How The Loss Of Plasticizer Chemicals Affects Your Roof

Plasticizer chemicals are added to PVC roofing during manufacturing. PVC is a rigid roofing material, and without plasticizers, it would not be flexible. Unfortunately, over time, plasticizers can leak from the PVC roof.  Weathering, lack of maintenance, and low-quality materials are the usual suspects of plasticizer leakage.  In our previous post, we dealt with spotting the signs of plasticizer migration. Now we will deal with the loss of plasticizers and how it can affect your roof. We see many roofs suffering from the after-effects of losing the plasticizers, which keep it flexible.  Let’s take a closer look at how the loss of plasticizers affects your roof. Contraction causes the roof to lift at the edges Once the plasticizers start to leak from the PVC, you will see some very telltale signs of damage.  The material will contract and lift throughout the roof system. Any areas where there is a transition from vertical to horizontal, such as perimeter walls and rooftop units, pulling away from the wall will likely occur. This will also occur along the edge of the roof system, where the edge metal can pull back. If not fixed immediately, the roof will deteriorate very quickly. Shattering is a major issue Shattering is what you do not want to happen to your roof.  The roof material will lose its structure as the plasticizers leak […]

Membrane Formula Change – New and Improved, Inconsistent and Unproven

In the world we live in today, we want everything we buy to be the latest and greatest. Whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, car, appliance, or even a kid’s toy, the newest products are what everyone wants and talks about. Even a model of just about any product above a year or two old can be sold for steep discounts in favor of clearing space for upcoming models. However, with most construction products, especially flat commercial roofing products, the opposite is typically true. Why? Probably the biggest reason, in my opinion, is that unlike most consumer items, construction products are something that you will likely live with for decades. Even something as major as a car is typically replaced every 5 to 10 years. Compare that to a flat roof system, which is typically warranted from 15 to 30 years. As a result, product failure or shortcoming is something that you may have to live with for a long time, especially if it isn’t backed up by a strong warranty. This means that for many people who are experienced in construction, they don’t want to be the guinea pig with something that will last such a long time and comes with such a high price tag. Another reason that consistency prevails in the construction industry is that oftentimes, manufacturers will release a new product to […]

PVC Plasticizer Migration

PVC roof systems are often promoted as one of the best roof systems available. They have excellent UV resistance, hold up well against greases and oils, and have heat-welded seams. However, PVC also has a problem with cracking, shattering, and shrinking over time. This is a result of one major problem with PVC roof systems, which is plasticizer migration. Plasticizer migration occurs as a result of the PVC membrane formulation. Most PVC products, like PVC pipe, PVC trim, and PVC decking, are solid, rigid products. In order to make PVC a flexible membrane sheet, the formulation needs to be altered. As a result, plasticizers are injected into the formula so that the membrane is flexible, making it able to be installed similar to other single-ply roof systems. The problem is that with some PVC formulations, the plasticizer injected into the formula isn’t compatible. As a result, the plasticizer tries to separate from the PVC sheet, which causes the shrinking, shattering, and cracking that older PVC roof systems are known for. In some manufacturer’s older PVC roof systems, the membrane was not reinforced. As a result, the entire roof system would shatter like glass, creating a total roof system failure in seconds. Today, almost all PVC membranes are installed with a reinforcing fabric. As a result, the shattering is typically contained to smaller areas of the […]

What Parts of a Flat Roof Can Be Recycled?

When possible, we try to look into recycling components of a roof system. Not only does it help us reduce the amount of debris going into a landfill, but, in some rare cases, it can also provide cost savings. It all depends on what type of roof system and insulation you are removing. Roof Projects to Consider: As a general rule, it is hard to recycle components that are under an asphalt roof system, like modified bitumen or built up. The reason being that removal of these roof systems is not a delicate process. Cutters, ripping spades, axes, etc. are used to break apart the roof system, and the underlying insulation is typically damaged also.  Fully adhered roofs can also prove challenging since the face of the insulation is typically damaged while the membrane is being removed. This causes the insulation to sustain damage, and the membrane has parts of the insulation adhered to it, making it non-recyclable. Mechanically attached roofs can be good candidates, depending on how they are installed. In some cases, we can completely remove the fasteners and take apart the roof system, making all components reusable. In other cases, we can leave the membrane fasteners in place, and recycle everything around it.  Ballasted roofs tend to be the best candidates for recycling. Once the ballast stone is removed, the underlying roof […]

Common Signs Of Plasticizer Migration

If you have a PVC roof system, you need to know the common signs of plasticizer migration.   A plasticizer is added to PVC during manufacturing to make the polymer flexible. Without the plasticizer, the PVC would be a solid material and impossible to work into place. When the plasticizer leaks from a PVC roof, it will cause cracks, splits, and welded sections to break apart. Combining plasticizer migration with foul weather means disaster for your roof. Early spotting of the common signs of plasticizer migration helps protect your roof. Let’s take a look at some of the telltale indicators. Lifting at the edges is a bad sign Take a look at your PVC roof.  If you can see the roofing material lifting in places, especially at the edges, then you have a problem. The plasticizer, which makes PVC a flexible membrane, will react with residue from an older installation, causing it to leak. The migration weakens the bond causing it to crack or split and causes the PVC to lift around the edges. Regular inspections will help you spot this problem before it causes trouble. Check for brittleness Brittleness is another offshoot of plasticizer migration, which causes significant damage. When the plasticizer leaks from the PVC, the material becomes brittle in places. Get up on your roof, or call your roofing contractor, and inspect for […]

Why So Much Insulation?

It seems like with each year that goes by, more and more insulation is required by building code when a full tear-off is completed. In 2010, 3.3” insulation was required to reach “R” 20. Then, 3.5” insulation was required to reach “R” 20. As of 1-1-2020, building code requires either 4.4” insulation to reach “R” 25 or 5.2” insulation to reach “R” 30 depending on where you live. This increase has been the result of two major changes. First, energy codes are getting more stringent as everyone is trying to make more energy-efficient buildings. In New England, we are cooling during the summer, and heating during the winter. This results in a lot of energy going through our buildings each season, which is why more insulation can help create heating and cooling savings over the long run.  A lot of calculators exist to show you how much you can save by adding more insulation. However, in my opinion, a lot of these calculators are inaccurate because it is impossible to predict the future cost of heating and cooling your building, especially when you are expecting to look 20 to 30 years down the road! Another factor at play is the “R” value per inch of insulation. In 2014, 1” of polyisocyanurate insulation, or “Iso,” totaled an “R” value of 6. Since then, “R” values on […]

Roof Proposals – What to Keep an Eye Out For

Making sense of roofing proposals from different contractors offering varying solutions can be very daunting. Just understanding the myriad of solutions can be difficult enough without adding in products, terminology, etc. What makes it extraordinarily difficult, in my opinion, is when proposals are vague. In flat commercial roofing, there are a few key points to keep an eye out for in a quality proposal. They are: Tear Off or Go Over: If there are two or more roofs, or if the underlying insulation is wet, a tear off is generally required. If one roof is in place and only a few areas are wet, then the wet areas can be replaced on a limited basis. However, in flat commercial roofing, there is a big cost difference between removing the existing roof system and going over it. Therefore, it is very important to know what solution your contractor is proposing. Insulation Thickness and “R” value: Typically, in a go-over application, a minimum of 1” polyisocyanurate insulation or ½” HD polyisocyanurate insulation is used as a separation between the old roof system and the new roof system. However, if a full tear off is being completed, building code typically requires that the insulation be brought back to code. In 2020, this could mean installing 4.5” to 5.2” of insulation, depending on what building code calls for in […]

The Many Benefits Of PVC Roofing Membranes

PVC roofing has many benefits. At Chaffee Roofing, we supply commercial clients with roofs of all shapes and sizes. We know the difficulties clients face with flat roofs, but more importantly, we know the solutions. Our experience comes from more than 100 years in business.   PVC roofing membrane is a single-ply membrane ideal for many flat roofs. We only supply the best products and recommend PVC to many of our clients. Let’s take a look at the many benefits of PVC roofing. PVC shows excellent durability When investing in a new roof, you want to get value for your money. The durability of PVC repays your investment over the long years of its working life. The heat-welded seams create a robust roofing membrane. Such seams do not split under pressure from high winds, or even in hurricane conditions. Durability is a critical reason why so many people choose PVC roofing membranes. PVC membrane saves on utility bills Any investment which can save you on utility bills has to be a benefit to your company. The high solar reflective quality of PVC will keep your building cool during the hot months of the year. The sun’s rays will bounce off the roof, and you will not need to run the AC as much.  In the wintertime, PVC will help insulate the building, keeping the heat in […]

Roofing Materials Compared For Lifespan And Durability

Lifespan and durability are not the same for all roofing materials.  Without getting service from a roofing material, what is the point of your investment? When looking for a replacement roof, or choosing a new one, take time to investigate these two qualities. The short time spent looking at your alternatives may save you a lot of money in the future. There are many roofing materials available, so making the right choice may not be easy. When you know what you are looking for, then the decision becomes a simple one. To help make that decision take a look at your alternatives. TPO is one choice TPO has proven to be good on flat roofs. It is easy to apply and a cheaper alternative to other roofing materials. The lifespan of TPO is around 20 to 30 years, depending on the thickness of the membrane and how it is installed. A significant factor in the life of TPO is the quality of the material, which can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Always insist on top-quality TPO from a reputable manufacturer like Carlisle, Firestone, or GAF. Additionally, spend the extra money on the thicker 60 mil or even 80 mil TPO. The extra thickness will add years to the lifespan of the roof. TPO is durable and does not corrode. TPO is typically heat welded where […]

TPO versus EPDM: which system is better?

One of the most common questions we get is: Which roof system is better, black “Rubber” EPDM or white “Thermoplastic” TPO? Both are similar in price, both come with 15-30 year warranties, both are made by reputable manufacturers, and both are widely installed throughout New England.  So that begs the question, is one roofing material actually better than the other? Key Differences In my view, neither roof system is definitively better than the other. However, they do have key differences that may have an impact depending on your building. These differences include: Our approach at Chaffee Roofing is to evaluate each building’s unique needs and requirements before recommending a roof system. In a restaurant, for example, TPO is typically the better option due to grease and oil output. On a manufacturing plant that operates at a higher temperature than typical inside the building, EPDM would be a better option. On a strip mall, with multiple different tenants, it’s a toss-up based on current and future use. In our view, neither system is definitively better than the other, it’s more about how your building is used and which roof system is a better match based on the building’s needs. Call Us Your roofing project is only as good as the installing company and the product they use. On TPO roof systems, this is especially important since […]