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Penetrating Roof Line

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by ams, Sep 24, 2019.

  1. ams

    ams Very Active Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    I have a client who is opening a new bar. The small strip center he is in doesn't have access to the interior of the wall for the electrical sign. The access hatch under the canopy goes directly to the roof.

    The current sign was lagged into plywood and then liquid tight ran through the roof line and into a junction box sitting on top of the roof of the canopy.

    Our state code doesn't allow toggle bolts on electrical signs. Generally we would use thread alls and either a large washer and nut or we'd back with 2X4's or Steel flat bar. However there is zero access to secure the other side of the sign.

    He now wants to switch to back lit halo letters, which is fine for exterior mounting, but it would be 12 lines penetrating the roof line which is illegal in our state code. I've had installers in the past cut corners and hit the roof line and cost me a thousand bucks in damages to the interior of the store. Also back in 2014 had an installer lag a raceway sign to plywood and last year it fell off the wall.

    Apparently the landlord is an ex-sign guy and cannot understand why we are not wanting to do the job. My client is siding with the landlord.

    I am not a certified roofer and cannot properly patch a roof. I've asked for a release of liability waiver be signed to save me from any damages or the sign killing someone. He falls back to the landlord says there is full access and doesn't understand why it can't be done.
  2. White Haus

    White Haus Formally known as RJPW..........

    Apr 6, 2018
    Walk away?
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Rocco G

    Rocco G Member

    Feb 27, 2014
    Pennsauken NJ
    Put the reverse letters on a backer pan so you only have one penetration of the wall/roof for power. If you want you can just run low-voltage wire to a remote power supply depending on local code. Without photos I can't really comment on the installation methods though. I'm guessing it's a parapet wall of some sort. And I've never heard of not allowing toggles to install an electrical sign but each state (sometimes even different towns in a state) have their own requirements. Nothing will surprise me after all these year hanging signs.
    I'd still use all-thread and back it up with angle/etc. but specify in the proposal that the customer is responsible for having a roofer come afterwards and correctly patch the roof. This is especially important if it's a rubber membrane roof to keep the warranty in force. Your job is to make sure that the sign doesn't come down. Occasionally that means you need to penetrate the roofline and then the customer/LL should be the one to come after and patch as required. If they were to install an HVAC unit or electrical equipment on the roof you can be darn sure they will bring in a roofer afterwards.
    If they don't want to bring in a roofer, then perhaps it's best to decline the work.
  4. ams

    ams Very Active Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    Here are some crappy photos. It's replacing the pizza sign. Up on the roof is one of those 45 degree angle pitches. Whoever did that sign made a hole like 4 feet through and punctured that white roof stuff.


  5. rossmosh

    rossmosh Active Member

    Oct 9, 2014
    New Jersey
    I'd tell them something along the lines of "We need to bring in a roofer to do X,Y, and Z so that I can do the job. I got a quote and it costs $XXX. Once that is complete, I can do my job and it is $XXXX."

    Explain very clearly that you're bringing in the roofing expert to protect the property and make sure there is no future leaks/water damage which can be very costly. You might even consider not putting yourself in the middle and have the landlord/client pay directly to the roofer so you assume no/less liability.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. unclebun

    unclebun Very Active Member

    Looks to me like the white angled roof stuff was an add-on done because the original roof over the arcade leaked. If so, when it was built, the sign would have been easy to mount on the parapet wall.

    I agree that to put a sign up will require roof work after the sign is installed.
  7. 2B

    2B Very Active Member

    May 5, 2011
    ^ This ^

    and request the landlord meet you at the location to show the full access door he is referring to
    that 45* degree part looks like an add-on. he may not know it is there.
  8. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

    Oct 21, 2016
    Frisco, TX
    Yea, don't lag into plywood. I was called out on a sign on a Saturday morning where someone had lagged a channel set 8' long, 3' letters with TWO lags on either end into plywood. It was half falling down.
  9. WhiskeyDreamer

    WhiskeyDreamer Professional Snow Ninja

    Aug 6, 2007
    We always tell clients that they have to have the electric run to where the sign is going to be. If they don't have an electrician, we can suggest one to them. You're a sign company, you shouldn't have to deal with roofing and electrical (unless you're licensed for that). Your job is to make and install a sign. The rest is on them to have ready for you. Unless of course, you're also the GM of the entire project, and if so, they'd better be paying you for it.
  10. Andy D

    Andy D Very Active Member

    Oct 20, 2014
    Hattiesburg, MS
    As far as the Remote channel letters (what we call them) and having to drill for each letter's power supply,
    you could build a shallow can and mount to that.
    Would code allow the top of the can to be higher than the top edge?

    • Like Like x 1
  11. ams

    ams Very Active Member

    Oct 28, 2010
    It's possible but there would still be repairs needed at the top of it even when it's above the slanted part. If it's on a raceway it's a 15' sign, so it's going to need 5 - 1/2 thread alls to secure it. The letters are 26" tall.
    In my opinion a new access panel needs to be cut under the canopy so we can get behind the sign, that would solve all issues.
  12. MikePatterson

    MikePatterson Head bathroom cleaner.

    You could always fab a hanger system to go over the parapet wall and hang the sign. No penetrations through the wall only through the top, epoxy all thread down into the top of the wall if its masonry.
    Something similar to this. But Welded and permanent fabrication.
  13. spectrum maine

    spectrum maine Member

    Nov 1, 2012
    biddeford, maine
    have him put in an access door

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