Slow foreman tek on Torchdown Roof

I went over to the next job which was also a torchdown job Friday. This one was new construction. I had 5 guys there. The job was 15 SQ. There was only eave metal because there was a funny curb detail that the builder would be flashing. I swear they were going to take 2 days to complete. I got there at 2:00 and they had 5 SQ down tops. My lead guy was the only one torching and he was cutting 10’ strips and rolling them up like a burrito and torching the whole length of the 10’ section and rolling it down slope.
When I got there we started rolling out almost full rolls and rolling them along like normal. The speed picked up like crazy but we were a rly able to finish by 6:00 with about 44 minutes overtime.
Our rolls were sliding down slope so we cheated them uphill about an inch and everything was pretty good. After about 4 courses we did a cheater course to get us back straight. We used the lines on the tar paper to get it straight-ish. The whole time I had to shrug off the lead guy because he thought we were doing it sloppy. I feel like his quality control efforts and install procedures are f$&@ing slow.
I run another business and haven’t been able to be onsite at all really. The estimating takes a lot of effort and running the back-office stuff takes time also.
If anybody wants to comment with any advice on any of this that would be greatly appreciated.

Perhaps you should buy them a DragonWagon?

Would you rather have it take as long as it takes and get no callbacks or do you just want to be done ASAP and deal with issues later?

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We normally cut the roll a few inches longer than it needs to be, stretch it out where it needs to go, roll both ends back to the middle and have one guy torch in each direction.

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If an experienced roofer thought you were doing it sloppy and your response was the other way is too slow? Thank you for not working on any of my projects.

I especially liked the part about getting it “straight-ish”.

Yeah Tileman, I did prefinished interior trim in Los Angeles for about 10 years so I know what straight is. The problem is this guy is grinding the budget into dust with these slow methods. Snapping lines to get the end cut straight. Especially when I’ve instructed him that we’re not building a French piano and we were the lowest bidder so we need to have act like we have a budget. 5 guys taking 9 hours to do 14 SQ is a joke.

I’ve been looking at those red dragon torch rollers. Have you tried them? Nobody uses them up here but we are pretty behind the times.
I WOULD rather deal with the occasional call back. I’m throwing 2x the required labor at these jobs.

14 sq New construction we would do with 3 guys max, 2 torching, 1 running and setting. Anymore than that you have guys standing around.

I used to use one daily, if you are doing a lot of torchdown you should probably get one.

If you are low balling your bids to the point that there is no time to do things correctly and in proper order you either need to up your bids a bit or learn every shortcut in the book.

There are a LOT of shortcuts doing torchdown…

How do you do the edges?


It also sounds like you need to work on having a better relationship with your foreman. Are the men also his friends?

Torchdown takes more time.
Always does.
And not everyone on the crew should have a torch in their hand.
We really have never had more than two torches running.
Everything is very intricate and they should be taking their time.
Torch is time sensitive.
Bid accordingly.
Over estimate what you think the labor and time will be and you wont be disappointed in your crew.

“Snapping lines on the end cuts(over the rakes)”
I thought i was the only roofer in the world that did that. Yes, that takes so much more time.
And it is not as pretty and straight.
But it is so much more quality.
Because the material shrinks.

Also, your forman understands the need for starter strip (10”) And That’s a good thing.

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I won’t install a MB, but I make ALOT of $ on repairing them!

Prices are pretty high here so we’re not lowballing just the lowest bidder. I think what some people don’t understand is that I’m trying to take a production approach to roofing. I’m not some old fart with no employees who can just take forever to do a job. I don’t feel that having each course be perfectly straight does a gosh darn thing for making it water tight.

I don’t know exactly what you mean Axiom about the edges but we don’t do a perimeter strip and we roll it straight out over the primed metal a little long without heat. Then we cut the last foot to length and heat it up and stick it.

Man Axiom, I’ll take all the torchdown tips you got. I’ll look into the dragon wagon also. For sure. I haven’t seen one being used where I’m at but the loveable hicks around here aren’t very innovative. Lol

You need a perimeter strip.
The torch-down turned upside down.
In 10” strips.
Or 8”
I have been very successful with 6 5/8”
You are sandwiching your eve metal above your underlayment.

Eve drip of 26 gauge steel and nailed every 2 inches.

Without doing this you are guaranteeing its early demise because the material shrinks.


Training a crew was always QUALITY 1st. Speed comes with experience. What do you pay your repair crew that follows your production crew?

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“We’re not lowballing, just the lowest bidder”

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Lowest bidder in my case means the jobs I get come in a couple hundred dollars below the other guy. To me, lowballing means coming in a couple hundred dollars per square below the other guy.

We don’t have callbacks. That’s kind of the problem. We could definitely loosen up our game a little. Then we could move faster and make more money. That’s why I do this: it’s for MONEY.

IMO your roofing company is one to avoid, you don’t give a crap about your work or your customer.

Companies like this give us all a bad name.


Agreed! or is it just Greed?