EPDM Seams and Flashings – What’s Changed?

EPDM has always been known as one of the most durable roofing products available. Its high UV resistance and ability to stand up to weather over time has made it a very popular flat roofing product, decade after decade. Its ability to resist ponding water on roofs has also made it very popular as a man-made pond liner, among its many uses. However, EPDM has always had one big weakness: seams and flashings. Alternative single-ply roof systems, like TPO and PVC, can be heat welded. If completed correctly by a knowledgeable crew, a heat weld is the strongest bond available. It essentially welds the flashings and seams together with the base PVC or TPO membrane. With EPDM, heat welding isn’t possible, so the seams are instead bonded together with adhesives. In the early days of EPDM, seams and flashings were only expected to last 10 to 15 years. The reason was the technology they had at the time, which was a product called splicing cement. On most early EPDM roof systems, the seams were glued together using this method. Some manufacturers used caulking products to hold off water penetrating the seams, which could help buy some time. However, after a period of time, the result would always be the same – open seams and flashings. The cure to this problem was an expensive one: re-do […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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: The best roof system depends on the building’s use and the available budget. Asphalt roofing has far better puncture resistance and an exceptional track record. However, it also has a far greater cost and is much more difficult to install. Typically, the best price to performance is a single-ply roof system, which is why single-ply is dominating the flat roofing industry. However, if your roof […]

When You Shouldn’t Choose PVC Roofing

When a top roofing solution may not be right for you At Chaffee Roofing we’ve installed and repaired just about every type of commercial roofing system, including PVC roofing. Every property has its unique needs, and sometimes those needs call for an excellent chemical resistant roofing material like PVC (we’re talking about you, restaurants!). However, there are some environmental conditions that are not ideal for PVC roofing, and when possible, you should consider avoiding it for your roofing solution. Remember, there is no perfect commercial roofing solution or a one-size-fits-all approach. Every building, business, and property manager has their own needs and circumstances that must be considered when selecting a new roofing system.  One of the distinct advantages a PVC membrane roof has over almost all the other low-slope materials is its higher resistance to chemicals like animal fats and grease, which are ever-present on the roofs of restaurants with large grease traps. PVC is also very durable and weather-resistant, which is beneficial in all regions but especially those areas that get a lot of rainfall. And, as we mentioned before, PVC roofing’s white reflective surface makes it an energy-efficient solution as well. However, there are some disadvantages you should consider when deciding if PVC is right for your building.  So when shouldn’t you use PVC roofing? PVC Roofing is Expensive and Difficult to Repair […]

The Fault With EPDM Roofing Seams

The Fault With EPDM Roofing Seams EPDM is a fine roofing material and one which many Chaffee Roofing clients use. A significant advantage of EPDM roofing is its durability and high UV resistance. However, many flat roof owners find fault with their EPDM roofing seams, particularly on older EPDM roof systems with glued seams once they begin to wear down. Extensive patching to EPDM roof systems can be expensive because the accessories are almost as expensive as the EPDM field membrane itself. The cause of most replacement EPDM projects? The seams and flashing details. The EPDM membrane itself may be fine but when the seams and flashings begin to go, customers are left with two options: extensive patchwork or total replacement. Why faulty seams? A professional roofer will install your EPDM roof to the highest standards. At Chaffee Roofing, we only use highly qualified roofing professionals, who are guaranteed to always do a quality installation using premium materials.The problem is that EPDM relies on adhesives to hold the seams and flashing details together. With TPO and PVC roof systems, the seams and flashings are heat welded, which means that the product becomes one sheet. With EPDM, heat welding is not possible, so primers and adhesives are used. So what is the downside? The adhesives break down and dry out over time. It is inevitable, and […]

Installing A Greener Commercial Roof For Your Business

Installing A Greener Commercial Roof For Your Business Installing a greener commercial roof for your business will save you money. Isn’t that nice to hear when you are considering your roofing options? The good news continues as the long-term savings can be substantial. Less heat loss, better heat reflection, and more control over running the AC will put more money in the company’s pocket over the years.At Chaffee Roofing we know the benefits of installing a greener commercial roof. Clients appreciate the quality of our work and make use of Chaffee Roofing’s many decades of experience. We use our knowledge of greener roof materials to determine which one will work best on your roofing project. This is why we believe TPO is the best commercial roofing material to enhance your green credentials. Let’s take a closer look behind our reasons. TPO is white and reflects the heat In our New England climate, you could be running the air conditioning from late spring to early fall. Energy use is a big enemy of the environment, and the HVAC is a significant expense in any company’s budget.TPO is available in white, which will reflect the heat. The less heat absorbed from the sun, the less you need to run the AC. This can be significant with a large commercial roof. Also, by reflecting the UV rays of […]