Rory's Blog

Flat Roofs: To roof or to repair; that is the question!

To answer this question other questions must be asked.What is the roofing material? Overall is it in good shape? Is the roof sloped and draining properly?

Let’s start with is the roof sloped and draining? If the answer is no then I would recommend tearing the existing roof off and reroof it using a taper system that will create good drainage. I don’t care how good your roof is, standing water is never a good idea. If the answer is yes then we must move to the next questions.

What is the roofing material and what kind of shape is it in?

EPDM, TPO and PVC are common types of single ply membrane roof systems. If they are overall in good shape minor repairs may be made and then the entire roof might be coated with an elastomeric roof coating such as Tropical roof coatings In many cases proper coating of the roof can add 10 years to the life of a roof and eliminate the need to tear off the existing material and add it to our landfills as well as reduce the cost significantly making this a win win in the proper situation.

BUR or Built Up Roofing this is a system of alternating layers of bitumen and reinforcing felts. These sometimes have a cap sheet and sometimes have a coating such as an emulsion or an aluminum coating to protect from UV damage. In many cases as long as the roof is draining properly an emulsion and fabric restoration system can be applied over the existing roof even in cases of heavy “aligatoring” (cracks in the top coating). When applied properly and coated with a UV resistant coating you may get up to another 10 year warranty out of an older roof without the hassle and headaches of tearing off, disposing and re-roofing.

Re-roofing: Sometimes there is no choice, if the original roofing is too damaged, if there are soft spots in the decking or if the crickets and roof to wall flashings are not performing well, it is usually necesary to re-roof.

Coating an existing roof is not always the best course of action; however, in my opinion it is a good way to go more often than it is suggested. I believe that by keeping the original roof in place as long as possible it reduces the cost to the owner of the building and lessens the burden on our landfills. Paying attention to your roof and having it inspected periodically is another way to get additional life from your roof. Don’t wait until there is a problem, regular maintenance is far cheaper than replacing the roof.

Another aspect of roof coating is that it is considered a maintenance product and is treated differently on your taxes than re-roofing. In many areas it also does not require a building permit to be pulled.

In many

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