A contractor with experience and knowledge can recommend the best material for your flat roof installation.
Rubber, TPO, and PVC roof coverings cannot be installed by the homeowner. Many roofing companies and roofers who claim installing these types of roofs is easy don’t have the expertise to install these roofs. Watching YouTube a few times will not give you the ability to properly install a roof. The bottom line is that even some experienced roofers can’t tell the difference between a heat-welded roof system and a cold-process roof system.
Some roofing contractors specialize in shingles only. These people don’t know which system to use on a flat roof on certain dwellings or buildings. There are several different uses and ways to go about flat roof installation. Flat roof systems also come with very different specifications depending on the use. For example, TPO is usually the best answer for restaurants because this membrane will not come apart or fail when the kitchen grease is splattered onto the rooftop by exhaust fans. A contractor with experience and knowledge can recommend the best material for your flat roof installation in Denver, Colorado.
A registered or a certified installer will have the ability to determine and make the proper recommendations. There are many very important things to consider while choosing a flat roofing system. Be sure to ask your roofing contractor if he and his crews are certified or registered installers and what system he will use on your flat roof.
A certified or registered company or individual is the only way to obtain the proper manufacturers’ warranties. Most manufacturers require a submittal of drawings and certain documents describing the roof. The documents reflect the drain locations, pitch of the roof, crickets, protrusions, insulation type, class of the roof, and roof system to be used.
This takes about 7 days for approval from the manufacturer, and once approved, these specifications and recommendations or changes, if any, are returned with the approval to commence the project. A manufacturers’ inspection will usually take place prior to, during, and upon completion of work.
Extended manufacturers’ warranties for large commercial buildings are sometimes transferable. These types of warranties are not offered for residential work. Residential flat roof installation will usually carry a membrane-only warranty, depending on the install. All apartment complexes are considered commercial properties and can hold extended manufacturers’ warranties.
A ballast system is one type of install. This system is very heavy, and the structure needs the ability to withstand all the weight. When using this system, there should be a structural analysis completed before doing the flat roof installation. The dead weight factor is much higher, as well as the live loads. This system may require structural repairs or add-on bracing to transfer the additional loads properly through the beams, trusses, or rafters onto the walls and bearing points.
Ballast systems usually come with pavers to grant access to units and other parts of the roof. It isn’t recommended to walk directly on the stone. This can cause leaks and other issues, which can be difficult to find because of the separator mat and the ballast itself. Leaks on this type of roof often times are caused by workers dropping small metal objects such as bolts, nuts, or metal shavings while maintaining HVAC or electrical equipment. These items fall between the rocks, and once out of sight, they are forgotten or too hard to find. These objects work their way to the membrane, leaving very small holes that are very hard to locate. These types of leaks can become costly because they are difficult to find.
In-Seam Batten Systems
In this system, a batten is screwed through the top of the EPDM sheet before the seam is completed. The batten is what keeps the material down. Usually, the perimeter of at least 10 feet inward is totally adhered to the insulation, which is held in place using deck screws and 3-inch deck plates. The remainder of the system is typically loose lay insulation.
Totally Adhered Systems
The most common is the totally adhered system. This system, when applied properly, can withstand wind uplift. There are many more screws and deck plates installed the first couple of sheets. This system tends to not shrink like a ballast system or other loose lay systems do. Bonding adhesive holds the EPDM or TPO in place and is a very strong glue.
Whether you are using fiberboard or dense deck, a totally adhered system comes out flat and without wrinkles when installed by an experienced roofer. There are times when the glue finishes its flash after the membrane has been rolled out. When it flashes after being set, this causes a chemical reaction and expands, causing some bubbles. After a few hours pass, the membrane is rolled and broomed, and these bubbles disappear. Usually they are all gone within 24 hours
Repairs needed on roofs usually are quick and easy. Repairs done by someone who is properly trained in these types of roof systems are successful and will last the lifetime of the roof. Once an EPDM roof is properly installed by a licensed professional, the homeowner or the commercial building owner can relax for the next forty to fifty years – or longer – and worry about some other needed repair, maintenance or remodeling.
Residential Flat Roof Issues for Homeowners
Some homeowners do not like how a rubber flat roof looks. Although the roof covering is functional and will be for years to come, it does not appeal to some people. The roof can be painted in a wide variety of colors using the acrylic coatings designed for these roofs. Acrylic colors will make the roof more aesthetically pleasing. One disadvantage of an EPDM roof is that it is very thin to begin with. The added acrylic will add life to your EPDM flat roof installation.
If this type of 50-year roofing with or without color appeals to you, contact our experts at PJD Construction & Roofing, Inc. for additional advice and ideas.