If you’re the type of person who likes to improve yourself or your projects each time you do one, you’ll appreciate our approach. Building Better explains how we do things — every project, like every class or seminar, is an opportunity to improve. We ask ourselves, how could this have been done better?
Decades of experience has shown us exciting innovations in materials and methods of installation. Some have been good and we have been leaders in working with those materials and practices, and some have caused us to raise an eyebrow so we have adopted a “wait and see” approach. This has proven to be helpful since some of those “brow raising” products have just not performed and our skepticism, coupled with our understanding of the building sciences, has paid off.
We are not afraid to take chances if there is something that is so exciting that we cannot foresee any chance of something going wrong. As an example, we had a customer with a back porch that had an unusual surface on it. It looked almost like smooth black glass in parts and other parts looked rough, similar to roll roofing. Now the industry standard would have been to put a membrane roof such as EPDM (black rubber) or TPO (a white PVC based) membrane. There was another option which was a silicone based coating that could make the whole surface look smooth. We spoke with the manufacturers rep who assured us that the silicone, which we have used on hundreds of other roofs with beautiful results, would work great. We followed manufacturer requirements and it did look great — for a year and a half. Then for some reason the areas that were over the shiny parts started to peel. We simply replaced the roof for the customer with EPDM at no cost to him.
Other times we have seen amazing results from unconventional products. We were one of the first companies to start using smart vents like the Lomanco Deck Air system for hard-to-ventilate roofs. Now there are many ways to install this product and many installation methods that can cause disasterous results, but with a combination of research and inspections, we’ve developed a system to not only establish opportunities for intake ventilation on these houses, but also to avoid interior damage to walls and ceilings if best practices are not applied.
Now it’s important to understand that best practices, even sometimes based on manufacturer recommendations, are not going to perform the same in all climates. Something that may work wonderfully in Missouri or Illinois, could be a disaster here in Southeastern Wisconsin. Therefore, we’ve tested many products and all of our testing is based upon our needs in the areas we service.
Surprisingly, agencies that are often associated with product reviews aren’t always the most reliable as they miss key regional elements. For instance, one of those agencies rated a gutter (leaf) protection system and gave the highest ratings to one of the least effective products for Wisconsin.
We hope that this has helped. Whether you are in Wisconsin or elsewhere, choosing a contractor who shares these values will give you a sustainable project that will pay dividends in savings for decades to come.