Flat Roof Pro's Corner

Flat Roof Maintenance

by on Dec.08, 2010, under Flat Roofs

If you are a homeowner or a commercial building owner that has a flat roof you can have serious roof problems occur that are very difficult to repair without the proper knowledge.

Flat Roof Repair can be very trick in a flat roof because it can be very difficult to track down the leak source on the top roof surface.  A Flat roofs leak can actually be many feet away from where it is entering your building which means that everything between the leak and where it is leaking in is taking on some sort of water damage that has to be fixed before it is to late.

There are a few ways you can handle the situation.  The most expensive of course would be a total tear off of the damaged roof surface.  This can break the bank and is not always the best option, flat roofs lives can be extended for many years with the proper care and maintenance.

The best way to extend the life of the roof is to apply a roof coating to the surface, these come in a few different types.  There are asphalt based and polymer or elastomeric based coatings available today.  Both can extend the life of your roof but the elastomeric roof coatings will give you a better quality roof surface.

Asphalt base come in a liquid form that is generally black and petroleom based.  If you are going to use this product be sure to buy one that has a warranty and that has fiberglass embedded fibers throughout it.  These type of roof coatings should only be used over a asphalt based roof such as felt or modified bitumen.  They can be used on a metal roof but they generally do not work well on these surfaces.  There are some roof coatings that have aluminium flakes in it to give a certain level of sunlight reflectivity to help reduce the roofs overall surface temperature thus saving you money on your cooling expenses.

Elastomeric roof coatings are generally rubber based and also come in a liquid form.  They are generally white in color but can be mixed with colorants to obtain a desired look.  Elastomeric Roof coatings are much better than asphalt based because of there ability to stretch, some of the better brands as much as 600%.  This gives you a wide variety of roof problems that can be resolved with this type of coating.  Elastomerics can be used on metal roofs, asphalt roofs, concrete roofs and some can be used on rubber roofs.  Another nice feature about elastomeric coatings that are white is that they can greatly reduce roof temperature, which in turn should save you money on your energy bills.  So over time the roof actually pays for itself in just the energy savings alone.

Both of these will give you a seamless roof that should be leak free if applied correctly.  Roof coatings do not work alone, there is alot of prep work that must be done in order to apply the coating.  Fasteners need to individually sealed, seams need to be reinforced, flashing’s need to checked and reinforced and yo need to start with a clean surface which that alone can take a lot of time to complete.

So as you can see there is alot to consider when choosing a roof coating solution, if you are unsure you should hire a qualified roofing contractor to do the work for you and be sure that they follow the correct steps to ensure your roof is sealed tight.

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Metal Roof Coatings

by on Dec.08, 2010, under Flat Roofs

A metal roof can be a challenging roof surface to seal from the elements.  One of the major factors is the constant expanding and contracting of the roof surface itself.  A metal roof can expand and contract as much as 2 inches every 100 feet which can be devastating to fasteners and seams, which 90% of all roof leaks occur at these points.

If you are experiencing problems with a metal roof then the two options are to either replace the roof which can be extremely expensive and time consuming or restore it with a elastomeric roof coating, which can be very cost effective as compared to replacing the roof.

A high quality elastomeric roof can add many years of life to your existing roof, they come in many different forms but the high quality ones are generally more expensive but should be the only choice.  Lower cost coatings dont stretch as well and seldom have the proper UV protection built into them.

Another key feature in Elastomeric roof coatings are the energy savings you will benefit from them.  Immediatly after coating the metal roof surface its temperature can drop as much as 40 degrees or more in a very short period of time.  This reduction in heat transfer from your roof will make your building much cooler and will save your money in your energy bills.

The roof coating however does not simply just work alone, there are steps necessary to ensure that your roof is properly sealed from the elements.  The first thing that must be done is to ensure a clean roof surface, this should be done with a high power pressure washer to remove hard to get roof scum.  Next you need to go around the roof and spray all rusty areas with an inhibitor to stop further corrosion of the metal.  You should then go around and reinforce any where there is a roof penetration with elastomeric roof cement, by penetrations I mean pipes, air ducts, fan units and any other areas where there is something entering through the roof surface.  You them also need to go reinforce or replace rexisting roof flashings that may be running around the roof.  After the roof has dryed the next step is to seal fasteners individually with a rivet guard type material and all missing fasteners should be replaced as well.  After this step you must individually seal every seam with a seam guard, this is usually a roll out tape, a really thick elastomeric cement or a combination of both of pending on the product you are using.

Now finally you can coat your roof with the final roof coating to finish the job.  You will need a roof coatings sprayer which you can pick up from a paint supplier just be sure that you change the sprayer head with the proper size for your roof coating.  You may need a primer coat depending on which product you are using and you should put down two coats of finish roof coating material as well.  Be sure that the roof surface is dry and that now rain is forcasted for the day you decide to finish the roof.  Elastomeric coating will not stick to a wet roof surface so be sure that it is good and dry.  Temperature is also an important factor, it should be no less then 55 degrees to put down the roof coatings to ensure that it cures properly.

That is pretty much how you would go about sealing your metal roof.  You should hire a qualified roof coatings contractor to do the work but if you need to save money you can complete the project yourself.

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Asphalt Surface Roof Repair

by on Dec.07, 2010, under Flat Roofs

If you own an old commercial building with a flat roof odds are you have an old asphalt roof of some type.  These roof surfaces are made up of layers of felt paper  and tar stacked up on each other which over the years will or have given you alot of headaches.  They are usually just felt paper or the are covered with a layer of gravel, the gravel in theory was to help keep the roof cooler which it does a little but it makes repair much more difficult.

One of the biggest problem with asphalt surfaces is that they dry up and shrink which eventually leads to cracking and this will cause your roof to leak.  In order to keep your asphalt roof in good condition it must be maintained.  To accomplish this you should have your roof re-coated with an asphalt based coating at least once every five years or so, if you don’t it can lead to expensive and time consuming repairs.  Over the years your roofs crucial oils are weathered out of the roof surface and it must be restored to maintain integrity, if you have areas with standing water then the process speeds up and your roof will fail in that area most likely first.

If you are on of the unfortunates owners of a gravel roof then you can have even bigger problems.   Gravel was put on in a time when it was thought it would be beneficial to help reduce the roofs temperature with cheap gravel, it worked a little but not very much.  Gravel roofs undergo the same problems as a regular felt roof but the leaks and standing water areas are much harder to spot.  Another huge problem is maintaining the roof, in order to do a maintenance coating all the gravel must be removed.  Sounds easier than what it is, you should contract out a gravel suction company to complete this task, but if you are feeling like you need a good workout a few flat shovels and a broom will do the job as well.

Another problem that asphalt roofs face are blistering problems.  Blistering occurs when moisture works it way in between the roof layers and expands forming a huge gas pocket, eventually these pockets will expand to a breaking point and crack open, thus leaving you with a hole in your roof.  If you have blistering problems you must cut them open with a cross cut so you can fold back the edges and fill them in with roof cement, then fold the cut edges back over the cement thus resealing your roof.

There are a few types of roof coatings that can be used to remedy and repair your roof problems.  The most commonly used are asphalt based but if you want a better longer lasting coating you should consider using a elastomeric roof coating, they are much more durable, more energy efficient and longer lasting than asphalt coatings.

Asphalt coatings are generally black or silver in color and have a life span of about five years if appleid correctly.  They are generally the cheapest of the roof coatings but if you decide to go with this system be sure to purchase ones that are fiberglass embedded, they are much better at stopping and repairing leaks.

Elastomeric coatings are generally white in color and have a life span of 10 to twenty years, there are a few with a 20 year warranty as well, but they are very expensive.  Elastomeric roof coatings work very well especially when combined with fiberglass mesh system as its base.

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Flat Roof Replacement Considerations

by on Dec.07, 2010, under Flat Roofs

If you have an old commercial building with a flat roof odds are you have had some thought on replacing that old flat roof surface with a new one.  This can be a very expensive and time consuming process and there are a few things you should consider before tearing off that old roof.

The most obvious thing to consider first is cost effectiveness.  A roof replacement on a large roof can easily run into the hundreds of thousands or possible millions of dollars on big roofs to have them replaced and this is not always the best choice.  The next thing to consider is the impact it will have on your business.  A roof tear off can shut you down till its complete which could be a considerable amount of time on a larger roof.  The lost revenue may take weeks or months to recuperate if ever in the state of today’s economy.  Other issues may be that you have to move heavy sensitive equipment out to a dry location until the roof is complete to protect it from the elements of uv rays, rain, snow and ice, this can be a very expensive endeavour in itself paying a moving contractor to store it temporarily somewhere else till the work is completed.

The good news is that there are alternatives to tearing off a roof that are much more cost effective and less business impacting.  The solution is to have a qualified roof coatings expert take a look at your structure to see if its a good candidate to be restored with coatings.  They are much cheaper than replacing the roof and the end result is the same in which your leaks get fixed and you can continue on with business as usual.  While most roof coating applications are being done you will most likely hardly even notice that they are there working on your roof thus leaving you with the important task of running your business and not waiting on a contractor to finish your roof.

Roof coatings generally come in an elastomeric rubber liquid or an asphalt tar like liquid.  Both are effective but be sure to do your homework on the product before you purchase one, some are definitely alot better than others and the last thing you want to do is put a coating down and have it peel up on you and not work.  Most roof coatings contractors will spray the coatings down for speed but some still use the old school roller down method which is effective just slower.  Go with companies that have been producing coatings for a long time such as Topp’s Products or ER Systems, both have very good products and reputations.  You are of course going to spend more on these than other coating systems but the investment is worth it in the long run.  Both of their systems come with warranties and they will stand behind them 100% if you experience the highly unlikely event of a roof leak. 

So before making an hasty rash decision check all of your options to have your roof repaired.  You may be surprised of all the benefits you will receive with a coating system over a flat roof replacement.  The money savings alone is huge and this is generally the determining factor with most commercial building owners in today’s sluggish economy.

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Hello world!

by on Dec.07, 2010, under Uncategorized

Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

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