Articles & Resources

7 Pros & Cons of Composite Decking

Posted on July 28, 2020

Wood has always been the go-to decking material, but composite decking is now giving wood a run for its money. Wood decks require a lot of maintenance, and some types of popular wood decking are not widely available. Composite decking, on the other hand, requires minimal maintenance and fits a range of budgets. Just as wood decking, there are pros and cons of composite decking, which we will explore in this article.

Pros of Composite Decking

1. It offers some of the best durability

Unlike wood, composite decking does not need to be treated, painted, or stained. You’ll quickly find that if you don’t properly care for wood decking, it will fade, crack, weather, and split after it dries out over time.

As you can see, if you don’t put forth the effort to care for a wood deck, it will not look its best and even become a safety hazard. Alternatively, composite decks maintain a beautiful and consistent appearance for years to come. The only thing you need to do is occasional mild cleaning.

2. It comes in many colors and is non-slip

Composite decking is available in many colors and textures. You can even combine different colors to create multi-colored decks. If you like dramatic looks, consider combining dark and light tones. You will find most come in various shades of Earth tones such as gray, tan, and brown.

The other great thing is that if you live in a climate where you get a lot of rain or snow, composite decking can come with a non-slip texture. This is also perfect for those installing it near swimming pools or even in humid locations.

3. It’s impermeable to water

The manufacturing process used to make this decking helps the boards become impermeable to water. This feature also helps the material fight off mildew and mold better than real wood. Of course, there are still rules you should follow when installing it, but it’s easy to clean when mildew or mold does appear.

4. It can be installed using hidden fasteners

Wooden decks are put together using screws or nails that can create places of weaknesses on the boards. Not only will they require repairs at some point, but they can also be an eyesore if they’re not spaced properly. When you choose composite decking, it can be installed using hidden fasteners. It not only reduces the risk of weak places, but it also makes for a cleaner look.

Cons of Composite Decking

1. It is more expensive

Most people consider price the biggest con when it comes to composite decking. It can cost as much as 50% to 100% more than treated lumber. However, this number will vary depending on your location and what kind of wood you’re comparing it to. It’s also worth factoring in cost savings from not having to do regular, extensive maintenance.

2. The boards can get hot

If you live in a warmer climate, you may notice that the boards get hot. While you can choose a lighter color to help with this a little, it will still absorb at least some heat.

3. The color you choose is permanent

Composite decking features permanent colors to reduce maintenance. It is not designed to be painted or stained. It is possible to stain or paint a composite deck, but it requires a careful, labor intensive process.

The Best Manufacturers of Composite Decking

If you decide composite decking is right for you, here are a few of the best brands you can buy:

●     Trex
●     The AZEK Company
●     TimberTech
●     Green Bay Decking

In the end, composite decking is a great alternative to pressure-treated lumber. Not only is it aesthetically appealing, but it will last for many years to come! Best of all, it requires minimal maintenance so you can sit back and enjoy the outdoors.

Macarthur Co. is an employee-owned company that values quality products and services. For more construction tips and news, visit MacArthurco.com.

How to Spot Hail Damage on Your Roof

Posted on July 10, 2020

Each year in the US, hail causes significant damage and accounts for billions of dollars of insurance claims. When hail strikes, it not only damages your car and other personal property, but it takes a toll on your home as well - specifically your roof. Though these types of storms can be destructive, the amounts of damage vary greatly.

The following information will help you distinguish between hail damage and storm damage, discuss the signs of hail damage to your roof, and when you should call a contractor for repairs.

Hail vs. Storm Damage

Storm damage can come in many forms but is most commonly caused by wind and hail. When you have wind damage, you are likely to notice that shingles on your roof are missing or torn.

On the other hand, hail can leave behind damage that’s harder to see with an untrained eye. This is especially true when smaller sized pieces cause the roof damage and there are no visible leaks. Yet, as with anything else, there are tell-tell signs to look for.

How to Spot Hail Damage on Your Roof

The roof damage you incur after a hailstorm will depend on what type of shingles you have. This is because hail damage will look different on composition and asphalt shingles than it looks on wood shingles. So, it’s important to know the differences in damages to each shingle type so you can properly tell if you actually have hail damage on your roof.

Here’s a breakdown of these damages:

Composition and Asphalt Shingle Hail Damage

●      Damage that’s random and has no noticeable pattern
●      Black marks from where the hail hit (known as a ‘scar’)
●      The loss of granules which may expose the shingle mat portion of the shingle
●      Mat and/or asphalt that seems shiny
●      Places where hail hit that are soft to touch, such as a bruise on an apple

Wood Shingle Hail Damage

●      Damage that’s random and has no noticeable pattern
●      Splits in shingles that have an orange/brown appearance
●      Splits in shingles that have sharp edges or corners
●      Splits in shingles that have little or no deterioration near the edges
●      Dents or other impact marks along the splits

Other Areas To Check

●      Gutters - Check for dents and dings on both downspouts and gutters. Another sign to watch for is gutters that are overflowing or clogged.
●      Siding and Decks - Hail will also cause damage to other areas of your home. So, if you’re wary about checking your own roof you can check siding and decks for damage. 

When to Call a Contractor for Hail Damage

After a storm strikes, the first thing you should do is inspect your home. If you find any of the damages we discussed above, it’s a great idea to call a local licensed contractor. The truth is, hail damage gets worse over time. So, while the signs may not be obvious right away, the damage to your roof will continue to worsen, and eventually, it will begin to leak.

Always remember it’s better to make hail damage repairs as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more money it will cost you in the long run!

MacArthur Co. is an employee-owned company that offers more construction tips and news on our news page.

Preparing Your Jobsite for Severe Weather

Posted on June 19, 2020

Severe weather poses a risk to employee safety, as well as potentially disrupting or destroying construction progress. Although we cannot control the weather or predict it correctly every time, we can have a contingency plan in place. If a jobsite location is prone to severe weather, you must evaluate the site-specific risks and create an action plan accordingly.

 

Types of Severe Weather and its Effects

Many forms of severe weather can affect the project and even be dangerous for the workers on the jobsite. Machinery on the jobsite can be damaged when snow or ice gets inside the heavy equipment and block the air flow, which leads to the freezing of the components. Freezing weather also affects diesel engines as the oil moves slower due to cold, and this increases the load on the machine. Winterizing the equipment is necessary to continue the work in the extreme cold.

Flooding, hurricanes and high winds are other forms of severe weather which can hit unexpectedly and can topple walls and equipment. You need to be prepared to relocate your heavy equipment quickly. Although extremely hot weather might not have much impact on the machinery or the different structures, it can pose a serious risk to workers. Heat illness and decreased productivity are common among those working in extreme heat, especially if they are also working with heavy equipment that puts off its own heat.

Checklist for preparing against severe weather

·        Emergency supplies like braces, tie-downs, bottled water, flashlights, and first aid kits need to be fully stocked on the jobsite. Having a pump and other water/debris removal equipment at the site can be handy in case of floods. An emergency power generator system is also essential to avoid major delays in projects.

·        Have an action plan in place, and review it with your employees at the beginning of every project. You should also revisit the plan at the beginning of every season to cover the main risks they might face in the coming months.

·        Consider taking pictures of your jobsite at the end of each day, especially if bad weather is in the forecast. These photos can be used as proof of work completion to submit in an insurance investigation in case of damage.

·        Store project documents in a safe or sealed container that cannot be easily damaged by fire, water, or extreme conditions.

·        Prepare for quick relocation of expensive heavy equipment in areas prone to frequent hurricanes and severe weather.

·        Designate a “safe house” or “safe area” on the jobsite for the workers in case of lightning storms, hurricanes, etc. As soon as workers hear thunder or notice heavy winds, they should stop all activities, remove all metal objects that are on them, and seek shelter in this area.

·        After the storm, make sure designated employees assess damages, clean up the site, and determines if it is safe to resume the construction.

A storm preparedness plan can go a long way in mitigating the risks to employees and the project. Knowing what to do ahead of time can mean the difference between destruction and minor damage. Employees need to know what to do before they are under pressure to act. Preparing your jobsite for severe weather should be taken seriously.

MacArthur Co. provides quality building products to contractors, suppliers, and more. Established in 1913, we are an employee-owned company that prides ourselves on quality service that matches our quality products. With over 50 locations across the U.S., find a branch near you.

11 Safe Practices to Prevent Distracted Driving in Construction

Posted on April 8, 2020

Distracted driving is dangerous under any circumstance. But distracted drivers in the construction industry pose an even greater risk because they are usually driving trucks, towing trailers, and hauling heavy loads. Construction businesses are trying to do their part to keep roadways safe by implementing distracted driving policies.

In this article, we will discuss the driving safety practices that the construction industry is working to enforce on an individual employee basis.

What Counts as Distracted Driving?

Many mistakenly think distracted driving is using a cell phone while driving, but that is not the case. Using a cell phone is a distraction, but only one of many. Drivers need to understand there are visual, manual, and cognitive distractions.

·        Visual Distractions cause you to take your eyes off the road.

·        Manual Distractions cause you to take your hands off the wheel.

·        Cognitive Distractions cause you to take your mind off driving.

The most common visual, manual, and cognitive driving distractions are:

·        Texting

·        Talking on a cell phone, even while using a hands-free device

·        Using cell phone features, such as inputting GPS coordinates, checking email, etc.

·        Adjusting dashboard controls, such as audio and climate controls

·        Adjusting vehicle components, such as mirrors, seats, lighting, etc.

·        Eating, drinking, and smoking

·        Reaching for an item inside the vehicle

·        Passengers

·        Rubbernecking

·        Daydreaming or emotional distress

Texting is a triple threat, as it requires you to take your eyes, hands, and mind off the road. Talking on a cell phone is almost as dangerous as texting, even if using a hands-free device. According to NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts, texting and talking on the phone while driving accounts for 14% of all distracted driving fatalities.

How to Prevent Distracted Driving Disasters

The National Safety Council originally deemed April as Distracted Driving Awareness Month to promote the national #JustDrive campaign. In light of the coronavirus epidemic, NSC is postponing Distracted Driving Awareness Month to a to-be-announced date later in the year. However, the following safety tips should be practiced every day.

11 Safety tips to prevent distracted driving:

1. Remember your safety and the safety of others is most important. Remind yourself that It Can Wait until you are parked.

2. Activate your phone’s “Do Not Disturb While Driving” setting before you start driving.

3. Adjust your seat, the radio, and other components before you start driving.

4. Input GPS coordinates and review the route before you start driving.

5. Refrain from eating, drinking, or smoking while driving.

6. If stressed or upset, pull over to compose yourself before getting back on the road.

7. Never listen to music through headphones or earbuds while driving. Keep audio volume to a minimum.

8. Stay aware of your tools, trailer, and load at all times. Wrap a piece of tape around your steering wheel, or place another subtle reminder to check your load.

9. Never text or talk on the phone while driving. Remember, they are the most dangerous driving distractions even with hands-free devices.

10. Ask passengers to comply with your rules and company’s distracted driving policy. Ask them to buckle up, not distract you, and help you do any tasks that would otherwise distract you, such as navigating and adjusting dashboard controls.

11. Take the Just Drive Pledge.

 

From our work family to yours, MacArthur Co. wishes you safe travels!

COVID-19 Resources for Roofing Contractors

Posted on March 20, 2020

Running a business is tricky on its own, and now we're all facing new challenges as we try to navigate through the pandemic. NRCA has provided a wealth of resources to help you through these uncharted waters. You can find them at https://www.nrca.net/covid-19-resources-for-roofing-contractors.

Construction Job Site Safety Tips

Posted on March 16, 2020

Thank you to SocietyInsurance.com for putting together this list - 6 Construction Job Site Safety Tips. 

Job Site Safety Tips

  1. Plan ahead to make sure all the appropriate equipment, tools, and safety gear is available and staged prior to starting the day. For example, proper planning and staging will ensure employees have the 8’ ladder they need instead of trying to make do with a 6’ ladder by standing on the top step!
  2. Provide training for any equipment that will be used for both new and current employees. Don’t assume new employees who may have “years of experience” can operate equipment safely. You cannot be certain as to the level of training (if any!) they received from a previous employer. As for current employees, it is never a bad idea to review procedures on how to operate equipment safely.
  3. Promote and enforce good housekeeping practices. The saying, “A clean workplace is a safe workplace,” is not too far from the truth. A housekeeping issue is often a contributing cause of a job site accident, such as a trip and fall.
  4. Enforce and reinforce safety – but there needs to be balance. Top management and foremen need to enforce the rules when they observe or become aware of an unsafe act or condition. At the same time, they need to reinforce positive behaviors. When you see the crew taking the time to work safely, you should take the time to recognize their effort!
  5. Empower employees to be part of the safety program by encouraging them to report safety concerns to foremen, supervisors or upper management. If a hazard or concern is reported, management must act on it – don’t ignore it! If you ignore it or blow it off, you will kill your safety program. Take advantage of the time during new employee orientations, formal safety meetings, or tool box talks to remind employees that they should say something if they see something. Many accidents can be avoided if someone just speaks up.
  6. Do not become complacent. Job sites present new safety challenges every day. Both management and employees need to maintain constant vigilance of their surroundings.

Visit their website for the full article.

7 Common Workplace Safety Hazards

Posted on March 11, 2020

Worker safety on the job site is always a priority, but sometimes it is hard to know what that looks like. The National Safety Council has compiled a list of 7 common workplace safety hazards they encounter when conducting safety audits. What kind of hazards do they see?  Working at heights, chemicals, housekeeping, electrical, forklifts, lockout/tagout, and confined spaces. Because safety is everyone’s job, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Height – have employees been provided with fall protection equipment and training on how to properly use it?
  • Housekeeping – is there clutter blocking exits or spills left for others to clean up?
  • Electrical – are extension cords used appropriately?

Go to the site below for the full article.

National Burn Awareness Week

Posted on February 5, 2020

When working outside, Mother Nature can wreak havoc on our bodies. This week is Burn Awareness Week, so please take a moment and review these tips: Look closely at local forecasts; put on several layers of loose clothing; wear hats that completely cover the ears, warm boots, & mittens; drink plenty of warm fluids but avoid alcohol and caffeine; take frequent breaks indoors from the cold, especially when the temp nears or dips below -5. Click the link below for more tips and info.

Metal Roof Edges

Posted on August 6, 2019

From our Partners at Carlisle Construction Materials

Importance of Metal Roof Edges and their design, testing, and performance

·         Metal Edging not only provides a sleek look but is critical to protecting the entire roof system

·         Roof edge failure possibilities: Fasteners are uneven, the metal thickness is too light, and inside corners have no miters.

·         The cost of perimeter edge metal is typically only 1% of the total building cost

·         It carries the most risk for roof failure

·         Solutions: ES-1 test standard developed by Single Ply Roofing Industry (SPRI) and ANSI

·         Consideration of design are building height, location, local wind speed data, building occupancy factor, and special terrain characteristics,

·         Several wind calculators can be found online at sites such as spri.org

·         ANSI/SPRI ES-1 standard will help protect the complete roofing system

 

 

Recycled Insulation with Johns Manville

Posted on July 29, 2019

Recycled or reused material is being more of a standard in the world today. Johns Manville is following that and is finding new ways to use recycled material in their insulation. To learn more about how they are using recycled material follow this link (https://news.jm.com/blog/hvac-insulation/understanding-recycled-content-insulation-materials ). If you are interested in getting Johns Manville for your job, contact your local MacArthur Co. branch.

Investing in Your Home's Exterior

Posted on June 11, 2019

Your home is your number one asset. Why wouldn’t you want to upgrade the two most important aspects of it, your roofing and siding? Look at this article from DaVinci Roofscapes to see how upgrading your exterior will not only add curb appeal but can also save you money down the road.  Check out the MacArthur Co. products page to find your upgrade.
#siding #exterior #roofing #DaVinciRoofscapes

https://www.davinciroofscapes.com/blog/benefits-investing-high-performance-products-home/

Shingle Installation Mistakes That Cause Major Problems

Posted on June 6, 2019

Are you installing a new roof on your home?  Check out this article from Atlas Roofing to avoid some of the most common installation mistakes:  https://www.atlasroofing.com/news/article/shingle-installation-mistakes-that-cause-major-problems

Instabid Software

Posted on March 7, 2019

Looking for ways to save time? Check out this new tool from CertainTeed Roofing, which helps contractors save money and improve efficiency. We've had numerous contractors utilize this tool and they say they can't imagine business without it anymore. 

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