Construction Blogs

Test Drive: Mack’s Return to Medium-Duty Trucks Doesn’t Disappoint

Mack’s MD Series is a rebirth of sorts for a company whose mantra is “Born Ready.”

Mack exited the medium-duty segment almost 20 years ago with the retirement of the Freedom, which was mostly a rebadged Americanized Renault. The Freedom concluded Mack’s 20-plus-year run with its medium-duty Mid-Liner.

The MD entered production just 13 months ago at the company’s new 280,000-square-foot Roanoke Valley Operations (RVO) facility in Roanoke Valley, Virginia. Mack announced its re-entry into the medium-duty market in January 2020, but COVID protocols delayed production from July to September 2020. 

Targeting medium-duty trucking vocations with frequent urban stop-and-go cycles like dry van/refrigerated, stake/flatbed, dump and tank, the 25,995-pound gross vehicle weight rating MD6 and 33,000-pound GVWR MD7 are both exempt from the 12% federal excise tax, and the MD6 model slides in just under the cutoff for requiring a commercial driver’s license for non-hazardous payloads.

Nextran Truck Centers Sales Manager Bruce Graham said the bulk of the units moving through his Birmingham, Alabama, dealership have been spec’d with flatbeds, but service bodies have become increasingly more common, with some vans mixed in. 

Bruce and his team at Nextran loaned me an MD6 to shuttle around the greater Birmingham-area – a Glacier White Class 6 outfitted with a Lyncoach box. This is a fairly standard configuration for a local-route beverage hauler, which is exactly where this unit was headed. 

Mack didn’t have to look far for inspiration for its MD Series. There’s no denying the influence of Mack’s on-highway flagship Anthem. The squared-off nose; the grille; the body lines; a wrap-around dash with ergonomic controls; a tilt telescopic steering column with flat-bottomed steering wheel; power windows and door locks; cruise control and a driver air-ride seat are all regular long-haul driver comforts found in the MD Model. Anthem’s paw prints are all over the MD inside and out. 

The MD6 and MD7 models feature a sharp wheel cut for enhanced maneuverability, and their air-suspended steel cab features an industry-best bumper-to-back-of-cab measurement of 103 inches. Eight wheelbase lengths will support typical bodies from 10 to 26 feet. My test drive model was a 270-inch wheelbase.

The wheels are a standard 22.5 inches, but 19.5-inch wheels are available. Other standard features include the basics like power windows and locks, cruise control and air conditioning. An optional two-passenger bench seat allows fleets to deploy crews of three, and a flip-up bottom grants access to a large bin for storage.

MD’s turning radius was tight, making navigating crowded surface streets easy and safe when coupled with the shorter nose and improved visibility. 

The view from the standard air-ride driver’s seat is commanding, and the air-suspension cab is comfortable. Base models get a spring rear suspension, but Mack’s Maxlite air suspension is available. My test unit had air. 

It would be easy to assign a lot of the truck’s pleasant on-road manners to the air system, but that would overlook the durable yet lightweight chassis (7mm thickness for the MD6 and 8mm thickness for the MD7), constructed to an industry standard 34-inch frame width using 120,000 psi steel rails – a considerable bump from an industry standard 80,000 psi.

The MD is Mack’s first all-new truck model since the 2017 debut of Anthem. It’s also one of very few bulldogs to offer a non-Mack powertrain. Both MD models are equipped with an inline 6-cylinder Cummins B6.7 engine, making up to 300 horsepower and 660 pound-feet of torque.

The B6.7 is the most popular diesel engine Cummins builds, and its B Series has been on the market for nearly 40 years in various iterations. It’s pretty much the ubiquitous medium-duty engine. Cummins’ Single Module aftertreatment bundles the diesel particulate filter, selective catalytic reduction and diesel exhaust fluid doser into one unit.

In the MD, the B6.7 is matched with an Allison 2500HS transmission and Meritor axles. An Allison 2500RDS is available for applications needing a PTO.

My drive around Birmingham covered a little less than 100 miles, not an uncommon daily trip shunting around Coca-Cola products, and the truck felt just as at home at 70 mph pulling a grade as it was at 15 mph navigating a loading zone, or low-speed in a crowded Buc-ee’s parking lot. Yeah, I know. Buc-ee’s isn’t truck-friendly, but sometimes, when you want a Coke Icee, you have to take matters into your own hands. 

Now that a formal infrastructure plan has finally passed, Mack couldn’t have picked a better time to get back into medium duty – especially with a model as versatile as MD. 

In all, the MD Series is a comfortable and capable traffic fighter with plenty of workhorse capabilities and flexibility that both fleets and drivers will love, especially if you need to make a black-ops Icee run.  

Did you miss our previous article…

Construction Blogs

Tunnel Machine “Mary” Arrives for Virginia’s Largest Ever Road Project (Video)

“Mary” the tunnel boring machine has arrived for Virginia’s largest ever infrastructure project.

The 9-million-pound TBM will dig two 8,000-foot-long tunnels for the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Expansion Project.

The new tunnels will take more than two years to build and will be about 50 feet deeper than the existing tunnels. The $3.8 billion project will increase tunnel capacity and widen 10 miles of Interstate 64 between the cities of Hampton and Norfolk from four to eight lanes in places, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

It is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the country and is expected to be completed in 2025.

The interstate section is one of the state’s most congested, with traffic backing up as much as 6 miles during rush hour, VDOT says.

The Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel Expansion Project is expected to be completed in 2025.Virginia DOTMary is named after Mary Winston Jackson, an African-American mathematician and aerospace engineer at NASA from Hampton. The TBM was built in Germany and then disassembled to be shipped to Norfolk.

It will take about six months to reassemble the 170-piece TBM in a 65-foot-deep launching pit on South Island. When reassembled it will be 46 feet tall and more than 430 feet long. It will tunnel at 50 feet per day, not only digging but installing concrete panels along the way.

The TBM will start on the South Island and tunnel to the North Island. That should take about a year. Then the machine will be turned around, a four-month process, and dig back to the South Island for another year of tunneling.

The project is expected to create 28,000 jobs and generate $4.6 billion in economic impact, according to VDOT.

Check out this concept video of what the future HRBT will look like when completed:

CMSBrowserComponents.load({ el: ‘#vue-1639674602881-543’, name: ‘OEmbed’, props: {“mountPoint”:”/__oembed”,”url”:””,”attrs”:{“type”:”oembed”,”id”:””,”element”:”aside”}}, hydrate: false });

And here’s one that shows a time-lapse of Mary’s construction in Germany:

CMSBrowserComponents.load({ el: ‘#vue-1639674602881-422’, name: ‘OEmbed’, props: {“mountPoint”:”/__oembed”,”url”:”″,”attrs”:{“type”:”oembed”,”id”:”″,”element”:”aside”}}, hydrate: false });

Mary was built by Herrenknecht at a cost of $101 million, which included shipping.

Here’s a video that demonstrates the tunneling process, provided by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel District and Dragados/Chesapeake Tunnel Joint Venture:

CMSBrowserComponents.load({ el: ‘#vue-1639674602881-422’, name: ‘OEmbed’, props: {“mountPoint”:”/__oembed”,”url”:”″,”attrs”:{“type”:”oembed”,”id”:”″,”element”:”aside”}}, hydrate: false });

The contractor on the HRBT Expansion is a joint venture with Dragados USA serving as the lead contractor and HDR and Mott MacDonald as lead designers. Other team members: Flatiron Constructors, Vinci Construction, and Dodin Campenon Bernard.

south island construction for Mary tunnel machine
The South Island of the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel is being prepared for tunnel boring machine Mary’s reassembly in a 65-foot-deep launching pit.Virginia DOT

Construction Blogs

Bobcat Reimagines the UTV with Its New UW53, UW56 Toolcats

Bobcat has redefined what a utility terrain vehicle is and does with the release of the new UW53 and UW56 Toolcats.

The pair have been engineered to combine the abilities of several machines and accept more than 45 attachments, turning them into haulers, lifters, mowers, towers and loaders.

LED illumination

The new UTV models include redesigned LED lighting that gives broader illumination and uses less power. The road lights are embedded in the front fenders providing good protection and visibility in all directions.

Rear work lights also use LED bulbs to help you see better. And a new optional rearview camera gives you visibility into blind spots for tasks that require regular machine maneuvering. The rear-frame location of the camera provides an unobstructed view when connecting a ball hitch (UW56 model only).

Smooth ride, traction for work

Bobcat updated its dual-drive response system for smoother acceleration and deceleration, and it also recalls drive response settings. The first setting gives you a smooth response for driving between tasks.

The second setting changes the system to a more aggressive response when operating in low to maintain hydraulic and traction power for uninterrupted work. This allows you to adjust your travel speed independently from your engine speed for optimal attachment performance and precise acceleration.

Tight space turns

With all-wheel steer, the Toolcats easily move around tight spaces with minimal ground disturbance. Hydraulic power makes steering easy, even in soft dirt or boggy conditions. The standard HVAC system forces air distribution where it’s needed most with the help of newly positioned 360-degree adjustable vents.

Operators will also enjoy several comfort upgrades. The redesigned interior has an integrated 5-inch display and storage spots within easy access. Controls are ergonomically placed for ease of operation.

A larger fuel filter and extended oil-drain intervals, plus increased corrosion resistance, boost uptime and reduce maintenance. The standard Bob-Tach mounting system makes it easy to attach your work tools. 

Did you miss our previous article…

Construction Blogs

An Environmental Niche Pays Off for This N.C. Contractor

Working alongside his family in the homebuilding business, development and site work, Kevin Ennis knew he would have his own company someday.

“Just seeing the flexibility and the freedom they had was always intriguing to me,” says Ennis. “I think you realize, if you’re ambitious, you can plow your own path. The older I got it drove me to create something of my own.”

Anything that is, except a homebuilding company. “I just like equipment. I like machines. I enjoy being in the dirt and being able to start something and finish it relatively quick and see a result,” he says. Rather than pounding nails, Ennis started working for himself doing environmental inspections and erosion-control consultations. It was a new and rapidly changing field and many of the developers and large contractors didn’t have the time or staffed expertise to keep up with the constantly changing rules and regulations. That gave Ennis great opportunities.

“I did a lot of self-educating and research,” he says. “My wife had just started med school, and we didn’t have kids then, so I had a lot of time to do it. And fortunately, the market was not saturated, and I could generate revenue. All you needed was a computer, a set of wheels and healthy legs.”

Ennis became partners with the original owners of Eco Turf, Andy Smith and Clayton Phillis, in 2003 on a handshake deal, giving the company a new partner and a more diverse set of offerings for customers.

In addition to leveraging his knowledge of environmental inspections, Ennis expanded the company into design, inspection and installation of erosion-control measures, such as stormwater ponds, reconstructed wetlands and bioretention devices, to help clients stay compliant with local, state and federal environmental regulations. After Phillis decided to relocate to Florida, Smith and Ennis bought him out. (Smith, who was vice president, has recently retired.)

When the recession of 2008-2009 hit, Ennis and Smith endured some anxious nights. Neither took a salary for a while. They put the capital back into the company to keep it afloat.

Then an interesting thing happened.

As the recession wore on and contractors and developers started abandoning projects, it became clear that if somebody didn’t shore up the erosion control and environmental aspects of the sites, the financially responsible parties could be liable for civil penalties. Given the scope of its work, Eco Turf quickly found itself categorized as a critical vendor. This resulted in a growing number of emergency no-bid, get-it-done-now contracts that helped sustain the company during the downturn.

Large projects like this bioretention pond are a key part of Eco Turf’s installation business.Equipment World

Inspections + installations

Today installations are the bread and butter of the company, but environmental inspections and permitting are still a crucial part of its success.

Of its 80-plus employees, 30 are involved in the environmental compliance division. And Eco Turf’s roster of clients has some of the biggest contractors in the state, including Barnhill Contracting, KWI, Wellons Construction, Gaines and Company, Tennoca, Allegiance Contracting Group, Brinley’s Grading, Wynn Site, Fred Smith Company; and homebuilders like Lennar, Pulte, MI Homes, DR Horton, Taylor Morrison, as well as local developers and custom builders.

“We came out of the recession trying to control our growth while being cautious about purchasing new equipment,” says Ennis. “In 2014, we started seeing some really good numbers and some good profit. And then every year, growth continued to get better and better. We’ve added two additional project managers, an additional mechanic and six management level positions on the inspection side.”

While growth is good, too much can strain management. Ennis believes the company is sized right for the market.

“We are at a size that is healthy,” he says. “For us to go from where we are now to the next level would be a considerable amount of overhead and expense.” 

Hiring from within

Because of the technical nature of the inspections and work performed by Eco Turf, Ennis always promotes within if possible. “I think everybody deserves a fair chance to grow.”

Retaining employees also involves fostering an atmosphere of collaboration.

“You have to get to know and value your employees, their goals and ambitions,” he says. “If you let everybody give input and give them a chance to be successful, you create a family atmosphere, which creates longevity in your workforce.”

“I’m all about transparency and open doors,” he adds, “and I never want our employees to feel that they don’t have a say, or their opinion doesn’t matter at Eco Turf.”

contractor of year finalist Eco turf silt fence
Controlling erosion often starts with a silt fence, and Eco Turf installs miles of it every year.Equipment World

Customers agree

A customer of 20 years, Jeff White, CEO of Green Hawk, says: “They are the gold standard and the go-to guys in our market. Eco Turf and its employees are topnotch and a pleasure to work with on a regular basis. This is a great company.”

Another longtime customer, Sean Ryan, project manager and estimator for Barnhill Contracting, says: “They are one of the most well-rounded, adaptable and dependable subcontractors that we work with, and they do a tremendous amount of work for us. If they tell you they will do something, you can count on them to get it done in a timely manner.

“Eco Turf treats us with the utmost respect, and from the outside looking in, it seems that they treat their employees, vendors and all their other clients with the same respect.”

Recipe for success

Over the long-term, contractors need to know how to manage both failure and success, he says.

“You’re going to have successes and you’re going to have failures, and more failures out of the gate, than successes,” says Ennis. “But if you’re determined mentally and emotionally and have the will and determination to be successful, you’ll figure out a way to do it.”

A good example of this philosophy is to look at the careers of great athletes, he says. “There are highs and lows, and then there are careers. The key when there are lows is to not beat yourself up.”

“Examine why something failed, but get back up and try again,” he adds. “Hopefully your failures will happen early and not later when failure might be financially crippling. Then position yourself from a business standpoint to bounce back with a different approach for success.”

Did you miss our previous article…

Construction Blogs

Las Vegas Prepares for Major Revamp of City’s Main Gateway (Video)

Prep work has begun on a $305 million project to rebuild one of the main gateways to Las Vegas.

The three-year project would rebuild the Tropicana Avenue interchange with Interstate 15. The Tropicana Avenue bridge over I-15 would be widened and lengthened, according to the Nevada Department of Transportation. The expanded  bridge would prepare the way for a future widening of I-15. (An animated video of the future interchange can be viewed at the end of this story.)

An existing flyover would be replaced. High-occupancy vehicle ramps would be added to connect to and from I-15 south of the Harmon Avenue overpass. The ramps would allow HOVs direct access to the Las Vegas Strip, according to NDOT.

Traffic on Dean Martin Drive would be separated from the Tropicana Avenue intersection, limiting right-in and right-out access. The traffic light at the intersection would be removed. Access to and from the northwest and southwest quadrants would be maintained with frontage roads connecting Tropicana Avenue and a redesigned Dean Martin Boulevard that would flow under Tropicana Avenue.

Kiewit was selected November 8 for the design-build contract, NDOT says. From December 12 through 16, utility and geotechnical work has been occurring to prepare for construction to begin, requiring nightly lane and shoulder closings on I-15 in the project area, according to NDOT.

Tropicana Avenue experiences heavy traffic congestion leading to and from the interchange, and NDOT says projected 2040 traffic increases would worsen that congestion if nothing is done. The new interchange is expected to improve traffic flow, as well as improve property access and pedestrian connections, as well as access to events at nearby Allegiant Stadium and T-Mobile Arena and other attractions.

Here’s a preliminary animated video tour of the future interchange:

CMSBrowserComponents.load({ el: ‘#vue-1639587635992-57’, name: ‘OEmbed’, props: {“mountPoint”:”/__oembed”,”url”:””,”attrs”:{“type”:”oembed”,”id”:””,”element”:”aside”}}, hydrate: false });

Did you miss our previous article…

Construction Blogs

Crush, Dig, Lift – 11 Attachments to Do More with Your Excavator

These 11 attachments can add a new dimension to your excavators, enabling them to be more productive on demolition jobs, site work and a variety of other tasks.

These tools can separate rebar from concrete, enable buckets and other attachments to rotate and tilt, or boost your excavator’s lifting power, among other capabilities.


Epiroc Bulk Pulverizers are designed for secondary demolition and reduction of reinforced concrete elements. (Photo shown at the top of this story.) Featuring an angled shape and broad jaw, the pulverizers help speed up work to enable clean separation of rebar and concrete. Epiroc’s range includes two bulk pulverizers for carriers from 18 to 40 tons. They can reduce material into grain sizes suitable for crushing or use as backfill. The pulverizers’ cutting blades are replaceable and reversible. A 360-degree hydraulic rotation device is optional.

NPK Concrete CrusherNPKFor excavators in the 21- to 50-ton range, NPK Concrete Crushers are designed to crush through reinforced concrete to separate concrete and steel rebar. They are designed for primary and secondary demolition and recycling. Features include abrasion-resistant, high-strength, alloy steel teeth, optional 360-degree hydraulic rotation, NPK’s Hydraulic Intensifier System for faster cycle times, and a bolt-on replaceable tooth plate on the movable jaw. The “A” model also uses a bolt-on tooth plate on the fixed jaw.

Komatsu JMHB-V breaker series excavator breaking rock
Komatsu JMHB-V breakerKomatsuKomatsu’s new JMHB-V breakers are designed for rock and concrete demolition. The hydraulic breakers modulate their impact force and frequency with up to 16 working positions to match the task. They are also fitted with a recovery valve that recuperates energy to drive efficiency. Depending on the application’s hardness, V-series breakers automatically select the best piston stroke length and speed, the company says. Standard features include automatic greasing, advanced blank firing protection, swivel hose couplings and heavy-duty housing.

RJB Hydraulic Hammers HK45 breaker with combo bracket
RJB Hydraulic Hammers’ HK45 breaker with combo bracketRJB Hydraulic HammersRJB Hydraulic Hammers has designed a combination mini-excavator/skid steer bracket for its HK45 Hydraulic Hammer for carrier machines of 3.5 to 6 metric tons. The company says it produced the bracket in response to feedback from rental yards where the HK45 is the company’s most popular hammer for short-term rentals. The HK45 is a 1,000-foot-pound impact class hydraulic hammer. It can handle larger concrete jobs. It comes with a tool diameter of almost 3 inches. 


Caterpillar Tiltrotator Excavator attachment
Caterpillar TiltrotatorCaterpillarCaterpillar says its Tilt Rotate Systems are an industry-first with fully integrated technology for its Next Generation 306 CR, 307.5, 308, 308.5, 309 or 310 compact excavators. The tiltrotators can tilt left and right 40 degrees and rotate 360 degrees, allowing work at various angles without the need to reposition the machine. The devices help improve productivity. Models come with pin-on or S-type coupler top interfaces and S-type coupler bottom interfaces. An optional grapple module allows the operator to move materials out of the way.

Takeuchi Tiltrotator excavator attachment grabbing log
Takeuchi TiltrotatorTakeuchiTakeuchi’s new tiltrotator line consists of the DF4, DF10 and the Prop Plus models. The Prop Plus can run both tilt and rotate functions as well as a hydraulic coupler and multiple auxiliary functions using only the excavator’s primary circuit without a separate control box. It comes with two joysticks and a monitor. It can work with a grading system. The DF4 runs tilt and rotate functions with two hydraulic circuits and a control box in the cab. The DF10 can run the same functions as the DF4 without a control box but requires a separate hydraulic circuit for each function. 

Buckets and such

Werk-Brau Skeleton Rock Bucket excavator attachment
Werk-Brau Skeleton Rock BucketWerk-BrauWerk-Brau’s new Skeleton Rock Buckets are designed to separate large rock and other debris from smaller loose materials. They are available in various widths and sizes for excavators or loaders. They are manufactured with high-strength T-1 steel in all critical wear points, with abrasion-resistant wear straps to reinforce the bucket bottom. Tapered side plates reduce wear on the bucket and allow for easier dumping. The buckets are ideal for quarry work and anywhere that larger materials are sorted from smaller loose materials.

Yanmar Stowable Utility Hook excavator lifting
Yanmar Stowable Utility HookYanmarYanmar’s Stowable Utility Hook provides a factory-designed lifting point for the company’s compact excavators, from ViO25 up to the SV100, without the need to use an attachment. It reduces the risk of damage to the machine, buckets or other attachments resulting from attempts to lift heavy objects with a strap or chain connected to areas not intended to be lifting points, the company says. The hook features a multi-directional design that allows it to swing in each direction and swivel 360 degrees. The swivel hook stows out of the way with a lock pin.

Bedrock Attachments Excavator Long Reach attachment
Bedrock Attachments’ Long ReachBedrock AttachmentsBedrock Attachments says it has a warehouse full of long reach booms and sticks for excavators. The long reaches range from 18 to 22.86 meters long for various Caterpillar, John Deere and Hitachi  models. Bedrock uses computerized analysis for the stress distribution of the long reach and to optimize the design. It uses large milling equipment to improve welding. The hydraulic-oil pipes are made of cold-rolled precision steel and are finished by phosphoric acid washing to make the pipes smoother for reduced flow resistance and oil circuit pollution.  

Danuser EP Auger System with Stump Auger excavator
Danuser EP Auger System with Stump AugerDanuserDanuser’s EP Auger System for excavators features a planetary gear drive with greater torque for drilling through hard surfaces. The system is compatible with Danuser’s new Stump Auger, which planes away stumps. A threaded pilot digs into the stump, and large cutting blades shave the stump away. The blades are reversible. EP Auger System models range from 6 to 35 gallons per minute of hydraulic flow and from 1,500 to 3,500 pounds per square inch of pressure. The stump auger is available in 10- and 16-inch diameters.

TVH Americas bucket Cutting Edge excavator
TVH Americas bucket cutting edgeTVH AmericasTVH Americas offers a selection of reversible, double-bevel, bolt-on cutting edges to help extend the life of buckets for light construction equipment. The edges are made of high-quality steel and come in an assortment of widths and lengths. The bolt-on cutting edges can be rotated or replaced in less than an hour with basic hand tools. A double-sided, or reversal, blade can be rotated to give users essentially two blades in one. The blade also lifts the bottom up off the ground slightly, reducing the amount of drag and wear on the bucket.


Did you miss our previous article…

Construction Blogs

Choosing the Right Shingles for Your Roof

When your roof finally comes of age, and it’s time to re-shingle and replace it, many people don’t understand what they are trying to evaluate. Many people think that shingles are shingles and may pick them based on the style or color. However, they may not know why some shingles are recommended for their house or area over others. You should ask your roofing contractor a lot of questions about shingle types and what’s best for your house style and the area where you live. You should be well informed when you step up to bat to put a cap on your house.

You should consider these structural factors

Weight limits of your house

While shingles are often seen as light compared to the components of the rest of the house, the fact is that they are frequently a considerable portion of the mass of a house. Not all houses are built to support all types of shingles. The weight limit of most typical house roofs is around 15 pounds per square foot of roof, which is a reasonably robust but not infinite amount of weight. Some heavier types of shingles can easily exceed this mark, and older houses that haven’t been kept up properly could shudder and shake under that kind of weight.

So, knowing the per-square-foot weight limit of your roof is going to be a large part of making the right choice to keep your home dry and standing for years to come.The slope and pitch of your roof

First off, let’s make sure we’re understanding these terms correctly. The slope of your roof is the amount the roof rises in inches for each foot of its depth into the house, so a house with a roof that rises one inch per foot would have a very shallow slope, whereas one that rises eight inches per foot would be incredibly steep. The slope is expressed as a ratio, 1:12 for the first house and 8:12 for the second.

The pitch of a roof is a fraction that represents the rise of the whole roof from edge to peak over the entire span of the roof. So, a roof that was 100 feet in span that rose 10 feet up would have a pitch of 10/100 or 1/10.

Depending on the pitch and slope of your roof, certain types of shingles might not be appropriate for your house. Larger clay and stone shingles, for example, might slide right off a steeper roof or have trouble staying in place in the long term. Again, this is something you should know before you go shopping to avoid setting your sights on something that’s not available for your home.

Environmental factors to consider

Where your home is in the world and what the environment is like will have a significant impact on what types of shingles you want to protect your roof. For example, a set of shingles that works beautifully for houses in a dry, warm climate like the Southwest might be inappropriate for a house that has to endure the cold winters and snow of the Mideast. Likewise, different kinds of tiles will provide different benefits and last different amounts of time depending on where you are in the world. So, it’s worth taking a beat to plan that out for yourself.

How much snow and rainfall does your region have each year?

The amount of snow or rain that falls on your roof is going to determine how appropriate certain types of shingles are for your area. For example, wood shingling will be better suited for a drier climate than most asphalt, rubber, or plastic roofs will be due to the increased pressure from bugs and mold that is going to be applied to even the best antifungally treated wood shakes.

A large amount of freezing and thawing will put a lot of strain on clay or stone roofs that would otherwise last an incredibly long time. So, while it won’t make them useless, it’s essential to recognize how precipitation is going to inform the longevity of your purchase.Are moisture and algae a problem in your neighborhood?

In a similar vein, different colors and materials are better equipped to deal with algal growth in moister areas where that’s likely to be an issue. It’s worth looking around your neighborhood to see whose roofs look the best in your local environment. It’s hard to beat the information you’ll get from looking at an older roof in your area because their owners have made similar choices and their roofs have been subjected to the same pressures yours will face.Winds—how high are they where you live?

If your area is subject to high winds, as in coastal environments or the Midwest, it’s worth considering whether your shingles might actually just blow away. Lighter types of shingles, such as plastic shingles or light metal roof panels, can be snatched up by fierce winds and tossed away. This makes it very worthwhile to invest in heavier shingles that will stay tightly latched to the roof and is one of the reasons slate and clay tiles are frequently so popular in coastal areas.The temperature range in your area

Last, the temperature of your environment is going to have a considerable impact on your choice. In hotter environments, clay and stone shingles can have significant cooling properties, which can help keep your house comfortable in hot summers but might make them less than ideal for places with sharp, brutal winters. The color of your shingles can also modify this a great deal, with darker shingles absorbing more heat from the sun and retaining it through the day, while brighter colors reflect more of the heat away from your house.

Make sure that you consider your house’s environment as you think about what you want it to look like.

Lifestyle factors to consider

A roof is more than just the hat that keeps your house warm. It’s also one of the most obvious statements that your house makes to people who visit you. So, it has to match the style of your house, and it has to look good with the color of the house.


A house that has a hyper-modern aesthetic might struggle not to clash with slate roofing or wood shakes. Your house is the most significant stylistic choice you make in your life, and you don’t want to purchase something that makes it look questionable. That said, if your roof has a higher pitch, you have more visible surface area to play with, and the flatter your roof is, the less visually important the color of the roof is likely to be.

If you have a flat roof, a duller color could let the eye focus elsewhere, and a sharper color could be harder to pull off. In contrast, a taller roof gives you the opportunity to strike out with a color or tone with your choice of shingles.Neighborhood blend

You also want to make sure that your choice is not going to cause problems with your neighbors or make your house stand out in a bad way. For example, being the only house with bright orange clay tiles in your neighborhood could be lovely, but if it’s a clash with the houses around it, an otherwise lovely-looking roof could be made to look gauche.Maintenance needs

Certain types of roofs, most notably wood, clay, and slate, all require more constant maintenance and attention to keep them in order. If you’re not going to be happy to be taking care of your roof in a more active way, then perhaps these might be more of a headache than you actually want to deal with.


Finally, we get to brass tacks and cost. Depending on how long you plan on staying in your current home, certain purchases may simply not make sense. For example, you can pay more for much more longevity on your roof, with some stone roofs getting up to 200 years of durability with proper maintenance, but if you’re not planning to hand your house on to your heirs, it may not make complete sense to pay for a century of use that you’re not going to use. Similarly, solar tiles are a potential boon to a homeowner, but the precise economics of them may or may not make sense for a particular homeowner.

TypeCost per Square (100 sq./ft.)LifespanAsphalt$350 – $50020 yearsRubber or Plastic$550 – $1,10030 yearsMetal Panels$600 – $1,20050 yearsWood Shingles or Shakes$80030-40 years based on maintenanceSolar Tiles$2,100 – $2,500 (additional electrical wiring costs)30 yearsStone and Slate$1,50070-200 years based on maintenanceClay$1,50050-100 years based on maintenance

Now you’re armed to go forward and shop for a new roof, knowing what you need to get started on the journey of picking a roof that will keep you dry and warm for at least the next twenty years.

The post Choosing the Right Shingles for Your Roof appeared first on Mr Roof.

Did you miss our previous article…

Construction Blogs

It’s back!: Caterpillar reintroduces 651 Wheel Tractor Scraper

New self-propelled scraper designs don’t come around very often, so when they do it’s big news, especially for any contractor who does high-volume earthmoving.

If you’re not familiar with what these beasts of the field can do, the new Cat 651, with a push from a dozer, can load 104,000 pounds of material in 30 seconds. That’s as much dirt as a 50-ton truck can handle — and it takes at least two and half minutes to load a truck.

Cat has reintroduced its 651 Wheel Tractor Scraper with a bunch of changes, upgrades and enhancements including a new powertrain, controls, hydraulics and structure. This single-engine model offers 44 cubic yards of heaped capacity and a 52-ton rated load. It also shares the same bowl design and many components as the Cat 657, allowing contractors with mixed fleets to stock fewer repair parts and lower owning costs. It replaces the 651E self-propelled scraper, which Cat discontinued about 15 years ago.

A 629-horsepower Cat C18 engine powers the redesigned 651. When paired with a push assist from a Cat D10 or D11 dozer, and its eight-speed transmission, the 651 can load at speeds up to 34.8 mph even in abrasive or rocky conditions.

The scraper’s new Advanced Productivity Electronic Control System integrates the transmission and engine drivetrain to provide smooth and responsive shifts. The electronic clutch pressure control features advanced shift control logic for smoother speed and directional shifts, while part-throttle shifting controls transmission shifts for smoother shifting between gears. Preventing loss of momentum during shifts, the shift torque management system carries higher torque through shift points.

For operator comfort, the cab on the 651 is as large as that of a twin-engine 657 and 21 percent larger than Cat’s E-series scrapers. Ingress and egress have been improved with the addition of a powered access ladder. Relocation of the HVAC system, steering column and pedal improve visibility. The new comfort seat rotates up to 30 degrees to the right for loading and offers an additional 2 inches of fore/aft movement to reduce operating fatigue. The seat’s adjustable armrest aligns with the implement control level with T-handle design for more comfortable operation. 

To keep your operators sharper longer, a new high-pressure steering system requires less steering effort and reduces fatigue. Improvements to the hydraulics include an electrohydraulic implement system for improved multifunction capability and a short throw for the T-handle implement control. Cat’s advanced ride management system improves smoothness by eliminating end-stroke events of the seat suspension cylinder

An optional three-camera Work Area Vision System (WAVS) shows the cutting edge, right side and rear of the machine on a 7-inch in-cab color monitor. Available sequence assist reduces up to 14 individual operator commands per cycle with a single button for improved cycle consistency, fewer repetitive motions for the operator and less fatigue.

Production efficiency

When it’s cold out, an auto-stall feature, new for the 651, assists in warming up the transmission oil faster so you can get to work sooner. Configured with sequence assist, the new payload estimator option uses bowl lift cylinder pressure to accurately calculate machine payload to within plus or minus 5 percent of scaled weight, optimizing payload and jobsite efficiency. Using the bowl lift cylinder, the reliable payload estimator system requires no recalibration or operator interface.

The scraper’s new ground speed control allows the operator to set the desired top speed, and the machine will find the gear that works best for the engine and transmission. This lowers the engine load factor and fuel burn compared to top gear selection. When operating on a downhill slope, the 651 detects a machine overspeed situation and automatically engages the compression brakes with no operator input. Hydraulic wet disc brakes replace air actuated brakes from the previous model to improve performance and serviceability. 

Cat651 Quick Specs

Engine: Cat C18, 585 hpHeaped capacity: 4 cubic yardsRated load: 104,000 poundsWeight loaded: 249,000 poundsTop speed loaded: 34.8 mph
Did you miss our previous article…

Construction Blogs

3rd Day of Construction Gifts: Stylish Sunglasses Certified for Safety

Editor’s note: Each day until Christmas, Equipment World is featuring a new gift idea for the construction enthusiast in your life. Check back each day to our Gear section or subscribe to our Equipment World Daily newsletter to see each day’s new idea.

Who says safety can’t be stylish? Wye Delta offers a wide range of ANSI-certified sunglasses with some surprising features.

The Conductor model comes with an adjustable nose pad to ensure a comfortable fit. A magnet on each side of the arms can hold small metal objects, like cotter pins or nails, keeping your hands (or mouth) free. The smoke lens reduce glare while maintaining true color perception.

According to Wye Delta, these glasses meet the ANSI Z87+ industrial standards for high-mass and high-velocity impact protection with no side shield needed.

This model and other ANSI-certified models can be purchased from the Wye Delta online store. 

Check out yesterday’s gift idea:

2nd Day of Construction Gifts: This Grill Has a Cult-Like Following

Did you miss our previous article…

Construction Blogs

Doosan Launches New Lineup of Compact Excavators for U.S.

Doosan Infracore North America is breaking the final ties with former sister company Doosan Bobcat with a new line of compact excavators for the U.S. in 2022.

Four models, ranging from 2.7 to 5.5 tons, will arrive in the first quarter after being produced in South Korea, where Doosan is based. The models will replace Bobcat-made compact excavators, as well as break new ground in the U.S. for Doosan Infracore. (Videos of the new compact models in action are posted at the end of this story.)

More sizes are planned, including a 4-ton model next fall and 1.7- and 1.9-ton models in 2023. The company’s 6- and 8-ton excavators will be upgraded next year as well. And an electric compact excavator shown last year as a prototype at ConExpo will be hitting the market in mid-2023, according to Aaron Kleingartner, Doosan product and dealer market manager.

Within two years, the entire Doosan-built excavator lineup in the U.S. will extend from 1.7 to 100 tons, Kleingartner said.

Compact excavators unveiled

Doosan rolled out three of its new -7 compact excavators – the DX27Z-7, DX35Z-7 and DX50Z-7 – at a recent media event at the company’s testing grounds in Tucson, Arizona.

The displayed machines were all zero tail swing. A DX55R-7 model is also due out next year that will be reduced tail swing. Conventional tail swing versions will be available as well, the company says.

Features include full glass door and metal frame on the cab exterior for operator visibility, a powerful heating and air system, and Bluetooth radio, Kleingartner said. The excavators are also available with an open, instead of enclosed, cab.

For the first time, DoosanConnect telematics will come standard on the machines. Steve Americano, product manager for mini excavators, said the system includes geofencing that will send an alert if the machine moves outside of the geofence’s radius, which can be set by the owner.

The compact excavators have a new operator platform that insulates the cab from engine heat, Americano said. An auto-shift function automatically shifts engine speed depending on the terrain. All engines are Doosan.

The standard arm for the excavators is 43 inches. An optional 51-inch arm is available.

Hydraulic flow can be adjusted from the cab to handle various attachments. The machines come equipped with connectors needed for a hydraulic quick coupler.

Options include a rearview camera, LED lights and additional counterweight for handling heavier attachments.

These machines come with a one-year, 1,500-hour warranty. There is also a three-year, 5,000-hour powertrain warranty that “covers pumps, motors, all the high dollar components,” Americano said.

Phasing in Doosan-built excavators

Doosan Infracore was sold by parent company Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction to fellow South Korean company Hyundai Construction Equipment earlier this year. Doosan Infracore and Doosan Bobcat have supplied excavators to each other through a dual-brand agreement.

Bobcat provided 3-, 4- and 5-ton excavators that were branded Doosan, and Doosan provided Bobcat with 14- and 17-ton excavators that were branded Bobcat, according to Doosan CEO Edward Song.

Bobcat was not part of the Hyundai purchase and remains under the Doosan Heavy umbrella. Doosan Infracore is now part of the newly created Hyundai Genuine subsidiary along with Hyundai Construction Equipment.

After the new Doosan compact excavators come out, only a 4-ton model will be a Bobcat machine. Song said that the 4-ton model will also be replaced in the third quarter of 2022 with a Doosan-built excavator. Song noted that Doosan has the capability and experience with excavators under 5 tons in Korea and in European markets.

The move toward Doosan-branded compact excavators for the U.S. began in 2018 when Doosan Infracore North America and Doosan Bobcat separated their businesses, Song said. Doosan Infracore plans to capture some of the growing compact excavator market, as well as give its dealers a broader range of equipment.

“We will be bringing those machines in from our design teams in our factories in Korea next year,” said Kleingartner. “They are completely Doosan designed and manufactured.”

closer look

Here are some highlights and specs of each of the three models shown recently at Doosan Infracore North America’s testing grounds and expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2022:


Doosan DX27Z-7 compact excavatorDoosan Infracore North AmericaHighlights: At 6,000 pounds, it represents a new size class for Doosan’s North American lineup. A new rearview camera provides a 360-degree view. Other features include a 3-foot 7-inch standard thumb-ready arm and an 11.8-inch rubber track undercarriage. The excavator is 60 inches wide. Standard attachments include a bucket, quick coupler and thumb. Second auxiliary hydraulics are an option.

Horsepower: 24.7Operating weight: 6,168 lbs. Maximum digging depth: 8 ft. 8 in. Maximum digging reach (ground): 14 ft. 10 in. Maximum loading height: 10 ft. 1 in.


Doosan unveils DX35Z-7 compact excavator
Doosan DX35Z-7 compact excavatorDoosan Infracore North AmericaHighlights: Zero tail swing design with a rounded shape for tight jobsites. Also includes auxiliary hydraulic flow, wider cabin, LED lamp, enclosed cab with HVAC and 5.7-inch color LCD monitor. Options: rearview camera, cast counterweight, second auxiliary hydraulics and longer arm.

Horsepower: 24.7Operating weight: 8,807 lbs. Maximum digging depth: 11 ft. 4 in. Maximum digging reach (ground): 17 ft. 9 in. Maximum loading height: 12 ft. 2 in.


Doosan demonstrates DX50Z-7 compact excavator
Doosan DX50Z-7 compact excavatorDoosan Infracore North AmericaHighlights: Zero tail swing, standard enclosed cab with HVAC and standard attachments of bucket, quick coupler and thumb. Options include heated, adjustable seat and steel tracks.

Horsepower: 48.8 Operating weight: 12,121 lbs. Maximum digging depth: 11 ft. 5 in. Maximum digging reach (ground): 19 ft. Maximum loading height: 12 ft. 6 in.

Excavators in action

The following two videos are of Doosan’s new DX35Z-7 compact excavators shot during a media event at the company’s testing grounds near Tucson, Arizona. The excavator in the background is the enclosed-cab version.

CMSBrowserComponents.load({ el: ‘#vue-1638989495341-377’, name: ‘OEmbed’, props: {“mountPoint”:”/__oembed”,”url”:””,”attrs”:{“type”:”oembed”,”id”:””,”element”:”aside”}}, hydrate: false });

CMSBrowserComponents.load({ el: ‘#vue-1638989495341-932’, name: ‘OEmbed’, props: {“mountPoint”:”/__oembed”,”url”:””,”attrs”:{“type”:”oembed”,”id”:””,”element”:”aside”}}, hydrate: false });