Flat Roof Installation – What are the choices?

Flat Roof Installation – There are three popular roofing materials to choose from

Flat Roof Doctor has been installing flat roofs for the last thirty years.

There are many techniques in installing rubber roofs. Every roofer has there own ways and preferred roofing system they like to install. The question is how to make a roof last and never to leak. Easier said than done. After installing flat roofs and repairing them for over 30 years, we have developed a sound technique that can make a roof last 40 years or more.

What are the choices for roofing materials on flat roof installations?

Choosing the best roofing system is essential. There are mainly three different flat roof materials that roofing contractors use for a flat roof installation.

The three popular roofing materials are:

  • Modified Bitumen Torch down: This type of rubber membrane comes only in three feet wide rolls. When you see seams every three feet, then it is most likely a Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof.
  • TPO: (Thermoplastic polyolefin) a single-ply roofing membrane. TPO is a white plastic or PVC type of roofing membrane
  • EPDM: (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) This is the most common rubber membrane found on flat roofs. You can tell it buy the look and feel of it. It is smooth and looks like the rubber of an inner tube of a tire.

Every roofing contractor is biased and will sell up and sell down their choice of roofing material.

Most roofing contractors will push EPDM rubber as their choice for a roof. They argue that there are fewer seams on an EPDM Rubber roof and therefore will have a better chance not to leak. The other point is appearance. I agree it is pleasing to the eye. But little does the potential buyer know about the failing adhesives on all the seams in less than ten years that will render such a roof useless.

The reason why we don’t prefer EPDM Rubber Roofs is because of several issues. Watch the short videos on what we mean by EPDM rubber problems.

This video shows the weakness and problems of EPDM Rubber Roofs.

What problems can one expect from an EPDM Rubber roof?

Here is a list of issues on EPDM Rubber Roof Installations:

  1. The seams on an EPDM Rubber roof separate within ten years of installation, causing leaks.
  2. The glue that is used to keep the seams together will disintegrate over time by the heat of the sun, causing the roof to fail prematurely.
  3. The weather conditions are not always favorable to install EPDM Rubber Membranes. Humidity and temperatures play a role in the quality of the installation. A roofing company will install a roof regardless if the conditions are favorable for the material.
  4. The EPDM rubber does not have adequate ultraviolet protection, therefore will not last beyond 15 years without repair cost.
  5. Most of the time an EPDM roof will fail at the flashing. The adhesives used to adhere the rubber to metal has not stood the test of time. We repair many such roofs.
  6. Not all of the shelve repair products are compatible with EPDM Rubber.
  7. The EPDM Rubber will shrink more than 5% over a ten year period after installation.

Why we recommend Modified Bitumen Torch Down rubber as the best choice for flat roof installations:

  • An installed Two-Ply Torch Down Rubber Roof will outlast all other roofing systems.
  • Can almost install the membrane over any surface including a gravel roof.
  • The membrane comes with Ultraviolet protection in the form of minerals embedded in the material.
  • Torch Down Roofs installs almost in any temperature. 30˚F  to 120˚ F is perfectly ok to work with the material.
  • The seams are heat welded together. The material melts into each other and therefore can’t separate unlike that of EPDM.
  • Any person can make repairs in an emergency by using TAR. Modified Bitumen is compatible with any petroleum products.
  • Adhering it to metal flashing has a stronger and better bond than that of EPDM Rubbers.
  • There is less preparation needed to install a torch down roof.

Watch the video how we made a quick installation on a roof in Greenwich of a Modified Bitumen Membrane over a gravel roof. This is not possible to do with an EPDM or TPO roof.

This video shows the toughness and ease of installation of a Torch down Roof.

No matter who the roofing company is and the choice of roofing system, it’s the installation technique that will make or break a roof.

The choice of a roofing contractor for your next flat roof installation can be the difference of a long-lasting roof or a roof that requires a lot of maintenance over the years.

Watch this video on the Three Different Roofing materials explained and why we prefer a Two-Ply Torch Down Roof.

This video explains the three Top Roofing Materials used for flat roof installation.

Here are more articles of flat roofs and installation:

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