Tag Archives: polyester paint

Thru Screws Backing Out of Steel Roofing

My maternal great-grandparents purchased a cabin on Newman Lake, Washington from its original owner/builder in 1937. Nine years later, it was sold by them to their son and his wife – my grandparents Boyd and Jerene McDowell. A little over thirty years ago, I inherited this cabin from them. Having grown up spending most of my summers there, I envisioned turning this cabin into a year-around home.

This cabin’s original hand split cedar shake roofing (on a 7/12 slope over 1x skip sheeting) had been replaced once, by my father – and we enjoyed using these original shingles as fire starter for many years. This second roof was then again replaced with Cocoa Brown polyester painted thru-screwed steel. Polyester paint, while certainly a step up from bare galvanized, did not maintain its original luster for long (for extended reading on Polyester paint: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/polyester-paint/).

As my vision involved significant remodel work, we opted to change roofing to a SMP paint (https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/smp/) with an actual fade and chalk warranty. Through a series of events, our remodel schedule had to be moved forward from its originally intended Spring start, to doing work in Winter. Again (keep in mind), in Northeast Washington. Of course, as luck would have it, reroofing coincided with bitter cold and snow showers – resulting in speed of installation becoming of utmost importance. While I did much work myself, I had an assist from a casual labor wrangler appropriately known as “Big Kevin” who would round up day labor as needed. This reroof required some of these extra bodies.

Fast forwarding a few years, I found some steel roof thru-screws were “backing out”. Upon careful examination, I found out why – in a hurry to get roofing installed, Big Kevin’s casual help had decided it would be quicker to pound screws in with a hammer (as could be evidenced by damage to screw heads)!

When screws are either over driven (or beat in by hammer), it damages wood fibers reducing or virtually eliminating their holding power.  There was a solution – replacing these #9 diameter screws with larger #14 screws. These larger diameter screws, installed properly, were then able to get a firm bite into undamaged wood.

Using an actual screw gun (rather than a drill motor) with a clutch prevents most instances of over driving screws. Should a screw inadvertently be over driven, there is a quick field fix. All it takes is a short 2×4 and a table saw. Cutting with grain of wood, make a series of cuts in both directions to leave 1/8” squares remaining when looking at the 2×4 end. Turning to cut cross grain, chop these off in one-inch increments. This results in what appears to now be headless match sticks (albeit from much stronger lumber). Remove any offending screws and carefully drive a 1/8” square by an inch ‘plug’ into the screw hole in the underlying purlin. A screw can then be replaced into a plug filled hole, where it will happily remain in place. 

Origins of Colored Steel

Where the Idea of Colored Steel Siding and Roofing Started

Back in the Stone Ages, when I first entered the post frame (pole building) industry, factory pre-painted steel siding was still in a relative infancy. So much so as most steel roofs were yet still bare galvanized! It was a rarity to have a colored steel roof!

Colors were relatively limited (red, white, blue, green, gold, beige and brown) and the paint was not the greatest. Read about polyester paint here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2014/05/polyester-paint/), but they were colors and the world was overjoyed!!

But where did the idea of painted steel come from?

As the late, great Paul Harvey would have said, now here is …. the rest of the story….

Henry Getz began his career working at his father’s company, Interlocking Fence Company of Morton, Illinois. Interlocking Fence Company started as a mail-order farm supply company providing fencing and other items needed by farm families. The company later offered a Quonset-style building with a laminated arched rib covered with galvanized sheeting. Seeing the potential in another style of building, Getz began moving the company into post-frame construction.

From the start, Henry constantly sought the “something extra” to offer customers, and in the early 1950s he introduced one of his most important innovations: the addition of color to otherwise plain galvanized sheet-metal buildings.

Though he was told farmers would never pay more for color, Henry pressed ahead. The first color introduced was stained red and incorporated into the gable trim. Soon after, the company added the option of using colored trims for sliding doors, beginning with red trim and track.

As post-frame construction gained popularity, the Quonset-style building was discontinued, and Henry and Interlocking Fence Company began constructing the post-frame structures familiar today.

Color-SwatchesBelieving color was spurring the industry’s growth and offered an opportunity to expand into the commercial building market, Henry sought out builders interested in transitioning to a painted steel panel. The assembly of a like-minded group was part of an effort to decrease the cost for all involved parties. Although this effort was ultimately unsuccessful, Henry persevered and began offering painted steel panels himself. His advertising at the time strikingly compared a building without color on the roof to a mannequin without hair!

Some astute readers may have made the connection between Henry Getz and Morton, IL. For those who didn’t – think “Morton Buildings” and you will have it!

When I consider the tens of thousands of building projects I have had the privilege of working on, I have to doff my hat to Henry Getz for the insight in starting what has become a beautiful palette of colors!