko, Johns Manville, Malarkey, GAF, Firestone 20-40 years Long term proven performance. Installation Issues. Difficult to repair.
Modified Cap Sheet $$$ Ruberoid, Malarkey, Johns Manville, Firestone, Certainteed, 20-45 Years Long Term Proven Performance. Available White surface is highly reflective. Installation Issues.
Torch Down APP $$ Firestone, Johns Manville, Certainteed, Tamko, US Ply, Grip Rite, Ruberoid 15-30 Years Relative Ease of Installation, Low cost. Potential safety issues during installation.

5 Things To Do After a Hail Storm

So, you got lucky and your area received real live, widespread damaging hail storm! There is going to be plenty of reroof business to go around, money will all but flow from the gutters of every house in town, but you need a plan, whether your a storm chaser going after the latest big storm, or your the local standby who is there to serve the community with or without a storm. So what do you do next?


#1-Survey the field

Go see whats up. Where was the damage? What kind of homes were damaged, what kinds of roofs? If your from out of town figure out the town. Where are the major roads, and how do people get from home to work? Where will you get supplies, permits, and dump your tear off waste? Get a map, and start taking notes. Figure out lodging for yourself and your crews.


#2- Pick your niche

What kind of roofs do you want to do. Do you have the fastest shingling crew west of the Mississippi, or do you have the corner on a great new product? Don’t just think about what kind of roof your going to put on, but kind of roof you want to take off. Many of your competitors may be focused on shingles, so maybe you need to worry about cedar roofs, or tile, or metal or flatwork. Maybe small homes, or steep slopes, or commercial could be right for you. Instead of chasing the same low hanging fruit as every other guy with a ladder and a hatchet go where the game is less plentiful , but where there are fewer hunters.


#3- Craft your story

Once you have figured out what kind of job you want to go after, you need to craft your story. Lets say you want to sell more large, steep slope roofs with cedar shakes being replaced with impact resistant asphalt shingles. Then maybe you want to talk about how your company has the equipment and experience to tear off these roofs many people see as difficult to work on. Then you might want to talk about he long term benefits of an impact resistant roofing material and the value of asphalt composite shingles. Ultimately the story has to be two things. The truth and yours! Don’t ever even consider telling a story that isn’t true. That’s not a story its a lie. At best its going to anger a customer, something that none of us can afford, and at worst it is going to cost you your license. As for it being yours, if you want the customer to feel that you are the perfect person to replace their damaged roof, then you need to believe that you are.


#4- Tell your story

Decide how you want to market and advertise. Remember the research you did in step 1? Think about what you know about the are, are signs on a major road going to reach many people, or is a newspaper ad going to do a better job? Are you going to have salespeople tell your story or would you rather be there talking to your customers one on one. Telling your story is the easy part.


#5- Live your story

This may seem obvious, but do what you say you will do. The referrals that a customer can give you are solid platinum, but only if your willing to keep making good on your story. The storm work will eventually end, and if your a local, this is a great opportunity to build your reputation in the community. If your a storm chaser, remember that many areas get hailed out on a regular schedule, you may be back sooner than you think and homeowners have memories like elephants.


With the right plan, hail storms are a great opportunity to build your business. I hope you take that opportunity and run with it!


Spring Nailing Contest

Just wanted to give a quick shout out to Jaime of Rangel Construction in Roswell, NM for his winning time of 2 Minutes and 36 Seconds in Roswell Lumber Do it Centers 1st Annual Spring Malarkey Roofing Products Nailing Contest. His time is only 6 seconds short of the world record for this event!

Welcome to buildersknowledge.com

Welcome to buildersknowledge.com. The destination for contractors, builders, and homeowners looking for information on construction, and building online. we will be adding more blog posts, videos and links in the near futures. I’m Justin Ellis, a professional in the construction supply biz, and an all around construction geek.  This website is a service of Builders Do it Center in Roswell, NM to construction pros and DIY’ers around the world.