Blame it on my childhood Mary Poppins movie binges, but the first time I laid eyes on the product we’re about to talk about, all I could think of were Cockney chimney sweeps shouting “step in time” while dancing and jumping over chimneys, stovepipes and other rooftop obstacles. Not that Arlington Industries’ Roof Topper™ Rooftop Conduit Supports qualify as rooftop obstacles… quite the opposite, in fact.
To be honest, I generally don’t really give what goes on on rooftops a lot of thought, unless a storm with driving winds happens to be forcing rain between my shingles and causing a leak, or, of course, I happen to be curled up in front of the TV watching Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke “popping in and out of chalk pavement pictures” and conducting tea parties on the ceiling for the 5,347th time in my life (just an estimate). But the truth is that roofs need to be given quite a bit of though, especially if you need to route pipes or conduit across them and have any respect at all for the National Electrical Code and safety in general.
Roof Topper Rooftop Conduit Supports allow you to elevate conduit and pipes about roof surfaces per NEC requirements without having to drill or install any special hardware. They’re designed with UV-resistant plastic bases that simply sit on your roof deck and allow you to clamp on conduit. That’s it. No heavy rubber blocks that crack and crumble after long-term weather exposure, no power tools or holes in your roof.
Roof Topper supports are intended for use with conduit 4 inches or more in diameter, and are rated to withstand weights of up to 2,000 lbs, so they can tackle just about any job you throw at them. They’re also available in several different configurations, from base-only to models with your choice of struts, end clamps and threaded rods, so all you need to do is select the style you need and install that conduit – so easy! It’s almost enough to make you want to compete in a derby on the back of a carousel horse.
Filed under: Adhesives, Raceway, Duct and Conduit
They say that a conduit run is only as strong as its adhesive. Okay, well, maybe they don’t say that, but it’s true! Pretty much anything out there is only as strong as it’s weakest point, and when it comes to conduit, that would be the joint (or joints) where separate pieces of conduit are spliced together.
I may be getting a little too basic here, but the main point of conduit, its raison d’etre, is to protect cables and wiring. That’s it. Sure, it helps get them from one place to the next, but the real deal is the way it serves as armor against water, chemicals, and sharp things. If the bad stuff finds even one weak spot in the conduit where it can weasel its way in, the whole game’s up. Conduit itself, when not severely abused, is more than up to the task of sealing out water and corrosive agents, but the adhesive and fittings that join conduit runs have to be pretty good to keep up. Here’s one adhesive that can really hold its own.
Meet the cleverly-named BonDuit® Conduit Adhesive by American Polywater. It’s an accomplished multitasker that plays very nicely with PE, PVC, metal and composite conduits, and, when properly applied, creates a completely airtight, watertight joint to keep cables safe. The cured product also has a very high tensile strength, so it can stand up to quite a bit of bad weather and abuse without budging.
I know what you’re thinking: adhesives with those types of super powers usually come in several parts, and are a pain to mix and apply. Yes, BonDuit is made up of two separate components, but they aren’t frustrating or messy to mix, thanks to the special mixing nozzle applicator that automatically does the job for you. You just pull the applicator trigger, and the nozzle will do all the rest for you, mixing the two components in perfect proportion before laying down a bead of the final product. Not bad at all. To almost quote my favorite kid in the world, it’s “easy peasy… ummmm… adhesive squeezy.”
We’re into May and things are starting to heat up, but one thing never changes: Friday morning product training sessions. Just a little while ago, I had the pleasure of trying out some of Jameson’s most popular products, the first of which was the Wee Buddy® fiberglass conduit rodding system.
This fiberglass fish tape and reel combo is far more lightweight than steel, so it’s a lot less trouble to schlep around a jobsite than steel tape would be. Secondly, it’s completely non-conductive, so you don’t need to worry about electric shock or injury in the event that the conduit rodder accidentally comes into contact with a power source.
In the case of the Wee Buddy®, the fiberglass rod is covered in a bright orange polymer jacket, which not only makes the tape easily visible, but also keeps it smooth to the touch no matter how long you have it for – a huge advantage over bare fiberglass, which can start out smooth but eventually “bloom” after extended use and continuous exposure to UV rays.
If you’re not familiar with fiber blooming, it’s what happens when the glass fibers begin to disintegrate and separate from the rest of the rod, and let me tell you, it can lead to some serious skin irritation and discomfort for whoever happens to be handling the bloomed fiberglass. So as you can imagine, it’s a huge benefit to use jacketed fiberglass, because it not only strongly resists blooming, but is also far more comfortable for operators to use throughout the product’s entire lifespan.
A Wee Buddy® feature that I found extremely interesting is the fact that it can be repaired on the job should a break ever occur. Apparently all fish tape and rod snaps at some point, regardless of what it’s made of or who manufactured it. It just naturally weakens under the stress it’s exposed to job after job. If you’re using a steel tape, you’re pretty much out of luck if it breaks – the only option is to toss it and get a new one. But Jameson’s fiberglass rodding design, combined with a very well-thought-out repair kit, allows you to repair an injured Wee Buddy® tape on the spot in just a few minutes, so you can get right back to work without missing a beat. I may not be a contractor, but I can definitely see how preferable that would be to halting operations and waiting for new conduit rodder to arrive.
Today’s feature presentation is very much like conduit or surface raceway, but even easier to use. Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to J Channel, the ever-updateable cable routing solution. It might not be the prettiest cord manager in the neighborhood, but you really can’t beat it for convenience – just peel the backing off its pre-applied adhesive, stick it onto your desk or wall, drop in some cables and go.
There are a couple of situations this works especially well in. First of all, if any of you renters out there are looking for a way to hide and route A/V or home computer cables, this is a terrific option that won’t leave nail holes in your walls (always a plus when deposit refund time rolls around). And secondly, J Channel is a great solution for 9-to-5 cubicle dwellers: we have a customer who actually ran some around the base of their cubicle walls so they could stash office cables inside and cut down on clutter and tripping hazards.
Don’t let me typecast the stuff, though – it’s really an all-around great solution. Because of it’s design (with an open slot right along the top) J Channel makes updating cabling incredible easy – instead of having to pry open a snapped-on cover all along its length like you’d have to do with raceway, you just lift out the cables you need to remove, then pop the new ones in. And aside from being economical, it’s also very customizable: just cut it to size with a basic hacksaw.