Why Registered Roof Consultant Marc Caputo Won't Take Chances with Unproven Roofing Products
A proven track record is the No. 1 consideration when choosing a roofing system, according to Marc Caputo, a registered roof consultant with 31 years' experience. That's not something that can be simulated in a lab, he adds. It comes from actual, real-life performance in the field. We asked Marc, the owner of MA Caputo Associates in New Haven, CT to tell us more.
Tell us about your background in the roofing industry.
For the first ten years or so I started off working for a series of manufacturers of roofing products. I worked for a company that marketed EPDM and I also worked for a company that produced PVC products. In addition, I worked for an SBS manufacturer, a company that makes fasteners and also an engineering company before I became a roof consultant and started my own business in 1989.
What products do you specify?
We specify thermoplastic single plies and two-ply SBS products on virtually all low slope applications. The majority of our work is in the commercial roofing business. We also have had limited involvement with liquid applied membranes. We are occasionally involved in specifying steep sloped roofs where the products range from fiberglass asphalt shingles to tile, wood and slate.
What are your thoughts on the TPO roofing products?
We never specify a product that we haven't seen in the field for at least ten years. It is questionable in our minds whether any TPO product has been out there for ten years. When we specify a single ply, we strongly lean toward thermoplastic products that are still performing after having been in the field for over 25 years.
Why is it so important to you that a product has a proven track record?
It's important to me because while various accelerated testing methods may weed out obvious failures, they don't show how a product that passes these tests will actually perform in the field, either by itself or as part of a larger system. The failure mechanism for a product as part of a system may be due to an unanticipated, and therefore, untested for, interaction. Take the case of phenolic foam. When it was introduced in the field, somehow they didn't check to see how it would react with a steel deck in the presence of moisture. I am not confident that I can figure out all of the possible ways that a system could fail.
Have you ever had a bad experience specifying a system that wasn't well proven in the field?
My answer is an un-arrogant “no”. By the time I became a consultant, I had pretty much decided that I would not specify anything I hadn't seen in the field for at least ten years. Now that I've been in business for a while I can extend that timeframe to 20 to 25 years. We've made very few exceptions to that rule and those haven't been with the primary roofing membrane itself. Actually, we did once, but we had no other technically feasible option, and, thankfully that membrane is well over ten years old and is still performing well.
Do clients return to you with additional requests for your service because the other systems you've specified have lasted a long time in the field?
I suspect so. I know that we have not aggressively sought new business. All of our business is through referrals at this point. I personally haven't made a sales call for ten to 15 years. We have primary contacts that have moved on to other businesses and continue to be our clients. I don't think we would be able to do that if the products that we specify didn't work.
I know of no roof that we've put down since we started this business in 1989 that isn't still in place if the building is in place.
What do you tell owners when they ask you why you specify FiberTite?
I tell them that a well-respected company manufactures FiberTite and that the product has a performance track record of over 25 years. The FiberTite product produced today appears to be essentially the same product that was on the market 25 years ago and these products are still in service. If owners wish to base their decision on anticipated longevity and a single ply product fits their specification, they should seriously consider FiberTite. It has performed in its present configuration for over 25 years. That is a very big selling feature for us. Plus, Seaman Corporation is easy to work with - not everyone is. The FiberTite staff can answer technical questions quickly and competently. That is important to us too.
MA Caputo Associates LLC is located at 1008 Quinnipiac Ave. in New Haven, CT. Marc can be reached by email email@example.com or phone 203-469-3216 for comments or questions.