Published in KGVY Home & Lifestyle, 2018
Licensed and bonded contractor TJ Vandiver’s reputation is nothing short of divine – on which he delivers.
Literally - as in angels. No joke.
About three years ago Vandiver was repairing the Lutheran Church of the Risen Savior’s roof in Green Valley when one of his workers went missing. Concerned, Vandiver called out for him.
“Finally, he comes up from around back and he’s like, ‘Dude, I just feel through the roof,’” he recalled. “He went down about 12 feet into the main area of the church.”
Just so happens a woman inside the church witnessed the employee’s fall and heard Vandiver yelling the guy’s name, which happens to be (you guessed it) - Angel. The church’s maintenance director followed up with Vandiver the next day.
“And he was like, ‘TJ what was going on here yesterday? A lady came in here and said angels were falling out of the sky,’” he said of their conversation. “But, the lady was serious. It was right in their main area and she just watched him drop down through there and I’m going, ‘Angel, Angel, where are you?’ in the background.”
TJ Vandiver Construction has been providing out-of-this-world general roof repair and roof coating ever since its owner and namesake graduated from Sahuarita High School in 1991. He got his license in 2002 and specializes in flat roofs in the Green Valley and Sahuarita areas.
To hear his customers talk about it, you’d think the veteran contractor practically walks on water himself – given the unwavering honesty, integrity and top-notch quality he dedicates to every single job.
“I just can’t recommend the man highly enough,” said Ron McLaughlin, of Green Valley.
In 2012, McLaughlin and his wife, Ole, bought a home in the area and noticed a minor leak in the garage’s roof. They called TJ Vandiver Construction and Vandiver himself went over to check it out.
Following his inspection, he informed the couple he had repaired that very same roof for the previous homeowners and it was still under the five-year warranty he gives to all his customers. Vandiver honored that warranty and did the repairs at no cost to the McLaughlins.
“I had no idea about it and I had never met him before,” Ron said. “So, it was a real tribute to his honesty. He’s been hired a lot of times by us since then to do other jobs and he’s a real nice guy on top of that.”
Not only does Vandiver guarantee his work for five years, he conducts free inspections, provides a written quote with photos and no hidden fees, cuts out and repairs problem areas (instead of just patching over them), scrapes and cleans surfaces before recoating, applies a three-coat roofing process and offers a tear-proof polyester layer for added protection when needed.
“I really try to cut out the bad stuff and redo it to get the water to flow,” he explained. “Whereas a lot of the other roofers, they don’t do that. They just coat over what’s there and don’t do a whole lot of repair work. I try to work with the customer and take care of them.”
Local resident Craig Surprise is one of those well-cared for customers. He said Vandiver shows up on time, provides accurate estimates without any “surprise costs” along the way and thinks outside the box when tackling projects.
“TJ absolutely knows flat roofs and how to repair them,” said Surprise, an engineer who quickly recognized Vandiver’s unique application of science and mathematical methods to his work. “Including some pretty wild techniques that he has developed and uses to drain water off areas you wouldn’t think would be possible to get it to go away from. He’s willing to try new materials and methods.”
And the word has spread regarding Vandiver’s professionalism and pleasing personality.
“He showed up when he said would, worked dawn to dusk and cleaned up the site every day upon completion,” said Nancy James of Carmen, who also lives in Tucson part of the year. “He also gave us before, after and during renovation photographic documentation for insurance and potential resale purposes. I have never worked with a roofer as professional, detail oriented, knowledgeable or as conscientious as TJ. What a pleasure!”
Vandiver’s expertise and friendly demeanor is so impressive, it’s even served as a kind of recruiting agent in hiring skilled labor able to meet his company’s high standards. Case and point - Chad Couch, who works for TJ Vandiver Construction as a roofing assistant. Before Vandiver was paying Couch, it was the other way around. Vandiver re-decked Couch’s shingled roof when it blew off his Sahuarita home shortly after moving to town.
“He did such excellent work that I wanted to work for him,” Couch said. “I didn’t know anybody here and I pretty much started a week after I met him.”
And Couch’s roof, years later?
“It looks great,” he said. “It looks fantastic. No cracks, no nothing.”
Furthermore, Vandiver’s reputation as an employer is equivalent to his reputation as a hired contractor.
“He’s a real straight-forward guy,” Couch added. “He doesn’t B.S. around. He’s a good boss and he even buys (the crew) lunch every day.”
Vandiver is just as generous with sharing important tips for evaluating home or business maintenance needs. He recommends:
· Yearly roof inspections. Look for cracks, bubbles and water ponding on roofs – often evident by an accumulation of dirt in an area. If water doesn’t drain properly, it can eat through a roof’s coating causing leaks, structural damage and the need for major repairs later on.
· Expect free inspections. Vandiver said most roofers provide a free inspection. “If they don’t, they’re probably just after your money,” he warned.
· Don’t wait too long between coatings. “The roof can dry and just start cracking apart,” Vandiver said. “Time is definitely a factor.”
· Be debris free. “Keep tree trimmings off the roof,” he said. “If those pile up, they degrade your roof because they hold moisture.”
· Clean before coating. Vandiver always thoroughly scraps and cleans an area before treating it. “You want it as flat as you can get,” he said. “If it’s got stuff sticking up, it makes little tents. Which isn’t a good thing because if there’s air, it will just continue growing into a bubble.”
· Take care of the parapet. A parapet is a barrier which is an extension of the wall at the edge of a roof, terrace, balcony, walkway or other structure. “That’s part of the roofing system,” noted Vandiver. “A lot of time the leaks are in the walls and they transfer over.”
· Monsoon and more. While most people equate Arizona rain with the monsoon season, it’s important to make sure roofs are in good shape throughout the year. “Green Valley is really good about pre-monsoon,” Vandiver said. “That’s when I get my major calls. But, we get winter rains too and we’ve had some rains with some longevity.”
From ponding to parapets and everything in between, Vandiver’s commitment to excellence has earned him a concrete-clad reputation in the contracting industry. Moreover, his thriving business relies on word-of-mouth advertising alone. He said doesn’t pay for any kind of advertisement – doesn’t need to. His very satisfied clientele does it for him.
“He helped my roof drain a hell of a lot better than it’s ever drained before,” said Green Valley resident Tom Packer. “If you want it done right, he’s your guy. Call him.”
By dialing (520) 603-6718 – the phone number for TJ Vandiver Construction. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.