203 858 0080 naas@mac.com
Torch Down Roofing for Commercial Rubber Roofs- Video

Torch Down Roofing for Commercial Rubber Roofs- Video

Torch Down Roofing with Modified Bitumen

Modified Bitumen (MB) Torch Down Roofing membranes were first developed in Europe in the mid-1960’s, introduced in the U.S. in the late 1970’s, and first manufactured in the U.S. in 1980.

The membrane is composed of various types of modifiers, reinforcements, and surface treatments.

The 36 inch-wide membrane comes with or without embedded ceramic granules that protect against harmful UV rays. The unprotected MB membrane needs an asphalt-aluminum coating, known as Silver Coating, for harmful UV protection.

Torch down roofing using MB installs as a single ply, or a two ply membrane, on both commercial and residential buildings. When installed as a two ply system, we provide a 40-year warranty.

Torching Down an MB Two Ply Membrane 

Torching down a Modified Bitumen 2 ply membrane requires little surface preparation. A 2 ply torch down membrane can be installed over any existing roof or surface, to include a Hot-Tar-and-Gravel roof system.

The first step is to install a fiber asphalt base fastened with anchors and washer plates, to the existing roof, or to a substrate.

The second is installing a self-adhering modified bitumen rubber base.

The third step is installing a Modified Bitumen membrane, embedded with ceramic granules, is heat fused down to the base, completing the two ply system. The combination of these layers makes the membrane over 3/8″ thick.

This roof system can withstand heavy foot traffic by work crews, snow shoveling, and because it has embedded ceramic granules on the surface, will protect it from harmful UV rays.

MB Two-Ply Rubber Membrane with Fiber Base Sheet.

Torch Down Roofing for Commercial Rubber Roofs - 2 rubber membranes with a fiber base.

MB Two-Ply Rubber Membrane Thickness

Torch Down Roofing - This shows the thickness of a two ply system Modified Bitumen

Torch Down MB Over Surfaces

The 2 Ply MB Torch Down Roofing Membrane is 3/8″ thick and can be installed directly over an uneven stone surface without being compromised by punctures. In fact, the stone trapped between the membrane and the old roof provides excellent insulation.

It is possible and feasible to install MB over EPDM and TPO roofing systems that have degraded due to the lack of UV protection and the failures of bonding adhesives on seams.

Because these existing roofing systems can be covered with the 2 Ply MB, stripping and removing the existing roof debris will not be an expense. 

Torch Down Roofing is Durable

Torch down two ply rubber roofs are durable in that, not only can they withstand at least 40 years of extreme weather conditions, they can remain unaffected with heavy foot traffic by service and repairers, as well.

Unlike the single ply roofing systems, as in TPO and EPDM, the two ply MB system will need little to no maintenance during its life.

Torch Down Roofing Materials

Installing the Torch Down Modified Bitumen 2 Ply Rubber Roofing requires a contractor to have the following:

  • Fiber base paper with anchors and plates
  • The Modified Bitumen self-adhesive base
  • A Modified Bitumen single-ply rubber membrane (known as a cap sheet) with embedded ceramic granules that protect against harmful UV rays
  • Professional, well-experienced roof technicians, that are skilled with installing MB roofs
Torching down roofing or heat fusing a Modified Bitumen Rubber Membrane

Five Commercial Flat Roof Systems Explained – Watch Video

Five Commercial Flat Roof Systems Explained – Watch Video

Video Explains about the Three Commercial Flat Roof Systems – TPO. EPDM and Modified Bitumen Torch Down

There are many Commercial Flat roof systems but only three types that most roofing contractors use.

Watch this video on Rubber Roof Installation

Five Commonly Used Commercial Flat  Roof Systems 

There are five types of commercial flat roofing systems usually installed:

*Flat Roof Doctor and Commercial Roof USA specializes in the installation of 2 Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof System.

Built-Up Roof Systems (BUR)

The BUR system has been in use in the U.S. for over a 100 years. It is a “Hot-Tar-and-Gravel” Roof System. These roofs are composed of layers of saturated asphalt paper and moped down hot liquid coal tar or asphalt. An asphalt saturated paper layers in a crisscross pattern and depending on the contractor, as many as 12 layers of paper and the mopping of coal tar or asphalt during the installation between the layers.

Coal tar or asphalt is heated in a kettle with propane gas and pumped up to the roof top. Spreading of hot tar over the work surface with a mop or squeegee, and the felt paper is rolled out over it.

Asphalt is a petroleum product refined from crude oil and coal tar comes from the distillation of coal. Either way, the coal tar or asphalt is the adhesive, that when combined with many layers of felt paper, forms a thick membrane that becomes the roof.

After the membrane has been built-up, a final thin layer of coal tar or asphalt along with aggregate stone of 1/2” is spread over the entire membrane. This stone is used to protect the roof from harmful UV rays.

Commercial Flat Roof - This is a BUR system also known as a Tar and Gravel roof.

The “Build Up” has “Come Down.”

The BUR roofing system can last many decades, but beyond that, there will be a certain amount of degradation. Petroleum based products will become dry and brittle and start to crack, due to evaporation, causing leaks.

The BUR roofing system is expensive to install, due to the labor and materials involved. These roofs have been known to last for over 50 years, because of the multiple layers “build up.”  Some of them have had as many as 15 -20 layers of paper and tar, however, we have also seen that some contractors would “come down” with the number of layers, to as many as 5 and as few as 3.

Metal Panel Roof Systems

The Structural Metal Panel Roof System is a type of metal roof system used for a low slope application. It is common to see metal panel roofs over warehouses and factories. The metal panels can span up to 4 ft., from rafter to rafter and can support the weight of a person.

A special sealant is used between seams and overlapping joints to prevent water from entering. Neoprene washers provide the seal where bolts fasten the metal roof to the metal rafters.

These metal panels are excellent water barriers and will prevent water from leaking through when correctly installed. This type of roof can last for 40 to 50 years when properly maintained.

Commercial Flat Roof - Metal roofs systems can be repaired.

Modified Bitumen Membranes

The Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof System (MB) was developed by the Italians in the 1960s and made its way to the U.S. by the late 1970s. The rubber membrane reinforced fabrics covered with asphalt, which consists of modifiers that give the asphalt its elastic properties on both sides. The modified asphalt comes in widths of 36″. Because of the rubberized technology, giving these membranes the branding of rubber roofs or rubber membranes.

There are 2 Types of MB Rubber Roof Membranes:

APP – is a Modified Bitumen membrane that is fully Torched Down to the fiber base, and the seams are welded together, hence the name – Torch Down Membrane.

SBS – is a Modified Bitumen membrane that uses cold or hot mopping tar or asphalt adhesives. Some SBS membranes are self-adhering; the backing is very sticky and will adhere to the surface.

The MB membranes have three types of surfaces: smooth surface, mineral surface, and a foil laminate surface. The mineral surface is a coating of ceramic material that protects the rubber against harmful UV rays.

The MB roof system installs mainly as a single-ply system. However, we specialize in a 2-ply system to extend the roof life to 40 years or more. We have come to specialize in this roofing system for many reasons, but the most important one, is regarding maintenance, because of the Modified 2 Ply Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof System, needs minimal to none.

Single-Ply Membranes: EPM, TPO, and PVC

EPDM, TPO, and PVC are single ply synthetic membranes and comes in wide sheets. These layers are thin and come in rolls of 8 – 20 feet widths.

Adhesives are used to adhere these layers to the properly cleaned substrate. Preparing the surface is vital for the proper adhesion of the material by removal of dust and particles, according to manufacturer’s instructions.

EPDM consist of 2 compounds that comes from oil and natural gas and the seams are glued together with a liquid adhesive that has been reformulated four different times. Currently, as a remedy, a new self-adhering cover tape is placed over the seams. These membranes are not well protected from harmful UV rays and are prone to degradation.

This Image is a Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Membrane with Embedded Ceramic Granules for UV Protection

Commercial Flat Roof - The image is an example of a 2 Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof System.

The Image is of a White TPO Vinyl Roof with Little UV Protection.

Commercial Flat Roof - A White TPO Vinyl Roof with Little UV Protection.

Flat Roofs – Features of Roofing Systems – Watch Videos

Flat Roofs – Features of Roofing Systems – Watch Videos

Single Ply and Two Ply Roofing Systems

There are 5 types of single ply roofing systems commonly used on flat roofs. They are EPDM, TPO, Modified Bitumen Cold Apply, Modified Bitumen Self-Adhering and Modified Bitumen Torch Down systems. Commercial Roof USA specializes in a 2 ply rubber roofing system which is the Modified Bitumen Torch Down membrane. The 2 ply system consists of a fiber base sheet with a self-adhering modified base attached to it, which is considered the first layer. The second layer is the Modified Bitumen Torch Down membrane which includes embedded ceramic granules for protection against harmful ultraviolet light.

All single ply roofing systems come with warranties of between 15 and 20 years, however, the 2 ply rubber roofing system, we specialize in, comes with a 40-year warranty.

The video below shows the installation of a 2 ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down rubber roofing system over an existing Tar and Gravel Roof. This 2 ply system can be installed over any existing roof with minimal surface preparation.

Flat Roof Foot Traffic 

Many commercial roofs have a number of Air Conditioner and Ventilation units, cell phone antennas, skylights, chimney stacks, drainage systems and other permanent structures on them. At some point, these structures will require maintenance or replacement. The servicing activity means that there will be a lot of foot traffic throughout the life of the roof.

During these service calls, nails, screws, wires, and tools may be unintentionally dropped, and many times even left behind. Oddly enough, seashells are often found on commercial roofs near coastlines. These sharp objects become a potential problem for a single-ply rubber roof because they are repeatedly stepped on and create many punctures, however, a two-ply rubber roof system will withstand this kind of foot traffic.

Flat Roof Protection Options

There are two basic options for protecting a roof’s surface:

With Ceramic Granules – A Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber membrane can have a built-in surface protection of ceramic granules. The ceramic granules protect the rubber membrane from harmful ultraviolet light.

Without Ceramic Granules – A Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber membrane can come without the ceramic granules, however,  it is necessary to apply an aluminum asphalt coating every 3 to 5 years to maintain the integrity of the rubber membrane.

EPDM Rubber

EPDM rubber is the same material that is used in the inner tubes of tires. It is very thin and not UV protected.

Issues with Single Ply Roofing Membranes  

Single-ply roofing systems start presenting issues within a short period of time after they have been installed. EPDM and TPO membranes are very thin and can be easily punctured with very minimal foot traffic. Also, these membranes cannot withstand direct sunlight without compromising the 15-year life expectancy; they become brittle. The adhesives break down and cause the seams to separate.

Modified Bitumen: A 2 Ply System

To the left is an image of a Modified Bitumen Granular rubber membrane. The ceramic granules are embedded into the surface to protect it from harmful ultraviolet light

Once the fiber base is installed, the rubber with the ceramic surface get fused or melted to the base layer with a torch. When combined, the 2-ply membrane becomes approximately 7 mm thick.

 Roofing and Construction Contractors 

Not all roofing contractors are familiar with all types of roofing systems, therefore, they will only offer the one roofing system they are comfortable with.

It is common for construction contractors, to offer their roofing installation services, however, they do not specialize in flat roofs.

This image shows a 2 ply Modified Bitumen torch down roofing system.

What We Now Know Will Save You Money

Some 30 years ago, Commercial Roof USA was one of the first roofing companies to use the Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roofing System.  At first, we only installed a single-ply system. In 2005, a manufacturer developed a new product to improve the Modified Bitumen in the form of a self-stick base. After incorporating this base with the Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber membrane, we realized that we had found the best flat roofing system, which has enabled us to provide a 40-year warranty with every roof installation.

 

This 2 ply Modified Bitumen rubber can withstand heavy foot traffic and is impenetrable by sharp objects.

Firestone Manufactures Quality Roofing Products  

In 2005, many manufacturing companies of roofing materials were popping up to provide the Modified Bitumen Membranes; GAF, John Mansfield, Firestone, Polyglass, and many others. Through our experience, we have found that the Firestone APP Modified Bitumen roofing membrane has the best quality. We currently specialize in the installation and repairing of flat roofs using only roofing products from Firestone.

This single ply EPDM rubber cannot withstand heavy foot traffic and is penetrable by sharp objects.

Summary

The 2 ply Modified Bitumen Rubber Roof Membrane is by far the toughest roofing system. It can handle extreme weather conditions and be installed over almost any surface. Regardless of where it is installed, Commercial Roof USA provides a 40-year warranty on every roof we install.

Advantages of Two Ply Torch Down Rubber Roofing – Watch Video

Advantages of Two Ply Torch Down Rubber Roofing – Watch Video

Advantages Two Ply Torch Rubber Roofing – watch-video

The video below describes Advantages Two Ply Torch Rubber Roofing – Watch Video. It is the best roofing material and method to install on commercial flat roofs, to date.  Like EPDM, MB has been around since the late 1960s. Unlike EPDM, the material is a modified asphalt, and single-ply bitumen membranes can be combined to create a two ply system with which we offer a 40-year warranty.

Advantages of Torch Down Rubber Roofing:

  •  Designed to be flexible in extreme weather conditions
  •  2-ply rubber roofing membrane is about five quarters in thickness (about 3/8″) and puncture resistant.
  •  Rubber roofing surface has embedded granular ceramics that protect against harmful UV degradation
  •  Seams are torch fused together to prevent seam separation
  •  Unlike EPDM and TPO, the two ply membrane can withstand a heavy amount of foot traffic
  •  Installation over any existing roof surface, with minimal preparation, results in 2 advantages in this case:
  1. Saves the cost of stripping and removing the existing roof
  2. Fusing an additional membrane, over an existing one, creates a two ply layer, that will last beyond 40 years.

Disadvantages of Torch Down Rubber Roofing:

  • Installation requires highly skilled roofing technicians.
  • Additional layer has an added cost of labor and materials.

An image of a Two Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof installed over an old Hot Tar and Gravel commercial roof.

advantages two ply torch rubber roofing - watch-video This is one of the best roofing systems on the market

An image of a 2 Ply Modified Bitumen Rubber Roof we installed over 20 years ago. Notice that there have been repairs needed since it was first installed.

advantages two ply torch down rubber roofing - This roofing system will last 40 years and longer

This image is another example of a Modified Bitumen 2-ply system that we installed. After 18 years, there are no signs of deterioration.

advantages two ply torch down rubber roofing - Smoothe granulated surface to protect against Ultraviolets

The image above was taken 15 years ago as I was when installing a 2 Ply Modified Bitumen Rubber Membrane. The black covering is the first layer called the Self-Adhering Base. The second layer is the Modified Bitumen Rubber Membrane-embedded with white ceramic granules.

In the image, notice all the patched repairs. These repairs have been done on an EPDM Rubber Roof System that was less than 10 years old. There were not enough rubber mats placed in appropriate traffic areas.

In the image above, we show that there is no need to strip away old roofing before installing a 2 Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Membrane.

The image above shows part of the process for installing a 2-ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof System over an existing Tar and Gravel roof.

This Video shows how fast EPDM can deteriorate

Choosing a Roofing Company

There are many roofing companies. In your search for a flat roof contractor, you will find that EPDM and TPO quotes are quite appealing, but you will need to remember that those quotes are for single-ply rubber membranes that puncture easily, have adhesives that fail at the seams, and shrink and degrade from harmful ultraviolet light.

Rubber Roofing – Commercial Flat Roofs – Videos

Rubber Roofing – Commercial Flat Roofs – Videos

This Video demonstrates how we installed a Two Ply Torch Down Rubber membrane over a tar and gravel roof.

Our Two Ply Rubber Roofing System

We specialize in the installation of 2 ply rubber roofing using the Modified Bitumen Torch Down System. A fiber asphalt sheet anchors to a substrate, or an existing roof system (removal of an existing roof system is not necessary).

A self-adhering single ply modified bitumen rubber membrane is attached to the fiber sheet. To that, a final layer of Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber, with embedded ceramic granules (protects against harmful UV rays), is heat-torched to the single ply membrane, creating our two ply system. We provide a 40 warranty for every two ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down System we install.

Commercial Rubber Roofing: Experience vs. Risk   

The roofing industry has gone through a significant change since the late 1970s. Before this change, commercial flat roofs consisted of a Hot-Tar-and-Gravel Roofing System, which was the industry standard. This type of roofing was very labor intensive, and the high costs associated with the tools and equipment kept the number of roofing companies to a minimum.

Today, single ply rubber and synthetic membrane roofing systems have become the industry standard. There are three types of membranes commonly used on commercial roofs.

They are known as Modified Bitumen Torch Down or MB, Thermoplastic Polyolefin or TPO, and Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer or EPDM.

The installation of these membranes has become very timely and less labor intensive than in the “hot tar” days. Acquiring the equipment, materials, and labor to install rubber roofs had become very easy.

The ease of installation caused roofing companies to multiply, and this sudden growth created a pool of unskilled labor, which passed the risk of poor quality to the customer. On the other hand, after several decades in the roofing industry and the presence of the shift to rubber roofing, we have developed a roofing technique that warrants a 40-year life expectancy on all our installations.

Watch the video below which shows how we go a step further with a single ply rubber membrane to a two ply rubber membrane on a commercial flat roof. Our system will reach a life expectancy of over 40 years which makes it a system that is far superior to any other single ply system to date.

Choosing a Roofing Company

There are many roofing companies. In your search for a flat roof contractor, you will find that EPDM and TPO quotes are quite appealing, but you will need to remember that those quotes are for single-ply rubber membranes that puncture easily, have adhesives that fail at the seams, and shrink and degrade from harmful ultraviolet light.

Comparing Roofing Systems

Rubber Roofing- Installing a two ply Torch Down Rubber roof over Tar and Gravel Roof

This image shows is a commercial roof having a two ply Torch Down rubber roof installed

Rubber Roofing- Installing a two ply Torch Down Rubber roof over Tar and Gravel Roof

Completed Two Ply Rubber Roof

This image shows how a  Completed Two Ply Rubber Roof looks like. This roof was installed 20 years ago in Westport Connecticut

This is what a Completed Two Ply Rubber Roof looks like

Completed Two ply rubber roof in Westport, Connecticut

This is what a Completed Two ply rubber roof in Westport, Connecticut, looks like after 25 years. These rubber roofs will never have to be replaced again.

Completed Two ply rubber roof in Westport, Connecticut

Installing a Two Ply Rubber Roof in Greenwich, Connecticut

Another example of installing a Two Ply Rubber Roof over stone. The black membrane is the first layer, and then the white cap sheet gets torched to the black base. This roof is over 20 years old, and we never had to go back for any repairs.

Installing a Two Ply Rubber Roof in Greenwich, Connecticut

An EPDM Rubber Roof System – all the patches and repairs and the roof is only 10 years old

This is what an EPDM Rubber Roof looks like after 10 years. All the patches indicate that the adhesive on the seams started to fail.

An EPDM Rubber Roof System - all the patches and repairs and the roof is only 10 years old

An image of a Single Ply Torch Down Rubber Roof

Notice that there is no UV protection on it. This roof only lasted 15 years because they never coated it with aluminum asphalt paint.

This is an image of a Single Ply Torch Down Rubber Roof - notice there is nu UV protection on it.

Adding another layer over the old single ply torch down rubber roof

The best solution is to add another layer over the old single ply torch down rubber roof. Two layers of Torch Down will make it a two ply roofing system that will never fail.

Adding another layer over the old single ply torch down rubber roof is the best solution

Installing a Two Ply Torch Down rubber roof over Tar and Gravel

The image shows where we install a Two Ply Torch Down rubber roof over Tar and Gravel. We have done this process for over 30 years and all our roofs are still standing strong.

 Installing a Two Ply Torch Down rubber roof over Tar and Gravel

Commercial Flat Roof Installation

Commercial Flat Roof Installation

Flat-Roof-Installation

Flat Roof Installation

We specialize in the Installation of a Two-Ply Rubber Roofing System. This system comprises of 2 layers of Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Membranes that are fused together. By adding a second layer, it makes this type of roofing superior to any other roofing system.

The Two Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber membrane is a superior roofing system than that of a Single Ply EPDM or TPO Roofing System. This roofing system can be installed almost over any surface including stone and other roofing membranes making it a very cost effective roof that will outlast any other roof.

A 40-year warranty comes with the Two-Ply Rubber Roofs we install.

We service all of Fairfield County, Connecticut, and Westchester County, New York.

 

Steps for Installing a Two Ply Roofing System

Step 1 – Preparing the Surface

  • Remove debris from the roof
  • Remove unnecessary obstacles like unused vent pipes, left behind A/C units.
  • Remove old roofing material off from existing flashing
  • Clean drain areas by removing roofing materials to expose drain flange
  • Clean scupper areas to expose copper
Preparing the surface for installing a new rubber roof. Use leave blower

Preparing the roof for new Installation

When it comes to Roof Installation, the fewer obstacles on a roof, the less labor, and materials used the less the cost of the roof. Remove old Air Conditioner units and old vent pipes as well as old roof vents.

 

Remove old a/c units prior to the Installation of a new roof

Roof Vents

Thes roof vents are designed to remove dampness from inside the rafters. They are not always beneficial and by removing them will do no harm.

Remove air-vents from roof

Step 2 a – Gravel Stone Surface

  • Rake the gravel rock around to level off the roof. Move loose rock to lower areas to build up the area
  • After raking the gravel making a smooth surface and removing clumps and larger rocks, install a fiber base paper by using long screws and anchor plates purchased from a roofing supply warehouse. Make sure the fiberglass paper is not wrinkled when anchored down spacing the anchors every 2 feet. Be careful not to cover the metal flashing and drip edges.
  • Install a Modified Bitumen Self-Adhering Base over the fiberglass base. Be careful not to include any metal parts.
  • Torch Down a Modified Bitumen Rubber Membrane with ceramic granules embedded to the self-adhering membrane fusing them together.
  • Use special adhesives to attach the Torch Down Rubber to the flashing and other metal areas.
Gravel Rock roof surface - Steps taken of installing over this surface

Installing a Two-Ply Rubber Roof over gravel

A Two-Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber membrane was installed over this surface. As long as the big stones are removed and the gravel is raked evenly.

Gravel Rock Roof - Installing a 2 ply over this surface is fine

In the Process of installing a Two-Ply Rubber Roof over gravel

Once the Two-ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber membrane is installed over the gravel, no one can tell by walking on it. It is super tough and no foot traffic or any workman will be able to damage it.

In the process of Installing a Two Ply Rubber Roof over a gravel Rock roof

Step 2 b – Existing Modified Bitumen Rubber membrane

  • If the surface has a fresh coating of Aluminum Asphalt Coating (silver paint) then skip this step and follow Step 3
  • If the surface has a pretty worn down coat of silver paint and flaking off, then sweep brush any loose paint and debris off the surface. Use a leave blower to get the dust off.
  • Look for any wrinkles in the membrane and cut them away.
  • Remove the existing roofing membrane from existing flashing to expose the flashing around skylights, vents, walls and where necessary.
  • Fill areas where water would normally pond by installing ISO board over the existing roofing membrane.
  • Lower areas around a drain area by removing roofing material.
  • Install a self-adhering Modified Bitumen Base membrane in the areas where the surface had to be build up and where roofing material was removed to lower the roof.
  • Torch Down a Modified Bitumen Rubber Membrane with ceramic granules embedded to the self-adhering membrane fusing them together.
  • Use special adhesives to attach the RorchDown Rubber to the flashing and other metal areas.
Installing over an existing Modified Bitumen Rubber Membrane - Cut away the wrinkles

Aluminum Asphalt Coating (silver paint)

If the existing roof has a coating of Aluminum Asphalt (silver paint) but is mostly peeled off or 80% of the membrane is exposed, then it is advisable to install a membrane directly onto it with a torch fusing the new membrane with the existing rubber membrane.

A Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof with Aluminum Asphalt coating (silver paint)

Existing Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roof

An Existing Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roof is ready for a new layer. Fusing the two together becomes an indestructible roof that will last beyond 40 years. If there is silver paint between the twp layers, then the two layers won’t be able to melt together.

A modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof ready for a new layer.

Step 2 c – EPDM Rubber Surface

  • If the EPDM Rubber roof is still firmly attached to the substrate and not wrinkled, then screw down more anchor over the top of the rubber.
  • Remove the EPDM rubber from all flashing detail as in A/C units, skylights, vent pipes, parapet walls, drains, and siding.
  • Clean and prepare the flashing and drip edges by removing adhesive with Laquer Thinners.
  • Install new flashing where necessary.
  • Cut away any wrinkled surfaces.
  • Install a Modified Bitumen Self-Adhering Base
  • Torch Down a Modified Bitumen Rubber Membrane with ceramic granules embedded to the self-adhering membrane fusing them together.
  • Use special adhesives to attach the RorchDown Rubber to the flashing and other metal areas.
Steps on how to Install over a EPDM Rubber Roof

EPDM on a Residential house

This EPDM Rubber Roof already had several patches. This is a perfect example of a roof that can be covered with a Two Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber membrane.

This small EPDM roof already had several patches.

Step 2 d – Plywood Substrate or Decking.

  • Install the necessary insulation with fasteners
  • Install Modified Bitumen Self-Adhering Base over the insulation
  • Install metal flashing where necessary.
  • Install drip edges
  • Torch Down a Modified Bitumen Rubber Membrane with ceramic granules embedded to the self-adhering membrane fusing them together.
  • Use special adhesives to attach the RorchDown Rubber to the flashing and other metal areas.
Steps on how to install a rubber roof over plywood or decking

Step 3  – Detailing

  • Once the Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber is fused to the Self Adhering base, it is time to take care of the details. On every corner of skylights and a/c unit curbs and around every vent pipe, particular attention must be given to make the necessary patches.
  • Use special adhesives to make necessary seals around skylights, A/C units, and vents, vent pipes, and pitch pockets.
  • Attach the rubber membrane to the drain or scupper with special adhesives.
After installing the final layer, details like corners of skylights and a/c units must be sealed

Step 4 – Cleaning up

  • Pick up all loose roofing materials
  • Use a leave blower to blow the roofing surface clean.
  • Walk around to make a final inspection to see if all detail is taken care off.
Walk around on the roof and inspect every detail and see if you missed anything
Flat Roof in Los Angeles – New Construction

Flat Roof in Los Angeles – New Construction

This is by far the best Flat Roof Installation.

My (new construction) flat roof has the following characteristics:

Flat Roof installation by owner in Los Angeles spec sheet

  1. Located in Los Angeles
  2. Small – about 700 sqft
  3. Has a parapet, partially from concrete partially from wood (see pictures)
  4. No penetrating pipes, vents, windows or equipment on the horizontal roof surface
  5. Roof is insulated with closed cell polyurethane spray
  6. Roof has proper slopes (crickets) for drainage with 3 scuppers with overflow protection on each
  7. The sheathing over the last layer of plywood is 1/2″ fiber cement as a fire protection since the structure is in a high fire zone area
  8. I was originally planning to use 1 ply roof from FiberTite but decided against it after I realized it was very proprietary and had a hard time getting an installer
  9. I am planning to use torched down Modified Bitumen from CertainTeed in 3 layer configuration
    • 1st (base) layer using Flintlastic APP/FG Base T, attached with roofing nails
    • 2nd (mid) layer Flintlastic APP/Poly STA, torched down
    • 3rd (top) layer Flintlastic APP/Poly GTA-FR Coolstar (Fire Rated and Title 24 compliant), Torched Down
  10. I have an experienced roofer to do the torch down process
  11. Parapet will be properly sealed, waterproofed with a Bitchutain Membrane and will have sheet metal flashing to completely protect from any chance of water penetration
  12. The Titanium UDL currently showing is just a temporary protection and will be discarded before the new roof is installed
  13. What is the best way to protect the roof from foot traffic if it used as a deck?
See material from CertainTeed attached in case you are not familiar with the specific material/product.
I would appreciate very much any recommendations for making the roof better and last longer.

My opinion on the 3 Ply Roofing System

I don’t think this will make the roof better by installing an additional cap sheet. I think the best way is to install a Modified Bitumen Self-adhering base and a ceramic granular surface cap sheet.

The added membrane in between could make it difficult around corners and scuppers.

I am not against this method, I just tink it’s unnecessary.

Recommendations for improving what’s already a very good flat roof system

After looking at the images you had send me, I am very surprised to what length you have gone to make sure you do everything right.

The only concerned I had were 2 things:

  1. How the walls would be covered
  2. The size of the scuppers

I didn’t understand what you meant by “Parapet will be properly sealed, waterproofed with a bitchutain membrane”.

My suggestion is to apply a thin layer of Karnak 81 Trowel grade Modified Bitumen Adhesive to the wall and then install the APP cap sheet. What this means is to continue the roof membrane up the walls. I will try and make a quick illustration of what I mean.

I also notice a Eucalyptus and a pine tree nearby. The leaves of those trees are small and so the scuppers should be fine. Pine tree needles tend to accumulate and block scuppers rapidly. Make sure you have easy access to the scuppers.

With this type of roof installation, there is no better way. The only problem I might foresee is how the roof technician attaches the rubber membrane to the scuppers.

We have developed a technique that has proven to be our life saver when attaching the torch down membrane to metal or to the parapet walls.

 

The only tar to ever use with APP Modified Bitumen membranes

The Tar shown in the above image is the only way to attach an MB Torch Down membrane to metal or to walls.

Here is how we do it:

  1. Prepare the surface that needs to have the membrane attach too. Dry dust free
  2. Smear liberally the tar to the surface
  3. Turn membrane facing back side up – torch burn the plastic on the back
  4. Apply membrane to the tar surface and work out the trapped air so the tar squeezes out from the edges.

This was a secret we kept for 30 years – good luck

Check this article on a Rubber Roof Installation

Our Secret Revealed for the first time

The tar above is the secret to guarantee a material bond between the rubber membrane and the metal flashing

Illustration of parapet wall and torch down roofing membrane

This is what I suggest to do on the walls. The best way is to continue with the same cap sheet onto the walls so it is all part of the roof.

For extra protection against foot traffic, depending on how much foot traffic is expected, furniture and other objects that could be placed on top, I suggested to install a composite type of deck on top. leaving room around the scuppers for easy access.

Illustration of installing a torch down membrane on a wall making transition to roof

This is a Flat Roof in Los Angeles under New Construction. One of the better roofs I have seen.

Flat Roof in Los Angeles - New Construction

Temporary Roofing makes for added cost

Added expense to cover the roof with a temporary plastic till the proper membrane could be installed. Maybe when planning a new construction, the roof should have been thought out before the start of the construction and completed first before the inside was being done.

A temporary cover over roof - amazing well done

Insulation under roof deck

Insulation before the roof deck was installed with closed cell polyurethane spray. Excellent work and thorough work.

These were images sent in by the owner.

We see a problem with this setup. From our experience, the insulation will cause moist to be trapped under the ply wood causing the plywood to rot.

Insulation before the roof deck was installed with closed cell polyurethane spray

Plywood deck installed after insulation

Flat Roof Los Angeles - 1/2" plywood deck installed

Scupper holes look small

The holes through the wall in the image look small for a scupper.

Flat-roof-Los-Angeles---Scupper-holes-prepped-in-wall

Scupper looks good

In this image, it appears the scupper hole was increased. But again this could be the wood part of the parapet wall. The concrete wall scupper hole looked very small

Flat-Roof-Los-Angeles-Scupper-Installed

Flat-Roof-Los-Angeles-titanium-UDL

Amazing to have a temporary cover installed. But it shows that the owner is not concerned about little extra costs to do the job right.

Flat-Roof-Los-Angeles-titanium-udl

This is a real pretty scene for a flat roof in Los Angeles.

Thanks to the person that send these images. It appears he is doing a fantastic job on the roof. I hope to get some other images in stages when the roof is installed.

 

Flat-Roof-Los-Angeles-pretty-scene

Fire Protection in Los Angeles

Cement board is installed over the plywood to give it the extra protection against fire. Especially in the Los Angeles area, this is a needed layer of protection.

 

Flat roof Los Angeles - Fire protected cement board is installed over plywood

Nice job!

This looks like a very well planned thought out roofing job.It all depends on the roofing technician on how well he does his job as how long this roof will last. A three-ply system will last indefinitely. It’s an overkill by far.

The best roofing system bar none.

What about the outside of the parapet walls for fire protection?
CertainTeed low-Slope Roof product Selection guide

The owner decided to go with the Certainteed Roofing Product.

CommercialSelectionGuide–

Base Sheet by Certainteed - 1 st layer
Certainteed 3 ply system - 2 nd ply

See all the info on CertainTeed’s website

RPG_Flintlastic-STA-TDS

The owner decided to go with a 3 ply system. Here are the specs for the 2 nd ply

FLINTLASTIC® STA

APP MODIFIED BITUMEN VERSATILE POLYESTER MEMBRANE WITH SMOOTH SURFACE

Product Information

Product Use: Flintlastic STA is designed for use as a base, inter ply or cap membrane (requires coating) over various types of substrates for both new construction and reroofing installations. It is suitable for most low sloped roof decks and may be used for roof system flashings including wall treatments, base flashings and field flashings.

Limitations: Flintlastic STA is intended for torch application only and should not be exposed to adhesives or solvent-based materials. Rolls should be stored upright, off the ground and completely protected from the weather. Roof decks must be structurally sound, dry, smooth and meet or exceed minimum requirements of the deck manufacturer, local code and CertainTeed. Additional specifications and precautions are contained in the CertainTeed Commercial Roof Systems Specifications.

Product Composition and Features: Flintlastic modified bitumen membranes are manufactured on state-of-the-art, dedicated roofing lines that were exclusively designed for the production of modified bitumen products. Flintlastic STA is produced with a high performance, stress- resistant polyester mat that is impregnated and coated with a superior grade, modified bitumen compound.

Technical Data

Applicable Standards: Meets ASTM D6222, Grade S, Type I. Flintlastic STA is approved by Underwriters Laboratories for use in various Class A, B and C roof assemblies, ICC-ES (ESR-1388), Factory Mutual, Miami-Dade, Florida Building Code Statewide Approval

(FL 2533 and FL 16709) and Texas Department of Insurance (RC-47).

Roll Dimensions: Coverage: Approximate Weight: Top Surface:

Back Surface:

393⁄8″ X 32′ 10″
One square
86 Ibs. per roll
Fine sand, release agent Torchable polyethylene film

Modified Bitumen Coating: Non-oxidized (flux) asphalt, blended with various thermoplastic atactic polypropylene polymers and co-polymers.

Final Cap Sheet - with ceramic surface for UV protection

Please comment and I will respond

Watch Video on Rubber Roof Installation Over Tar and Gravel Roof

Watch Video on Rubber Roof Installation Over Tar and Gravel Roof

Rubber Roof Installation over gravel

Commercial rubber roof installation with a Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roofing system direct over a gravel embedded roof. A Two-Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roofing system is the only system that can be installed directly to any tar build-up roof even if it has gravel embedded on the surface. This method will last over 40 years with little maintenance. All other roofing systems as in EPDM rubber or TPO vinyl have to have a fiberboard base to protect against punctures.

Rubber Roof Installation over a gravel roof video showing how we do it

We have been installing rubber roofs over gravel for over 20 years. Every Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roof comes with a 40-year warranty. The gravel or stone that is between the old roof and the new rubber membrane we have installed, serve as an insulation. The air trapped between the two roof layers makes an excellent insulator.

Flat Roof Installation Choices of Material and Contractors

Flat Roof Installation can become very costly if the wrong materials and choice of roofing contractor are used. Over the years most contractors have leaned towards EPDM Rubber roof systems. Today it is the most common roofing system on the market. it is also the worst because the adhesives fail and they yet have to find the right formula after 40 years.

EPDM Rubber most Popular

Just because most roofing contractors prefer to install EPDM rubber roofing systems, doesn’t mean its the best. We have evidence of 20 years and more of EPDM Rubber roof failures.

This is what a gravel roof looked like before we installed a rubber roof

This is what the Two Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down looks like after installing it directly over tar and gravel.

A Rubber Roof Installation directly over asphalt and gravel. This type of roofing system will last 40 years and beyond. The two ply system consists of:

  • A fiber base paper installed directly over the stone surface
  • Modified Bitumen self-adhering base that adheres to the fiber base paper
  • Final Ceramic Embedded Modified Bitumen Torch Down Cap sheet

Watch the video in the next segment where we explain how we did this roof installation over a commercial roof.

Rubber Roof Installation over a tar and gravel commercial roof

Flat Roof Installation and Repair Systems Compared

This video explains about the different systems and how we applied the 2 Ply Roofing System. We installed the 2 Ply Torch Down System over many gravel roofs. No matter the traffic and people that work on it over the years, they all are still going strong.

Follow these steps below if you are planning to install a 2 Ply Torch Down Roofing system over a Tar and Gravel Roof

There are several techniques and materials used to install a roof. Every roofer has his own technique and preferred materials. Some are good and some don’t last. There are steps that any Do-It-Yourselfer can take to install an inexpensive, yet durable, rubber membrane on a Tar and Gravel Roof.

The process is very easy if you follow the 9 simple steps listed below:

  1. Remove debris like leaves, twigs, and rocks
  2. Rake the gravel to get an even surface
  3. Install a fiberglass base paper over existing gravel roof, asphalt roof, or EPDM rubber roof
  4. Install new metal edging on the perimeter covering the base paper
  5. Clean and remove any roofing material, like tar and other membranes around drains
  6. Install a self-adhering modified bitumen base sheet over the fiber base sheet
  7. Install Modified Bitumen Membrane Torch down over the self-adhering base
  8. Tie your Torch Down roofing membrane to the flashing and drains
  9. Seal around vents, skylights, and other permanent objects

This type of installation over a tar and gravel roof will only be possible with Modified Bitumen Torch Down 2-Ply membrane. It is important to use fiber base paper and screw it down with base plates and screws.

The self-adhering base will lie flat and stick to the fiber base.

If the flashing is embedded in the tar and gravel roof, you need to clean that first. Use a flat bar and a hammer to chip away the old roofing material. Once you have it fairly clean, you can straighten the flashing by pounding it with a hammer and nail it down using regular roofing nails.

In this video, we only show the installation of a single ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roof. It will work but we do not advice to do that.

Rubber Roof Installation – Torch Down Roofing Video

Rubber Roof Installation – Torch Down Roofing Video

Rubber Roof Installation – the best roofing system is a Two Ply Torch Down Rubber Roof

Watch the video to see a rubber roof installation over a Tar and Gravel Roof.

Rubber Roof Installation on flat roofs

Check out this site about Modified Bitumen membrane  systems and rubber roofs

Installing a rubber roof on new construction is always the easiest and cleanest option. Before the siding goes on a house, the rubber roof and flashing is installed, then the siding is installed over the flashing.

There are fewer things to contend with when it’s a new building. It’s always the choice of material and the installer that will make the difference as to how long the roof will last before having any problems.

Watch the video below on a rubber roof installation over Tar and Gravel

Installing a rubber roof

When it comes to installing a rubber roof on an existing house, then there are a lot of factors to take in consideration.

This list will help to define those factors:

  1. Type of Rubber Roof to use. There are mainly two types to choose from EPDM or Torch Down Rubber Membrane. They both are good rubbers, but it’s the technique involved in installing them that will determine what makes the roof maintenance free.
  2. The Roofing Contractor – This is a hard one. Not all roofing contractors have the same experience in installing rubber membranes. Most of them will recommend EPDM because they don’t know any better. Eight out of Ten roofers will sell the homeowner an EPDM rubber roof. Their arguments will sound very convincing, only because they only know EPDM.
  3. To remove or to install over an existing roof: It’s more costly to remove an existing roof and prepare for a new roof than to install over an existing roof.

– To install an EPDM rubber roof the surface has to be smooth and free from tar. Petroleum products will eat into EPDM rubber causing holes. So the choice will be to remove the old asphalt roof or to install a layer of 1/2 fiberboard over the existing roof to get a smooth surface free from tar. Nearly every time new flashing will have to be installed.

Installing a rubber roof over a gravel roof made easy. Ridgefield, CT
A Rubber Roof Installed over a Tar and Gravel roof - this is the result

Tar and Gravel Roof – Ready for a Rubber Roof

The picture shows what the Tar and Gravel Roof used to look like before we installed a rubber roof. After removing bigger stones and all kinds of debris, we raked the gravel to get it evenly spread over the roof. After, the preparation, we then install a fiber base sheet directly over the gravel.

Rubber Roof Installation over a Tar and Gravel roof

Installing a Rubber Roof

This image shows where we are busy installing a Rubber Roof over a Tar and Gravel Roof. The process is a fiberglass asphalt base over the gravel, then a self-adhering modified bitumen base sheet to the fiberglass paper. After that, a Torch down rubber roof gets fused to the base.

Installing a Rubber Roof over a Tar and Gravel roof

The final Rubber Roof Installation

The picture shows what the result looks like after we have installed a Two-ply Rubber Roof over a Tar and Gravel roof. This roof will easily last 40 years without any maintenance.

Two Ply Rubber Roof Membrane over Tar and Gravel

Which roofing system offers  the Best Roofing Materials for a Flat Roof?

Which roofing system offers the Best Roofing Materials for a Flat Roof?

There are mainly three types of Roofing Materials commonly used for flat roofs.

The three types of roofing materials are EPDM Rubber, TPO Vinyl, and Modified Bitumen Torch Down. These materials classify as “single ply” roofing membranes. Every roofing system has its pro’s and cons and techniques of installation.

Modified BitumenTorch Down is by far the most durable roofing material. Once a single ply torch down is coupled with a second layer Modified Bitumen Membrane, it becomes a Two Ply System that surpasses the quality and standards of all other roofing systems.

EPDM Rubber Roofing materials are popular

The biggest problem with EPDM Rubber Roofing Material is that the adhesives that are used to glue the seams together. The adhesive used is a contact cement and over the last 40 years have been recalled over five times.

The extreme heat on a flat roof, over 160 degrees F, breaks down the bonding properties and compromises the roof.

EPDM is also a thin material that can easily damage by workers around air conditioners and other objects on the roof. The maximum life expectancy for an EPDM roof without maintenance problems is between 10 – 15 years.

EPDM Rubber Roofing Materials are damaged by Ultraviolets creating patches all over the roof

Why is Modified Bitumen Rubber Materials better than EPDM rubber?

  1. Heat welding versus glue – The glue that bonds the EPDM rubber at the seams is affected by heat and the sun and deteriorates over time.
  2. When it comes to maintenance – It’s far easier and fewer skills needed to repair an MB rubber roof than EPDM or TPO roof
  3. Modified Bitumen will last longer without maintenance than all the other roofing systems.
  4. EPDM and TPO has a big shrinkage problem over time. That is what will pull away from the wall and flashing. Not so much with MB.
  5. A roof gets abused by Maintenance people – air conditioning, cleaners and snow removal people. Modified Bitumen Rubber can withstand most of these abuses.
  6. The MB rubber is tougher and can withstand snow shovels better than the EPDM or TPO membranes.
  7. Modified Bitumen rubber life expectancy is far greater than EPDM or TPO membranes without trouble.
Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roofing Materials installed on a Commercial Roof

The Pros of Modified Bitumen Roofing Materials

This type of rubber roof is very sturdy and durable. When it comes to commercial roofs, then this is the choice material because it is expected to have service and maintenance people on it constantly.

If they happen to drop nails and screws, it will not be a problem if someone would step on it unlike on an EPDM rubber roof.Installing Modified Bitumen rubber roofs is pretty straight forward.

There are techniques as in any roofing material that should be followed to ensure a stable roof over many years. The problem is that many roofing companies have stuck to EPDM rubber and never got familiar with Modified Bitumen rubber roofs.

Installing a Modified Bitumen rubber roof is also less costly than EPDM. It is tougher and thicker than EPDM and installs over almost any surface, unlike EPDM rubber roofs.

As long as the flashing is exposed and free from debris, you can install the modified bitumen membrane straight onto an existing roofing material.

Modified Bitumen Roofing materials

Rubber Roof Systems – Watch Video

Rubber Roof Systems – Watch Video

Rubber Roofs on flat roofs

There are many types of roofing systems available. The most common rubber roof across the US today is EPDM. When EPDM came on the market in the 60’s, it quickly became a popular roofing system due to its elasticity and the width of the material.

The most durable rubber roofs with little maintenance are the Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roofs. These roofing systems were introduced by the Italians in Europe first in the late 60’s and then quickly spread to the US in the early 70″s. The Torch Down Roofing System started to lose momentum in the late 90’s due to better marketing strategies of the EPDM industry.

Watch the Video about the explanation of a Two-Ply Rubber Roof system.

No other rubber roof system can compare with a Two-Ply Torch Down Rubber Roof. A torch down roof system can be installed over an existing Modified Bitumen Torch Down fusing them together, or installing a Modified Bitumen Base before doing the cap sheet. This Two-Ply Rubber Roof system will last 40 years and more with little maintenance. Watch the video

The next Video shows where we torch a rubber roof over old and a new contraction roof.

The best rubber roof is to have 2 or 3 rubber membranes fused together on top of each other. Modified Bitumen rubber roofs are the only roofing system where you can melt two layers together. With EPDM Rubber Roofs and TPO vinyl roofs it is not possible, but in the case of TPO roofs, it is feasible to glue the second layer on top of the other.

Modified Bitumen Rubber Roofs will last indefinitely by installing two or more layers fusing them together over each other.

EPDM Rubber roofs are known to start leaking within a few years of installation. The heat and ultraviolets on the black surface break down the glue that bonds the seams together causing it to leak. In 2015 EPDM manufacturers have introduced yet another solution to the failing adhesives. This fix is not proven, and it is evident that EPDM rubber roofs are not made to last more than fifteen years.

Roofing Contractors shy away from Modified Bitumen materials due to inexperience with heat welding and using a Torch.

Roofing Contractors prefer EPDM Roofing Systems and will promote that instead of Modified Bitumen membranes. EPDM is relatively easier to install with little tools needed.

Most roofing contractors only have experience in EPDM Roofing and therefore will promote what they have more experience in.

EPDM Rubber Roof - this is what most roofing contractors install

Benefits and advantages of Modified Bitumen Roofs

  1. Life expectancy – 30 years and more (unknown)
  2. Withstands the abuse of air conditioning crews, snow removal, and cleaning crews.
  3. Ulta Violet deflection – when white granulated membrane is installed
  4. Maintenance – if needed then it’s very easily done by anyone with almost no experience. (bucket of roofing tar). Not so with TPO or EPDM
  5. Installation cost – Since you can install MB almost over any surface and re-use existing flashing, it is also then less expensive than the other systems.
  6. Installation surface – we have installed MB membrane over any surface that’s out there. Gravel roofs, metal roofs, over TPO and over EPDM roofs. This is not so easy to do with EPDM or TPO.
  7. Extreme weather conditions – MB membranes can be repaired in any weather condition.
  8. Abuse – Flat roofs get abused all the times. People come to install antennas, repair air conditioning, clean drains, remove snow. With MB membranes, it will withstand the abuse better but in case it gets damaged, it’s easy to repair, unlike the other systems.
  9. Shrinking – very minimum.

SBS Polymer and App polymer

SBS polymer-modified bitumen membranes This is a cold apply process. The tar is mopped down, and the membrane is rolled out over this liquid tar that will then adhere it together and to the sub roof.

APP polymer-modified bitumen membranes This is the Torch or Heat applied Rubber membrane. This is the most flexible and durable system.

 

Torch Down Rubber roof installed over another layer
This is what a rubber roof looks like after installation - Torch Down Rubber roof

Rubber Roof Installation and flashing – New Canaan – Watch Video

Rubber Roof Installation and flashing – New Canaan – Watch Video

Rubber Roof Installation

Rubber roof installation is a common practice for all flat roofs. There are three types of roofing systems to choose from. These are EPDM Rubber, TPO Vinyl, and Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Membrane.

We have been repairing and installing Flat Roofs for over 25 years and serving Fairfield County, Connecticut.

To make roof repairs on small residential roofs like balconies or small overhangs is very challenging. Most of the time there is not enough space for more than 2 people to move around. Then you need to have room for tools. The other factor is there are more elements to deal with like railing posts, door sills vent pipes. All this combined with a small roof makes it harder to work or make roof repairs than a larger roof.

It will take much longer to do a small flat roof than a  larger flat roof due to all the elements mentioned above. Many times the siding is a big factor too. The flashing that is attached to the siding has to be removed or replaced.

We removed the railing and had to fix the sill flashing on the door. This flat roof was challenging because the door leading out to it was too low to the roof.

It will take much longer to do a small flat roof than a  larger flat roof due to all the elements mentioned above. Many times the siding is a big factor too. The flashing that is attached to the siding has to be removed or replaced.

We removed the railing and had to fix the sill flashing on the door. This flat roof was challenging because the door leading out to it was too low to the roof.

Rubber Roof installation - Installing a rubber roof on a small balcony roof is harder than doing a regular flat roof.
There are more elements to contend with when dealing with a balcony roof than a regular flat roof.

When we prepared this small flat roof, we had to contend with the railings and also a door sill that was too low to the roof surface. When a door sill is that low, there is no place to install flashing.

The water could just run under the sill and cause a leak into the house. That is what happened to this particular roof before we did it. Most roofers are not qualified or do not have the experience to deal with problems like this. We cut the door sill to slide the rubber membrane under it.

The water could just run under the sill and cause a leak into the house. That is what happened to this particular roof before we did it. Most roofers are not qualified or do not have the experience to deal with problems like this. We cut the door sill to slide the rubber membrane under it.

Rubber roof installation - Hard to work in narrow confined areas as in this balcony roof.

After preparing the balcony roof, we then installed the base paper and then the Modified Bitumen Rubber Roof. We managed to cut away under the door sill and made some flashing to work with the situation.

Repairing roofs like these are challenging. Watch this video on another door sill we had to install flashing. You can tell by the workmanship that the previous roofers had no idea what they were doing.

Rubber membrane roof flat Three types roofing systems -Watch Videos

Rubber membrane roof flat Three types roofing systems -Watch Videos

Rubber membrane roof – Three types of roofing systems commonly used on flat roofs -watch videos

Rubber membrane roof is part of most flat roofs. There are three types roofing systems used for flat roofs; these are EPDM Rubber, TPO Vinyl and Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roofing. Although TPO is a vinyl type of material, we will also include it as part of this article.

EPDM Rubber Membrane roofs are the most popular of all the membranes. However, their popularity does not mean it’s the best type of roofing membrane, but rather the easiest to install requiring very few hand tools and little experience. EPDM Rubber has been around since the 60’s, but it has gone through many revisions due to the adhesive failures that glue the seams together. Because EPDM is naturally black, it absorbs heat and makes the contact adhesives fail prematurely.

Watch the video where we found Ultraviolet Rays damaged an EPDM Rubber Roof.

EPDM the choice Rubber membrane roofing. But not the best!

This next video is showing how hard it is to detect a leak on an EPDM Rubber Membrane. These type of roofing systems are installed all over the United States and little does a potential buyer knows about its longevity and maintenance problems.

Our Associated Roofing Contractors in Longview, TX, refuses to install EPDM Rubber Roof Systems any longer. We in the North East have seen the degradation of EPDM over the 30 years and always have steered away for it.

EPDM Rubber is a thin rubber membrane and is susceptible to punctures from foot traffic as soon as 3 – 5 years of installation. EPDM seams start to fail due to the glue breakdown that bond the seams together.

Most Roofing Contractors prefer to install EPDM Rubber because it’s relatively easy to install and looks and feels good to walk on.

EPDM – (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer)

  1. The material most Roofing Contractors are familiar with for Flat Roofs, is EPDM. There are obvious reasons why. It’s easier to install. A good sales pitch is “there are “less seems” on the roof because they come in wider rolls.
  2. Seams are a problem with EPDM but not so with Modified Bitumen Membrane or TPO. EPDM seams are glued together with contact cement. This technique has a lot of variables that could influence the outcome of the seems.
  3. Temperature – Can not be too cold or too hot to apply the glue.
  4. Humidity – to much could make the glue not stick to well.
  5. Time – When you apply the glue or Contact cement to both surfaces, you have to wait for it to set, touch dry before you stick the two surfaces together. That waiting time is what starts the problem. Where you started to apply the adhesive and where you ended has a time difference. Therefore the adhesive will set at one end before it sets at the other end.
  6. Not equally smeared – when you brush the contact cement on, it is impossible to be consistent with the amount you apply everywhere.
  7. Preparation – The surfaces should be well cleaned with a chemical – and wiped off. Not very predictable.
  8. Primer – some use primer and some don’t.
There are too many variables and inconsistencies just with the installation of EPDM that it is almost impossible to have a long lasting roof without problems.
After repairing so many EPDM roofs, we can say with high accuracy that it’s not the best solution for a Flat Roof.
Rubber Membrane Roof being patched
EPDM Rubber membrane Ultraviolet degradation

Watch the video where we demonstrate how we installed a Two-Ply Rubber Membrane Roof over a tar and gravel roof.

We have installed rubber membrane roofs for over 30 years, and with this technique, we can save an owner money. This type of roofing system is durable and can handle any foot traffic.

The 2-ply Torch Down Rubber roof membrane can install over any surface, including a gravel roof, eliminating the need to remove the old roofing that intern will save a lot of money.

Modified Bitumen Membranes – There are two types

Watch the video about installing a Torch Down Rubber membrane roof

The pros and cons of Modified Bitumen Membrane Roofs.

  1. The appearance is not as smooth and clean as EPDM or TPO.
  2. The Torch Down Rubber membrane can be installed almost over any surface without much preparation. Unlike EPDM or TPO.
  3. Seams are heat welded, and that makes for better adhesion.
  4. Existing flashing that’s already in place eg.where the roof meets siding or skylights, drip-edges, chimneys can be easy reused by just cleaning the old material off. No need to replace it. Unlike EPDM or TPO.
  5. Can almost be installed under any working condition – 30 degrees F to 110 degrees F. Sunny day or humid day.
  6. Unskilled people can do repairs. (using Tar bought at local supply.
  7. The Tear factor – Very unlikely to get damaged by traffic or people working. It’s a thicker and tougher rubber membrane than EPDM or TPO.
  8. Modified Bitumen is a petroleum based material, therefore can be directly installed over existing tar roofs or other Modified Bitumen Roofs. A double layer of Modified Bitumen Membrane fused together will last almost indefinite. Unlike TPO or EPDM.
  9. Due to inexperience, many roofing contractors avoid this system.
Torch Down Rubber Membrane Roof
 Torch Down Rubber Membrane flat Roof

TPO – Vinyl or PVC membrane. (not rubber)

This type of membrane is also heat welded at the seams which make for a secure bond.

1. These systems are more costly to install than EPDM or MB

  1. The TPO membranes reliability has improved in the last ten years.
  2. TPO roof seams and the transitions to flashing are better than EPDM due to heat welding as to glue down for EPDM.
  3. Much cooler roof than EPDM.
  4. Appearance – clean and smooth.
  5. Prone to tears due to maintenance traffic.
  6. Shrinks a lot and cause edges to pull up.

TPO is not a Rubber membrane roof.

Although TPO is not considered a rubber membrane roof, it is still a single ply roofing system that is familiar with some roofing contractors.

The reason why all these rubber membrane roofs are so popular is that they are single layer roofing membranes that make it easy to install compared to the old Tar and Gravel roofs of the old days.

A TPO Roof Membrane installed looks and feels smooth and is a durable roof. The seams are heat welded which makes it much better than that of an EPDM Rubber Membrane which glues together.

Welded seams are almost impossible to separate. The issue with TPO is that of weather conditions. Temperatures and humidity can effect the heat welder that needs calibrating to the current situation of the day. A cold or misty day and it becomes difficult to install a TPO Roofing System.

Of the two single-ply rubber membrane roof systems, EPDM and TPO, TPO is by far the best. It reflects UV’s and therefore is a much cooler rubber membrane roof due to the white surface, and the seams will not separate due to the welding process instead of the gluing process. When compared to a single plyTorch Down Rubber membrane roof system, then they are equally good. Adding a second layer of Modified Bitumen rubber membrane to the Torch Down Roof, then there is no comparison.

Rubber Roof Membrane and TPO vinyl roofing for flat roofs
Clean TPO Rubber membrane roof