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Why Materials Matter When Installing the Perfect Roof

Guardian Isaiah Industries Materials
August 15, 2023 at 3:00 p.m.

By Guardian Roofing. 

Learn how one roofing company went above and beyond to carefully install a VOC-free metal roof for a customer highly allergic to VOCs. 

Have you ever heard of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)? Can you imagine having to look for specific chemicals before bringing anything into your home? More than likely the answer to both questions is no because you aren’t sensitive to VOCs. But many people are, and it can have hazardous effects on their health if exposed. This can make the decision to replace your roof an incredibly challenging experience. That is, unless you have incredible roofing companies working with you to find the best solutions.   

According to the American Lung Association, VOCs are gases that certain products release into the air. These gases carry harmful effects, from attacking the respiratory system to causing cancer. 

Seattle homeowner Julie is sensitive to VOCs, so she carefully monitors her home environment. So, when it came time to replace her roof, she knew special considerations were needed. 

Three primary sources of VOCs in building materials are paint, finishes and sealants. For example, metal roofs use advanced paint systems to reflect heat and retain vibrant color. They also use sealants as a secondary adhesive, specially made to match the color. Since metal has several avenues for VOCs, Julie researched to narrow down a material, product and contractor that could respect her needs and deliver a safe and healthy experience. 

After consulting with several contractors, Guardian Roofing of Auburn, Washington, had the winning combination of installation expertise and care for her and her home. 

More than a customer 

Mike Hernandez, a sales technician at Guardian, developed a great relationship with Julie during the project. Here’s Mike’s story in his own words: 

“Julie’s project is one of the most detailed and specific systems I have ever built for a customer. 

Julie is allergic to VOCs, and her allergies are so severe that she has been hospitalized in the past. So when she began her research, understandably, she had done a lot more than the average homeowner. By the time I visited her home, she was very aware of which products would not work for her. 

So, I started by getting a better understanding of her allergies and what materials she was sensitive to. Then, I read the Material Safety Data Sheets for several Isaiah Industries products to find the right fit for Julie. Since the coatings used on their products are baked on, most VOCs are evaporated before the shingles are stamped, further reducing any possible exposure. 

One unforeseen roadblock was checking the sealants, another potential source of VOCs. 

Our biggest challenge during installation was removing the old roof. Tearing off the old asphalt filled the air with dust and particles, so Julie relocated for a few days while we finished. 

Often at Guardian, we preach that we make customers for life, but I can’t think of anybody who exemplifies this more than Julie. She is almost like an extra grandmother or auntie to me at this point!” 

The roof geometry was particularly challenging, with a flat section connected to the main slope. Integrating the new Oxford Shingle roof with a flat roof required some serious skill. Most flat roofs involve chemical compounds, so identifying a safe option was crucial. Once Guardian found the right one, they carefully integrated the flat section into the main roof. 

The entire Guardian team went above and beyond, monitoring on-site VOC levels throughout the installation process, from tear off to sign off. 

A job well done 

Guardian co-owner Lori Swanson said, “We’d never worked for a client with this type of allergy before, so sourcing all the special materials wasn’t easy, especially with supply chain challenges. It was scary to think that if we didn’t get the right products, it could potentially be life-threatening to Julie. 

We saw this as an opportunity to give Julie the roof she wanted without sacrificing beauty or functionality for health and safety. The result is something we believe everyone deserves, a solution that will last.” 

Original article source: Guardian Roofing

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