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Commercial Roof Installation Over Tar & Gravel – Watch Video

Commercial Roof Installation Over Tar & Gravel – Watch Video

A Commercial Roof Installation – This Video explains the method of Installation of a Torch Down Rubber Roof over Tar and Gravel

There are still some Old Tar and Gravel Roofs in existence. Instead of removing the old roofing system, a new Commercial Roof Installation can be achieved over the existing with a considerable cost saving.

Video Transcription - Commercial Roof Installation: 2 Ply Rubber over Hot-Tar-and-Gravel

Hi, My Name is Erik, with Commercial Roof USA

Commercial Roof Installation

I’m here on a commercial roof that was a gravel, a pitch and gravel roof here. And they called us into re-roof it and we’re we decided to go over because rather than strip all the gravel off and all the old tar, we saved them a lot of cost by going directly over and I started about an hour ago and this is our fiberglass liner that I am laying down right now. Um, this is the first step.

Self-Adhering Base

Next comes the self-adhering base than our final layer of modified bitumen torch down. So, as you can see I’m going over gravel right now. I’ll finish it up and I’ll show you the progress as the roof gets completed.

Cost-Effective Roofing System

This is the most cost effective roof put on uh rather than stripping it down to the wood and removing all the gravel and the debris all that labor and also the time that it takes. This is one of the most cost effective roofs that you can do. We go directly over and um it’s just as good as if we stripped it all the way down.

Same Warranty

You get the same uh, you know warranty, um but this is one of the most cost-effective ways to do it both with time labor and debris removal. This is why we advocate this because this is an excellent roof it’ll last you easily twenty thirty years and it is half the cost of the other roofs out there.

Process of Installing a 2 Ply Rubber Roof

Alright, I’ve already laid down my uh fiberglass liner and uh I’ve anchored it down. This gives the roof the strength and stiffness it needs and uh we have a two-ply system we do. This is the first of those 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 stay that way um and then after that, we are gonna torch our modified membrane to this fusing it together.

The Best Rubber Roofs

This is why it’s one of the best roofs out there. Uh, you get a two layer membrane as well as the protection, the fiberglass liner. You can’t beat it. Uh, so we went with white on this roof to reflect the sun and to keep it cool and um here’s the granular that you see on top and these are made of ceramic these are ceramic granular and uh they protect against the UV rays which usually break up the roof.

Ending Prematurely

This makes it end prematurely and then uh we’re fusing this layer directly to our other two layers and I’ll show in a second just how thick it is but this is why this is a good system it makes it one unified membrane all across.

Thickness of the Layers

So uh, let me show you how thick it is here. Alright, you see? That’s how thick it is. You could see, I might be able to peel this open. There’s our first layer, the fiberglass liner, that gives that strength that’s anchored down to the to the roof with screws. And then I can’t separate the other two cause they’re fused together, but uh you can see how thick that is that and uh also the strength that fiberglass liner gives it; it’s not as pliable anymore.

What You See is What You Get

You see that? That’s the roof that you’re getting. This is what makes it one of the best systems out there especially over gravel or anything like that. Okay uh, we are ready to do the curb flashing around the chimneys and skylights and now we’re just rolling out the big the big rolls over here to finish up the roof. Look how they flow together.

Commercial Roof Installation: 2 Ply Rubber over Hot-Tar-and-Gravel

Our commercial roof installation of a 2 ply rubber roof, over hot-tar-and-gravel, has been tested and proven to withstand extreme weather, foot traffic, and harmful UV rays, for many decades. The system consists of a reinforced fiberglass asphalt base sheet, placed directly over the gravel, and fastened down with plates and anchors, to the roof. Over this fiberglass base sheet, we install a self-adhering membrane; this combination becomes our first ply. Lastly, we fuse a cap sheet of Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber to it, which has embedded ceramic granules on the surface, for protection against harmful UV rays.

Commercial Roof Installation: New Modified Bitumen Rubber (MB) over Old MB Rubber 

When a roof has an existing MB membrane, there is no need to remove it, rather, fusing an additional MB Torch Down membrane to it, creates a 2-ply rubber membrane.  The installation of this type of roofing system will reduce labor costs and provide a life expectancy of 40 years, and beyond.

Although a 2 Ply MB roof is the best roofing system, it can be compromised if roofing technicians do not have the experience and skills to perform the necessary flash detailing around mechanical units, drains, and vents. Most importantly, however, the entire surface of the membrane must be skillfully heat fused with a torch.

This video explains the Three Roofing Systems commonly used: TPO, EPDM, and Modified Bitumen Torch Down

Video Transcription - Flat Roof Installation Systems Compared

Explaining the 3 Roofing Systems 

I want to explain to you about the three different systems that are available on the market for redoing a roof over a commercial roof. First of all you get the TPO type of membrane which is a white membrane and it a vinyl or PVC type of material and it’s called a single ply membrane. Then you can get the EPDM. Let me show you the EPDM here at the bottom. Andre want to this is the EPDM membrane and it’s also a single ply membrane like the inner tube of a car.

Comparing Two Rubber Roofs

You can see it stretches like that and then you get another single ply membrane which is the modified bitumen membrane like this one. This is a modified asphalt and it becomes rubber. The three systems are all called single ply membranes and they all have a different technique of installation.

TPO is Heat-Welded

TPO needs to be heat welded on the seams and you need to have a surface that is fairly flat and smooth before you install it and the same with the EPDM. EPDM is very thin and hold that side Andre and also it’s a single ply membrane and it has to be installed over very smooth surface and it’s a glue down process.

That means contact cement. You add contact cement onto this side and the other side and you glue them together and that way that’s how the seams are done. Uh this is how easy you can penetrate through uh EPDM. I can hold it there. You see the knife? It goes just like that. Easy.

Modified Bitumen is a Thicker Membrane

Modified Bitumen is a thicker membrane and it can be installed over almost any surface, a rough surface. It’s not necessary has to be smooth. What makes this such a better system, or a better membrane is you can hardly get through the membrane. That’s how hard it is to get through this membrane. I can barely get my knife through there.

Install a Modified Bitumen Membrane

I have to put a lot of pressure in it. Now the way you, what we do is we have gone a step further. We install the modified bitumen membrane over another membrane on top of a base paper. Now, I’m going to explain this to you, but we call it a two ply system. A two ply system is by far the best roofing system out there.

Life Span of a Roof

There’s nothing that can come close to it. All these single ply membranes even the modified by itself, they give a guarantee of twelve to fifteen years. That’s what the life expectancy is. That’s not enough for a commercial roof. If you have a commercial building, you don’t want to replace the roof every twelve fifteen years. The system what we have is a two-ply system. Let me I’m gonna just explain to you. Here we’re busy doing a roof over the stone here and you can see the stone. We smooth out the stone like this then we add a fiber liner.

A Fiberglass Liner for a Rubber Roof

This is a fiberglass liner that can go over the stone. You can see the stones doesn’t come through. It doesn’t penetrate through. That is to give it the stiffness to the roof and make it like a rigid roof. After we install the fiber uh, uh liner, then we install a single ply self-adhering membrane. You can see this is sticking to this base.

Installing a Base

It’s starting to stick there. You see there? This is sticking to the base and after we install that fiber liner and then this base, we then torch down our membrane, the final layer on top of this self-adhering base. By the time you’re done, it becomes a very thick roof and this system can be installed over any type of roof any surface without having to strip the cost of stripping an entire roof and it will last you guaranteed thirty to forty years easily no questions about it.

The Thickness of a Roof

This is what it looks like. Look how thick it is. I don’t know if you can see it. Can you zoom in onto this Erik? Let me get the EPDM. Can you see the two difference there? This is the difference in thickness. Can you see it? And this two ply system, you can do modified a single ply system we don’t recommend that.

It’s still a single ply roof, but once you go to a two ply system with a modified, you cannot do it with EPDM you cannot do it with TPO, that white uh, uh, vinyl type of roof, but you can do it with a modified, you can do two ply system with the modified and you’ll have the best system out there. Nothing can beat it. So, I explained to you about the two ply system. So we went over an original built up roof.

Old Hot Tar Built Up Roof

This is the old hot tar built up roof hot tar and paper and it started cracking and the owners of this building wanted to reroof and so we went over the hot tar. This is a two ply system. There’s the first membrane and there’s the second membrane. I cannot get it apart. It’s stuck to it.

The first membrane is sticks to the hot tar and the next one we torch to this it sticks to this. It’s indestructible! Then you can look, pan over this this is how it looks like we went over here. This area has stone underneath here. We went over the stone area and you can see we still in the process. We almost done.

Torch Down Membrane

This is the membrane the torch down, and this is the second base here; the self adhering base and then we have the liner the fiberglass liner and this is the stone here. We almost complete with this roof and this roof will outlast any other system out there. I don’t care which one you bring to me.

TPO Not Lasting Long

The TPO, the EPDM, they cannot last as long as this roof would last. This will last thirty to and I’m sure it’s gonna go to fifty years. This is how good this type of roof is and leaks? No way! It can never leak even if they don’t the whole thing about single ply membranes is technique.

Installing TPO

TPO has a certain technique the heat weld and so has EPDM has certain techniques, but the glue on EPDMs do fail after three or five years or ten years. That contact cement, it fails in the heat. Both of the TPO and EPDM are not UV protected. They don’t have the protection. With the modified it has the granular surface that has UV protection, it’s double the thickness then we added another layer it makes it three or four times thicker than any other single ply membrane. No UV can destroy it, and that’s the best system out there. Bar none!

Modified Bitumen: Four Reasons to Install an MB 2 Ply Roofing System 

  • Embedded ceramic granules protect the membrane against harmful UV rays.
  • The membrane becomes five times thicker than a single-ply membrane (EPDM and TPO).
  • Seams are fused together with a propane torch creating a monolithic membrane.
  • It will withstand more frequent foot traffic and snow shoveling, than EPDM or TPO systems.

Commercial Roof Installation: A 2 Ply MB Roofing over any other Roof, is Cost-Effective

When an existing commercial roof needs to be replaced, the best system to install is a 2 Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Membrane. Not only can this 2 ply system be installed over a Hot-Tar-and-Gravel Roof system, it can also be installed over an existing EPDM Rubber Membrane, and a TPO Membrane,  making it cost effective.

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.

EPDM & Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roofs – Which is the Best?

EPDM & Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roofs – Which is the Best?

EPDM & Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roofs After 10 Years

Below are images of EPDM rubber roofs and Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber roofs that are about 10 years and older. Notice that Modified Bitumen rubber roofs outlast EPDM rubber roofs in terms durability and appearance.

Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof: A 2 Ply System

This image is a 2 Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof which shows no signs of degradation after 14 years. Also, there are no patches to indicate that there was any need for repairs. When inspecting any roof, seeing numerous patches is a good indication that the rubber roof has been compromised with leaks.

EPDM Rubber and Torch Down Rubber - After 14 years, a Torch Down Rubber Roof shows no maintenance in terms of repairs.

EPDM Rubber Roofs Fail Prematurely

This EPDM rubber roof is 10 years old and has had many seam and roof repairs. The adhesive properties have deteriorated which caused the seams to separate and leaks to develop.

EPDM Rubber and Torch Down Rubber - The patches are an indication of an EPDM Rubber Roof failing prematurely.

EPDM Rubber or Modified Bitumen for Residential Roofs?

Residential roofs can have a combination of sloped and flat roofs. The flat roofs are normally used to access the sloped roofs for cleaning gutters, snow removal, or house painting, resulting in more foot traffic. As a result, the flat roof membrane becomes susceptible to punctures from these maintenance activities. Therefore, it is important to have a rubber membrane that can withstand excessive foot traffic and be resistant to punctures.

EPDM is not designed to withstand the repeated foot traffic that is necessary for home maintenance because it is too thin, and can be easily damaged. We highly recommend the 2 Ply Modified Bitumen Rubber Roof System because it is 5 times thicker, with a stronger rubber composition that will not erode with any kind of maintenance activities.

This EPDM Rubber roof shows that a repair was needed due to repeated foot traffic used to access the sloped roof.
All EPDM roofs are permanently repaired using patches that are secured with caulking, however, the caulking does not last more than 3 years.

EPDM Adhesive & Caulking Issues

EPDM rubber roof adhesives and caulkings fail because they cannot withstand the surface heat for extended periods of time.  An EPDM roof surface can reach temperatures upwards of 160° F.

In the image, there is a history of multiple repairs on this EPDM roof. The dark colored caulking is a sign of old repairs, while the lighter colored caulkings are signs of newer repairs. Neither the EPDM rubber patches nor the caulking, are a permanent solution to a worry-free or leak-proof roof.

EPDM rubber roof adhesives and caulkings fail due to excessive heat.

Modified Bitumen 

Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roofs are heat-welded at the seams. This roof was installed by Commercial Roof USA over 14 years ago, and as of this writing, there are no signs of repair patches.

This roof is located on 819 Westport Rd East, Westport, Connecticut.

This 2 Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber roof has not needed any repairs since its installation over 14 years ago.

Coated Modified Bitumen Rubber Roof

This 25-year-old 2 Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof, coated with aluminum asphalt paint, which is meant to protect the surface against harmful UV rays. It has had many years of scattered debris, foot traffic from rooftop a/c and ventilation units being serviced, yet, there is no indication that repairs have ever been needed. This type of roof has withstood maintenance and service activities throughout its 25 years. Today Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Membranes are offered by manufacturers in both a plain surface and a surface coated with ceramic granules.

 

Aluminum Asphalt Coated Modified Bitumen Rubber Roof - 25 years of maintenance free service

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.

Installation/ Repair/Commercial Flat Roof Contractor Longview TX (Texas)

Installation/ Repair/Commercial Flat Roof Contractor Longview TX (Texas)

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. Clean Cut Roofing 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. more…

Clean Cut Roofing – Longview Texas – Installation and Repairs 

At Clean Cut Roofing, we provide the highest quality flat roof installation and repairs. Our Commercial roofing teams are highly trained and qualified to install any type of roofing. This includes Modified Bitumen Torch Down, TPO, and Metal roofs.

We are fully Insured and Bonded and follow engineering and architects specifications.

Clean Cut Roofing has been in business for over 15 years. Our reputation speaks for itself. Our sales staff will provide you with Free Consultation and a written estimate for the cost of the project.

Clean Cut Roofing – Longview TX

Location: 1412 E US 80, White Oak, Texas

Tel. 903-291-0848

Website: http://www.cleancutroofing.com/

Monday morning line up of all the roofing teams at Clean Cut Roofing. The weeks starts with prayer and praise to God.

Roofing Team picture at Clean Cut Roofing Longview Texas

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.

Get a Free Quote

15 + 2 =

Salesman have their own trucks. Clean Cut Roofing have over 30 vehicles.

Clean Cut Roofing - Trucks to Install flat roofs over commercial and Residential roofs
Philip Jordan

Philip Jordan

Operations Manager

Philip oversees the day-to-day operations at Clean Cut Roofing.  He is an outstanding family man, devoted Christian.

Contact Phillip at: philip@cleancutroofing.com

Clean Cut Roofing crew installing a rubber roof at North Texas Regional Airport

Working on a commercial flat roof in East Texas Regional Airport.

Advantages of Torch Down Rubber Roofs

The video below describes the advantages of a Modified Bitumen (MB) Torch Down Rubber Roof. It is the best roofing material and method that can be installed on commercial flat roofs, to date.  Like EPDM, MB has been used since the late 1960s. Unlike EPDM, the rubber roof material is made from modified asphalt and single-ply bitumen membranes can be combined to create a 2 ply system with which we offer a 40-year warranty.

Longview Texas – Flat Roof Installations

Clean Cut Roofing of Longview Texas is serving the Noth East Texas region. We take pride in what we do and provide the best possible quality job.

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

Rubber Membrane Installation – Watch Video

Rubber Membrane Installation – Watch Video

Installing a new Rubber Membrane on a Residential Roof

When a rubber membrane has been installed incorrectly on a residential roof, It often happens that the owner of a house is not aware of how much the roof is leaking and how much damage has been caused. This particular roof has been leaking for over 5 years and the beams and substrate were rotted out. The best practice is to remove the old roofing material and replace all the rotten wood. After making the necessary repairs, then a Rubber Membrane can be installed.

Watch this video on a Commercial Roof Installation

Rubber Membrane Installation

There are basically three types of membranes commonly installed by roofing contractors. These are TPO, EPDM and Torch Down membranes. EPDM Rubber membranes are very thin and start leaking in a relatively short period of time. The reason for the leaks is that the adhesives fail prematurely due to the extreme heat generated on a roof.

Another reason for leaks is that the caulking that is applied to secure the seams where they overlap each other, dries out compromising the roof.

Watch this video on Rubber Roof installation.

Watch the video where we explain the negatives of an EPDM rubber membrane

Torch Down Rubber Membrane

Torch Down Rubber Membranes are the toughest of all roofing membranes. If installed as a 2 ply system, then this type of roof will last 40 years and more, unlike the EPDM and TPO roofing systems.

There are several types of torch down roofing membranes. They come in different colors, thicknesses, and quality. We prefer to use the Firestone brand. But there are others brands that perform just as good.

TPO Vinyl Membrane – not a rubber membrane

Although TPO is a membrane used for roofing, it is not considered a rubber membrane. TPO is a relatively strong membrane and can withstand all weather conditions, unlike EPDM Rubber membrane. A TPO membrane is white and therefore reflects heat and Ultraviolets very well.

TPO Membrane on a flat roof - white reflects UV's and heat

Rubber Roofs – Comparing EPDM with Torch Down -Video

Rubber Roofs – Comparing EPDM with Torch Down -Video

Rubber Roofs

Rubber roofs were introduced in the late 60’s in the United States. Both EPDM and Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber membranes were making their way into the roofing industry early on. These rubber roofs have evolved since their conception.

 

EPDM Rubber Roofs

EPDM Rubber Roofs have had its share of troubles. The biggest issue with an EPDM Roofing system is not the rubber membrane itself, but rather the adhesives used to bond seams together. A contact glue or cement was used for seaming and patches, but the extreme heat on a black EPDM roof quickly degraded or broke down the adhesion of the glue compromising the roof. Over the 40 years, EPDM manufacturers have introduced new formulations and fixes for this problem to no avail.

In 2015 a new adhesive or technique was introduced, but we have already seen some roof failures. It is safe to say that so far there is no cure for this problem in the near future.

EPDM Rubber Roofs also have a problem with ultraviolet rays. The rubber tends to get dry and shrink. In some cases, we have seen where the rubber has completely deteriorated.

Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roofs

We still come across Torch Down Rubber roofs that were installed 30 years ago and longer that doesn’t show any sign of deterioration. We contribute this to the fact that the rubber membrane was protected against ultraviolet rays with silver or aluminum asphalt coating. Also, it appears that the roofing technicians knew how to weld the seams properly 30 years ago compared to today’s roof technicians.

Torch Down Rubber roofs will outlast any other roof system by 30 years and more if installed correctly. Due to marketing tactics, EPDM roofs became more popular than Torch Down roofs.

It is harder to find roofing contractors that know how to install Torch Down Roofs.

The video shows the installation of a Two Ply Torch Down Rubber Roof

This type of roofing system is what we recommend for any flat roof. If installed correctly this rubber roof will last 40 years and beyond with little maintenance. We have been in the roofing business for 25 years and the roofs we installed 20 years ago are still holding up and some appear if they were installed yesterday. There is no telling how long they will last.

EPDM Rubber Roof

Notice in the image how the ultraviolet rays have degraded the EPDM Rubber membrane. This EPDM rubber roof was only installed 12 years before the picture taken.

Most of the EPDM Rubber Membrane issues are with the seams. The adhesives “cover tape” used for bonding seams together do not last in the extreme heat generated on a roof due to the black membrane. The temperatures will rise to 160 degrees Fahrenheit during a summer day, and that glue will lose its bonding properties.

EPDM Rubber Roofs - see the degraded membrane from ultraviolet rays.

Modified Bitumen Rubber Roof

We installed this rubber roof over 20 years ago, and we had never been called back for any leaks or repairs. Notice that the roof has a white appearance. That is the ceramic granules embedded in it that have protected against ultraviolet rays. Without the UV protection, this roof would have only lasted between 12 – 15 years maximum.

It is of utmost importance to protect any rubber roof from ultraviolet exposure. When Torch Down Rubber Roofs came on the market, they did not manufacture it with the ceramic granules for protection, so an aluminum asphalt paint was required to give it the protection. A silver coating was needed every 3 – 5 years.

Modified Bitumen Rubber Roofs in Westport CT

Torch Down Rubber Roof in Stamford CT

This image is a torch down rubber roof that was installed over 30 years ago. The roof is still in good condition and has no need of replacement or repair. The aluminum asphalt paint (silver coating) has preserved the roof all these years. Notice all the A/C units and debris left by workers. With all this foot traffic and carelessness from workers, the roof withstood all that abuse.

A Rubber Roof left unprotected

This is a Torch Down Rubber Roof that was left unprotected for over 12 years. Notice the wrinkling and unevenness of the membrane. The owners did so little they even let the drain clog up and plants started to grow.

A roof is a very expensive part of a structure. If not treated properly, will cause damage to the substructure and eventually not only a roof replacement, but repairs that could have been avoided.

This Torch Down was unprotected from ultraviolet rays and need to be replaced

Unprotected Torch Down Rubber Roof lasted over 15 years

A Torch Down Rubber roof that is not protected against ultraviolets will easily last 15 years if correctly installed. This image shows of such a roof in Norwalk Connecticut. The only problem they had with the roof was the drains or scuppers. The scupper outlets were too high and water could not drain properly off from the roof.

In this case, this roof could still be preserved by coating it with an aluminum asphalt paint. As long as the membrane doesn’t have spider cracks and is not wrinkling, then a protective coat can extend the life expectancy.

Unprotected Torch Down rubber Roof lasted over 15 years

Unprotected Rubber Roof

Here is another example of an unprotected torch down rubber roof. In this case was it not only not protected from ultraviolet rays, but the rubber membrane wasn’t installed correctly. Notice the wrinkles and curling. That happens when a fiber base paper is not installed. This roofing contractor was not knowledgeable about the installation of a Torch Down Rubber Roof and the owner paid a dear price. This happens when someone trusts anyone that calls himself a roofer.

Unprotected-Torch-Down-rubber roof

Products we recommend for Torch Down

When it comes to Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber membranes, we recommend the following brand names:

Firestone – they manufacture the best rubber membrane and best warranty

GAF – Rubberoid is their brand

Wikipedia – good reading about EPDM

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

Commercial Rubber Flat Roof Installation in Stamford CT

Commercial Rubber Flat Roof Installation in Stamford CT

Commercial Rubber Flat Roof Installation

The most common problem on Commercial Rubber Flat Roof is:

We have been installing Commercial Rubber Flat Roof for over 25 years

  1. Ponding or standing water
  2. Clogged strainers over internal drains
  3. Clogged scuppers that protrude through a parapet wall
  4. Drains are not in the right areas
  5. Edges are higher than the roof preventing water run-off
  6. Air Conditioner curb flashing
  7. Vent pipes and scuppers

Other problems are also common as in flashing, air conditioner curbs, vent pipes and drains that could be causing leaks.

In the olden days, half pipes were used to cover a parapet wall.

Those days are over, and the best is to remove them and replace them with aluminum metal edging.

This commercial roof had several problems before we started installing a new flat roof rubber membrane.

EPDM Rubber failed after five years

An EPDM rubber roof was installed five years before our roof installation. Again the EPDM roof fails prematurely.

Most EPDM roofs don’t last that long due to the adhesives that were used to glue it down. The EPA has now ruled that the EPDM roofing industry can not any longer use the contact cement adhesives due to environmental and toxic problems. Therefor EPDM roofers have to use new, untried methods to adhere the rubber to the sub roof and the seams.

It takes 10- 15 years before any system can show its weaknesses. Unfortunately, homeowners and businesses are the guinea pigs to be used for this trial period.

Commercial Rubber Flat Roof - This is a good example of what a EPDM looked like after several yeas and why we need to replace it.

Old Half Round Pipe Caps on Parapet walls

Most old commercial roofs still have the old half round clay pipes that cover a parapet wall. They tend to give a lot of trouble. It is also tough to end the rubber roof under the edge due to so many people trying to fix it using tar.

Commercial rubber Flat roof - Most old commercial roofs still have the old half round clay pipes that covers a parapet wall.

EPDM Rubber Transition to walls

Two problems. The transition of the EPDM Roof to the wall was wrong. There were no scuppers to let the water off. When installing a rubber roof on an existing commercial roof, one thing to try and avoid is to leave the old half round clay pipes on a parapet wall.

It is much better to have them removed and continued with the rubber membrane over the wall. After that, a metal cap can be installed over the membrane to give it a nice appearance on the outside of the wall.

Commercial Rubber Flat Roof - It is far better to close the internal drains and install scuppers on a commercial roof if situation can permit so.

Installed two scuppers for roof drainage

We removed the half pipes and installed two scuppers towards the back of the commercial roof.

You can see a comparison of the images above and below where we removed the half pipes. It is a much better system that will last forever. We also closed the old drains and installed two scuppers. No more drains to clog.

Notice how much better the roof looks after the half pipes are gone. It is also apparent that the scuppers are more practical than roof drains in this case.

Notice how much better the roof looks after the half pipes were removed

 Torch Down Rubber Membrane Roof

After the installation, a rain storm passed over, and the water was still draining off when the picture was taken. We used a rubber roof membrane with white granular that is reflective to help reduce the heat in the building.

The granular surface also protects the material against ultraviolets. This will make the rubber roof last 25 – 40 years. Unlike in EPDM rubber where the material is black and have no protection.

This roof was just completed when a rain storm came over.
The best rubber roof is when the membrane is coated with black or white granules to protect against ultraviolets.
Commercial Flat Roof Repair and Installation – Stamford, Darien

Commercial Flat Roof Repair and Installation – Stamford, Darien

Commercial Flat Roof Repair – Hot Tar with Gravel Roofs

Commercial flat roof repair with the old Hot Tar and Gravel on it. These roofs have come a long way, but time has come where they are not repairable any longer. Over the years the hot tar becomes brittle and start to crack. The stone aggregate hides these cracks, so it is not easy to spot them.

The downfall of these roofs was:

  1. Difficult to find a leak among the stones
  2. They get brittle over the years and start to crack
  3. Repairing such a roof is almost a nightmare
  4. More expensive than a rubber roof to install
  5. Life expectancy is less than that of rubber roofs
  6. More costly to repair than rubber roofs

The following suggestions are equally good. It is how the flashing and other obstacles are on the roof that will determine what method will be followed.

There are two ways to deal with such a roof when it is time to replace it.

First Choice

  1. Rake the stone evenly and remove debris.
  2. Install 1/2″ fiberboard over the stone.
  3. Install a base paper.
  4. Install new metal edging
  5. Install a rubber membrane.

Second Choice (as the pictures show below)

  1. Remove the existing tar and gravel.
  2. Clean the roof and flashing.
  3. Install a base paper over the plywood.
  4. Install rubber membrane.

These videos show the process of removing an old asphalt roof and installing a Two Ply rubber roof

2nd Video – Installing Fiberboard and Base Sheet

3rd Video – Completion of Installing and repairing a commercial roof

Steps on Removing an Old Tar and Gravel roof to prepare for a new rubber roof

Step 1 – Removing the old tar and gravel

Tar and Gravel roof is removed to prepare for new rubber roof. The stone was to protect the roof from UV’s. It’s very labor intensive to break up an old roof. The weight of the aggregate adds to the cost of carting the roofing debris away.

Step 1 - Removing the old tar and gravel. Commercial Flat Roof Repair - After stripping the gravel roof, all the preparations need to be done to replace it with a rubber roof.

 

Step 2 – Breaking up the old roof

It takes a lot of energy to strip and remove an old gravel roof. Many dumpster loads are necessary removing the aggregate.

Labor intensive – all the people involved

A top view of stripping a roof. A lot of hands make light work but also costly.
It’s one of the time-consuming parts of the roof – drains and skylights and air conditioners. All of the flashings have to be cleaned and prepared

Step 2 - Breaking up the old roof. Commercial Flat roof repair - removing old roofing material takes a lot of effort. After lifting and breaking the old roofing up, it is thrown into a dumpster.
It took many people to strip this flat roof in Greenwich. Care must be taken not to ruin the flashing around the drains and skylights.

Step 3 – Commercial Flat Roof Repair and Replacing old drains

The drains on a roof affect the cost of redoing a roof. It is always a battle between replacing or reusing the existing drain.

Re-using a drain avoid the plumbing cost and the installation of a new drain. The problem sometimes is that the old cast iron drains have so much tar build up and some of them are cracked, meaning it will cost more to repair them than replacing them. Drains are the more expensive and time-consuming part of a roof installation on a commercial roof.

 

Using Torch heat to melt the old tar to make the necessary repairs to be able to use the old drains again.

Step 3 - Repairing or Replacing old roof drains Commercial Roof repair - All tar and old roofing material must be removed to be able to install the new rubber roof. Using Torches to clean drains
If everything else fails, just kick the drain. After melting the tar around the strainer, we were able to remove the strainer.

Commercial Flat roof – Drain Repair

As the images indicate, while preparing the roof, someone is repairing and preparing the drains for the new rubber roof installation.

The location of a drain is critical on a roof. Watch this video on Flat Roof Drains Location

It is really the biggest issue on a roof. For the installer and for the home owner. The roof surface is already clean and ready for a new rubber roof but the drains are still been worked on.

Step 4 – Roof Levels

Finally, the roof is stripped and cleaned. Some areas of the roof were lower than the drains. We installed 1/2″ fiberboard to build the roof up. Some places we had to build it up as much as three inches. Flat roofs are not completely level and can cause water ponding if caution is not taken.

It is important to check the roof levels before installation. It is common that the drains are not positioned correctly for water flow. This where the roof has to be built-up in areas to create a positive water drainage.

Step 4 - leveling the roof to cause positive water flow.

Step 5 – Removing and repairing Skylights

Since the levels of the roof were too low, we had to lift the skylights also about 3 inches.

After making sure the levels are right, we then fasten the fiber board with long screws and big washers to the plywood. It is best to use a laser leveler over long distances to get an accurate level. Once a rubber roof installation is complete, there is no turning back to make corrections.

Step 5 - Repairing skylights and repositioning them. Sometimes it is necessary to remove the skylights if the roof has to be raised in that area. The skylight is then reinstalled after the levels are good.

Step 6 – Fiberboard used to built-up levels

After making sure the levels are right, we then fasten the fiber board with long screws and big washers to the plywood. Sometimes as much as five layers of fiber board are stacked up on each other to get the right levels

Step 6 - Fiberboard used to built-up levels
To fasten the fiber board, special screws and washers are used. We have been installing rubber roofs over 25 years.

Step 7 – Flashing is the most important part of a roof

When repairing or preparing a commercial flat roof, flashing is the most important part of the roof. There is flashing against the siding, Air Conditioners, Drains, Vents, and other obstacles. It is important not to damage the flashing when removing the old roof.

The most important part of a roof is the flashing. Care must be taken not to damage it while stripping a roof.

Step 8 – Dumpster – having it close to the roof

It is important to spread a tarp over the grass and plants for protection against all the roofing debris. It also will help with cleaning up later.

We contract a company to provide a dumpster. The dumpster is placed on boards as not to damage the grass or paving surface. It is very important to have the right size dumpster for removing roofing debris. At all cost, the dumpster should be placed as close as possible to the roof so debris can be thrown into it from the roof.

When pitching roofing debris over the side of a roof, it is best to spread a tarp. It makes cleanup much easier. We are the flat roof experts.
Step 8 - Dumpster - having it close to the roof. Make sure you get a big enough dumpster to remove all the roofing debris. Always put boards down for the dumpster to stand on to protect the surface.

Step 9 – Preparing a Commercial Flat Roof

While roof technicians are installing the roof, some areas need preparing as in flashing around the air conditioners. Flashing on any commercial roof takes time to prepare or to install.

Step 9 - Preparing a Commercial Flat Roof - Flashing around a air conditioner is always very hard to clean. Care must be taken not to damage the flashing while cleaning the flat roof.

Step 10 – Copper flashing repaired and prepared for rubber roof

This is what the flashing around the air conditioner is supposed to look like when everything is cleaned. All roofing tar and old wood and debris are removed. Many times new flashing must be installed.

Step 10 - Copper flashing repaired and prepared for rubber roof - It is very important to remove all roofing debris and material; around flashing on a flat roof.

Step 11 – Installing Base Sheet

After installing the fiberboard and the levels are satisfactory, then it’s time to install a base sheet. This is a self-adhering peel and stick base layer. Very costly and is almost the same price as the rubber membrane itself. But this is the best system for any roof. This system will outlast any other roofing material as in EPDM or TPO.

Step 11 - Installing Base Sheet - After the fiberboard is installed, then a base sheet has to be installed. The peel and stick base sheet is the best for any roofing system.

The image shows what it looks like after installing a base sheet and before the installation of a Torch Rubber Roof. All the flashing is clean and ready, all the levels are good. The hard part is over, and the drains look new again.

The roof is ready to receive the final rubber roof. Notice that the base sheet is under the flashing. The best rubber roof system is to have a peel and stick base paper with Modified bitumen Torch down rubber installed.

Step 12 – Installing Rubber Membrane

Running the torch and melting rubber is much nicer than cleaning drains. Preparing and repairing a Commercial Roof for a rubber roof will determine what the final product ends up looking. The ultimate goal is to see an even smooth surface with as little as possible water pooling after rain.

 Step 12 - Installing Rubber Membrane - After all the flashing and base sheet is taken care of, it is time to install the rubber membrane. We used white granulated surfaced rubber material.
This is the best part of installing a flat roof. The hard work is over. All preparations are done. No other roofing system can be as good as this.

Step 13 – Torch Down Membrane – Welding the seams

Too much heat and the rubber gets destroyed, too little heat and the seams don’t get welded. You will notice that all our seams are clean. We work with a white granular rubber membrane. The granules are to protect the rubber membrane from the ultraviolets.

It takes time to develop the proper technique when it comes to using a torch. The daily temperature determines how much heat is necessary to weld seams together.

Step 13 - Torch Down Membrane - Welding the seams - A rubber membrane that is torch down have better seems than EPDM that is glued together. attaching the rubber roof to the flashing is very crucial.

Step 14 – Final Commercial Roof Repair and Installation

Over the years we have improved the installation technique. I believe we have a superior roof technique that will outlast any other roof system on the market.

Finally – this is what the roof looks like when it’s done. Another Commercial Flat Roof Repair and Installation well done!

Step 14 - Final Commercial Roof Repair and Installation - This is what the roof looks like when it’s done. The rolls are three feet wide and you will notice the seams. The seams are welded together with heat and will not leak.
Rubber Roof Installation

Rubber Roof Installation

Rubber Roof Installation

Three Types of Roofing Systems

Roofing contractors will do a rubber roof installation of their choice. There are three types of roofing systems most commonly installed. These are EPDM, TPO, and Modified Bitumen Torch Down membrane. TPO is a vinyl roofing membrane.

Here are some links to see more about EPDM and TPO

EPDM Rubber is the most famous rubber roof installation among roofing contractors

Of the three roofing systems, roofing contractors favor EPDM. This type of roofing system is relatively easy to install and requires little labor and skills. EPDM rubber is a very thin rubber and is of the same materials as that of an inner tube of a tire.

EPDM rubber roofing is aesthetically pleasing with its smooth and clean surface. It has a black surface and gets very hot during summer.

Just because this is the choice roofing system across the country doesn’t mean it’s the best. Watch videos of EPDM failures we have made.

EPDM Pros

  • Fewer seams that make it aesthetically pleasing
  • Skills – doesn’t take much to teach someone to install EPDM
  • Inexpensive tools to install – paint brush, rollers, and utility knives or scissors
  • Flexibility makes for easy installation
  • Most contractors provide a 15-year warranty

EPDM Cons

  • Adhesives used on seams fail due to extreme heat
  • Rubber fails before the warranty expires
  • Requires constant maintenance  within 3 – 5 years of installation
  • EPDM Rubber degrades and shrink causing seams and flashing to separate
  • The black surface absorbs harmful Ultraviolet rays and make the building heat up more than necessary

Watch the video to see how Ultraviolet rays have destroyed an EPDM rubber roof.

 

Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof Installation

Modified Bitumen was the most popular roofing system and seen on most buildings around the country. The skills involved for a Torch Down Rubber Roof Installation is more than that of an EPDM roofing system. A torch Down roof will always outlast and EPDM rubber roof.

The advantages of a Torch Down system out ways the disadvantages. As the name implies, the membrane is Torched Down to the substrate surface, and the seams welded together. Unlike EPDM using adhesives that fail due to Ultraviolet rays in a short period, the welded seams of the Modified Bitumen rubber are not affected by any weather conditions.

Torch Down Pros

  • The rugged, thick material can withstand heavy foot traffic
  • Installed over any surface with little preparation
  • Embedded ceramic granules protects it against UV
  • White ceramic surface will keep the roof cool
  • Warranties of up to 40 years available
  • Can be repaired by an inexperienced person with reg. tar
  • Seams are fused together and will not separate
  • Requires very little maintenance over its lifetime
  • Installing two Torch Down rubbers on top of each other have added benefits

Torch Down Cons

  • Not many roofing contractors will install torch down
  • Requires more skilled labor than EPDM rubber
  • Takes more time to install

Torch Down Rubber Roof Installation

The Torch Down Roofing System still outperforms all other roofing systems. They are much thicker and can handle much more foot traffic and abuse.

We have been in the Torch Down Rubber Roof Installation for over 25 years. Here are some images of our roofs we have installed over 20myears ago. They still look the same as when we did install them.

Torch Down Rubber roof Installation of over 20 years ago

Watch this video on the three roofing systems explained

This video explains why a Torch Down Rubber roof is far better than that of EPDM or TPO systems

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin)

TPO is a vinyl type of material, and a heat gun is used to fuse the seams together. The membrane is only the thickness of that of a quarter. TPO is glued down to the roofing deck.

At the installation of TPO, the calibration of the heat welding machine for the temperature and weather condition of the day is very important, because this will affect the weld as temperatures fluctuate during the day.

The problem with the heat welding process is that the roof technician can never be sure if the seams are being welded correctly or not.

Therefore he will take a sharp edge pick and test every seam to inspect the welds. This method does not ensure a proper seam and many times seams have popped loose because of this very issue.

TPO Roofing Advantages

  • Seams are welded rather than glued, thus making it harder to separate
  • The TPO manufacturer certifies contractors that in turn will honor the warranty
  • White surface of TPO reflects much of the Ultraviolet light, resulting in a cooler building
  • The manufacturer enforces high-quality workmanship

TPO Roofing Disadvantages

  • Quite a new roofing system with a lot of revisions since its inception
  • Ultraviolet rays cause shrinkage putting stress on seams and flashing
  • Temperature plays major part with installation and can affect the quality of the installation
  • Warranties are only 15- 20 years
  • Highly skilled roof technicians that that install TPO is required

An image of a TPO roof that was installed ten years ago with the construction of the when Marriot Hotel and the seams were already separating, and in some areas, the UV rays have damaged the roof.

We were called out to this roof in Rhode Island because it started to leak and it was only ten years old. A TPO vinyl roof is better than an EPDM Rubber roof but also have its flaws. A Torch Down Rubber Roof Installation will outperform all other roofing systems.

TPO Roof installed on Marriott Hotel Roof Rhode Island

There were 2 layers of TPO roofing membranes on this roof installed. Five years after installation we were called to find the leaks and make repairs

TPO-Roof-Seams separating
Flat Roof Installation – Residential flat roof Torch Down Rubber Roof

Flat Roof Installation – Residential flat roof Torch Down Rubber Roof

Flat Roof Installation over Garage. Commercial or Residential

Flat roof Installation over a garage roof. Whether it be a residential or commercial building, the materials we use are the same. The big problem with residential roofs is the posts, siding and vent flashing.

In the roof video, you will see a door sill that was a problem. When re-roofing, the common problem with residential roofs is the siding and the railing posts. Most of the time we have to make roof repairs around the posts and other objects before installing a new rubber roof.

In most cases if possible, it is better to remove the railing. That gives better access to the edge of the roof to install the drip edge.

Whether we do a small roof over a garage or a big commercial roof, all the materials and the techniques are the same.

Whether we do a small roof over a garage or a big commercial roof

The siding is also a factor. In most cases, we try to use the existing flashing that’s under the old existing roofing material. We remove the old material carefully to dig the flashing out. Then we prepare the flashing for the new rubber roof. The reason we like to do it that way is that it will take longer to remove the siding and replace it with new again.

The rubber membrane got installed after all the preparation on the roof.

Watch the video on how to treat post flashing. It is important to have counter flashing over a post. So many times we find that the roof is leaking due to improper flashing on the post.

Flat Roof Installation on a garage roof

This is what makes residential roofs harder to do than commercial roofs. The siding, flashing, and railings are always what will take up most of the time. Thye confined area is also making it harder to move once all the tools and materials and workers are on the roof.

Image - Flat Roof Installation - Erik the cameraman before he took the business

Post of the railings was not flashed

Notice that there is no counter flashing on the posts. This is very common to see that post and railings are installed without proper flashing.

Post Railings on a flat roof were not flashed properly

Copper flashing for a post on a flat roof – Counter flashing

This is what the copper flashing looks like when it is installed around a post. The next image I will insert the post to demonstrate how counter flashing is working

Copper flashing for a post on a flat roof

Copper flashing fits around post

This is the common mistake most people make when they install posts on a deck. They anchor the post to the roof and install copper flashing around it. This is where it ends.

The next image will show what counter flashing is

Copper flashing fits around post

Post sleeve installed over copper flashing

Counter flashing is when siding or a post sleeve covers the top edge of the copper flashing. Water can then not enter behind the flashing on the post.

Post sleeve installed over copper flashing

Post sleeve secured

After positioning the post sleeve and securing it, then a cap must be installed at the top of the post so water doesn’t leak in from there.

Post sleeve secured

Post Cap installed to secure the top

After the sleeve is installed, a post cap must cover the top to prevent water from coming in.

This is what counter flashing look like.

Post Cap installed to seal the top of the post
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