Flat Roof Repair- Different types of roofs have different life expectancies
Things to know before you call someone to repair your Flat Roof
There are many factors that should be considered in a flat roof repair
Before Repairing a Flat Roof
Flat Roof repair list of things to know.
- How old the roof is
- How much the repairs will cost
- What is the life expectancy of the roof
- What type of roofing materials is on the roof
- How much a replacement will be
- How many repair attempts has been done
Contrary to what most Roofing Contractors would want you to believe, the three commonly used roofing systems each has their own proven life expectancy. EPDM is the least and a 2 Ply Torch Down will outperform all the systems on the market.
Life expectancy with little maintenance of each roofing system
Torch Down Roof
What type of roofing system is on your roof?
There are three types of roofing systems commonly installed on flat roofs
Each roofing system has its own pros and cons and it’s important to know which one you have to make a wise decision whether you should repair or replace.
The rule of thumb is if you have an EPDM rubber roof, then you should be very careful about spending money on repairs. Most of the time, if one seam starts to cause a leak, all the others seams will follow.
If you have a Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roof, it is very likely that it can be repaired, depending on other factors. Most Torch Down roofs can be repaired.
TPO roofing systems depending on the age can be repaired but it is harder to make a wise decision.
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How old is your roof?
It is important to know the age of the roof. Every roofing system ages differently. One roofing system will last longer with little maintenance than another. EPDM rubber will show defects and leaks much sooner than that of Modified Bitumen Torch Down Membrane if both were equally well installed. In general, an EPDM rubber roof system will have seam failures from as soon as 3 – 5 years. The adhesives used to bond the seams fail prematurely. A plain Modified Bitumen Torch Down system, with no silver coating or ceramic surface to protect it from UV rays, will last 15 years.
In general, an EPDM rubber roof system will have seam failures from as soon as 3 – 5 years. The adhesives used to bond the seams fail prematurely. An EPDM Rubber roof is considered old at 8 years due to the adhesive failure.
A plain Modified Bitumen Torch Down system, with no silver coating or ceramic surface to protect it from UV rays, will last 15 years. If silver coating was applied and well maintained, it could last indefinitely. But id nothing was done to it, then 15 years is considered old.
What is the life expectancy of your roof?
Most manufacturers warrant their roofing materials for 12 – 15 years. This is not a very long time for any roofing system. EPDM Rubber roofing systems will fail prematurely due to the adhesives that are used bonding the seams. For the most part, if an EPDM roof is 10 – 12 years old, then there is not much life left.
A Modified Bitumen Torch Down System may still have a long life left even after 15 years if it was coated with silver paint or if it has ceramic coating embedded.
TPO systems start to show failure around 15 – 20 years of life. TPO material is white and reflects the sun better than that of EPDM. Both these materials will be affected by UV rays much sooner than that of Modified Bitumen membranes.
How much will the repairs cost?
The rule of thumb is, if the repairs of a roof are more than 20% of that of replacing the roof, then a replacement should be considered. There are many other factors that should be considered. I
In the case of EPDM, the decision should more heavily lean on its age rather than the cost of replacement. The reason is, if one seam starts to go, the rest will follow and the repairs will never stop.
In the case of Modified Bitumen Torch Down, with every repair, the roof increases its life expectancy. If repairs are done by adding another layer of Modified Bitumen membrane over the existing, fusing them together, will increase that area where the repairs are made life’s expectancy with more than 30 years.
How much will a roof replacement cost?
Every roofing contractor has its own ideas and opinions whether a roof should be replaced or not. For the most part, these opinions are biased and will always lean toward a roof replacement. That’s why estimates can vary between contractors up to 40%.
My best advice is. If you are considering to replace the roof, replace it with a 2 ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down system. If installed correctly, it will last beyond 40 years with little maintenance. Watch the videos where we have demonstrated how this works and why it’s the best roofing system.
Often times flashing causes leaks
It is often the case that the transition between flashing and a roofing membrane is what causes the leak. Roof technicians find it most difficult to bond a roofing membrane to metal flashing. For the most part, they will run the membrane up the wall a few inches to avoid connecting to the flashing. There are many drawbacks when this method is used.
Adhesives are used to glue EPDM rubber to metal but there is a 50 % chance to fail. With TPO, the manufacturer will prefabricate flashing with the TPO attached to the metal, making it easier for a roofing technician to attached the roofing membrane to it.
Modified Bitumen also has its challenges. Most roofing technicians will try and melt the membrane to the metal. This technique can work, but instead, we have developed a system where we use Modified Bitumen Adhesives to make the transition. Our system has been tested and proven for over 20 years.
When flashing has gone bad it means a roof replacement
This video shows a general idea about why flashing is almost the most important part of a roof. The leaks on this house were caused by flashing and siding problems. Water got behind the flashing and under the roof causing the plywood the get wet and rot. One important thing to know before making repairs on a flat roof is to know how much damage has occurred already. If the leak was contained in a small area, then the roof can still be repaired.