3 Preventive Care Steps to Take in Protecting Your Flat Roof

Flat roofs are very common on commercial and industrial roof systems due to their ability to maximize space inside a building. Despite their versatility and functionality, flat roofs are potential victims of bad weather, especially during the winter. A minor defect may not be problematic in good weather, but it could be catastrophic in bad weather. In many cases, flat roofs are out of sight, out of mind. As long as it doesn’t leak, many building owners and facilities managers won’t spend time or money on their flat roof. This allows minor problems, like clogged drains, loose rooftop panels and small surface scratches, to turn into major problems. As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. In the case of industrial flat roofing, this is especially true, as a small amount of money spent on maintenance can prevent a far larger repair cost, restoration cost, or even replacement cost. We advise that you observe the following preventive steps in protecting your flat roof: 1. Complete a general roof inspection. The first step of any maintenance program is completing a general walk around of the roof. Check for roof damage, such as slits, slices and openings. Look for loose rooftop doors / hatches and other areas that may create damage down the road. If something looks problematic, take care […]

Modified Bitumen (Mod-Bit) Roofing, Explained

Modified Bitumen (MB) roofing is an asphalt-based roofing system closely related to the Built-Up Roofing (BUR) design. This roofing material is suitable for buildings with low-scope or flat roofing. MB roofing originated in Europe in the mid-1960s and was adopted widely as a commercial roofing material across the US. Engineered MB roofing material is popular because it performs optimally in harsh conditions, including cold weather. Mod-bit roofing consolidates into typically three to five layers of roofing components, making it one of the most trusted and durable flat roofing systems. The elements making up the modified bitumen roofing system include: Insulation. This feature provides thermal resistance or the “R” value for temperature stability. It also provides a solid surface for the new roof system to be installed over.  Modified Base Sheets. Base sheets are critical foundations for flat roofs; cap sheets offer redundancy when other layers develop a support problem. This is the first ply installed. Modified Bitumen Mid Ply Sheets. These are factory-fabricated sheet membranes composed of co-polymers reinforced with fiberglass or polyester. These are typically installed on plys 2-4 Modified Cap Sheet. The top sheet that is typically installed with granules. This sheet provides weathering resistance or UV protection. This is the top ply installed, and what most people see what they look at a modified roof. What makes mod-bit roofing a suitable roofing […]

What You Need to Know About Flat Roof Designs

Flat roofs are among the most common and versatile types of roofs globally. While they are not the most glamorous and enchanting option, they have unique advantages. It’s important to note that flat roofs require special attention, care, and handling. Flat roofs differ from their contemporary counterparts in more than outward appearance. Costs, materials, and versatility benefits are distinct capabilities of flat roofs. So, if you’re a commercial building owner or a private real estate developer, you will most likely have to deal with flat roofs firsthand.Here’s what you need to know about flat roof designs: 1. Cost The cost of a flat roof system can vary dramatically. If you need to complete a full tear off, you also need to install code-compliant insulation, which can add dramatically to the cost. There are also big cost differences between the products available (TPO, EPDM, PVC) and how they are installed (Fastened, adhered, etc). Make sure you do your homework and know what you are getting before approving a proposal. 2. Maintenance On a flat roof system, maintenance is very important. Clogged roof drains and minor defects can create big problems down the road. It is very important to walk your roof at least once a year, clearing vegetation and checking for defects. An annual maintenance program can go a long way in making sure your roof […]

History of Asbestos in Flat Roofing

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous silicate substance. Scientists discovered asbestos material in debris dating back to the Stone Age Period, around 700,000 years ago. Asbestos’ hair-like fibers were being used as wicks in lamps and candles dating back to 4000 BC. Between 2000-3000 BC, emboldened Pharaoh’s bodies were covered with asbestos cloth to prevent deterioration. In Finland, clay pots dating back to 2000 BC had asbestos fiber believed to have made the pots durable and fire-resistant. Asbestos was adopted as a choice roofing material at the start of the 19th century. However, it is believed that scientists began experimenting by adding asbestos to asphalt and cement in the late 1700s. With a growing adoption by people and businesses, asbestos cement rose to popularity during World War II to design inexpensive, durable military housing. A variety of developments leading to the industrial revolution led to the asbestos imitation of more expensive materials such as shingles, stone, and wood sliding. This transformation catapulted asbestos as an alternative renovation material in the building industry and semi-skilled professions like plumbing and roofing. Adoption of Asbestos in Flat Roofing Early roofing materials had many issues related to durability, safety, and availability. Wood shakes were highly flammable, posing a safety threat to home and business owners. And so were the bare asphalt shingles. Concrete tile roofing materials were cumbersome and […]

Bonding Adhesive and Its Smell

When roofing contractors use bonding adhesives on a commercial building with a flat or low-sloped roof, you can usually smell it as soon as the can opens! To adhere materials to a roof, like EPDM membranes, synthetic rubber, tar paper, insulation boards, felt, and various other materials, roofing contractors use a variety of different adhesives. However, many standard roof bonding adhesive methods require cold application methods. Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t the heat-applied adhesives that smell the most. it’s the cold-applied adhesives. These cold application methods are usually brushed, rolled, or sprayed onto the roof.  Oftentimes these products let out a foul odor, which lasts until the product has dried and set. The unpleasant smells caused by the application of roofing bonding adhesive can lower the indoor air quality of every building in the vicinity. Roof bonding adhesive fumes can be so concentrated that they linger in the air for a long time. This is especially true on buildings where rooftop units are pulling air into the building from the roof. Odors and foul smells can disrupt the building’s occupants. So, how can the vapors, fumes, and unpleasant smells generated by roof bonding adhesives be mitigated? Here are three tips. Related: 4 Reasons To Avoid Built-Up Roof Systems Planning and Logistics Roofing contractors can work early morning or off-hours to maintain indoor air quality […]

4 Reasons to Avoid Built-Up Roof Systems

A built-up roof system, also known as BURS, is a multi-tiered roofing system for flat roofs. Built-up roof systems provide roof protection against the elements with multiple layers of protective systems. A built-up roof system is also known as a tar and gravel roof. The number of layers in the system will depend on the owner’s preferences and usage of the building. Typically, it is installed in 3-5 layers. The more layers, or plies, the stronger the BUR system and the longer it will last. The first layer of a built-up roof system is typically a base felt paper. This prevents the BUR system from being adhered directly to the structural decking, making removal down the road difficult to impossible. Then, alternating layers of asphalt/tar are applied between additional layers of felt paper. Install felt sheet, mop on a layer of asphalt, repeat. The top layer of a built-up roof system usually consists of gravel. In a built-up roof system, gravel acts as UV protection, which will prevent the asphalt roof system from cracking and breaking apart over time. In some cases, coatings are applied instead of P-stone. This serves the same purpose, UV protection. However, in some cases, they also serve as a heat-reflective top layer that reflects sunlight and heat away from a building to help keep it cool and lower energy bills. […]

Low VOC Products in Flat Roofing

Low VOC products have near-zero levels of Volatile Organic Compounds. You will find VOC products in the coatings and adhesives used during the installation or repair of flat roofs. A VOC keeps the compound pliable for longer, which is useful when installing a flat roof on a large building.  Advances in research and technology have brought many low VOC products to the marketplace. Research shows they work as well as the traditional high VOC products. The gasses emitted from VOC products can cause illness. Smells or odors may enter the building when completing repairs or installation—a major inconvenience.  At Chaffee Roofing, we offer low VOC alternatives for working on your flat roof. The use of low VOC products complies with government regulations and is better for the environment.  Some of the low VOC products used in flat roofing are: A silicone coating for waterproofing the flat roof Low VOC primers and adhesives that do the work Elastomeric coatings for all-round protection Let’s take a closer look at each point. A silicone coating for waterproofing the flat roof Water damage can be a big problem with flat roofs. You can take precautions, though, and waterproofing is the first line of defense. A silicone roof coating is applied by using a brush, spray, or roller. It goes on smoothly and is low in VOC, making silicone coating […]

Benefits of HD Insulation

On many of our quotes and proposals for a new roof system, an option is presented for ½” HD insulation. Oftentimes, the additional cost may be similar to upgrading to a thicker membrane or even upgrading to more insulation. So what is HD insulation, and is it worth the additional cost? HD insulation is a stronger version of standard polyisocyanurate insulation, which is the most common type of insulation installed on flat roof systems. The difference is that standard polyisocyanurate insulation is 20 PSI, and HD polyisocyanurate insulation is 80 PSI to 120 PSI, depending on the type and manufacturer used. So, it is somewhere between 4 to 6 times stronger than standard insulation. So why does the strength of the insulation, which is under the roof membrane, matter? It provides a stronger surface for the new roof system to be installed over, which helps reduce punctures and support the membrane overall. The best way to visualize this is to think of a piece of paper. If you try to write on it on a soft surface, or even no surface, the pen will go right through the paper. If you write on a solid surface, like a wooden desk, the paper doesn’t puncture. With HD insulation, it’s a similar concept. It’s harder to puncture or damage the roofing membrane if the underlying insulation has […]

Membrane Formula Changes – New and Improved or 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 […]