John Hogan of Blue Nail Exteriors

Design Build Planners recently interviewed John Hogan, owner of Blue Nail Exteriors. Blue Nail is a DBP Preferred Remodeler based in Morristown, NJ. Other DBP remodeling industry industry interviews can be read HERE.

Q: What is your favorite home improvement show?

A: This Old House. It is a little less glamorous than the HGTV shows, but it is timeless and informative.

Q: What is one question that a homeowner should ask a roofing company that they probably don’t realize?

John Hogan Blue Nail ExteriorsA: Ask for a Certificate of Insurance with your name as the Certificate Holder and a description of what type of work is covered. Insurance fraud is a disaster in the Roofing Industry. Shoddy Contractors complain that Roofing Insurance is too expensive, so they pay for Carpentry Insurance and continue performing Roofing work. New Jersey does not require contractors to list what we are covered for, only that we maintain a minimum of $500K in coverage. It creates a vicious cycle where honest contractors are stuck paying higher premiums because shoddy contractors are irresponsibly being cheap with their coverage. If anything happens while they are working on your home, you are held liable.

Q: Besides the obvious shingle appearance, what are some signs that an older roof is failing?

A: Unfortunately, water leaking into the living space is often the trigger for homeowners to replace the roof. I try to help homeowners understand that water getting inside the home should not be the first warning sign; you want to prevent water from ever making its way into your home. Discovering water on the ceiling does not mean the leak just started. Water typically has to get behind the shingles, under the moisture barrier, through the wood decking, run down the rafters, land on the attic floor, soak into the insulation, and then once the insulation is finally destroyed – the water will make its way to the ceiling below where the leak is discovered. The small drop that you see on the ceiling could be the result of water leaking from the roof over the course of months or even years. Now instead of simply replacing the roof, the homeowner has to deal with rotted wood decking, new insulation, spackling and painting the damaged walls and ceilings, restoring any furniture or carpet that was damaged, and more.

Q: What are your thoughts on solar roof shingles?

A: The roof is most logical place for homeowners to capture solar energy. The current method of installing solar panels over asphalt shingles is expensive (depending on gov’t subsidies) and cosmetically underwhelming. Often times homeowners have to replace their roof even if it has 10 years of use left in order to comply with the warranty necessary to install the new solar panels. Another issue is the solar panel installers are certainly not roofers. We have done so many leak repairs on newly installed solar panels that solar companies keep us on file.

Elon Musk’s latest announcement revealing Tesla’s Solar Roof is exciting, although I am skeptical. Solar Shingles have been tried multiple times in the past and are still available on the market. Cost has been a big issue as well as performance. If anyone can challenge the status quo, it is Elon. However, the initial promises of rolling out the product lines for Summer 2017 and having the cost of installation lower than traditional roofing seems a bit far-fetched at this point. “Traditional roofing” is yet to be defined by Tesla, but I assume they are referencing slate and tile roofing not the common asphalt shingles. I like the look of Tesla’s Solar Shingles and the fact that the energy is stored in your home rather than being sold back to the grid. It is a great idea overall.

I am hopeful that the man working to get us to Mars is capable of solving the Solar Roof issue. But, with only 5 months until Summer 2017 and no update from suppliers or any training available – it is hard to imagine New Jersey being sheltered by Solar Roofs this year.

Q: If you weren’t in the remodeling industry what could you see yourself doing?

A: Hard to say. Beside Exterior Construction, my background is in the financial industry. I worked at multiple financial institutions including Morgan Stanley and Heritage Community Bank while achieving my Master’s Degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University. I enjoyed the analytical side of it, but I found it difficult to express my entrepreneurial abilities in the corporate world. I feel great about where I am now. If I was not in the remodeling industry, I would be working in finance plotting my next entrepreneurial move.

Learn more about Blue Nail Exteriors on their website.