Heating versus Cooling Your Roof: Which is Better in New England?

Heating versus cooling a flat roof in New England has always been a hotly contested debate. I have been to countless seminars on this subject, and have heard the following arguments: In New England, we are heating our buildings more often than cooling them. On the average building in New England, it’s undeniable that we are heating our buildings more often than cooling them. Air conditioning typically runs consistently from June to August (3 months). On the other hand, heating typically runs consistently from October to April (7 months). As a result, the argument is that we are better off installing a black roof system that heats the roof than a white roof system that cools the roof. The heating benefit lasts for 7 months compared to the cooling benefit, which lasts for only 3 months. The strongest argument that I have heard against this theory is that during the winter, once the snow falls, the roof is white regardless. The black membrane may help melt a small amount of snow, but much like your driveway, once snow builds up, you have a snowy white surface instead of a black surface. This doesn’t happen during the summer, so the cooling benefit is there during the entire season. Rooftop equipment benefits from a cooler surface. During the hottest points of the summer, a black roof system […]

Flat Asphalt Roofing – Proven or Outdated?

Flat asphalt roofing has been installed since the 1840s. That is far longer than any single-ply roof system, most of which have been installed since the 1970s. The golden rule of asphalt roofing is that more is better. A 5 ply (or 5 layer) built-up or modified bitumen roof system, which may be ½” thick, will last far longer than any 2 ply (or 2 layers) built-up or modified system, which may be ¼” thick. In comparison, single ply systems are significantly thinner, typically between 45 millimeters (mills) (3/64 of an inch) to 80 mills (5/64 of an inch). Yet both roof systems have a similar life expectancy. Single-ply has taken over the flat roofing industry over the years. Between the big 3 single-ply products, EPDM, TPO and PVC roofing, single-ply is installed on 86% of roofs throughout the United States.  Asphalt, on the other hand, is installed on 14% of roofs. Some of the reasons for this shift include: Cost: As a rule of thumb, asphalt roof systems are far more expensive than single-ply roof systems. This is mostly due to the labor involved to install an asphalt roof system. Installing 3-5 plys, or layers, of asphalt roofing, takes far longer than installing 1 ply or layer of a single-ply roof system. Warranty:  Typically, most single-ply roofing manufacturers offer a longer and more competitive […]

How Weather Affects The Lifespan Of Asphalt Roofing

Wind, rain, UV rays, and cold weather will all cause problems to an asphalt roof. However, you can take steps to protect an asphalt roof against the effects of weathering. Understanding how your local climate can do damage is key to getting a long lifespan from the asphalt. Asphalt is an excellent roofing material but it does need care. Maintenance, of course, is vital for the long life of every roof, regardless of weather conditions. Let’s take a closer look at how the weather can affect your asphalt roof. Exposure to UV radiation UV radiation damages the structure of the asphalt. The rays penetrate deep into the shingles and alter the chemical make-up of the tiles. As the bonds within the structure break, the granules fall off the shingles. The asphalt roofing loses its protective coating and will begin to deteriorate. You should reconsider the use of asphalt on a southern-facing roof. If you decide to use asphalt, make sure you use a known brand like CertainTeed or GAF. If the sun exposure is excessive, consider one of the upgraded products such as the CertainTeed Landmark Pro or the GAF Timberline HDZ shingles. They are thicker than standard shingles and use better granules, which will hold up much better. Roof A: Southern Facing Asphalt Shingle Roof System – 2014The roof appears to be in acceptable […]

The Harsh Effects Of UV Light On Asphalt Roofs

Asphalt shingles look great, are very durable, and come in a variety of colors. They are excellent on sloped roofs, which is why they are by far the most popular residential roof system. However, UV light has a harsh effect on asphalt roofs. That is why almost all shingle roof systems are installed with granules, which is what gives shingles their color. Most flat modified bitumen roof systems are installed with granules as well. At Chaffee Roofing, we get a lot of clients looking for solutions to UV light damage, particularly on older asphalt roofs where the granules are either missing or were not part of the original roof system.  What exactly are the harsh effects of UV light on asphalt roofs? To help our clients understand and care for an asphalt roof, we put this post together. Here comes the science bit UV radiation comes from exposure to the sun. At least part of your roof, if not all, will feel the effects of sunlight during the day. The longer the day and warmer the climate, the more time the UV light will have to do its work. UV light will change the chemical makeup of the compounds in the asphalt shingle.  This happens deep in the shingle. The protective coating on the shingle will deteriorate when the hydrocarbons come into contact with the […]

When You Shouldn’t Choose PVC Roofing

At Chaffee Roofing we know a lot of clients with PVC roofing.  Depending on what your unique requirements are, PVC can be a great choice. However, many times, alternative products like TPO are a better solution for a lower cost. Recently we received a call from a potential client looking to install a new roof. The client was deciding between PVC or TPO roofing. When deciding between the two, it can be a difficult choice since both are white, heat welded products. “When shouldn’t I choose PVC roofing?” he asked. For some roofs PVC is a good option, where on others an alternative would be the better option. We got to thinking, and to help any client looking for answers, we put together a few pointers. It is not easy to repair PVC PVC formulations differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. This means that some PVC membranes are not compatible with other PVC membranes,  and therefore will not weld together. In some cases, if a manufacturer goes out of business or makes significant formula changes, the membrane you install today may not be available down the road.  Also, unlike TPO and EPDM, PVC is not compatible with a lot of peel and stick or self adhered patching products. As a result, a white EPDM or TPO self adhered patch will typically not adhere properly to a […]

Understanding The Biggest Weakness Of PVC Roofing

  Last week, a customer of ours with a large commercial building gave us a call. Their roof was nearing the end of its working life, and like most of our clients, they were calling for advice on installing a new roof. The most durable roof lasts at least 20 years, and must keep the building warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Our client is thinking of PVC and  would like to know of any weaknesses in the roofing material. We got to thinking about PVC and the biggest weakness of using it for your roof. Shrinking over time For many of our clients, this is the biggest weakness of PVC.  Unfortunately, almost every PVC roof will shrink over time. The seams pull away from the walls and flashing details. Once the membrane splits open, leaks will occur through the gaps and damage the structure below. Repairing can be difficult and is often not very successful. Shattering during cold weather If you live in a cold-weather district, this can be the biggest weakness of PVC roofing. We are not talking about the occasional snowfall, but rather long days  with very low temperatures.  When the weather reaches low temperatures, the PVC will shatter. Think about dropping a pane of glass and how that looks; it can be the same with PVC. The cracks […]

Variety Of TPO Manufacturers Leads To Varying Results

Thermoplastic-polyolefin, otherwise known as TPO, is an excellent roofing material. There are a lot of manufacturers bringing TPO to the market, but few supply the top quality. At Chaffee Roofing, we are all too aware of the differences in quality TPO available. By having only the best suppliers, we guarantee that our customers get superior materials.  We also visit a lot of TPO manufacturers to keep up-to-date with changes in the product. Recently, we looked at samples of TPO, to see where the differences lie. What problems come from poor quality TPO We love TPO and use it daily, knowing that our customers are getting a quality roofing product.  Poor quality TPO can lead to such problems as seam failures, where the seams lift or split where they meet. Another issue we see is the TPO cracking under pressure from hot or icy conditions.  Similarly, poor quality TPO can look “chalky,” which is when the top layer of TPO basically breaks down and starts to wash away. Less reputable manufacturers may bring out a new version of TPO without testing it thoroughly. In these cases, you as the customer could be the guinea pig. In contrast, quality, well-made TPO tends to be pretty consistent. While small changes may be made here and there, the product itself remains pretty consistent. Different formulas lead to varying qualities […]

How Drainage Affects The Lifespan Of PVC Roofing Membranes

PVC is excellent for flat roofs. It has strong seams, is very chemical resistant and the light colors help keep your building cool. One critical element for a PVC roof is drainage.  Drainage increases the lifespan of PVC roofing membranes. Rainwater is the enemy. It lodges on uneven surfaces, puts pressure on the structure below and wears down the membrane prematurely. Freezing water will also do a lot of damage during a cold winter. At Chaffee Roofing, we get plenty of inquiries about PVC roofing. Clients want to increase the lifespan of their PVC roof and how to go about it. ‘How’s your drainage?’ is one of our first questions. Let’s take a closer look at drainage and how it affects the lifespan of PVC roofing membranes. The problem of bad drainage When water lodges on a PVC roof, problems begin. You need to get rain in addition to melting snow and ice off a PVC roof. The alternative is only bad news. Inadequate drainage puts pressure on seams and the structure below. Surface water freezes during the colder months and PVC cracks and shatters in such conditions, drastically reducing the lifespan of the roof. At Chaffee Roofing our qualified and very experienced team plan your PVC project from start to finish, with drainage being a top priority. We will work with you, getting the installation […]

How Easily Do EPDM Roofs Puncture?

Chaffee Roofing clients know all about the durability of EPDM, the cost of the product, and how easy is it to install. A common query from our clients is how easily do EPDM roofs puncture? It must be in the top 5 questions customers ask us about EPDM roofs. Our answer is a simple one EPDM, like any single-ply product, is prone to punctures from direct impact. Stabs from a screwdriver or sharp object will make a hole in the membrane. However, EPDM is very durable for regular foot traffic, roof maintenance, rooftop unit maintenance, etc. In fact, some manufacturers are starting to offer puncture resistant warranties on some EPDM roof systems!  As the question comes up a lot, we have compiled our thoughts on EPDM and punctures into a blog post. Let’s take a closer look at EPDM and how to solve the problem of punctures. How can you puncture EPDM? EPDM roofs are also known as rubber roofs. Rubber can puncture, as anyone who rides a bike or drives an automobile will know. Once you know the dangers, then you can avoid them. Falling branches during a storm can spear the EPDM causing a lot of damage. Workers on the roof can drop a sharp tool, such as a screwdriver, through the EPDM roof or even puncture it by wearing the wrong footwear. […]

PVC Versus TPO – What is the Difference?

PVC Versus TPO TPO and PVC have a lot in common. Both are heat weldable roof systems that are typically white in color and have been around for a while. Their specifications are also similar and both roof systems come with warranties varying from 15 – 30 years in length. In addition, most manufacturers can make TPO and PVC in a variety of colors, sometimes even custom colors. So what’s the difference? Polyvinyl Chloride, PVC, is known for being one of the original single-ply roof systems and is typically a rigid product. It was first introduced to the United States in the 1970s and initially had a bad track record. Think of a PVC pipe or PVC trim on a house: that is PVC in its natural state. However, in order to make PVC flexible, plasticizers are added to the membrane. Problems can occur from the addition of these plasticizers when they leach out of the membrane in a process called “plasticizer migration.” This causes the PVC membrane to shrink, shatter and crack over time. In fact, some of the first generation PVC roof systems, which were not reinforced, would completely shatter like glass.  Today, modern PVC roof systems manufactured by reputable companies have greatly reduced the problem of plasticizer migration. In many cases, this problem has been reduced from entire roofs failing to just […]