Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Repairing Hartford Connecticut's worst rubber EPDM flat roof.
Having been up on an average of 60 flat roofs a year in Hartford,Connecticut alone, we felt like nothing could ever possibly amaze us. That was before we climbed up the ladder on Franklin Avenue! Understanding Rubber Roofing EPDM rubber roofing began to replace torch down and hot tat roofs in the 1960s. Rubber, unlike the other 2 systems, does not crack, could potentially hold more water, not nearly as dangerous and messy, lighter, and is made to last longer, if properly installed that is. Early installation of rubber EPDM did not use seam tapes and form flashings. Seams were glues and caulked, so were corners around roof penetrations. Unfortunately these glued seams began to fail sometime between 3 and 7 years after installation. Along came cover tape and seam tape. If the membrane was properly cleaned, primed sufficiently, and rolled really hard, one can get a No Dollar Limit "NDL" warranty from the manufacturer for approximately 15 years. These inspections for the NDL are rigorous, and proper use of materials is an absolute must. Once the warranty has been issued you must "RTFP" (read the fine print). The fine print clearly states a few VERY important things. 1)You must have a roofing maintenance program. 2) The roof must be inspected yearly. 3) All necessary repairs must be made and documented. 4) High foot traffic voids the warranty. 5) Use of another manufacturer's materials for repair voids warranty. 6) Standing water for longer than 24 hours voids the warranty. Now while the NDL warranty inspection was rigorous, they can still worm their way out. Unknown to 99% of roofing contractors is the use of RUSS strip. EPDM shrinks 1% per year and this can cause bridging at turns in the roof, such as from roof to wall. We have only seen RUSS used one time in the 100's of roofs we have replaced! Back to the magical roof on Franklin Ave in Hartford, Connecticut. This roof that we were hired to repair was only 6 months old! Our original reason for inspecting it was to replace the entire roof. Our price was $14,000, the competitors price was $10,000. So why were we here so soon? The roof was leaking, and the "contractor" who installed it had either gone out of business or changed his phone number. The original contractor was supposed to rip the old stone and tar roof off prior to installing EPDM. He did not. He lose laid fiber board over the roof, was a real slob about it, and got an incredible amount of pea stone between the EPDM and the fiber board. Millions of microscopic leaks. We did have some good news for the building owner, they didn't glue the seams like they did in the old days. Instead they covered them with tar! This is a huge mistake, as tar eats and decays rubber in a matter of months. This whole roof was shot less than a year after it was installed. rubber roof repair. This was costly, about $2,200 to redo all the seams. The perimeter metal was also done wrong. The rubber membrane was flopped over the roof, a 3 inch wide piece of plywood was nailed over it, then a piece of metal, which is used for pitched roofs was put over that and it was all "sealed" with TYVEK tape. It was installed wrong, on so many levels. Our solution was to custom make a new drip edge out of thin film aluminum. This would allow us to terminate properly, membrane under metal, cleaned, primed, covered with 6 inch uncured cover tape, and rolled really hard. We were able to buy our customer a few months. Hopefully, if it doesn't snow too much this winter he will be leak free. We are installing a new IB PVC 60 mil white roof in the spring, with the price being the same as it was in the initial estimate. In roofing, you almost always get what you pay for. (Check out our video above of the repair and condition of this roof on Franklin Ave in Hartford CT.) Our solution is IB PVC. PVC is a fully welded roofing system. There are no chemicals used, no glues and tapes to fail. PVC seams are stronger than the membrane itself. The maintenance warranty is simple: keep the drains clean, check for holes from flying objects, standing water does not void the warranty. This is truly a great product. We can also install a weldable solar system with it, can offer a warranty for both, including workmanship, for up to 25 years. Please call us for a free estimate that you will find is comprehensive and informative. We are the only IB certified installer within 50 miles of Hartford CT.