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Roofing question - Roofer is offering me choice of FiberTite…

Roofing question - Roofer is...
Roofing question - Roofer is offering me choice of FiberTite roof or “Torch Down” roof
FiberTite is $1,000 more
Is it worth it? Pros and cons?
FYI it’s a 200 sq ft Flat roof that’s adjacent/attached to a sloped shingled roof on two sides
Thanks
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Answered in 54 minutes by:
3/8/2018
Jarrett Baker
Jarrett Baker, Building Inspector
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 65
Experience: building analyst (inspector) at Oregon Home Performance
Verified

Hi, my name is ***** ***** I'll be assisting you with your question regarding your flat roof. I apologize for the extended wait time you experienced, I've only just come online now and would like to assist you with your question. I understand your question to be"Roofer is offering me choice of FiberTite roof or “Torch Down” roof
FiberTite is $1,000 more
Is it worth it? Pros and cons ?" So to answer;

The fibertite roof will have better longevity, and less chance for leaks. The "torch down," or modified bitumen is cheaper and easier to apply.

Single ply roofing is either fully adhered or mechanically attached.

The fully adhered method consists of gluing the membrane directly to insulation, or to the substrate.

The mechanically attached method consists of fastening each row of membrane to the roof deck with screws and barbed plates. Fasteners are typically spaced 12 inches O.C.

The most common problem with the fully adhered installation (typically EPDM rubber) is that the seams are poorly glued, there are bubbles in the membrane, and leaks inevitably result.

Torching is used in the installation of Modified Bitumen, and therefore can be a fire hazard to your home or commercial property.

Today, EPDM is the most commonly installed single-ply membrane both for residential and commercial applications. It is so popular because no special equipment is needed to complete the install.

We strongly recommend that you find a contractor who specializes in single ply roofing to ensure that there will be no leaks after installation. Many customers make the mistake of hiring contractors specializing in sloped roofing (asphalt shingles), who have little to no experience in this field.

It is best to do a full tear-off before proceeding with the installation, to eliminate any moisture and replace any rotted substrate.

Longevity

The most common signs you would notice when your roof starts to get really old. These include:

– Thinning and blistering
– Cracking
– Contractions or pulling
– Flaking
– Slice marks
– Grease and dirt built-up that can no longer be removed

PVC is considered to be the longest lasting. Because of heat-welded seams, it remains flexible throughout its lifetime and can also withstand thermal movement.

A PVC roof can last well over 30 years. Manufactures offer a 25 year warranty for commercial installations and some offer LIFETIME warranty for residential (IB, Flex, Fibertite). Here is a good article on real world performance of PVC roofs: http://www.coolflatroof.com/flat-roof.php

EPDM lasts only about 10-15 years. Even though manufacturers offer warranties that are up to 40 years for commercial roofing (none for residential), its important to be aware that these warranties do not cover failing seams or ponding water. Both of these are the primary causes of failure for a rubber membrane.

Longevity of TPO roofing varies greatly due to issues with membrane’s formulation. Currently, they range from 7-20 years. Manufacturer warranty is up to 20 years for commercial TPO installs and none for residential.

Keep in mind that warranties offered on different types of single ply membranes vary greatly depending on thickness, size, method of installation, and environmental conditions. Thus, you should carefully read and compare warranties for different materials you are considering.

Tar & Gravel as well as Modified Bitumen roofs last about 10-20 years, but are very costly to remove at the end of their service lives. How long they last greatly depends of the installer, because today there are very few roofers who actually know how to work with this material. If you have one of these roofs and it needs repair, it is best to call on a pro who has experience with it; someone who does single membranes will not do a very good job.

Durability

We will cover in extensive detail the most common problems that impact the durability of a flat roof.

Leaks / Moisture

The biggest problem for most of these roofs is the presence of seams and flashing, because that is precisely where leaks occur.

PVC and TPO are the only two membranes that have hot-welded seams that will never come apart, and therefore do not allow any moisture to penetrate.

Tar and Gravel, Modified Bitumen and Rolled Asphalt offer extremely poor protection against leaks and ponding water.

EPDM rubber typically fails at roof penetrations, flashing and seams, allowing moisture to penetrate.

One of the biggest issues with spray-on roofs is that the insulation can be eaten by birds, therefore also resulting in leaks.

Puncture resistance

Built-up roofs are typically 0.5 + inches in thickness, are made from hard materials and are therefore very difficult to puncture.

Single plies and spray foam roofs are generally easy to puncture by direct contact with a sharp object.

Some PVC materials come with a fiberglass reinforcing scrim, which makes it very difficult to puncture.

Keep in mind that increasing the width of a single ply membrane DOES NOT improve its ability to protect against leaks, However, it can extend its overall life, and makes it more puncture resistant.

“Have I answered your question? If any part of my response is unclear, please let me know. It’s my goal to deliver excellent service, so if I've done that, please don't forget to give me a 5-star. It has been my pleasure to assist you! Thank you for posting your question. – Your business is very valuable to us.- J Baker

Jarrett Baker
Jarrett Baker, Building Inspector
Category: Home Improvement
Satisfied Customers: 65
Experience: building analyst (inspector) at Oregon Home Performance
Verified
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