Sponsored Links


September 2021
« Jan    

Roofing – World Class and Second Class

The roof on your house is probably one of the last things that you think about. Until it leaks, gets damaged, or wears out. Last October a freak hailstorm happened on my birthday which severely damaged a large number of roofs in the Phoenix area. So much so that insurance companies sent damage response teams here to get repairs underway as quickly as possible.  A number of my clients got affected and I recommend only one roofing company. Collum Roofing.

Before I continue, a quick note about contracting in Arizona. Being a Right to Work state, there is no requirement to have your employees actually proficient in the trade they are being paid for. Contractors here hire on a per job basis and pays ‘piecework rates’, which is a set amount for any particular job. There is nothing wrong with this if you are good at what you do, but the downside is finding yourself part of a crew whose tools still have the price stickers on them, contractors who supply cheap materials, and projects run by accountants rather than folks who care about quality. Hourly workers are like pink monkeys here. Crews get hired off of street corners and are together long enough to get the job done before needing to find another job. Even skilled tradesmen get this treatment. Keep this in mind when you look for contractors for your house.

In looking for a contractor in Arizona, the standard License, Bonding, and Insurance questions should be asked, but more important is asking how long the employees have been with the company, as the better companies have stable work forces, who are treated fairly and just do a better job.

Recently I managed a project requiring re-roofing, repair and painting. First the setup.

The front.

The design of this roof with the gables and the lunacy of the entryway is a rant for another time. Note on the right side of this photo the blotches on the metal drip edge. When this roof was applied, the original roofer used 1” galvanized drip edge and the painter did not prime the metal, which would have required another step and would have resulted in a better job. The trim had been repainted once since construction.

One of the first things I did after making the shingle selection and deciding on a standard pre-finished brown drip edge was to computer color match the new trim paint color to the drip edge. This adds to the finish which you will see soon.

The Rear
One of the oddest bits was the back side of the roof having three layers of shingles. This is unusual as this is the north facing side of the roof and is not as exposed to damage like the south sides of roofs especially in Arizona.

One other interesting item is that there is no metal drip edge. More on that shortly.
Last is the rear patio.

Re-roofing consists of tearing off the old roof, down to the decking. This includes the shingles, underlayment, old drip edge, vent caps, and or lifting or removing HVAC units. Anything less is bullshit and you will be sorry. Maybe not tomorrow, but a lot sooner than a world class job.
This gets the roofer to the point that a complete damage assessment can be made. There are always surprises when you get the roof torn off. In the case of this project, Rodney from Collum and I had a good idea going in what was necessary. Having worked with Collum on other projects, the Roof Repair Project, Artroom Expansion, we have a great working relationship.
One of the first things the roofers did was to tear off the rear patio so I could replace the fascia and decking while they were tearing off the rest of the roof. This allowed us to minimize the time that the roof was exposed. Roofing in Arizona in January has two significant drawbacks. One is that it is our winter rainy season, the other is cold temperature making shingles stiff.
World Class and Second Class
As our project was going on, the house next door was also getting re-roofed, by somebody else. I emphasized that as you will see in a moment. I am providing an illustration of a standard roof detail.

It is important to note that after the tear off, and any repair, the base sheet on a shingle roof is a felt underlayment that extends to the edge of the roof, and gets covered with the metal drip edge. This provides the first layer of protection for your house. The eaves and fascia’s  take the brunt of punishment in any roofing project. Neglecting this is a recipe for disaster later on.  It is not economical to save drip edge for reuse, nor is it a good practice in a quality roof job. The same goes for the other sheet metal items like vent caps.

The diagram above illustrates the order of a quality roof job. On top of the drip edge is the starter course, which is a solid shingle without granules. It extends beyond the drip edge to keep water that much farther from your exposed wood. Also note that we are using a 2” drip edge which completely covers the 1×2” wood drip edge.

With the shingles it looks like this.  This is what a world class job looks like.

This is next door.

Not only did they not completely strip the roof, they left the old drip edge and starter course, and just shingled over it. You can tell this by the paint color as well as the over paint on the bottom of the shingles.

The house next door also has a patio. This is their roofers idea of a complete job.

Here again they left the old drip edge, did not remove the old vent material and it looks like they didn’t even parge the shingles where the roof meets the patio fascia.

Here is how it is done right. Not only is there new underlayment, drip edge and fascia,(details are here) there is also counter flashing to the edge of the roof to avoid the dry rot which created the problem with the old fascia. The counter flashing gives the water a place to exit the roof.

Here is our re-roof in progress. Note the new sheetmetal vents, clean work area and not visible is the fact that the shingles extend behind the gable and not just up to it. (this is one of those PITA areas) Also they are using air nailers and not staples. This is  a significant difference, that could consume an entire posting, (nails work better than staples) but for the sake of brevity trust me on this.

One of the other details that set a world class job apart is the details. This is the finish next door.

Note that they reused the old fittings and caps. Actually they never reset them.

Here is our job. New covers, properly set and painted to match. This is not an extra, this is how they do it.

The last detail to demonstrate why I use and recommend Collum is the front entry.

This is the entry. One of the worst parts of this design is that most of the water that hits the front of the roof gets funneled down here.

Here is one of the inside corners.

The elements have taken their toll.

Here is the finish detail. After replacing some of the sheathing,  repairing the trims and fascia, the roofers extended the starter course below and underneath the corner, shingled and wrapped the shingle over the edge and wrapped it beneath the gable end.

This is the finished project.

The paint helped but the roof is the star of the show. No more roof worries for years.

So if you are anywhere in the Phoenix area and need roofing, Collum Roofing is who I use and highly recommend. Their phone number is (602) 437-1184. Or you can request a quote online. Tell them the remodgeek sent ya.

Patio Cover Repair

Due to October’s Hailstorm, the roofing industry in Arizona has been busy. Insurance companies have been opting to replace the shingle roofs rather than trying to repair them as the damage has been severe. Part of a quality roofing companies work is to warranty their work. To do this, they need to have a solid surface to attach their materials. In a tear off, defects may show up that require replacement of sheathing, fascia and or trim. This will affect the final cost of repairs. Structural repairs are not usually part of a roofers job.A recent project  I did as a residential project manager illustrates this.

Patio covers are a common addition to Arizona houses, and are made from light gauge steel to wood framing. This is a typical wood framed patio cover.

Because of the construction type and slope, this cover was roofed with roll roofing as the slope is too gradual to support shingles. Note that the fascia boards exhibit “dry rot” across the face as well along the side where it meets the house. Improper roofing and flashing allowed water to pond and seep into the fascia damaging it as well as the roof sheathing. This cannot be roofed without being repaired.


Here is a closer view of the right side damage.

You can see where the corner has collapsed on the left side. On the right side the damage is more subtle but equally bad. The problem here is that there was no flashing installed under the original shingle roof where it meets the patio fascia. This is probably ignorance on the part of the guy who did this.

Here is the underside where somebody attempted to patch the problem rather than corrected it.

Once the tear off was complete this is what we found. A much more involved area than was seen from below.

Looking at the other side we find an ‘interesting’ repair. On the surface someone strapped the corner with sheet metal.

Underneath they blocked it.

In the center of the patio we saw on the surface of the fascia more dry rot.

Underneath we saw this.

Once the deck was exposed there was more damage then shown.


We start by replacing the fascia all around.  This is a shot of our problem corner.

The front pieces are in place, and it is time to insert the end rafter. The brown piece attached to the underside sticking out is acting as a third hand as I place the end fascia board.

Here is a detail shot of the inside.

The outside blocking was removed to get the fascia in place, which I fastened to the original roof with 3” deck screws. The 2×4” block inside supports the transition between the two roof planes.

In sheathing the deck I used plywood clips as shown.

Because the cover was framed at 24” centers with 1/2” plywood, clips are necessary to provide the support for the dead and live loads of this cover. Clips are a PITA, but are part of doing a good job.

A brief interlude regarding flat roofs.

A lot of flat roofing is done with standard roll roofing, which when applied correctly functions well. Unfortunately this is not the case in Arizona. This project illustrates this in spades. We will replace this with Torch Applied Roll Roofing. Below is a diagram of a typical construction detail and the roofing.

The major point of a  roof is to keep water out of your house . Regardless of the roofing style – hip, gable, flat, etc. the carpentry is the same. Rafters, fascia, sheathing, and or wood drip edges. The diagram below illustrates the preferred method of getting ready to roof.

The Torch Applied Roll Roofing system is different in a couple details. There is a base sheet, that is fiberglass rather than felt. The fiberglass sheet is nailed to the sheathing in case years down the road the roof needs replacement, and also  acts as a fire stop for the torch application of the roll roofing.

It is important to note in almost all asphalt roofing systems(shingle, roll), the base sheet(roofing felt) is covered with the metal drip edge and counter flashings were appropriate. This ties down the base sheet at the perimeter of the roof and provides a handy guide for the roofers in establishing the overhang when applying the shingles, etc. Trying to save them is an exercise in futility and foolishness  and is only done by bad roofers. You cannot get a quality job this way.

This is one of those deals where you may think you are getting a deal, but trust me, you are not.

The Torch applied roll roofing is heated with a torch and rolled onto the fiberglass base sheet where it bonds to it forming a waterproof roof giving you years of use. Highly Recommended.

Here is the almost finished fascia. On top of the 2×6” fascia we nailed a 1×2” which is called a drip edge/batten which brings the elevation flat to the top edge of the plywood. In this photo, the roof side is loose to allow the roofer to install the counter flashing which was not done in the original build and will prevent the rotting problem which led to this repair.

Here is our problem corner ready for roofing.

I mentioned counter flashing earlier. Here is a photo of it in action.

Note that it extends all the way down to the edge of the roof giving the water a clear path and not creating an area to rot the fascia which is one of the things that started this project.

And who are these roofing wizards? Collum Roofing.

Foam Roofs and Hailstorms

I love foam roofs! It was the second thing that I did when I moved into the casa. Two reasons is insulation and sound proofing. Having a flat roof limits the amount of insulation that you can install between the joists. Closed cell foam has an R value of 6.25 per inch and the typical roof is 2” thick. This translates into reduced energy costs for heating and cooling. Living underneath one of the airport landing patterns for Sky Harbor makes its sound deadening qualities a winner.   However….

Hail takes a toll. Were it just surface problems, usually re-coating would solve things. With the hail storm we had my roof looks more like the surface of the moon and will need to be replaced. Because of the depth of the impacts and the subsequent rain, it is not repairable.

The shingle roofs got hammered as well.

The plastic gutters I put up got smashed. They were more of an experiment in plastic laughing at the Arizona sun. The sun won and the hailstorm drove in the final strokes. Note to self: No plastic rain gutters down here.

If that wasn’t quite enough, my A/C unit got clocked.

The fins should be a dark grey showing you the edges, rather than smashed flat. My A/C guy will have to figure out if this can be fixed.

I waited to call the adjuster as my damage though bad was minor compared some folks, friends and clients. Trashed roofs, broken windows, soaked furniture, glass embedded carpets. Not to mention the cars that look like moonscapes with the dents from the hail.

This will be an interesting time as this is repaired. Photos and commentary to come.

Fascia Repair

Normally the things I post here are projects that most DIY’ers have the ability to do. This is not one of those projects. This is a demonstration of what can be done in a similar situation.

Arizona is brutal to anything containing moisture. Especially exterior wood. Most homes in Arizona are of either block or wood frame with stucco exteriors. Roofing ranges from shingles to clay or concrete tiles, and in some cases closed cell foam. The trim boards at the bottom edges of the roofs are almost always wood, and are called Fascia. Recently I repaired some fascia that had been savaged by the Arizona sun and rain.

Be advised that this is not a novice repair nor is it recommended if you are on your first skil saw and have less than a couple of hundred hours of cutting time. Call a pro for this.
First, you are not on the ground.
Second, you will be cutting at eye level, in order to control your cut.
Third, removing and replacing the fascia is heavy and awkward.
You have been warned!!

Here is a photo of the damage a few years created. This is not just peeling paint and warped boards. This is dry rot. This creates an interesting problem. This is a carport with a foamed roof. The fascia is 2×12” material. Removing the fascia completely is not an option.

A foam roof’s drip edge also forms the dam for the roofing foam. So removing the drip edge to replace the fascia would entail removing about a foot of foam roofing and the drip edge to replace the entire fascia. This is not a repair you want to undertake at home. After you removed the foam, drip edge which will end up needing replacement, replacing the damaged boards, you will need to install new drip edge of the proper type and find a roofing company to foam the space you created,(the foam in a can looks like roof foam, but it is not) and re-coat the roof.

What I am doing is cutting the fascia at the bottom of the drip edge, replacing it with new material, gluing and screwing it in place, priming and painting.

The plywood outriggers are screwed to the roof joists and the arms extend beyond the fascia to act as a holder for the old fascia and as a guide for the new material. Here is a side view.

Next up is a photo of the area I am repairing. Notice that the fascia below the drip edge is in good condition, which is why this type of repair will work in this situation.

The new material is ripped to depth,(In this case I started with a 2×10 -9 1/2”actual. and ripped it down to 8 1/2”) and cut it to length. I am using PowerGrab glue on the top of the new fascia and on the faces of the roof rafters, and screwing it in place with 3” deck screws. Note: The top screw is angled up at 45 degrees to pull the new material tight to the existing fascia. Then there are an additional three screws in the field. I also used 1 5/8” deck screws through the miters to hold them tight. I used a countersink bit to pre  drill my holes.
Here is the result.

I used DryDex ”pink stuff’ spackle for the screw holes and a 35 year paintable latex caulking, for the edges and the gaps on the back side where the old and new material joined.

I used Glidden Gripper Primer for this. Fantastic Primer. Couple of coats of Behr Exterior Latex and it should be good for 5-10 years.

Roofing Repair Project Act 5

Now that the repair is complete it is time for the roofer. Here is Vern from Collum Roofing, on Thursday morning starting with the roofing felt. They did find a good match in style and color for the replacement shingles. Client Mom Approved!


At the end of the day, the  area under the AC unit is covered. The ridge is still raw but is not critical for placing the AC unit.

Friday  morning, Dave from MD’s arrives to place the AC unit. The crane was late due to traffic. (Note: No matter how well you schedule and how good your people are, things happen) About an hour later the unit is set, reconnected and tested.

Saturday morning, the roofer was back and finished the roof.

The Roofing Repair Project is complete.


This project started as simple statement.

“When it rains the trim around my bathroom door leaks”.

The visual cues told two stories. The first was the visual damage in which told us there was damage and the patio cover was a contributor.
This caused us to repair the patio cover, which we did.
There are no isolated events in remodeling. Something is always related to what you are doing, and the bite it takes out of your butt hopefully is small.
This pushed our original schedule back a week, with the weekend and all. We were able to schedule our crane and the tear off as our roofer is flexible and we have worked with them before.

The repairs were straightforward in as much as anything in remodeling can be, which brings us to the conclusion of this project.

When you are scheduling remodeling, always allow extra time, at a minimum 50-100%. This way when projects happen smoothly and quickly you can pat yourself on the back and enjoy some of that time smiling at yourselves.
When the project sucks up all the available time, you will not have stressed yourself out.

Roofing Repair Project Act 4

Now we have a clear field to access the damage and fix it. And here it is.
Exposed Water Damage

The water stain extends from the underside of the ductwork boot, and
runs downhill. Under harsh interrogation :), I discovered that the
previous owner had reroofed the house before my clients bought it.  The
absence of roof tar around the electric box, tells the tale of how
water got in. Because it was under the unit, he must have thought that
the AC unit would prevent water from getting in. Sigh…

Tip: If you have anything penetrating your roof you need to seal it.
Water is looking for an excuse to get into your house, damage your roof
and ceilings  and keep roofers employed.

So now we have a handle on the problem.
We need to remove and replace three pieces.

Having gotten the rotten plywood out of the way, this is what is underneath. The good news is that the plywood soaked up most of the water, leaving the insulation alone, and not requiring any ceiling repairs. The bad news is that water has bowed the tops of these trusses creating the valley we saw yesterday. We will fix this. The original decking was put down with 1 1/2” staples, which the water had rusted away. Plywood almost jumped off the roof.

Roof staples are code, but are not the way I would do it. Tract Home builders and roofers like them cause they are fast.
Here is the repair in progress. At the top of the photo is a 2×4 post, that is clamped to the deck to establish our horizontal elevation. I cut and installed short posts between the bottom and top of the truss over a wall, to ‘flatten’ the roof. I also sistered 2×4’s next to the existing roof truss members to strengthen and remove the bowing the water damage had caused. I used 3” deck screws to hold these all together.

I have two drills up here. One contains the pilot countersink bit, the other has a magnetic bit holder for driving the screws home.

Decking Done

Here is the finished decking.

I used 1 1/4” deck screws to hold these down. It is smooth, flat and doesn’t bounce like before. Tomorrow the roofers will put the shingles back, and Friday morning will have the AC unit back.

Meanwhile, at the other side of the house I am making a Laundry a useful and productive member of this house.

Roofing Repair Project Act 3

Having sorted out the patio, we move to the roof where we can see the damage. Here you can see where the water has bowed the top chords of the trusses and damaged the shingles. The black line is where we had a tarp in place to stop any more moisture getting in while we were scheduling the roofers and the AC folks.

The next stage of the repair is to remove the AC unit. First thing was to cut the power to the unit before Dave showed up. Dave arrived about an hour before the crane and did all the disconnection. The AC unit weighs about 500 pounds, is 14 feet in the air, and is sitting on a yet to be determined rotten roof.

Enter the Crane

This is the tool for the job of getting big heavy stuff moved around. Be nice to own one of these, but then I would have to get into the crane business to pay for its care and feeding.

Take away

Monday, Monday, Monday!!
Away it goes. It took 10 minutes to set up the crane and 2 minutes to get the AC unit off the roof and on the ground. We took the stand with it so it will be easier to reset when the roof is done. Wave to the box, as it will be a couple of days before we see it again.

Tear Off

The next step in the repair is to tear off the old shingles to the deck. We decided to remove the entire side from the ridge to the fascia. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, is the color matching problem. Roofing shingles are like any other fashion item. Styles and colors change. Not as often as your wardrobe, but it does change. The other color issue is fading. After a few years, the Arizona sun will beat the color out of anything.

Second, is having a clear field to access the damage and to see if there are any more areas that need attention. It also makes it easier for the roofers. I am all about easy.
I am a next guy. I think about what will make it easier for the next guy to do their job.
Folks appreciate it, the job goes much smoother, they will remember you, so the next time you call, it gets easier. It saves time and money.

Tuesday. The lads from Collum showed up, tore it off and were gone in 90 minutes.
All done, swept and trash removed. I really like these guys.
Wednesday, I make repairs.

Roofing Repair Project Act 2

I have mentioned that remodeling is biblical in nature as a result
of one problem begetting another. For those in more wet climes, it is
the appearance of more alligators in the swamp you are trying to drain.

To recap. We started with a leak around the inside of the bathroom
door, which led us to the roof leak, which led to needing to remove the
AC unit, to remove a section of shingles, to replace rotten underlayment, to repair the roof leak. But to repair the roof, we must repair the patio cover, so our roof repair will be correct.

In Act 1 we discovered our water leak. I mentioned the patio cover which is composed of 4×4 beams nailed to the eave fascia/rim joist on one end and bolted on a beam on the other end. The house was painted right after this was constructed, which for the purposes of this illustration is a great thing.

This is a quick drawing of the construction detail of this assembly.
On the top right is the 2×6 fascia also known as the rim joist that joins the rafter tails in this type of construction. On top of the rim joist is the bottom of the roof sheathing which is attached to the top of the fascia, allowing the builder to establish a straight line for the edge of the roof. This also helps stiffen the roof. In this particular instance the drip edge is created with a 1×2 piece of trim.

On the left side is the beam (4×12) that holds the patio cover materials(4×4’s). The 4×4’s were bolted to the beam with 1/4” lag screws, and nailed through the fascia with 2 -10d galvanized nails.

Over time, the beam tipped away from the house. It is not too clear in this photo, but it was about a 10 deg. tilt.


As a result it pulled the 4×4’s away from the fascia. Some of these were almost falling down and a couple did as a result of the setup of fixing them.

I mentioned above that the sheathing is nailed to the top outside edge of the rim joist. Not only did the beam pull the 4×4’s loose, but also pulled the rim joist with them. Here you can see this much clearer with the dark line from the original paint job as well as the separation of the rafter tails from the rim joist. The weight of the 4×4’s also pulled the rim joist down away from the sheathing.


Repairing the Patio Cover

First, I used a nylon strap to pull the beam tight, limiting its movement away from the building as I began to remove the lag screws from the beam. I also clamped a 2×4 to the underside to prevent the 4×4’s from falling down while I was doing this.

There are two beams so I was able to work on one section at a time. After clamping this together, I started to unbolt the 4×4’s from the beam. The heads snapped off below the surface, so I needed to use a sawsall on the underside of the 4×4 to cut the lag screws to loosen the 4×4’s. 58 of them for those that count.

After loosening the 4×4’s, it was a matter of using a BFH to tap the 4×4’s back into the rim joist and move the rim joist back into position.  Up, down, back, and forth. I also installed a string line so I could monitor the straightness of this as I went along.

After a few hours of up and down, over 3 days, I used 4- 3” exterior deck screws drilled and counter sunk through the rim joist at an angle to pull the 4×4’s tight to the rim joist, as well as moving the joist back in place in relationship to the sheathing.


I was also able to fix the mess on the leak side of the roof as well.

Having gotten these reattached, I straightened the beams as much as possible and drilled and anchored the 4×4’s to the beam with long lag screws. One can walk on this now if need be, and not worry about a wind gust sending pieces of this into the pool. Now we can return to the roof repair.

Monday afternoon, MD Cooling and Heating will bring a crane to remove the AC unit, Tuesday, my boys from Collum Roofing will do the tear off, so I can remove the sheathing, repair the rafters and install new sheathing and blocking for the roof jack for the AC unit.

Roofing Repair Project Act1

The client said, “When it rains the trim around my bathroom door leaks”.

Most repair projects are simple. Cause and Effect. Door sticks? Fix the door and or the frame.
Wall Cracks? Patch and repaint. Window sticks? Repair frame or window. Most repairs have a simple cause and a simple repair procedure.

The exception to this rule are water leaks due to roof leaks. Unless you have a smoking hole in the roof where the meteor crashed into your house, tracking down roof leaks to repair them is not a minor project. Water has an annoying tendency to flow downhill until it meets an obstacle allowing it to pool or find a crack to run into continuing its journey back to the earth. Water will also flow uphill due to capillary action as well, confounding you in your quest to  find the source of the leak, and keep water out of your house where it doesn’t belong.

The Set Up

Here is the scene of the crime.
In this photo in the lower left is the door where the water leaks in the bathroom. Crimescene1
The upper right shows the AC unit which in on the roof directly above the door. The white PVC pipe is the condensate drain for the AC unit. AhHa! You may be thinking, the drain is plugged and the water from the AC unit is leaking and causing the problem. Bzzzt! If that were the case, the bathroom would be wet the entire AC season. Remember, it only leaks when it rains.

The Molecule Trail
Here is another photo showing the scope of the problem.Exwater1

This photo shows that water is leaking outside as well as inside.

Here is a close up of the underside of the eave.

We can now see that this has been a problem for some time. The plywood has discolored and is rotting. Notice that the eave board, which in this case is doing double duty as the fascia as well as the anchor for the house side of the patio cover. Notice that the eave has separated and that the patio boards are pulling away from the fascia. But if you look at the siding on the wall above the door, the water is not getting into the bathroom from the outside. We know that we will have to replace some of the sheathing. We still haven’t found the source of the leak. It is now time to venture into the attic.

An Attic Darkly

Here is our first taste of our problem. The grey cable that is penetrationg the roof is the electric cable for the AC unit. There is definite leakage there. However, there is significant damage to the sheathing below the AC unit as well as the roof which extends all the way down the roof to where we saw the rotting plywood on the eave.


Here is a closeup of this area.

The AC unit is sitting below the vertical part of the truss, so that you can see where the weight of the unit and the water damage has bent the top chords of the trusses. Now we have a handle on the situation.

Now to repair the damage we need to remove the AC unit (requiring a crane and an AC guy), rip off the shingles and get the deck exposed, (requiring roofers), so that we can replace and repair the damaged sections. Re-Roof, and reinstall the AC Unit.

Now that is a typical repair, but as I have mentioned before, in remodeling ‘typical’ left the building and left no forwarding address.

The first photo in this posting has a legend entitled “Patio Cover”. The third photo showe the underside of the eave with some alarming separation between the patio cover and the fascia. Stay tuned.

Green building is environmental snake oil.

Green building is environmental snake oil.  So says Kurt, an Exterior and traditional roofing restoration contractor, designer, new urbanist. on his blog Keeping it Real.

I agree with him regarding SIP's, as I have seen many 'systems' come and go.