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Key Facts You Should Know About Built-up Roof Membranes: A flat or low-sloped roof offers more functionality than a high-pitched roof. Flat roofs not only provide excellent protection against the elements but also present a free space for residential solar panels or roof decks. Advancements in modern technology saw the development of different types of materials used on flat roofs. These new materials are more durable and have longer lifespan than their old counterparts. TYPES OF FLAT ROOF MATERIALS: Flat roof materials could be broadly categorized into three kinds namely single-ply roofing, built-up and spray on. SINGLE-PLY: Single ply roofing means that only a single layer of membrane is used for surface and waterproofing material. The most common types of single-ply membranes that we have today are the TPO (Thermo Polyolefin), EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). Current construction data show that among commercial and industrial buildings, single-ply membranes are the most popular and widely used roofing materials.
BUILT-UP ROOF MEMBRANE: Built-up roof membranes (BUR) employ multiple layers of materials composed of alternating layers of bitumen and roofing felts or ply sheets. BUR roofs generally contain asphalt, coal tar, gravel or modified bitumen. These types of roofing systems are often referred to as “tar and gravel” roofs. A new and fast-growing roofing system based on the BUR technology is the Modified Bitumen Systems, one of the fastest-growing roofing applications today. Not all roofing companies possess the necessary expertise to ensure long-lasting and quality installation of these different roofing membranes. Choosing a reliable and reputable roofing contractor with proven expertise in industrial, commercial and residential roofing is essential. COSTS: As a general rule, materials used for flat roof cost less than those used for pitched roofs. The different flat roof membranes also differ in prices among themselves. The least expensive is EPDM, which costs around $1.50 per square foot. The amount does not include insulation cost. This makes the EPDM the most economical single-ply membrane. TPO costs around $1.70 per square foot, again excluding insulation. PVC is priced at around $1.90 per square foot without insulation. Modified bitumen is sold at a higher price from $1.30 to $2.20 per square foot excluding insulation. The price varies depending on the number of layers or plies used.
WARRANTIES: Two kinds of warranties are given in the installation of new flat roof systems. First is the manufacturer’s warranty on the material, which covers defects or flaws in the manufacture of the roof membrane. The second warranty covers the installation of the roofing membrane and is given by the roofing contractor. It covers the workmanship or quality of the installation. The warranty should specify the items covered by the warranty and the acts or omissions that could void it. While there is no industry standard, a warranty could last from one to two years. TIMEFRAMES: Installation of BUR requires careful consideration of the weather because both hot and cold weather could negatively impact it. The materials should be dry before, during and after delivery to the worksite. Moisture within the layers of BUR produces blisters. Substrates must be kept dry and clean. Installing, maintaining and repairing a flat roof is different from working on a pitched or sloped roof. BUR is a continuous process once started that necessitates the installation in a single day of all components from the roof membrane to the vapor barrier. Hence it is vital that all construction materials and accessories be delivered to the worksite and ready for deployment or installation when work starts.
Choosing a contractor with inadequate experience on flat roof systems, particularly in the installation or repair of BUR, could prove costly in terms of money and time if the inexperienced contractor fails to consider this important aspect of BUR work. A roofing contractor with experience on pitched roofs may not possess the same degree of expertise with respect to flat roofs. That is why the importance of hiring a roofing company with years of experience and solid reputation in flat roof systems is just as important as selecting the right membrane for your commercial, industrial or residential building. COMPARISONS: PVC can last beyond 30 years with its ability to withstand thermal movement and flexibility. EPDM can last up to 15 years although some manufacturers offer up to 40 years warranty. Take note that the primary causes of EPDM failure – water ponding and failing seams – are not normally covered by these warranties. A TPO roof could last from 7 to 20 years. The lifespan of TPO roof varies depending on issues with the formulation used for the membrane. Modified bitumen as well as tar and gravel roofs are expected to last up to 20 years. The warranties from manufacturers differ on each type of roofing material depending on the size, thickness, installation requirements and other factors.
BENEFITS TO USERS: Commercial, industrial and residential establishments stand to benefit most from the use of built-up roofing membranes in terms of: Fire Resistance: BUR are subjected to strict fire resistance standards. Multiple Protection: The multiple layers of reinforced felts and bitumen present a water-resistant shield against leaks and protection from harsh weather conditions. Energy Savings: BUR possesses exceptional heat resistance that keeps the interior of the building cool resulting to huge savings in both cooling and heating costs. Economical: The costs in the installation of BUR is offset by its positive performance per year of service life. Low Maintenance: Maintaining BUR does not cost much. Ultra Violet Protection: One of the advantages of BUR roofing systems is the protection you get against harmful ultra violet rays from the sun. Securing the services of professional roofing contractors when installing a new BUR or repairing an existing one is highly recommended because of the stakes involved. These are sensitive roofing works that cannot be
delegated to non-professionals or those without proven flat roof expertise. If you reside or maintain business in Chicago and its surrounding suburbs or Northern Indiana, the only roofing expert you will ever need for all your flat roof work is the Chicago Flat Roof Company. SOURCES: http://www.buildings.com/article-details/articleid/4898/title/bituminous- built-up-roofing-systems.aspx http://www.roofcalc.org/70-flat-roof-facts/ http://construction.about.com/od/Finishes/a/Types-Of-Built-Up- Roofing-And-Its-Benefits.htm http://www.asphaltroofing.org/commercial-roofing http://www.everybodyneedsaroof.com/built-up-roof-BUR-membranes http://www.shivamtarproducts.com/index.php?option=com_content&vie w=article&id=55&Itemid=74