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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

5 Reasons You Should Install EPDM Roofing

EDPM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer (M-class) rubber. For those of you who are not heavily into chemistry, EDPM is used to make water hoses for gardens, pond liners, window seals, solar panels, and, yes, roofs. And America likes EDPM single-ply roofing – 1-billion square feet of EPDM roofing is installed every year in our country, which translates to a whopping 35% of our roofing market. So, why is EDPM so strikingly popular in America? Here are five reasons why: EPDM Roofing – also known as rubber roofing – is less expensive that other flat roofing According to this popular online roofing calculator, the average rubber roof will cost 4 to 6 dollars per square foot: Polyvinyl chloride or PVC roofing and thermoplastic polyolefin or TPO is estimated to cost between $5.50 and $7.50 per square foot. Chaffee Roofing offers an expert cost estimation service. Rubber roofs resist damaging UV rays The warm rays of the sun make our lakes sparkle, our purple lilacs flourish, and dry up muddy lands in spring, but our roofs do not benefit from ultraviolet (UV) rays beating down on them. Why? UV rays change the chemical structure of materials, like asphalt, which can result in a roof’s surface cracking, shrinking, and becoming brittle. Rubber roofs resist UV rays – EDPM is often used on recreational vehicles (RVs) for […]

Comparison of Roofing Membranes

There are many choices to make when you are looking to replace your commercial roof. Due to the number and complexity of options facilities managers often leave this decision to their roofing contractor. Other times, architects will decide. But arming yourself with this knowledge will give you the opportunity to ask pertinent questions. Flat roof systems are long term capital investments that will protect your building for decades to come. Making sure you’re getting the most out of your hard-earned dollars is just a sensible thing to do. Bear in mind that the best product in the world will still fail if improperly installed. Success is almost always a collaboration of (1) a quality product installed by a (2) quality commercial roofing contractor. If you remove one part from that equation it is generally unreasonable to expect that you will get the best results. Remove both from the equation? Well, I’m sure you can do the math. The following are some points for comparison in commercial roofing products: Breaking Strength A majority of TPO roofing systems that are installed are mechanically fastened to the roof deck. Breaking strength is a critical measurement of a sheet’s strength if the membrane is ever subjected to extreme forces, such as excessive wind, against the fasteners that hold it in place. The ASTM breaking strength test consists of a […]