Roof Housekeeping | Prevent Unnecessary Damage

Simple roof housekeeping by a maintenance technician is a task that Western Specialty Contractors’ roofing experts highly recommend on a monthly basis but often gets overlooked.

Western’s experts recommend that a building’s maintenance staff go up on the roof and check for debris at least once a month or after a trade has been working on the roof. Debris on a roof can clog drains, scuppers and downspouts and lead to ponding water that can quickly seep into an open seam or split wall flashing.

Several types of damage-causing debris can be found on rooftops. Poor clean-up by workers who have performed work on a roof and left behind trash and debris, such as caulk tubes or rags, can cause significant problems if not cleaned up. High winds can blow debris around, causing damage to the roof and people and property below if it blows off.

Other debris found on roofs that should be removed include leaves, tree limbs and twigs, goose droppings, fireworks and even bullet shells.

Western’s experts also recommend checking roof HVAC access panels to ensure they are securely in place during routine housekeeping. Access panels removed by a contractor and tossed on a rooftop can puncture roofing materials. Unsecured access panels blown around by high winds can cause further damage.

Most roof manufacturer warranties will consider whether housekeeping was performed on a roof, so it is important to ensure that any potentially damaging debris or trash is regularly removed.

About Western Specialty Contractors

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing, and specialty roofing. Western offers a nationwide network of expertise that building owners, engineers, architects, and property managers can count on to develop cost-effective, corrective measures that can add years of useful life to a variety of structures, including industrial, commercial, healthcare, historic, educational and government buildings, parking structures, and sports stadiums. Western is headquartered in St. Louis, MO, with 30 branch offices nationwide and employs more than 1,200 salaried and hourly professionals who offer the best, time-tested techniques and innovative technology. For more information about Western Specialty Contractors, visit         

Trimble Award | Best Use of Technology

Western Specialty Contractors is proud to announce that it has received a Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB) Viewpoint Construction Award for the Best Use of Trimble’s Construction One Technology – an award recognizing contractors that have leveraged technology solutions to create more data-driven, connected construction businesses.

Held annually, the Trimble Viewpoint Construction Awards honor the technological achievements of North American contractors as exhibited through the growth and improvements of their projects, people and processes over the past year. Honors are given in three categories: Most Outstanding Project, Most Impressive Human Resource Achievement, and Best Use of Trimble Construction One Technology. The awards were announced during the Trimble Dimensions+ Conference on Nov. 9 in Las Vegas.

“Continuing to work with the right partners and leverage the technology platforms available provides a benefit to all our employees and drives ROIC. We thank Trimble for partnering with us and recognizing our efforts with this award.”

Tom Brooks | Chief Operating Officer

Western used Trimble’s Construction One Technology to centralize and streamline many of its workflows, including the development of a custom Human Resources Information System (HRIS) that supports everything from safety training to performance management. This includes a compensation dashboard that provides an accessible view of each employee’s salary history with built-in workflows and notifications for approvals/rejections.

The dashboard has helped streamline Western’s merit increase process and allows managers to see a consolidated salary view as they prepare their budgets. A process that used to take weeks to complete, now only takes a few minutes with Trimble’s Construction One Technology.

“What a great accomplishment and a team effort. First to human resources for identifying a need and conceptual solution,  followed by our technology team working with Trimble Viewpoint to create a turn-key solution. We could not be more pleased with the outcome; definitely a win for Western’s employees.”

Tom Brooks | Chief Operating Officer

About Western Specialty Contractors

Family-owned and operated for more than 100 years, Western Specialty Contractors is the nation’s largest specialty contractor in masonry and concrete restoration, waterproofing and specialty roofing. Western offers a nationwide network of expertise that building owners, engineers, architects and property managers can count on to develop cost-effective, corrective measures that can add years of useful life to a variety of structures including industrial, commercial, healthcare, historic, educational and government buildings, parking structures and sports stadiums. Western is headquartered in St. Louis, MO with 30 branch offices nationwide and employs more than 1,200 salaried and hourly professionals who offer the best, time-tested techniques and innovative technology. 

About Trimble Viewpoint

Trimble Viewpoint, a Trimble Company (NASDAQ: TRMB), enables contractors to better manage their projects, processes and people, using the data gathered to lower risk and improve margins. The Trimble Construction One management software suite integrates operations across the office, team and field to improve project profitability and enhance productivity. With nearly 8,000 clients, including more than 40 percent of the ENR 400, Trimble Viewpoint’s innovations are transforming the construction industry by fully integrating operations across financial and HR systems, project management tools and mobile field solutions. For more information, visit

About Trimble

Trimble is an industrial technology company transforming the way the world works by delivering solutions that enable our customers to thrive. Core technologies in positioning, modeling, connectivity and data analytics connect the digital and physical worlds to improve productivity, quality, safety, transparency and sustainability. From purpose-built products to enterprise lifecycle solutions, Trimble is transforming industries such as agriculture, construction, geospatial and transportation. For more information about Trimble (NASDAQ: TRMB), visit


St. Louis Post Dispatch

Civil + Structural Engineer Magazine

Plumbing & Mechanical Magazine

Cision PR Newswire

Liquid Applied Roofing

Did you know? A form of liquid roofing was first used in the early 1800s when natural residue from petroleum distillation, called bitumen, was combined with jute, straw, rag felt, and other materials to waterproof roofs. It wasn’t until the early twentieth century that liquid roof coatings became commercially manufactured and more widely used.

Today, with so many systems and high-performance coatings available, facility managers may have difficulty knowing which type of liquid applied roofing to use and when and where to use it for the best results.

Liquid applied roofing has many benefits in relation to its cost, performance, and ease of installation. Plus, it is well suited for most roof structures and can be applied over most traditional roofing materials, including concrete, copper, bituminous, metal, tile and PVC/TPO/EPDM. When applied correctly by an experienced specialty roofing contractor, liquid applied roofing can provide up to 25 years or more of solid performance.

Liquid Roofing System vs. Coating System

There is a big difference between a liquid roofing system and a coating. A liquid roofing system is a thicker reinforced membrane (50+ mils) that requires additional application steps and costs more than a traditional roof coating. With a liquid applied roofing system, building owners receive a labor and material warranty similar to a traditional roof. Coatings are typically not reinforced, are a thinner membrane (23-40 mils) and are less expensive, but the warranty typically only covers the materials.

Financial Benefits

Liquid applied roofing systems are typically used to restore an existing roof, although they can be used in new construction. Liquid applied roofing can increase the useful life of an existing roof without having to add an additional layer of roofing on top of a structure. A maximum of two layers is recommended for a traditional roof.

A liquid applied roofing system is categorized as a roof repair and could potentially cover two traditional roofing layers. The cost of a liquid applied roofing system can also be depreciated within the year that it was performed, whereas a traditional roof replacement is depreciated over 29 years. Since liquid applied roofing is considered a roof repair, building owners could potentially charge their tenants for the expense, depending on how their lease is written. 

Sustainability Benefits

Liquid applied roofing is a sustainable option:

  • Saves landfill space from traditional roof tear-off materials
  • Cool and reflective for energy savings
  • Low VOC options are available to reduce air pollution
  • Fewer material quantities are required for installation
  • Maintain and re-coat for the life of the structure

Versatility Benefits

Liquid applied roofing provides a monolithic, seamless roof that can be easily applied around difficult-to-flash areas. While not ideal for every roofing situation, liquid applied roofing is recommended for difficult-to-access and busy roofs with a lot of penetrations, such as hospitals and high-rise buildings.

Additionally, there are many material choices and colors available at varying price points for liquid applied roofing.

Occupant Friendly Benefits

A worker with a bucket and a roller installing a liquid applied roof is much less intrusive and noisy than workers performing a full-roof replacement on a building. A liquid applied roof also takes less time and equipment to install than a traditional roof, the materials typically give off fewer odors, and there is a lower risk of water intrusion – always a major concern on a traditional roofing project.

Liquid membrane roofs are not a one-size solution for every roofing scenario, and not everyone has the expertise to install them properly. In many ways, liquid roof systems require more craftsmanship and expertise than the installation of a traditional roof. With liquid applied roofs, workers are essentially manufacturing a roof on a building and not in a factory. Identifying the substrate and the wetness of the existing roof, performing the proper substrate prep work and determining which system and primer to use are key to a successful project outcome. Liquid applied roofing may not be the cheapest roofing solution, but when applied correctly, liquid roofs, in the long run, are a very good value.

For building owners considering a liquid applied roof, continue to maintain the existing roof and repair any leaks, with the goal to keep good roofs in good shape. Contact a roofing professional, whether that’s a contractor or a consultant, to do an investigation, core sampling and scan of the roof to determine whether it is a viable candidate for a liquid roof system. Owners should also plan ahead to allow adequate time for these projects to be planned and the materials to be ordered and obtained. Finally, account for contingencies. Despite the best planning, in roofing projects, there are always unforeseen delays, particularly with the current material shortages and price escalations. Be sure to provide additional funding in the roofing budget to compensate for the current economic environment.

Snow Removal 101 | Parking Structures

Chemical deicers and snowplows are commonly used in winter to eliminate hazardous ice and snow from parking decks and structures. While deicers are doing their job melting away snow and ice, some may actually be corroding the parking structure’s concrete and reinforcing steel, and some snow removal techniques may actually be doing more damage than good.

Western Specialty Contractors, experts in parking garage restoration and maintenance, offers several tips to minimize unnecessary damage to parking structures during the winter months and keep drivers safe.

Snow Removal Tips:

  • Clearly mark expansion joints in a way that will be visible to the equipment operator when the deck is covered with snow.
  • Establish a snow removal pattern so that the plow blade approaches expansion joints, control joints, and tee-to-tee joints at an angle no greater than 75 degrees.
  • Equip snowplow blades and bucket loaders with shoes or rubber guards that prevent direct contact with the deck surface.
  • Do not pile snow on the deck surface. Piles of snow can exceed the rated load capacity and cause cracking in the concrete deck surface.

Deicing/Salting Tips:

Using chemical deicers to control ice and snow buildup is common. However, these chemicals can have a negative effect on concrete and reinforcing steel and should be used sparingly. There are several different types of deicers on the market that can be used, however, only those approved by the American Concrete Institute are recommended.

  • Sodium Chloride – (Road Salt, Table Salt) This is the most commonly used salt deicer, it has little effect on concrete however it promotes corrosion in reinforcing steel and other metals. It is not recommended to use this type of deicer.
  • Calcium Chloride – This is a major ingredient in most commercial deicers, it has little effect on concrete but promotes corrosion in reinforcing steel and other metals. It is not recommended to use this type of deicer.
  • Ammonium nitrate or ammonium sulfate – Use of this deicer will lead to serious concrete deterioration due to a direct chemical attack on the reinforcing steel. It is not recommended to use this type of deicer.
  • Calcium Magnesium Acetate (CMA) – Its deicing effects are similar to salt, but it requires more time to melt ice.  It has no adverse effects on concrete or steel reinforcement. If a deicer is required, CMA is the recommended type to be used.

It is important to minimize the amount of deicing chemicals applied during the first two years of the concrete being installed. During this time, the concrete has an increased permeability which can allow the deicing chemicals to migrate into the concrete more rapidly. As concrete ages and cures, it will become less permeable and chemicals will not penetrate as easily.

It is important to remember that the use of deicing chemicals in general are not recommended. The safest way to remove ice and snow is to use a plow. Sand can also be used to increase tire traction on the deck, but be sure to protect the drainage system when washing down the deck after its use.

Western adapts to new challenges

As we all adjust to new working environments, it becomes increasingly important to be adaptable and maintain a positive attitude. After 105 years in business, Western has seen our share of challenges and we know that although we are in uncharted waters, it is temporary and we will get through it together as a team, as we have many other crises. Our focus has always been and will continue to be on the well-being and safety of our families, employees, friends, customers, and partners. If there is anything our team can assist with, please do not hesitate to contact your local representative.

Partners, employees, friends and colleagues…. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Stay safe. Stay healthy. This too shall pass.

About Tom Brooks

Tom Brooks is the Chief Operating Officer for Western, the largest specialty contractor in building envelope and parking garage restoration in the United States. He leads a team of 1,250+ employees and oversees all aspects of the day-to-day operations for Western’s 30 branch locations across the country.

The Most Important Waterproofing Principle

If reading Michael Kubal’s book, The Construction Waterproofing Handbook doesn’t sound like a page-turner to you, we won’t hold it against you.

But there is one invaluable principle that you must know if you’re going to make your property maintenance cost-effective.

In the short video above, we dive into what Kubal’s “90% / 1% Principle” is and how you can use it to provide clients value with incredible cost savings.

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