RoofViews

Residential Roofing

Speed vs. Quality in Residential Roof Installation—Can You Have Both?

By Annie Crawford

May 08, 2020

A roofer installing Timberline® HDZ™ shingles

Speed is king in residential roof installation, but it can come at the expense of quality. Without taking steps to maintain quality, "the fastest roof is typically the one that will cost contractors the most," stated Guillaume Bailly, Senior Training Manager, Canada for the GAF Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence (CARE). This is because poor quality leads to callbacks, reduced reputation, and lost profit over time.

Fortunately, by using efficiency techniques and the right roofing materials, quality and speed don't have to be mutually exclusive in residential roof installation.

Techniques to Improve Efficiency and Consistency

By implementing some techniques for more efficient work, it's possible to install quality roofs, have happy customers, and improve profit margins with faster installations. Here are four strategies for residential roof installation that will put your crew in peak performance mode.

  1. Proper Onboarding. Provide uniform training on your company operations and residential roof installation standards to each new crew member. "Most roofing companies don't have any formal—much less informal—training to get crew members up to speed," said Bailly. "The time you invest in training your crew on the front end will prove its value through efficient, quality work down the line."

  2. SOP: Standard Operating Procedure. SOP improves quality and efficiency because everyone on your crew is using the same installation techniques. Unfortunately, many roofing contractors don't have clear SOP. "Everyone needs to be on the same page," said Bailly. "Create protocols for how you install drip edge, how you inspect substrate, and how you install every component of the roofing system." SOP doesn't just increase speed and efficiency, it also reduces arguments and improves morale. "SOP eliminates the ego element in your crew," said Bailly. "It doesn't become a matter of 'my way vs. your way.' It's just the company way."

  3. Inspection. Inspections improve company efficiency over time because they reinforce your SOP and create consistency. "As roofers, we can be stubborn. This is something my wife agrees with fully!" said Bailly. So, even if you tell someone "this is how we do it," they might say, "no problem," and then continue to do it their own way. The solution is independent inspections. "Over time, if they have inspection after inspection where they have to fix their work, they'll start to fall in line," said Bailly. Keep in mind, it's not a true inspection if the person who did the install is also doing the inspection. Instead, you may want to use a third party who will be vigilant about details. Consider using the foreman of another crew, the company owner, or a consultant firm for inspections.

  4. Compensation. Reward workers' compliance with SOP so they will discipline themselves to install the roof properly. "Many installers are paid per bundle. Of course, they prioritize speed," said Bailly. "But when you give workers who get a 10 out of 10 on inspection a bonus for the day, they're incentivized to do great work." The front end investment can save big money by creating an efficient and consistent team whose quality work helps reduce callbacks and other problems on the back end.

Products that Can Help Improve Speed and Accuracy

In addition to internal techniques, new roofing technologies can provide valuable benefits for roofers. From shingles with wider nailing zones to help with nailing accuracy to underlayment that makes shingle alignment easier, here are some products that can help installers get the job done.

  • Timberline® HDZ Shingles with LayerLock™ Technology: A 2020 update on the original Timberline® HD®, this shingle features three key components—LayerLock™ technology, the StrikeZone™ nailing area, and DuraGrip™ sealant. With a wide nailing zone of 1.81 inches, the StrikeZone™ nailing area offers up to 99.9% nailing accuracy. LayerLock™ technology mechanically fastens the common bond for strength, and DuraGrip™ sealant offers one of the industry's strongest bonds.
  • Hip and Ridge Cap Shingles: These ridge caps are perforated, so your crew just needs to crack them apart and go, with no cutting to worry about.
  • Deck-Armor™ Roof Deck Protection: This underlayment has vertical and horizontal lines to help with shingle alignment. It comes in rolls that are 33% wider than traditional felts for more coverage per course. It also provides great traction for roofers to walk on.

Team training and powerhouse materials can help your company deliver both speed and quality on a consistent basis. Interested in learning more strategies for roofing efficiency? Browse the online and in-person courses available from GAF CARE trainers.

About the Author

Annie Crawford is a freelance writer in Oakland, CA, covering travel, style, and home improvement. Find more of her work at annielcrawford.com.

Related Articles

GAF Roofing Academy Graduate holds up his certificate of achievement.
In Your Community

How Attending the GAF Roofing Academy Changed One Graduate's Life

Meet Austin Teague, recent GAF Roofing Academy graduate who shares his transformational journey from ball field to the roof. Prior to the GAF Roofing Academy, he was involved in sports, worked in customer service, but lacked the experience needed to break into the roofing industry. Once he graduated from the GAF Roofing Academy, doors were then opened for him, leading to well-paying jobs as an installer and later as a salesperson, where he is currently on track to meet his financial goals.Attending the two-week program proved to be a life-changing decision for Austin, providing him with the tools and confidence needed to succeed. The course not only equipped him with technical expertise, but also instilled in him the ability to educate customers effectively. Take a listen as Austin shares his story of how he found clarity and direction in his professional life, enabling him to thrive in the industry and build a successful future for himself and his family.Are you interested in a career in the roofing industry? Look for a Roofing Academy course in your area. Video TranscriptMy name is Austin Teague. I'm originally born in Tyler, Texas. Moved to Washington when I was a kid at ten. Well, prior to joining the Roofing Academy and, you know, taking my skills to that test, I was sports, strictly sports. Everything in my life I would, you know, I'd work a customer service job. I was in the, you know, the retail industry. I worked at Walgreens, but my personal life was hectic. It was football practice, baseball practice. It was always something going on.There was always something to do. Everything when it comes to roofing, for me, started after the Roofing Academy. When I tried to get into the roofing industry before going to the Academy, nobody wanted me because I had no experience. They're going to have to train everybody on the job. But because of the roofing academy, because I knew what I was going to do day one, I knew what my job was. I couldn't run into any hiccups because I knew what showing up day one was going to look like.[00:00:56.770]So they gave me a GAF certificate with my name, the location I trained out of, and then when I graduated. And what I did with that is I took it to every single applicant or job interview I had because I wanted them to know that I have this certificate. Not saying I have it, but also bring it, so they can see it.After the academy, I landed a job at 28 an hour as an installer, which is substantial in this living, making life, making payments. And then after that, I got bumped up to 32 an hour when I was working in New Mexico. And now that I'm sales, I'm straight commission. But in this month, I'm on pace to hit 20,000. Our goal at Tristate is to educate the customers firsthand. So being at the Roofing Academy allowed me to know roofing like the back of my hand. As an installer, as a sales, as an owner, you got to see the value in the systems. And it allowed me in my head to build those value, actually explain it to the customers. Where is this number coming from? Well, it's coming from this material because this material is going to cost more, of course, but it's obviously better.[00:01:58.920]I think someone coming to the Roofing Academy right away, no experience, is going to set you up for success. That's what you want. You want to be set up for success. You want to be as many tools as you can in your tool belt to get you to that point you want to be in life. And showing up to the Roofing Academy, it changed my life drastically. I didn't know what I was going to do. I literally didn't know, if roofing wasn't the pathway for me- what was the next plan?I was just grateful. I mean, I was one day on indeed looking for jobs and I saw the Roofing Academy post on indeed looking for academy students, and I thought, why not? What's two weeks out of my life that I get to change it? If I get an opportunity to change it and that two weeks changed my life. There's no time wasted. You're here from nine to three or nine to four at the latest for your classes.You're with guys that you actually enjoy being around. The guys in my class or in the class today, they're fun guys. They all get to make mistakes and learn from each other. And it just makes me grateful that I got that opportunity to make something of myself. I'm not just another guy on the street.[00:03:00.340]I don't know what my life's going to look like in the next six months, but I guarantee it's not going to slow down. I'm going to work harder than ever. I know I got two kids at home. I have something to push me. I would say that all the success started with the Roofing Academy because my life before the Roofing Academy was kind of on a snowball effect. It had started from when I left college and then came home and it kind of just started snowballing. One thing after another was another problem, another problem. Bills at 18, going into debt. You're 18, your life isn't, you're going to ruin your life already. So you got to figure some out. And I figured it out. I got lucky enough that I found GAF and you know they still treat me well to this day. I have my Academy teacher's phone number and I call them up and help him out from time to time, and he helps me out from time to time.We still get along. And it was two weeks of my life that I knew the guy, and he still gives me a call and checks up on me and tries to: How are you doing in roofing? You still in roofing? You still making a name for yourself? You still doing what you said you were going to do? And I am. It's just good to have someone to talk to. Even if you're in this industry for ten years, I guarantee you GAF CARE will probably still give you a call and check on you. That's just what they do.

By Authors GAF Roof Views

April 12, 2024

GAF Sustainability Award winners holding their award.
In Your Community

GAF Celebrates Major Strides in Manufacturing Sustainability

Manufacturing sustainability is a top priority for GAF. In 2022, the company announced its 2030 Planet Goals to "focus on operational improvements, product transparency, and the introduction of circularity in the asphaltic shingle industry."Looking to lead positive change while considering the long-term impact of its business on the planet, GAF identified several goals, including:Diverting 1 million tons of roofing materials from landfills while integrating recycled shingle materials into new shingle productsDiverting 80% of manufacturing waste from landfills, recycling all shingle and TPO scrap that results from the manufacturing process, and recycling or reusing fiberglass mat scraps and coresReducing embodied carbon and operation carbon throughout its manufacturing and operationsAchieving Environmental Product Declarations for its core products, conducting life cycle assessments, and generating 2.5 GW of power from solar roofs in partnership with GAF EnergyMeeting these goals takes time, resources, innovation, and ingenuity, all backed by a team working to build a better world. Every GAF location is striving to meet the company's goals. Looking back on the progress made in 2023, some impressive accomplishments are bringing the company closer to achieving full manufacturing sustainability.Residential ManufacturingThe GAF Mt. Vernon, Indiana, shingle manufacturing plant worked toward achieving sustainable operations through robust recycling efforts. The team established a shingle recycling outlet estimated to divert thousands of tons of asphalt shingles from landfills annually. This has eliminated thousands of dollars in disposal fees and reduced transportation costs.The Mt. Vernon staff found creative ways to keep complex waste materials out of landfills, including working with a local golf course that could take the plant's waste sand. The team implemented an internal recycling program that includes cardboard and packaging materials, increasing its waste diversion score.Commercial ManufacturingAt the Gainesville, Texas, plant that manufactures TPO and Polyiso, team members earned the area's first waste diversion certification for both products' waste streams. They also earned a recycled content certification for each.The plant established a trial program with a plastics recycler to reprocess TPO skin material for reuse in manufacturing new material. Recycling and reusing would divert thousands of tons of waste from landfills and use recycled materials in manufacturing flexible TPO for flashings.The plant also developed a program with a local recycling company that serves as a single source to take its pallets, large cardboard boxes, facers, paper, and plastics.Sustainability All-StarsRecycling and manufacturing sustainability programs wouldn't be possible without the people behind the initiatives. GAF is proud to spotlight these individuals who went above and beyond to meet the company's sustainability goals.Ben AnselmanAs part of the Mt. Vernon team, Anselman was critical to starting the plant's core recycling program. He initiated repairs to an existing baler and established a program for recycling the super sacks. His creativity sparked the partnership with the local golf course to divert aggregate waste from landfills. In addition, he was the champion for the shingle recycling outlet project and repurposed an existing compactor to reinstate a cardboard recycling initiative.Christina Talladira and Amy WilsonThese teammates lead the core recycling program at the Tampa, Florida, manufacturing plant. They worked together to establish aggregate and shingle recycling programs with their local recycling company. Talladira and Wilson consistently look for ways to divert waste streams from landfills. They also handle the administrative needs accompanying these programs, including scheduling loads and tracking waste.Jeremy TisdaleAt the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, plant, Tisdale took the initiative to improve its core recycling program and set up a cardboard recycling program. He also championed a baler trial for glass mat cover and core waste, developing standard operating procedures and a job safety analysis. He was the innovator behind diverting the plant's plastic waste from landfills. He created a program where stretch film and shingle bundle packaging waste is saved in Gaylord boxes and then baled whenever the plant has downtime.Pete WeyrensIn Gainesville, Texas, Weyrens is the champion behind the plant's recycling efforts, establishing relationships with the local recycling company. He also organized the flexible TPO skin material trials. This effort will divert thousands of tons of waste from landfills and use recycled materials to manufacture flexible TPO for flashings.Leslie PeelsAfter the plant in Cumming, Georgia, saw a drop in its year-over-year waste diversion rate, Peels stepped in to turn those numbers around. Leading the effort to separate recyclable materials from regular waste, the Cumming location saw an impressive increase in keeping waste out of the landfill. Peels also set an example in data collection and analysis to keep the plant's sustainability goals on track.TJ Jenkins and Todd WinsteadJenkins and Winstead represent the TPO team at the Mt. Vernon manufacturing plant. Working together, they used their knowledge and experience in the TPO manufacturing process to help earn the plant's recycled content certifications. They also found a way to divert calcium chloride from local landfills and continue to work closely with the sustainability team to support waste diversion efforts.Sustainability PromiseGAF is committed to "Protect What Matters Most," and that includes people, communities, and the planet. Its sustainability promise is an opportunity to invest in a healthy future for everyone. Learn more about that commitment in its sustainability report.

By Authors Karen L Edwards

April 11, 2024

GAF volunteers gather in front of the Ennis, TX plant to celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness.
In Your Community

How GAF Team Members Are Making an Impact in Ennis, Texas

Ennis, Texas, might be best known for hosting the National Polka Festival every year, but it's also home to many GAF professionals who support the community.GAF has been part of the Ennis community for over 45 years, where its footprint has grown to include a research and development center and two manufacturing plants. In addition to the work GAF employees complete onsite, many have used their connections to champion local organizations' efforts. GAF knows how important it is to build resilient, thriving communities, and its continued commitments in Ennis offer proof of what's possible.The GAF Ennis Facility's Tradition of Giving BackWith over 260 employees at the Ennis facility, it has a significant impact on the surrounding area. Many team members have worked there for 30 to 40 years, or more, and are lifelong residents of the city. One of the plants manufactures fiberglass mat rolls, a critical component used in roofing materials, while the other plant manufactures shingles. The shingle plant recently expanded to include recycled asphalt briquettes, which will be used in manufacturing recycled asphalt shingles to divert 300,000 tons of waste from landfills.David Tuttle, Senior Director of Residential Operations at GAF, joined the community in 2004 and in 2012 set out to help his friends and neighbors flourish with increased community engagement. He first joined the board of the Ellis County Children's Advocacy Center and has since expanded his service to other organizations, including two local United Way chapters, and the Ennis Boys and Girls Club.Tuttle's work started a legacy of community leadership. For instance, Joe Glanton, the GAF plant's community engagement ambassador, is now President of the Board of Directors of Greater Ennis United Way. Other GAF associates quickly followed suit, demonstrating their commitment to the community by working on local projects as well as joining the board of the Ennis Boys and Girls Club.Today, the tradition of giving back still runs strong. Many local groups and charitable organizations continue to benefit, and the community keeps growing stronger.GAF Ennis Facility's Community ImpactProviding justice, hope, and healingTuttle was instrumental in setting an example for community engagement. After joining the board of the Ellis County Children's Advocacy Center more than a decade ago, he eventually served as Board President. The nonprofit responds to child abuse and sexual assault reports, providing advocacy, forensic interviews, and mental health services to those affected."Our charge is to provide justice, hope, and healing for every child," Tuttle explains. After serving two years as Board President, and two as Past President, his 12-year tenure on the board is ending, but Tuttle has been working to bring other GAF team members into the organization and maintain support for Ennis's youngest residents.Stepping upGAF team member, Angela Adams, who is also an Ennis Boys and Girls Club board member, serves as a mentor through the Mentors Care program. After a Mentors Care representative was invited to speak at the Ennis plant, three of her colleagues signed up to volunteer as mentors. "I was so impressed by the number of employees who showed up to listen to what Mentors Care had to say," Adams notes.Mentors Care matches struggling high school students with mentors who serve as positive role models to help students manage their day-to-day challenges. The nonprofit recently reported that 100% of seniors in the program graduated, 92% of mentored students achieved a 90% school attendance rate, and 89% of students advanced to the next grade level.Unique solutions for unique challengesMatt Neal, GAF engineering manager, serves as Board President of Runnin' Free Ranch, which serves area veterans, at-risk youth, and individuals with special needs through counseling with horses. The organization is working to change the lives of Ennis residents who face unique challenges.A local US Navy veteran who participates in the program wrote that he was "a prisoner of rage and unending bitterness" after he departed from serving. Though he doubted a horse could help him, he eventually realized that "our therapy sessions have comprised of laughter, tears, frustration, and a release of tension that I've never experienced before."Making a direct impact when it's needed mostJoe Glanton has been involved in the evolution of many community organizations, including serving as a board-level leader for the Ennis CARES organization. Founded during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ennis CARES was developed to help community members with non-emergency needs, including food, health care, and other services. Glanton notes that "it's a natural extension of our work to be as supportive and active as possible with organizations that have a direct impact on protecting what matters most."Ennis CARES will soon break ground on a new community center and "combat multiplier" for local charities, opening space to house a food bank and provide services such as health care for women and seniors.Disaster ResponseRandy Brumley, GAF mat plant Production Process Manager, met Team Rubicon—a disaster response organization—when they visited the Ennis plant. He instantly decided to become a greyshirt volunteer alongside several other team members.Brumley wrote about his first operation, where he responded to Houston neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Harvey. "Team Rubicon is a diamond class organization held together by volunteers—veterans and civilians—and respect at its core," he explains. "For anyone who has the chance, I would say: Step into the arenal!" Brumley has been a part of the Ennis community, and a GAF employee for over 40 years, and also serves as a member of the Ennis Boys and Girls Club.Becoming Part of the CommunityTuttle shares that he and his teammates appreciate that GAF affords them the flexibility and opportunity to give back to their communities. "It's exciting that GAF provides the support and encouragement to go and serve," he says. "We owe it to our communities; we're really blessed and privileged with our jobs and careers and the benefit to go volunteer. Everyone has the ability to go and find a place to serve."With a total of 34 manufacturing locations spread throughout 26 communities across the US, GAF and its team members are well positioned to change lives and help build resiliency nationwide. Curious to learn more about joining the GAF team? Explore the available career options and opportunities to get involved.

By Authors Karen L Edwards

April 09, 2024

Don't miss another GAF RoofViews post!

Subscribe now