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Chimney and Flat Roof Leaks 

Most chimneys and parapet walls are covered with tar, as a repair, to prevent leaks. However, the tar dries, hardens, and cracks creating fine fissures that expand over time. Water will penetrate these cracks and seep under the roof’s membrane making it appear as though the roof is leaking. Over time the roof will be compromised due to these leaks.

While installing a roof on a Brownstone in Brooklyn, we made a video explaining our technique, to prevent any leaking, by covering the walls and chimney with a Modified Bitumen Rubber Membrane.

Leak Repairs: Modified Bitumen Torch Down – Brooklyn and New York

The best roofing material to use on a flat roof is a 2 Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof System. New York and surrounding boroughs have made the installation of new Torch Down roofs illegal, but it can be used to make repairs.

Flat Roof Chimney and Parapet Wall Repairs on a New York Brownstone

The image below shows an example of a chimney that has been covered with a Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Membrane, sealing it permanently. This technique should apply to all parapet walls and chimneys.

Flat Roofs and Architects

A roof is one of the most expensive components of a building. When architects design buildings, they specify the materials to be used on flat roofs and usually go with the roofing materials they are most familiar with. Most architects will specify EPDM or TPO membranes. An architect’s specifications carry a lot of weight. Therefore, most buildings have one or the other types of roof systems. Although specified, these roofing materials do not provide the best protection. When considering a roofing system, the cost of the material, its longevity, and its maintenance, all play a role in achieving the best, overall value.

Chimney Flat Roof Leaks - Brownstone Brooklyn and Manhattan chimney transition to flat roof

Brownstone Roofs in Brooklyn

Below is an image of a group of roofs in Brooklyn. Notice that they are all Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber roofs. The one in the foreground, where Erik stands, is the roof that we installed. We used a Torch Down rubber membrane that has embedded ceramic granules to provide protection from UV rays.

The second roof is also a torch down roof; however, it is a plain rubber membrane because it does not have embedded ceramic granules to protect it from UV rays. Instead, this membrane has a painted-on aluminum asphalt coating for protection that is reapplied every 3-5 years.

The 3rd roof from Erik is also an aluminum coated torch down rubber membrane. The 4th roof is black because it is an unprotected torch down membrane, which does not have ceramic granules or coating for UV protection.

Also, notice the chimney to the left of Erik. Both the chimney and parapet walls were smeared with tar. We not only recovered the roof, but we covered the parapet walls and chimney with the Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber, as well.

Brownstone Roofs in Brooklyn - Both the chimney and parapet walls were smeared with tar. We not only recovered the roof, but we also covered the parapet walls and chimney with the Modified Bitumen Torch Down rubber

We are preparing a chimney’s surface by scraping off old tar to cover it with a rubber membrane.

Flat Roof Chimneys and Flashing - This chimney had been continually smeared with tar but the leaking continued.

Sealing the entire chimney with a Modified Bitumen rubber membrane embedded with white ceramic granules for protection against harmful UV rays.

Flat Roof Chimneys and Flashing - Here we are scraping off the old tar and preparing the chimney to install a rubber membrane.
Chimney has been sealed with white ceramic granules embedded in the Modified Bitumen Rubber membrane.

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