In their own words…

L-3 Communications

Bob Woodworth, Facilities Engineer
Retired in 2011 from L-3 Communications
Greenville, Texas

“I was originally hired by E-Systems (L-3’s predecessor) in February of 1981. As Maintenance Manufacturing Liaison Representative, I estimated electrical and support equipment, design work, and related projects, so I was involved in many, many aspects of facilities operations. However, for at least 20 of those years, anytime there was a roof leak or any roof problems, they automatically came to me. About half of the roofs are plain, standing-seam metal with no coating, but we also had some hot tar built-up roofs, and one or two small membrane systems.

Early experiences with spray foam roofing

Before I went to work there, in the late 70s, E-Systems actually purchased foam application equipment and our own people applied foam to several roofs. The results were not that super, and then, probably 25 years ago, I started working with my first spray foam contractor. In addition to foam’s waterproofing qualities, we used it to bridge bad spots on metal roofs and for its insulation value. Using a three-pound density urethane foam adds structural strength. Also, as computers became more prevalent, we realized that the heat load from all the electronics in one building exceeded the ability of the air conditioning system. So, about 20 years ago, we added two inches of foam to the roof – not due to a leak, but for the insulation value alone. To this day, the chillers in that building have been able to keep up with the heat load.

Unfortunately, with our prior foam contractor’s system, we had a huge problem with blistering, which can happen if the spray foam is not applied correctly. After working with them for a while – and when we slowed up on new projects – getting a warranty repair was becoming more and more difficult. In addition, the topcoat that the previous vendor had been using oxidized. It was not sun resistant; it would actually degrade over time, so that obviously left an unhappy feeling.

DFW Urethane starts a new chapter

In 2003, we had a hailstorm come through which negated any warranty. That’s when we decided to start fresh. We had to get competitive bids on everything we did, and with John Ewell’s winning bid on one of the buildings, we got involved with DFW Urethane.

John, his partner Bengy Hurd, and their installer, James Webb, all do excellent work – their quality is fantastic. When they spray the foam on, it’s nice and smooth. When I retired, they had upwards of eight years with their application, and the only blistering we had was due to the previous contractor’s work. There was not one blister on a roof in the whole facility where DFW Urethane did the original work. They did an excellent job.

Superior application methodology and people

What makes the biggest difference in the quality of a foam roofing system is the methodology of application. When you’re up on a roof, you can see whether it’s nice and smooth – or that it’s rough – and that’s totally in the realm of application. The equipment and the methodology are huge factors in foam application, and that’s where John and his guys excel. Their methodology is superior to any other – and they remain the only company using that methodology to ensure the proper mix. They do it the way it’s supposed to be done.

What’s more, polyurethane foam is climate-sensitive, and this was a 15-month project that spanned all four seasons. So, DFW Urethane worked hand-in-hand with BASF, the foam manufacturer, throughout the job. They purchased foam for the job multiple times during the project so that it would be adjusted for the specific season. In addition, BASF sent out two men to the job site at least monthly to evaluate how things were going. John also gave similar attention to the topcoat from Neogard, which had representatives come out regularly to make sure it was being applied properly.

L-3 is a secured facility, so anyone with access has to have a clean record, with no felonies or other major marks against them. But, you have to see how they conduct themselves on the job – that’s where pride and personal ethics come into play. John’s crews are good people and consistently did good work.

I’ve hired lots of contractors in 30 years and you develop an eye for workmanship and standards. Some of them you just don’t want around while others you welcome in, and John’s crews were always welcome.

Accountability and responsiveness

Accountability is another factor that differentiates DFW Urethane from other vendors. John’s workmanship was backed by a third-party accountability system through Arizona State University and I guarantee that would put your feet to the fire. All of us do better when we’re accountable, and that was self-imposed on John’s part.

They are also extremely responsive. If I called in something on a Tuesday and the weather was good, they’d be there that afternoon. If the weather wasn’t perfect, they’d come later in the week and take care of whatever I had called in. And, the truth was, probably 80 percent of the leaks they came in and fixed weren’t their problem – but they took care of them anyway.

They have done a fantastic job – they truly have. They stand behind their work; they have been absolutely excellent to work with. Obviously there are other contractors that I’ve worked with that have done well, but I guarantee you none has ever surpassed John’s crew. He and his group are right there at the top of all the contractors that I’ve ever worked with. When you consider how few calls I get on the 1.1 million square feet of roofing they installed, that’s a high recommendation that what they have done has worked well.


Keep in mind when selecting a contractor

My advice for those who are considering spray foam roofing and hiring a foam contractor is to get a recommendation and then investigate – look into their equipment; look into their crew; go to a job where they’re actually doing it. Spend the time, go out and see who’s doing the work and what their workmanship is like.

Competitive bidding is always appropriate, because when you don’t competitive bid, the price tends to increase. But consider each company’s methodology, follow-up and warranty. DFW Urethane is definitely competitive. Some foam roofing people may give a lower bid, but you get less for it – less quality and inferior application.”

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