Naas Ferreira – Owner and founder of Flat Roof Doctor. I have been in the commercial and residential roofing business for 30 years plus.
Erik Ferreira – Co-Owner of Flat Roof Doctor. I have been installing and repairing commercial and residential flat roofs for 12 years.
Andre Ferreira – Manager and Estimator for Flat Roof Doctor – I have been installing and repairing commercial and residential flat roofs for over 14 years.
Sven Ferreira – Assistant Manager and Estimator for Flat Roof Doctor – I have been installing and repairing commercial flat roofs for over 8 years.
Need a New Commercial or Residential Flat Roof?
Watch the video below about EPDM, TPO, and Torch Down roofing systems.
Video Transcription Explaining about Commercial Roofing System
Hi, my name is Erik. Although there are many commercial roofing systems to choose from, I want to explain the three types of single ply roofing systems commonly installed by contractors across the United States. Of the three types, EPDM is the most popular. It has been used for over 40 years. It is the same synthetic rubber membrane used to make inner tubes. Another type is TPO, which is a thermoplastic membrane, and finally, there’s modified bitumen, which is an asphalt based membrane.
Explaining the Three Types of Roofing Systems
Let me explain more about each of these membranes. EPDM is produced in different thicknesses; they are 45, 60, and 90 thousandths of an inch. Most contractors use the industry standard of 60 thousandths of an inch, which is very near the thickness of a quarter. Some advantages of using EPDM on a flat roof are; first, it is the least expensive system to install per square foot.
Second, it is simple to install with the use of anchors, adhesives, and rollers. Also, it weighs less than other single ply membranes, and lastly, it is sold in wide rolls of eight to twenty feet, resulting in fewer seams. Some of the disadvantages are that harmful ultraviolet rays degrade adhesives used on seams and flashing, causing very premature separation. It’s failing, like look at that that’s the glue that has gone bad and is no longer sticking to the rest of it. This is how it starts, and this is how it ends up, okay.
Erik Shows an Example of EPDM Roof
Look how deep that goes, and I’m not gonna lift it up further, just because I don’t wanna make it worse, but this is around a drain area. Second, the black membrane absorbs ultraviolet light, causing shrinkage and brittleness, which decreases its life expectancy drastically. Right here, uh, over the years, the EPDM has shrunk a little bit and then, and thus stretched right here in the corner, and then with the stretching and the UV rays uh, pounding down on it, it started eating it away, and right here in the corner where it was mostly, stretched the most, this is where it got eaten away the most, also. You can see it has gone straight through.
Protective Mats on an EPDM Rubber Roofs
Third, protective mats are needed because the thin membrane is susceptible to punctures due to foot traffic on sharp objects left behind by maintenance crews. Another reason we don’t recommend EPDM is that it’s so easily punctured. Um, here, on this roof you can see they’ve laid out mats for workmen to walk on, and this is supposed to offer protection, but as you can see there’s never enough mats to cover the whole roof.
Repairs to seams and flashing are required long before the warranty of the fifteen to twenty years expires. Now, I’m gonna bring finger along be a seam that’s inside the cover tape; just watch this here, when I bring it along here. Look at all that water coming out. The surface preparation can be an added labor cost when removing an old roof system or installing one over a pre-existing one, and lastly, the black color of the membrane absorbs heat and can lead to the superheating of the structure below, causing air conditioning costs to rise significantly.
TPO Vinyl Roofing
Now, let’s about TPO. TPO is another type of roofing membrane. There are two thickness options to TPO 45 and 60 thousands of an inch which is roughly equivalent to the thickness of the quarter. TPO is composed of laminated layers. Of the three membranes, this one requires more experienced roofing technicians and much more equipment.
Advantages of TPO Vinyl
- Some of the advantages of TPO are that the seams are heat welded rather than glued, so they are much less prone to separation.
- Secondly, the white surface of the membrane reflects much of the ultraviolet light, keeping the structure below cooler.
Third, if the contractor is certified by the manufacturer, to install the membrane, the manufacturer rather than the contractor honors the warranty.
Here are Some Disadvantages of TPO
- First, the system is relatively new to the roofing industry; about 15 years, and has a long track record of revisions and improvements due to surface and seam failures.
- Also, TPO is known to shrink, and its rigidity causes stress on seams and flashing.
- A prolonged period of excessive heat exposure causes ultraviolet light degradation.
- Another con is that contractors must calibrate their welding machines very carefully. Improperly welded seams may come loose during the first freeze and thaw cycle and lead to water infiltration. Lastly, the manufacturer’s warranty is only fifteen to twenty years.
Now, let us talk about the modified bitumen torch down membrane that has been around since the late 1960s.These single ply membranes can be combined to create a two to a three-ply membrane that offers the best roofing system to date because there’s a forty year guarantee.
Some advantages for installing the modified bitumen membrane are; first, it is designed to be flexible in extremely hot and cold weather. Secondly, it is a two-ply layer with a thickness of about five quarters, or 3/8 of an inch, which is very puncture resistant. The membrane surface has been embedded with granular ceramics to protect it from ultraviolet degradation. Also, seams are fused together with high heat to prevent any separation. Unlike EPDM and TPO, the two to three-ply system can withstand a heavy amount of foot traffic.
Modified Bitumen Roofs that were Installed 20 Years Ago
I want to show you some good news right now. This is, uh, we always show you how bad things are, and how people do things wrong, but this is how you do a roof this roof we did twenty years ago and uh, this is how it should be done everything very clean done with modified bitumen torch down, and it’s lasting long and going strong.
Two-Ply Rubber System Explained
Also, this two-ply system can be installed over any existing roof or surface, with minimal preparation. Re-roof it and we decided to go over it because rather than strip all the gravel off and all the old tar, we save them a lot of cost by going directly over, and I started about an hour ago, and this is our fiberglass liner that I’m laying down right now. Uh, this is the first step, next comes the self-adhering base, and then our final layer of modified bitumen torch down. It’s just as good as if we stripped it all the way down.
You get the same, uh, you know, same warranty, uh, but this is one of the most cost-effective ways to do it, both with time, labor, and debris removal. Alright, I’ve already laid down my fiberglass liner, and I’ve anchored it down; this gives the roof the strength and stiffness it needs, and, uh, we have a two-ply system that we, we do.
This is the first of the of the two ply. It’s a self-adhering base. You can see right here it’s already starting to, it’s already starting to adhere, and it’s gonna to stay that way. Two layers of the membrane as well as the protection of the fiberglass liner. You can’t beat it. This layer directly to our other two layers and I’ll show you in just a second how thick it is, but this is why this is a good system. It makes it one unified membrane all across.
Advantages of Installing a two-ply system on a Flat Roof
There are two advantages for installing a new membrane in this case.
- A). There is no cost for stripping and removing the old membrane, and
- B). Fusing a new membrane over an old one creates a roof that will last well beyond 40 years, unlike the 15 to 20-year life expectancy of EPDM and TPO single ply roofing systems.
Naas Explains the 2 Ply System
This is the best roof you can ever have in a house, on a commercial roof anywhere. First of all, they had a modified bitumen roof. This is modified bitumen torch down. It’s plain. They didn’t have the granular protection for the UV, and that was called a single ply membrane; rubber membrane, was installed about fifteen years ago and is still in good shape, There’s nothing wrong with the roof. You can see no, the UVs has not eaten up the roof, and you can see the seams are nice. Everything is nice about this roof.
The owner just decided that he wants a new roof on there. Now, instead of removing this old system and installing a new roof, which most people will do EPDM or TPO, that would be the worst thing to do. You have a modified torch down here the best system in the industry is to have a two-ply system; two-ply membrane. We using the old modified bitumen membrane and now we fusing another modified torch down on top of the old system.
That becomes the two-ply system that exceeds any other roof system, by far. This roof will last 40 years, or longer, no questions. What we are doing now is, we only adding another membrane and we fusing them together. You cannot do that with any other system.This is a dream come true for us. We love the systems. Where you find old modified and we just torch a new one on top of it, with the granular protection the sand or granular you wanna call it; white in this case. That protects it from ultraviolet. But this roof will never, never go bad and will never leak anywhere.
Disadvantages Installing a 2 Ply Rubber Roof System
Some disadvantages are that the installation requires highly skilled roofing technicians. Secondly, the additional layer has an added cost for labor and materials. We installed our two-ply system on the roof that we are standing on right now. It was installed several years ago over a tar and gravel roof. I’m going to cut the member and open right now to show you how well it’s performed in the extreme weather conditions we’ve had over the last several years.
There we go. This is our two-ply system. You can see how when we torch this together the membranes are fused so well together they cannot come apart, and these stones never puncture this. Everybody always asks us that. Is that base sheet enough and it is. It’s a fiberglass reinforced base sheet, and this can never go through, and when I put this back, you can walk on this all day long. There are air conditioning units up here that need maintenance. Extremely puncture resistant. Look at that, three-eighths of an inch thick.
In conclusion, for many years we have specialized in installing the two plies modified bitumen torch down roofing system. It has been our experience that it is, by far, the best roofing system, that we provide a forty year warranty for our labor and our materials for every roof that we install. The type and condition of your existing roof do not matter. Our roofing system is cost efficient and will outlast any other roofing system.
EPDM Rubber Membranes
The video below explains and demonstrates how EPDM rubber membranes are easily punctured.
The video below shows how harmful ultraviolet rays cause premature degradation.
The video below shows how to lower a drain to prevent pooling water.
Flat Roof Repairs
Repairing roof related issues
Most of the times a roof can be repaired. Call us and we will give you an honest opinion and save you a lot of money, guaranteed.
What is the best way to do a roof?
1.To strip the old roofing material and install a new rubber membrane or
2. To install over an existing roofing surface.
The answer is: If the existing roofing surface is in a relatively good condition, meaning there is no rotten plywood or decking, the surface is not crumbling or soft, then it’s almost best to go over an existing roofing surface. This is a big time saver and cost as well. Many times the existing roofing adds a added insulation.
There are three main types of drains on a flat roof. Scuppers, gutters and inner drains. It is important to make sure that water can drain off a roof. Water ponding on a roof is not necessarily bad, but the debris that collects in those areas causes the material to deteriorate. It is good policy to keep a roof clean of leaves and twigs.
The easiest way to keep a roof clean is to use a hand blower. It only takes a few minutes every two weeks to blow off debris. This way the drains are kept clean and eliminates the possibility of flooding a roof due to a blocked drain. Part of maintenance of a roof is to make sure that the drains are cleared from debris.
Inner drains are commonly known as a drain that’s somewhere in the middle of the roof. They require high maintenance because all the debris on the roof tends to block the strainer easily. The easiest way to overcome this strainer problem is to install a self-made improved strainer.
This video explains about a perfect Inner drain. This is how drains are supposed to be installed.
Scuppers are the drains on an edge of a roof. Water is funneled to one are where it can spill into a leader or gutter. Scuppers are easier to maintain than inner drains because for the most of the time the debris gets washed out, whereas inner drains have strainers that get clogged with debris easily.
This video shows the repair of a scupper and also the roof around it.
We will find and repair leaks on any roof. No matter what the problem is or how small the job is, we will find the leak and repair it. We make flat roof repairs and installation on commercial and residential roofs.
Rubber roof Installation and Repairs
The rubber material that the membrane is made of is called Bitumen. Bitumen and Asphalt are interchangeable words for the same product. When we refer to a rubber roof then we are referring to a material that comes from Asphalt and has been modified, hence the word Modified Bitumen Membrane. This is what gives it the rubberish properties. To understand more read this article about Bitumen
We specialize in Metal roof recovery. If the metal roof is having issues and the leaks are too many to repair, then it’s time to recover it. We have developed a special method to seal the metal and then apply a rubber membrane over the sealant to protect it from ultraviolets.
- Patch rusted through areas
- Flashing on all protrusions
- Find and repair any leak
- Repairs can last 10 years and longer
We install rubber roofs over any existing roofing surface. We use the highest quality materials and superior technology.
Roof Surfaces we can Install over:
- Gravel covered roofs
- Hot Tar build up roofs
- Existing EPDM roofs
- Concrete surface
- Wood decks
- Asphalt shingle
- Metal Roofs
The guarantee of the roof is the same whether we strip and install or go over an existing roof.
Erik Ferreira – Commercial Roofing.
Erik is my oldest son and is 27 years old. He has been doing roofing before he left school during vacations. He has decided to take the business further and keeping it in the family. With all the roofing experience and knowledge passed down, you can rest assure to get the best service and product.
Commercial and Residential
Residential and Commercial Roof Installation and Repairs. With our experience of over 30 years, we can troubleshoot and repair any roof leak. Commercial and residential roofs are all the same. Most roofs can be repaired even if they were badly installed. We service Westchester County and Fairfield County.
Free Estimate call:
Andre Ferreira – Commercial Roof Expert
Andre is the second oldest son and is 25 years old. He started when he was 16. He has always been hands on all aspects of roofing. When it comes to troubleshooting a leak, he is the one that beats everyone. Now that my sons are running the business, you can be assured of receiving quality service and knowledge that is passed down.