Speeding Up Production – Application Methodology

Written by Tim Simpson, Quality Assurance and Quality Control Manager, Maintenance Coatings Inspector


For each process, there are ways of achieving higher productivity while maintaining quality. Reinforcing seams and embedding Ames Roofing Reinforcing Fabric are two excellent options to explore


Reinforcing Seams:

  • When installing Ames Poly-Bridge Flashing material, make a plastic spooler with a handle for the fabric to allow fabric delivery continuously across a roof by the technician. If the roof is sloped or domed, install rubber feet on the bottom of the spooler legs to maintain a grip on the sloped roof. Be sure and build the spooler with feet far apart enough to straddle the wet seam thus holding the fabric directly over the wet seam as you move down the seam being flashed. The technician can then pre-stripe a section of the roof seam, quickly hold the spooler over the seam while walking along the wetter area, set the spool down just past the end of the wetted seam, then efficiently and quickly embed the Ames Poly-bridge fabric without cutting the roll of Poly-Bridge. This reduces overlapping seam details along the seam and cuts the fabric only when reaching the end of the seam run or discontinuing your work.
  • When installing long runs of seams, consider a two-man crew in lieu of one person. By doing so, one person rolls out the wet stripe coat down the seam, the second person carefully lifts the spooler of Ames Poly-Bridge fabric and walks the spool up close to the person rolling out the stripe coat. While the stripe coater continues moving ahead along the roof, the second person then embeds the fabric by first rolling in one direction carefully from the point of beginning toward the second person. This allows air to flow out from under the fabric while preventing wrinkles in the fabric. This is an amazingly effective method for shifting your meshwork into overdrive.
  • Modify this strategy by adding a third person at roof radius curbs. One person rolls the stripe coat, a second spools out the required length of fabric and carefully lays it in the wet bed, the third person fully embeds the fabric. The work train just keeps on rolling along!
  • When running long seams it’s best to run the long seams first, then drop back and install small details which may be more efficient by having two installers split up and work on their own.
  • For even more efficiency install a piece of PVC vertically to the side of the mesh spooler. Cap the bottom of the PVC vertical piece. This creates a tube to store fabric scissors that will always be right there with the fabric roll and easy to reach.
  • Want to save more time? Pour some water in the vertical scissor tube and your scissor blades will always be free of dried roof coating material when you grab them to make a cut. I like a 1.5” to 2” vertical tube best so there is room for sufficient water and the scissors don’t fit too tightly.


Embedding Ames Roof Reinforcing Fabric on the Entire Roof:

  • When running full-width rolls of reinforcing fabric along the roof, many crews simply lay the fabric on the roof and kick or push it along as liquid material is applied under then over the fabric to embed it. While simple, this method can cause the roll to bounce off course developing wrinkles that stop the work in its tracks. Additionally, the hot sun can rapidly dry the wet material that inevitably gets on the roll of fabric. This condition causes further delays when the fabric glues to itself during a short pause to get a wrinkle out or lift the roll of mesh over a roof penetration.
  • This is where we introduce a long fabric spooler onto the scene and increase the crew size on this process to speed things up.
  • Here’s how: For a large roof, I recommend a 4-man crew minimum setup on this production train. One person applies the wet coating. With one person on each end of the spooler, the two spoolers move along with the fabric carefully laying the fabric down in a straight line. The fourth person follows the fabric lay-in with a roller and fully wets down the embedded fabric while rolling out air pockets and preventing fish mouths along the edges or internal wrinkles.
  • When using a wide fabric spooler on a sloped or domed roof, it is also important to add a large disc on each end of the roll of fabric mounted on the spooler shaft to hold the roll on the spooler pole without hanging up the roll of fabric. On the sloped applications the roll will slip slightly toward the downhill side of the roof and ride up against the disc previously mentioned. We make these discs by cutting them out of the bottom of a plastic 5-gal pail. I like using a .75” galvanized iron spooler shaft with threaded ends to allow for an optional bracket with feet to be mounted on each end of the spool shaft. This option provides a standup bracket on each end of the spool shaft to hold the rollout of the wet material during pauses just like with the smaller seam tape system. I hold the roll of fabric and discs in place using wing bolted flanges like the type used on barbells.
  • Another trick I have learned is to stay back from the roof edge when starting rows of parallel overlapping strips of fabric. This speeds up the starting and stopping of applying all runs of fabric across a large roof expanse. After the long runs are installed, the ends of all the installed strips near the roof edge can be finished up with a single continuous piece of fabric overlapping the ends of all the fabric runs and terminating neatly at the edge of the roof detail. By properly placing safety tie-offs this can be achieved while rigged to a safety harness if required by job site conditions.


Overall, the strategy here is to have sufficient crew to handle each segment of the process on both seaming and also the membrane fabric embedding to allow the process to move across the roof in an orderly fashion without much or any stopping. Remove one critical component of the crew and suddenly the process changes up and someone must multitask. The train stops and starts – production slows.


Click here for Chapter 9: Speeding Up Production – Equipment Sizing & Tips