Tips on Installing Self Adhering Roof Membrane for Flat or Low Slope Roofs

Low slope areas such as car ports, garages, porches and sun rooms - anything below a 2 / 12 pitch requires special attention. Without the drainage of a steep slope, these roofs can take a hard beating from rain, ice and snow. You've probably seen the problem leaks that occur where these low sloped roofs tie in with the main house. To provide you with materials that can meet these challenges GAF has developed a series of self-adhering membranes that go down easy, apply with simple tools, and provide maximum protection. Let's take a look at these revolutionary low slope products and see how they install.

Liberty is a system for low slopes, with a pitch between 1/2 inch to 6 inches per foot. Designed as a complete roofing system, these membranes serve as a waterproofing for the field of the roof and also are applied as flashings at parapets, perimeter terminations, and typical rooftop penetrations. The Liberty product line consists of three membranes.

  1. The Liberty cap sheen and two base sheets
  2. Liberty mechanically attached base sheath
  3. Liberty self adhering base ply sheet

Incorporating all three membranes helps assure a premium membrane assembly. Self adhering base sheets may be applied directly to wood decks. However, from a long-term perspective that option limits re-roofing potential. The best option for long-term performance includes the premium Liberty 3 ply system. Liberty mechanically attached base sheet first. Liberty self adhered base sheet next. And the Liberty cap sheet on top. To ensure proper adhesion of any Liberty self adhered system, it must be installed when the weather is dry and forty-five degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

The substrate for the Liberty system must be clean and dry. All penetration curbs, perimeter cants, nailers etc, must be in place.

We will now look at the installation of a Liberty system installed over an uninsulated wood deck. Liberty mechanically attached base sheet, also called Liberty MA base, is a one metre (or 39 3/8 inch) wide membrane that is surfaced on the top with a plastic film designed to maximize the attachment of other self adhering Liberty membranes. This sheet is designed to be mechanically attached directly to the deck, or installed above board insulation. For installation over board insulation, see the Liberty instructions.

Over nailable decks, the Liberty MA base sheet is nailed with a typical base sheet pattern, using one inch square or round metal capped nails. Start by cutting the Liberty MA base sheet into one-third width strips to ensure that the cap sheets side seams do not line up directly over the base sheet seams. Starting at the low side of the roof, position the one-third with sheet parallel to the edge of the roof. Overhang the roofs edge to accommodate the anticipated perimeter termination detail. Allow the sheet to relax and remove any wrinkles to provide the smoothest surface for other plys.

Whether installing Liberty mechanically attached base sheet, or Liberty self adhered base sheet, your edge metal details are the same. At the edge of the roof, install drip edges. Primed metal drip edge is required at eaves and rakes on Liberty systems. At eaves and rakes, install the bed of topcoat matrix 201 premium SBS flashing cement to set the metal drip edge into. Next, to better seal the flange at the base sheet base ply, nail the drip edge three inches on center in a staggered pattern using roofing nails.

Finally, apply a 1/16 to 1/8 inch troweling of matrix 201 premium SBS flashing cement to the top of the metal, prior to installing the Liberty cap sheet over drip edges. Using a notched trowel helps assure a proper application rate of adhesive. Liberty systems require the use of SBS adhesives and cements. Other non SBS cements may have an adverse reaction, and damage the Liberty membrane.

Where flanged metal termination and penetration flashings are to be installed, they must be primed and should be installed in a 1/8 to 1/16 inch troweling of matrix 201 premium SBS flashing cement over the Liberty base ply sheet. In addition, apply a troweling of matrix 201 premium SBS flashing cement to the top of any metal flanges prior to the application of the Liberty cap sheet.

Now install the remaining base sheets. The first row of fasteners at the edge of the roof will be one to two inches from the leading edge and on nine inch centers. Subsequent courses of mechanically attached base sheet are positioned with the side lap aligned to the ley line on the preceding sheet. Position the sheet and avoid wrinkles. Allow the sheet to relax. Locate fasteners in the lap formed with the next course of base MA.

Next, locate the second row of fasteners 14 inches from the leading edge on 18-inch centers. The third row of fasteners should be 26 inches from the leading edge on 18-inch centers. The centers for the second and third rows should be staggered to minimize the risk of uplift and other movements.

Continue to apply base sheet MA across the roof overlapping the end of the preceding sheet a minimum of 6 inches. Where wind uplift resistance is a concern, you may apply a bead of caulk in this overlap, and then nail the overlap area a minimum of 6 inches on center. End laps and adjacent courses should be offset a minimum of 36 inches to reduce the risk of leaks.

The Liberty self and hearing base ply sheet is also a 1 meter (or 39 and 3/8 inch) wide membrane that has a plastic film top surface designed to receive the Liberty cap sheet. On the bottom, the surface is a splint back release film designed to be removed to uncover a self adhering surface. The Liberty self adhering membranes have extremely aggressive self adhering properties. When installed directly to wood, they will adhere very strongly. While the adhesion to wood is good without primer, the best long-term adhesion is achieved when the wood is lightly primed with one coat of matrix 307 asphalt concrete primer, or a comparable ASTM D41 type primer.

Remember to allow the primer to dry completely prior to the installation of the Liberty self adhering base sheet. Over application of primer, or application of the membrane over wet primer, may cause the roof to blister. Cut a two-thirds width of the Liberty base ply and align it with the edge of the roof, plus whatever is required to turn down on the fascia.

Position the selvage line on the high side of the roof to provide an overlap guideline and to assure that water flows over the side. Next fold the sheet away from the edge of the roof along its length, exposing the bottom of the sheet. Remove the narrow width of release film from the back of the sheet. Working from the center of the length of the Liberty base ply, allow the sheet to roll on to the deck, being careful to avoid wrinkles and trapped air and while maintaining proper alignment with the edge of the roof. The resulting smooth surface assures a sound, receptive substrate for the Liberty cap sheet.

Firmly press the sheet to avoid wrinkles and craft air as the ply adheres to the deck, and press down the fascia. Position the selvage line on the high side of the roof to provide an overlap guideline, and to assure that water flows over the side laps. Now fold the top portion of the sheet back on itself exposing the remaining release film. Remove the release film, and then roll the sheet into place working from the center of the sheet outward, towards the ends of the sheet. Firmly hand press the sheet to avoid wrinkles and trapped air. Where additional lengths of Liberty base ply are added in the same course, overlap the end of the previous sheet a minimum of six inches to provide the best protection against leaks.

On the upper, overlapping sheet cut the selvage edge at a 45 degree angle to provide a tapered transition at the t-joints formed by succeeding courses. This provides a smooth transition and reduces the chance for blisters and loose laps. End laps and adjacent courses should be offset a minimum of 36 inches. Install additional courses of Liberty base ply as follows:

  1. Align the base ply with the installation line on the sheet in the previous course.
  2. Fold the sheet in half, away from the selvage edge of the lower sheet along its length exposing approximately half of the bottom of the sheet.
  3. Remove the exposed release film.
  4. Working from the center of the length of base ply sheet, allow the sheet to roll onto the primed deck, being careful to avoid wrinkles and trapped air while maintaining proper alignment with the selvage edge of the previous course.
  5. Firmly hand press the sheet to avoid wrinkles and trapped air. Fold the other half of the sheet back on itself exposing the remaining release film.
  6. Remove the release film, and roll the sheet in place working from the center of the sheet outward toward the ends of the sheet.
  7. Complete any side lap installations by hand pressing and rolling the lap.
  8. Apply uniform pressure to the entire area by using a method suitable to the roof slope. A long-handled push broom or a weighted roller is ideal. This creates a solid bond between plies.

The next step is the installation of the cap sheet. Roll out and cut manageable lengths of Liberty cap sheet. Before installing, let the sheets relax on the roof. This allows the ends of the rolls to lay flat, giving a much better finished roof. At the low point on the roof, align a length that allows a wrinkle-free installation of a full width sheet of Liberty cap sheet. The selvage edge of the sheet should be positioned up the roof. Fold the sheet away from the edge of the roof along its length, exposing approximately half of the bottom of the sheet. Remove the release film from the sheet. Working from the center of the length of cap sheet, allow the sheet to roll onto the base ply sheet. Firmly hand press the sheet to avoid wrinkles and trap air. Now fold the other half of the sheet back on itself, remove the release film and roll the sheet in place, working from the middle to the outside edges.

Applying a bead of matrix 201 premium SBS flashing cement adhesive along the top edge of each cap sheet, and at any selvage edge t-joints in any self adhered system, minimizes the possibility of lap blisters forming, and seals one row from another. Firmly press or roll the sheet to avoid wrinkles and trapped air in the cap sheet.

Due to the thickness of Liberty cap sheet, this weight can pull the membrane down-slope. Overlap the end of the previous sheet by a minimum of six inches. It is a good idea to leave a minimum eight inches of release film on the back of the overlapping cap sheet. This will prevent unwanted bonding to the granule surface of the underlying sheet when installing the adjoining sheet. End laps and adjacent courses must be offset from one another by at least 36 inches.

On the upper sheet cut the selvage edge at a 45 degree angle to provide a smooth, tapered transition at the t-joints formed by succeeding courses. Complete the overlapping end joint by pulling the overlapping edge back, and applying matrix 201 premium SBS flashing cement to the granule surface of the underlying sheet, using a notched trowel. Spread the cement to a thickness of approximately 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. At the selvage edge remove only enough release film to accommodate the end lap. To ensure a good end lap, roll the lap area after installation. Install additional courses of Liberty cap sheet as follows:

  1. Position the cap sheet to overlap the previous courses selvage edge width.
  2. Fold the sheet in half away from the selvage edge of the lower sheet along its length, exposing approximately 20 inches, or 508 millimetres, of the bottom of the sheet.
  3. Remove the selvage edge release film from the underlying sheet, except for the short piece in any overlap section of end laps.
  4. To ensure a good end lap, role the lap area after the installation.
  5. To complete the application of the cap sheet, roll the entire membrane with a weighted roller to assist with adhesion. Any adhesive bleed out can be covered with loose granules present a more professional and pleasing appearance.

Flashing of walls roof terminations and penetrations can also be done with Liberty membranes and pre flashed SBS and weld units. As with all vertical flashings, the flashing is nailed off at the top and counter flashed.

Liberty is just one of the self adhered products offered by GAF. Others include the freedom series of self adhered TPO roofing membranes. Freedom membrane is a tough, commercial grade membrane that is easy to install ,long lasting and energy efficient with a white reflective surface.

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How Much Do Commercial Roofs Cost to Repair? Looking at the price quote process

We all know a commercial roofing project can be a daunting task. Today, we're going to cover how technical reps customize a quote for you. So let's walk through the steps of creating a custom roof quote.

After speaking to a prospective customer and establishing that they need a commercial roof repair quote, we'll send our technician out to their location. we come out and do a field inspection on their roof in which we will pull cores out of the roof to determine the existing make up of the building's roof.

We'll ask some questions to find out what kind of roofing solution they have in mind. Things like what they're looking for, what their real big problems are that they're facing. Then we will take that information along with our measurements, and field drawings, and photos to be able to take it back to the office and pull a proposal package together.

When we get back to our office we'll take that information and begin to compile it. And the first thing we want to do is develop the cost. Once we've come up with that number, we put together a scope of work for the building which will detail and outline, from start to finish, what we're going to do on your building which will include all the different things that we are going to propose that need to be removed, replaced, changed, or gone over.

We break down all that data and try to determine what the best solution is going to be. Every roof is unique, so they're not all the same. Each one has a different logistics challenge. Each one has a different insulation, or drainage, or multiple units on a roof, so each one is custom designed to that facility and to that owner's needs and wants, so we take all that into consideration.

The package that is put together includes the survey report, a drawing of the roof, that may differentiate the different areas and different things that we found on the roof during the survey, to a comprehensive scope of work and proposal.

After that process is done, it gets sent to the customer or we deliver it to you and kind of explain and go over exactly what it is we're proposing to do. The information can be presented in person or over the phone. Typically it's sent through email process and then discussed in a phone meeting.

So once that roofing proposal is delivered, hopefully within a week or two we hear back and the decision is made to go forward with the work we recommended. At that point, we may go into a negotiation phase because it's possible that the building owner wants to do some areas and not others. so we may have to go back and revise some pricing and whatnot.

In the end, we want to give you the best service and the best price for what you want and need. To get to that point, we need to work together with the customer as a team to make sure we have the same end goal.

Price Variables on Roof Repairs

As you can see from the video below, no matter where you are, getting an estimate on a commercial roof repair involves a lot of variables, so it's not an easy thing to answer straight away over the phone.  But with a bit of information, we'll do our best to give you an idea of what you're looking at.


hello there my name is Steven from London flat roofing when I'm answering the phone number off the last how much did the new flat roof cost well the answer to this is really down to a number of factors it's not an easy one to answer straight away however with certain information I can come up with an approximation of how much a flat roof would cost some of this information that I really need is what is the area of the roof how much difficulty is there involved with the roof what's access like to it what's the substrate line.i what is it actually which is on the roof at the moment is it new build is it an old roof is it Asheville all sorts of different questions like that really helped me make my mind up on what I can do for you and how we can reroute that roof for you now do you want to strip the roof or not and that's an interesting run because today if we strip a roof we actually have to insulate the roof there's a building regulation part l-1b of the building regulations says but if you strip a roof you must insulate afterwards so if you don't want to trigger there then we really should be using an overlay system so all this information I can gain from you on the phone once I've got that information I can then work out using a meter ridge ray how much the roof is going to cost you so if you take this roof behind me as an example I really need to know the links and the width of the main area so I can calculate this it's square meter ridge then I need to know the details around the side the flashing details now in this particular roof the roof actually goes up and over the parapet walls so therefore I need to know what area that is and would calculate that slightly different than the main area because the main area we've done at one cost that will be done at a slightly greater cost because there's more effort in doing that and you naturally see the men behind you going around and doing that first that takes a lot more time than it does just laying out the main roof once I've got that kind of information I can then work out square meters right and I can give you a proximate price of the roof over the phone my name is Steven from London flat roofing if I can help you my details are on screen now

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Roof coatings and liquid applied roofing materials are probably the fastest growing segment in the commercial, industrial and flat roofing market today. There's a reason for that, but what we want to do today is take a look at some of the primary liquid applied roof technologies that are out there, and the differences in some of the physical properties of those.

The four we're going to look at today are acrylic, silicone, asphalt emulsion, and synthetic rubber. Specifically we're going to take a look at the puncture resistance differences between those, which is going to be a combination of the elongation and the tensile strength. Let's have a look at some of these tests that we do and the difference between these products, and why they're gaining different traction in the market.

roof restoration systems being rolled on

Let's start with the exciting, fun test first. We coated small watermelons with four commonly used roof restoration products. We let them cure for two weeks, and then drop them from 25 feet.

A bare watermelon, on impact, is obliterated.

Asphalt Emulsion

The first product we tested is a commonly used asphalt emulsion for both roofing and waterproofing. It was applied to the melon at 60 mils or 1.5 millimetres. Unreinforced asphalt emulsion has no elongation or tensile strength, resulting in very poor impact resistance. The watermelon didn't fare much better than the first one.


Next up is an acrylic roof coating widely used in the industry. Applied to the 3rd melon at over 40 mils, or 1 millimetre. The forces created inside the melon on impact quickly split open the acrylic coating.

Silicone Roof Coating

Third is a very popular silicone roof coating. It was applied to the melon at 50 mils. While silicone has higher tensile strength or tightness than acrylic, the impact test shows how easily silicone tears once a split or tear begins. With both silicone and acrylic you can see that even 100 to 300 percent elongation does not allow for much movement when fully adhered.

Synthetic Rubber

Finally we have synthetic rubber manufactured by Triton, called Tritoflex, applied to the melon at 80 mils, or two millimetres. Not only does the rubber withstand the forces upon impact, it nearly retains its original shape after the melon has broken inside.

Considering the Tritoflex rubber was not damaged, we dropped it a second time this time next to a broken uncoated watermelon for comparison. The properties of over a thousand percent elongation and 600 psi tensile strength, were evident in this demonstration.

Let's take note of the value of these tests, because you may be thinking these are a little extreme... What kind of roof experiences these kinds of forces? And that's an appropriate thought. But if you think about, it roofs do experience a lot of extreme forces. They experience hail, foot traffic, dropped tools and equipment, high wind speeds and underlying structural movements.

Though those underlying structural movements may not be big in distance, they can be very big in force. And therefore that's why it's important when you're choosing a roof membrane in your design, that it performs more like a skin and not like a paint.

On to the second test, which is a simple yet effective puncture resistance test to demonstrate the forces required to puncture through a coating or a membrane.

First up asphalt emulsion.

The material has no elongation or strength, resulting in a quick break.

Next acrylic.

This first one is about 40 mils, or one millimetre in thickness, and cured for two weeks. There's minimal stretch in the force required to cause a puncture was minimal.

This next acrylic is thicker, about 60 mils or 1.5 millimetres in thickness, and cured for two weeks. With the increased thickness, there is minimal increased puncture resistance.

Now we have silicone.

This one is approximately 60 mils in thickness, 1.5 millimetres, and cured for two weeks. You can see the strength is higher than acrylic requiring more force to stretch it over the pipe, but once the silicone breaks it results in a very quick tear through the entire sheet. While the tensile strength is higher than acrylic, the actual tear resistance is poor.

Synthetic rubber membrane called Tritoflex

Last is a synthetic rubber membrane called Tritoflex. This sample is approximately 80 mils, or 2 millimetres in thickness, and cured for 2 weeks. The test shows both the high elongation properties of synthetic rubber combined with the high tensile strength. This requires a much higher force to puncture the membrane.

All right now that we've done the test let's summarize these four product technologies that we showed you, and where they're most used and some of the differences that are important to know between them.

First we'll look at cold process asphalt emulsion.

It's called cold process because it's applied at room temperature, or ambient temperature, unlike older asphalt technologies and roofing that are heated up in hot kettles and applied at very high temperatures. This is typically a water-based product that's used often for damp proofing. And in roofing it must be reinforced because you can see here the elongation at break properties and the tensile strength properties, are quite low. And so reinforcement is used in that in order to make it more like a membrane. And so asphalt emulsion is used often as a base layer for a lot of acrylic roof restoration systems. And I have a small sample of some commonly used asphalt emulsion roof coating here, and you can see that the strength, there's not a whole lot of strength here as our videos demonstrated, but if you reinforce it with a polyester fabric then it it has no elongation or flexibility but now all of a sudden it's it's a very tight, stronger membrane.

Now asphalt emulsion is not UV stable, so it needs to be top coated. And there's a certain window in which it needs to be covered otherwise the UV will damage it. And asphalt emulsion does not do well with freezing temperature. It has terrible freeze-thaw flexibility and a low temperature bend of flexibility in those tests. So it's commonly used in warmer year-round climates like southern California in the southwestern united states, as part of an acrylic restoration system used to extend the life of a roof. Obviously the cost of an asphalt emulsion product and system is very low, even though it's applied often at 40 to 100 mils total thickness, including the polyester reinforcement.

So then we moved to acrylic. And acrylic is a very commonly used roof restoration product, has been for decades as a topcoat on spray foam, as a top coat over asphalt emulsion. It's also used directly on existing roofs to extend the life of that roof. Because acrylic has good reflectivity, so it provides great UV protection to preserve the integrity of the underlying roof components such as the waterproofing membrane, and the insulation. And so acrylics are great for that purpose as sort of a sunscreen to protect the existing roof from UV damage, and to preserve the integrity longer, and protect it from that heat gain and the heat aging.

Acrylic is typically applied at 20 to 30 mils, or sometimes it may be higher. You have to be careful with acrylic going to thick because it is a very permeable product, it will absorb water doesn't do well under ponding water. It will wrinkle up and it will allow for vapor transmission. It is a breathable product, therefore it's not used as a waterproofing membrane. It's used as a uv protection coating. And it's also a very sustainable, because acrylic can be easily repaired and easily renewed with time. And so by using an acrylic roof coating you can create a sustainable system and continue to preserve the life of that roof, indefinitely, when used properly.

Obviously the properties of acrylic are like a high grade paint. There's not a lot of stretch, though some roofing acrylics have some good tensile strength, but they can be torn quite easily and there's not a whole lot of elongation at break there. So you have to think when something is fully adhered to a surface you're going from absolutely no distance to a far distance when you have that expansion and contraction. Here's a very thick acrylic which would absorb a lot of water and again not a whole lot of flexibility there. Again, it gets stronger the thicker that you put it on but again the tear resistance on that is is quite poor. But it is inexpensive, so it's a great way to extend the life of roof when you don't need a new roof membrane or a new waterproofing layer on the existing roof.

So next we move the silicone

Silicone is also a breathable product, it has a 5 perms rating, but it does hold up well to ponding water. That's why it's become popular as an alternative to acrylic, because it does better under ponding. But I put the asterisk there because it's still a permeable product. If water sits on silicone long enough, it will absorb through, and and can get beneath the silicone film, and so that's something important to know.

Silicone is also bright white, like acrylic, so it's good for reflectivity for UV protection, for energy efficiency, but I put an asterisk on there too because silicone is notorious for having a bad dirt pick up compared to acrylic. While acrylic has a good dirt pick up resistance, it stays a white for many years, silicone can tend to yellow and discolor because it has a high dirt pickup. It's stronger than acrylic, as you can see here, and has a little bit more kind of a stretchiness or rubberiness because silicone is a part of the rubber family, but like I showed in the video that once a tear does start, it peels apart almost like cheese. Almost no pressure at all will cause the silicone to tear. And that's because of the type of chemical matrix that silicone has. And so that's something to be leery of in areas where you may have hail, and if you have a split into the silicone, that split can easily tear and continue through the entire roof surface. So that's something you have to be a concerned with regarding silicone. It's also very difficult to repair. Silicone has a very low surface energy compared to acrylic, so acrylics will stick to other acrylics quite easily - emergency repair patches, asphalt mastic, rubber mastic, urethanes will stick to acrylic. None of those materials will adhere to silicone because of the low surface energy. Only silicone will adhere to silicone. So it makes it very difficult to repair, very difficult to re-coat, because the right silicone has to be matched up in order to do a re-coat.

Also, with that low surface energy makes it a very slippery product. So if there's any dew on the surface, any rain on the surface, it can be a big safety hazard. And it's also not a true waterproofing membrane. Typically it's only applied 20 to 36 mils dry, but it is an economical choice. The reason why this has become more more popular than acrylic, because of a little bit of that increased tensile strength, but mostly because it holds up better under ponding. But you do have to sacrifice some of that reflectivity with time when you go with the silicone.

And then the fourth liquid applied product that we tested was a synthetic rubber material produced by Triton called Tritoflex. It's typically applied at 60 to 80 mils dry, it has over a thousand percent elongation at break, with over 700 psi tensile strength. And it's 0.1 perms, so it's considered an impermeable or non breathable product. So it is considered a waterproofing membrane.

With the elongation and tensile properties that makes it very durable, and makes it resistant to hail, foot traffic, a lot of different things that a roof does experience including underlying structural movement, if you think of, for example, an existing metal or steel building. It withstands ponding water indefinitely, not just for a certain period of time, like silicone. It is also renewable, both on its own, exposed to UV, because synthetic rubber produced here is a UV resistant product, but when you use the acrylic topcoat you can continue to sustain the life of that roof indefinitely, which is a great savings in value for a building owner long term.

The non breathability can be a pro in a con. It's good because you know that it's completely watertight, it's not going to allow any moisture transmission or air or gas transmission to the underlying roof or structure. But it can be a con in some situations. If they're if you're just trying to extend the life of the roof short term, and acrylic may be better because if you have some residual moisture in the roof system and acrylic will allow that breathability. A synthetic rubber membrane will not; it'll trap any moisture in in an existing surface and will allow that to breathe out.

And it is synthetic rubber is black in color, so that's a downside. So these are already white, this is black. But again, this is used as a waterproofing membrane for durability, flexibility, to create a long-term 15, 20, 25 year roof system. When combined with an acrylic top coat, you can achieve that reflectivity, the sustainability and then with that sacrificial layer you can continue to renew the life of that roof indefinitely.

And here I have some examples of the synthetic rubber on its own, so you can see here the elongation and recovery, but combined with the tensile strength makes it very difficult to pull apart, but fully adhere to a roof it makes a lot of difference when you have the combination of good flexibility with the tensile strength.

And then of course combining it with a reflective topcoat, you're able to achieve the goals that you have here, while having a strong durable seamless membrane underneath. As you can see here this is acrylic on top of the rubber, that the acrylic splits apart with any of that stretch. So this would be similar to an acrylic directly on a surface that has some expansion and contraction and movement.

So essentially as you look forward to considering a roof restoration system for your building, you have to take a look at the technologies that are available. The technical data behind those and what's most appropriate for your roof system. Do you need something that's going to protect your roof long term? Are you looking for simply uv protection and a short-term extension of life? Or are you looking for a long-term new waterproofing membrane to protect your structure?

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Frequently Asked Questions In Commercial Roofing

While FAQs about commercial roofing sounds pretty straightforward, there's lots to discuss. Let's talk about commercial roof coatings and liquid applied roof membranes.

Why would we talk about liquid applied roof membranes if we're discussing roof coatings today? Because each used similar, if not the same base material. So we want to avoid any confusion and we want to use each for its best application.

Before we get too much further it sounds like we should define these.

rolling silicone roof coating on commercial roof in Tucson

A common question, and its answer, can be found here: Is Silicone Roof Coating Good?

Roof Coatings

The definition for coatings is a fluid applied adhered coating used for roof maintenance or repair, or as part of an assembly. Now typically roof coatings are installed on top of an existing roof membrane.

Liquid Applied Roof Membrane

Liquid applied roof membrane is a roof membrane constructed in place, using a liquid resin and a fabric reinforcement. It's applied directly over insulation, cover board, or an existing roof membrane in a re-cover scenario.

The above roof coating definition comes directly from the International Building Code, where the definition for a liquid applied roof membrane comes from the Roof Coating Manufacturers Association. So these are really solid definitions.

Now that we've defined things, let's get a little bit more technical with this discussion.

A roof coating has a number of uses. Although it's not a weather proofing membrane, it certainly is used to extend the life of an existing roof by providing protection from the elements. And a coating can minimize or avoid the need to tear off an existing roof and avoid operational disruptions. It can also extend the life of the roof. We have a lot of asphalt roofs in place right now, and using a coating is an effective application.

Coatings can also change the color of a roof. The general idea is that we want to coat a dark roof to make it lighter and more reflective. Most roof coatings are white and highly reflective. Simply put, this helps reflect the energy from the sun, reduce the amount of heat absorbed into the building, and potentially reduce air conditioning costs. And we should point out that actual energy savings are going to vary based on climate zone, geography, and utility rates and things like that. But a roof coating with a nice effective thermal layer in a roof is really going to go a long ways to help save energy use in a building.

Another important point is that coatings are not intended to repair roof leaks. Before we install a roof coating, it's good roofing practice to check for trapped moisture and repair leaks and any existing damage.

So let's switch gears now... Let's talk about liquid applied roof membranes and when they would be used.

The primary function of a liquid applied roof membrane is to protect the building from the elements, not just extended service life. So they're very different from coatings. So from a long-term point of view, we could use roof coatings actually to help maintain our liquid applied roof membranes, therefore we avoid a roof tear off.

Liquid applied materials are also transported in buckets, which fit easily into elevators. So when we're re-roofing an operational building, or a skyscraper, a liquid applied roof membrane can be a logical option.

So we can install these over many substrates and over many types of roofs. Two good examples are existing metal panel roofs and existing modified bitumen. In both cases it'll help extend the life of those roofs. However the ability of a liquid applied roof membrane to protect against the elements depends directly on the substrate to which it's adhered. If we have too much movement at a crack, a transition, an insulation board joint for example, this can damage the membrane.

Now that we have worked through some of the technical differences between these two products, why don't we talk a little bit more about some of the installation differences.

A liquid applied roof membrane starts with the application of a base or foundation layer. We broom in the fabric reinforcement and encapsulate that with another layer of base coat. Then we add two or more layers of top coat, which gives us our seamless membrane.

And a roof coating is installed by brushing rolling or spraying a layer of base coat and a layer of top coat. So pretty significant differences there. Regardless of which membrane or which system type you use, you still want to do proper preparation of the substrate, which really means it needs to be clean and dry, you have to check whether or not you need to use a primer or not, we need to repair any damage repair any leaks before we put either system down.

Liquid applied roof membrane, depending on its substrate, may require additional preparation at penetrations, transitions, board joints, any place that we could anticipate movement. Additional reinforcements might also be necessary in the base level.

So a good way to think about this, roof coating is used on existing membranes. A liquid applied roof membrane is used for new roofs, re-roofing or re-cover an existing roof. Both can be the roof surface, both are restorative, but a coating is more of a maintenance item where a liquid applied roof membrane is just that - a new membrane.

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What Is Silicone Roof Coating And Should I Use It For A Commercial Roof System?

Because there are a lot of question about the use of silicone as a roof membrane, today we'll be looking at roof restoration applications and explore the logistics and cost factors involved in a silicon restoration membrane.

What is the average cost of a silicone restoration membrane?

A silicon restoration membrane is a fluid applied, silicon membrane that is installed over an existing roof substrate. For a typical SRM installation on a 20,000 square-foot facility, we're going to be right in the neighborhood of $2 to the top end and possibly $3.50 per square foot.

While this is only and estimate and there are many variables that can go into the cost for any particular roof, this gives you a general idea of the cost compared to other commercial roofing solutions. That cost estimate covers both labor and materials.

Assessing the Roof - Infrared Survey

One method of assessing a roof is the use of infrared surveys to verify that we know where all the saturated anomalies of insulation are, and that we can remove those before we do the SRM installation. We do not want to trap moisture in any roof assembly. It's critical that we start with a dry, sound and clean substrate. Infrared is the most cost effective and most effective measure and way to determine where those saturated areas are.

thrmographic image of a rooftop near downtown Tucson

There are product options for you to consider and you can learn more here, Commercial Roof Coating Products And Systems

Roof Repairs

Repairs to the existing roofs that are candidates for the SRM application, those roofs been out there for 15, 20, 25, 30 years or more. These repairs are the front line defense to your building. They're experiencing the harshest elements of your building envelope on a daily basis. Roof systems have finite life cycles. They start to wear out, things start to break down. So we want to make minor repairs to the areas that have degraded the most, if they're not too far gone that they can't be restored, but they still need some work to be bolstered back up. Some areas might have some tenting going on in the membranes that we want to address. Penetrations might just need to be reinforced a little bit before we do the SRM installation.

Roof Cleaning

So after we've done the inspection and we've done some mechanical repairs, we need to clean the roof system. We're trying to adhere a fluid applied product to a 15, 20, 25 year-old membrane that's been laying there collecting dirt. So we have to power wash it.

There's two primary methods of power washing. You got a power washer source of water and a power washing wand. We do it on an industrial scale where we're doing a little bit higher pressures than the typical homeowner is going to be doing that at, and we do it at a large scale. We'll have four or five out there at one time. We use a reclamation power washing system. It's spinning with a high pressure washer, but there's also a vacuuming mechanism at that point that's bringing it into, and pumping it to a truck. The truck filters out the contaminants that are pulled up off the roof and is discharging clean water. That has a little bit of a higher cost, with all the equipment involved in that, but you're also sucking the water off at the same time, so your roof is dry much sooner and you can go to work potentially the same day as you're washing that roof, verses it might take a day or two when using the traditional power washing methods to get the roof back to a dry surface.

Seam Reinforcement

With the SRM, there are seam repairs that need to be performed. Reinforcing the membrane helps to prevent further leaks.

There are two primary methods to do that. You can embed a polyester mesh into a wetout coat that's reinforcing that seam and covered with another coat once cured. It is the lower cost of the two methods.

The second method is utilizing an adhesive backed, polyester reinforced tape or membrane to reinforce that. The tape is installed over the seams and covered with an layer of coating. So you still have to be clean and dry. That process costs more then utilizing just the polyester mesh.

Silicone Application

Finally, the last step in an SRM. Now it's time to finally put down the magic juice. We're getting the silicon coating on the roof system. Most applications are getting a 10 year warranty, some will get a 15 year warranty and even fewer will get a 20 year restoration membrane application. Manufacturers are very comfortable with the 10 and 15 years and now we're kind of getting on that outside edge of is it really going to last 20 years, so the actual silicone and how it is applied affects the warranty as well. Some manufacturers are allowing a 10 year application to be installed in one coat. Some are even allowing a 15 year application to be installed in one coat.

Typically there's not much labor, it takes a little bit more time to put a little bit more coating down, but it really doesn't impact the overall cost of the project to go from 10 to 15, other than the additional material in one coat. Some roof conditions dictate that best practices says 2 coats need to be installed. You need to give this first coat down at a certain millage and then a second coat down at an additional millage, and the duration is affected by the thicknesses of both those coating applications. So again, you're adding more material to get from 10 to 15 years and potentially 20, but now you've got a second step of labor, which is a big cost driver. So a little bit of more material isn't terrible, but when you get into the second coat you do really drive an impact to the cost of the overall project.

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Why Commercial Roof Coating Makes Good Business Sense

There are a lot of options when it comes to commercial roof coatings. In this article we'll look at some reasons you might want to consider them.

Other options include TPO Roof Coating Installation which is covered at that linked article.

The commercial roofing industry for the most part has a very slim window of options. You're either going to tear it off, more often than not if a roof is in complete failure after probably years of repair. You're going to either try to re-cover it, as another option or now if it's a candidate, you have coating as an option. Not just as a protectant, but as an actual roof system.

DC Roofing spraying on commercial roof coating in Tucson

Today we're talking about a roof restoration system specifically involved in silicone coatings; high solid silicone coatings that when used to restore a roof can provide a 10 year warranty on the system.

The real candidates that we're seeing for re-coating are on roofs that were installed twenty, twenty-five, thirty years ago when there was a revolution in the roofing industry where you saw a lot more single ply roofs, and a lot of closed cell styles of insulation. These are the roofs now that are at the end of their service lives, and are now becoming candidates to be coated.

In this particular roof system the existing conditions were a single ply or a white sheet over the top of a closed cell insulation, with extremely good positive drainage, well drained, saddles. What we would consider after core samples, an ideal candidate for re-coating.

The roofing consultants like myself are the last guys in line. If there's a problem or a failure, we're going to be the guys that are actually going to be put out in front of it we're going to make sure that it's correct.

Roof Evaluation

To determine the condition of a roof, we do core samples and when necessary a thermal scan. We're very concerned about any type of moisture in the system or condensation in the system, so what those core samples are going to tell us is whether there is moisture in it, is a saturation level to the point that we don't feel that it's going to be coat-able? Because that saturation or moisture will ultimately find its way through that membrane and affect the coating. So it being dry is paramount to the success of a coating application.

In this particular case there were multiple drains and we took ten core samples on this particular project. All in the drain areas, which would be the lowest areas and more susceptible to being wet, found them all to be dry. Based on that evaluation, the positive drainage, the condition of the membrane, and our ability and know-how for cleaning it, we felt that we would be successful coating it.

Cleaning Process

So once we've determined that this is a good candidate for restoration, this is what we do to really clean this roof; we use a series of high-pressure washes along with some biodegradable detergents. We also use some service cleaners, in some cases we'll use industrial floor scrubbers along with a detergent to soften the dirt and then pressure wash the roof clean.

This is all about adhesion. Our whole system is about adhesion. Within the whole coating industry, it is all about ultimate adhesion. If it's clean, the technology and the coatings and the primers will work. If it's not, there's too many, what we call in our industry, "bond breakers". Any oils, anything that could be left behind after a cleaning that could cause the product to de-bond or not adhere correctly.

Primer Process

The next step would be the installation of the primers. We happen to be very big fans of primers. Once we've super cleaned the roof, we'll come back and we apply a two-part water-based epoxy primer to the entire surface. We'll apply that, depending on the raw substrate, between 300 to 450 square feet per gallon. What we're trying to do is create a surface profile to enhance adhesion to our finish coat material - that finished silicone material.

There's two ways to put a primer on. We use a two-part primer, which we feel is a very effective and a very aggressive type of primer. This particular primer can be put on either by rolling it, or it can be sprayed. Both spraying and rolling our effective methods. We don't coat until we're positive about the condition of the primer.

Final Roof Coating

The next step would be the detail coating, which would be a detail at all penetrations (three coats), and fabric when needed or required by the manufacturer in order to make their warranty requirements. After the primer and the detail coats have been done we do a complete inspection of the existing system as it sits at that point, prior to doing the application of the coatings. The actual final coat, in this particular installation, is a silicone based product that, once it's applied at a specific rate, will cure out into a monolithic sheet and provide long lasting service.

Manufacturers have requirements as far as the amount of material that's applied in any specific roof system. We watch and we match that particular recommendation very closely, because it will determine the performances of the actual product. If that millage isn't correct that manufacturer isn't going to want to provide that warranty. So we're very, very conscious, and very, very careful when we put it down.

The Value Of Re-coating

A roof candidate that's coat-able, in relation to tearing it off, the savings is easily within the 50% range or more. Not only are we talking about the actual cost savings, but environmentally we don't have to fill landfills with with old roof systems. If we can salvage these roofs and restore them into a into a functioning condition and keep them in that condition, everyone benefits. The beauty of using coatings when you are a candidate is that not only can you coat it, you can continue to coat it. Almost all the coating manufacturers will provide a minimum of a 10 year warranty with the understanding that, if the roof is maintained and cleaned, that it becomes a renewable warranty. That's something that's unique. It's something that, over the long haul, it's going to be a major, major cost savings

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Steps Involved with Installing TPO Roofing

If you're not sure what kind of roof coating you need, you might want to first get familiar with your various options in this article - Different Roof Coating Options for Your Commercial Roof

So the first thing we do with the gravel roof is we get rid of the gravel. A lot of roofing contractors may want to just tear the roofs off, but it's really better not to do that because of landfill waste and things like that. Also, you want to maintain your existing insulation. But if you were to go over this existing gravel, the real problem is weight. So by getting rid of the gravel you're getting rid of two hundred pounds per square. A TPO system is very light - more like 40 pounds per square, so it's worth the effort to get rid of the rock and keep the roof.  commercial roof coating

After clearing the gravel, we'll put down insulation and then after that we're going to put down the single ply system TPO over gravel. The next thing we do after the roof is swept is we put down is half-inch insulation. This is basically a buffer so that nothing from underneath can get through, if there is pebble there or anything, it won't poke through. So this goes on the whole roof. 

commercial application of TPO roofing membrane

Then we go to adding the TPO at 60 mm. It cannot be ripped - it's very formidable. This stuff should last 50 years

Once they start getting the TPO on the roof surface, they start heat welding, which is the next phase.

Let's discuss how this gets adhered and fastened to the deck. When things are set up, you'll see screws and wide plates that are about 8 inches apart, all along every single seam on the roof. Then the next row comes on will overlap the first and will be heat welded together. When it's done welded seams will be just as strong as any part of the material sheet.

The way it's kept down is at one side of the six or eight foot sheet it gets screwed down with the plates attached to the deck. That way it can't come up - the wind can't blow it up. So once the sheets are heat welded together, the whole thing is stuck to the deck.

Every every pipe flashing and every penetration gets dealt with individually by an individual installer. He heat welds individual strips to make a watertight boot around that particular vent or protrusion. Square shaped boots are usually manufactured right on the roof as needed. For a pipe or other circular protrusion, you'll get a prefabricated conical boot. Those get heat welded down at the base, right to the top deck layer, and is really your only point of concern. The top portion, where the vent pipe exits, gets a fifty year caulk on it and then it gets a band like you would see a hose clamp in a car, and that gets tightened down making a seal that is good for the duration of the roof.

Installing TPO Membrane | Roofing it Right


I'm Dave and I'm Wally it's hot it is well you guys been seeing our videos of our a little practical get-go I know we're finally to the stage where they start stall numbering now you may notice we're wearing booties you guys an audience mace may chuckle at that you gotta remember we've been tearing off a nasty pitch roof I mean it's been hot it's dirty you didn't pack my other shoes I didn't know it's your fault now poker so as booties necessary no but it's gonna keep that membrane cleaner when we're kicking it out you don't have to wear booties but I'll tell you may sound stupid these things are cheap but it's gonna save you a little time you have to clean so much so we're gonna lay this roof up probably the lace roof okay well I think we're going to start hearing the drain with a 5-footer because we're tapering this white we're actually taping tapering always we're going to start Center this on the drain or pretty much run from wall to the to the edge out there and then we're going to go to the left and to the right where they're going to take over the crew that's doing the tear off right they'll take off or take over and go that way now the reason we did this of course is because the decks going this way mechanically attached we have to hit the top of the flue right that's why we're wearing our sheets this way I mean you could run him this way because that is longer but because of the deck we're going perpendicular to test so we're looking at this roof how many half sheets do we really have to have up here well if you wanted to do a half sheet you would do out there back out and back while I don't mess around a lot of messing around so I think we're gonna do fingers maybe do what has she run fingers right and we'll talk about that a little more as we get installing this perfect yep you crossed okay we're gonna take this five foot rule where several this drain rather than trying we're gonna take it to the water block that's our specification under any clamp ring round and run the membrane cut the hole try and get this tube squeezed in there anybody's ever mussels water black know how messy it is we're gonna do a prior to installing the membrane actually this is our flex seal that was our water block flex seal or water block this is our spec one full pool one full two / gray now the tricks gonna be somebody doesn't walk in it which sure you guys haven't been on a roof we know that's virtually impossible but this is gonna be covered up we'll put something around here so nobody actually gets into it no come to me go to you down a window flashing cover that walk  now I'm going to kind of cut this hold me ghosts we're not gonna put the plant bring on right now I will come back in a little bit just little buddy walks in this area it's cut a hole right here the center of this grain so I'll bet I will tidy it up okay so the settings I put on the robot is 10 feet a minute for about 900 degrees this machine will run I believe while 11:48 is a maximum temperature and I believe this b2 will run around 30 feet a minute you will never let me say this again you will never well cheap you a lot fast it's you gotta remember I've got this big cord I'm trying to drag with me I got trying to keep this thing straight I've got deflections in the deck because you can see right here that we're gonna have to come back and patch in but how I arrived at these temperatures was there's a formula was taught years ago you take the ambient temperature whatever it is that's about 80 degrees so I divided that by 10 gives me 8 I added 2 feet a minute 2 that gives me 10 feet a minute gets me in the ballpark okay you don't have to stay there but you got to have a baseline and I did test wells earlier what I did I set this up at 10 feet a minute I started at 600 degrees I did well I bumped it up 100 degrees I did another weld and I but I didn't touch my speed what I did I ran those those temperatures to I max this machine out from 600 degrees till m48 then I went dad back and did my test bulls and I stepped up the scene up in the middle which gave me about 10 feet a minute right around 8 by 900 degrees so that's where we get that's where we we test well that's how we arrived at the settings on this machine what we're going to do now is at the end of these sheets were going to put faders now a lot of you have done picture framing picture framing is on the outside the true outside perimeter of a building which is when you step off the roof as you're stepping it down that is a true outside perimeter a lot of the younger guys don't have experience with laying up half sheets all the way around the perimeter it works we've been doing it for years but now there's another way we call it faders so when we're going to put feeders in we're going to go between the two seams half of the sheet so we're doing 10-foot sheets now it would be five foot would be make your mark at five foot Gino okay now Gino's guy is his market five foot because we have a five foot perimeter he is going to install plates and faster twelve inches on center straight-line five foot 85-foot miss by an inch now he's putting go foot fight scene plates in here five fasteners now he's going to use this fasteners fasten it down and then we're going to scrip that in with our eight-inch flashing strip which is a reinforced product what this does now I have fastener to every five feet out here at the edge of the roof where the wind is where he hits first you can also do fingers with rhinobot so we put the Rhino bond plates in first lay the sheet over top and come back and zap it in so right now I'm cleaning the membrane very important to clean it just because I cut it you know what I mean all right it's not too dirty it's a brand new roll that just came out so I would just use water for this there's no need for the TPL cleaner or just plain old water it's it works  so guys as you saw I just welded this by hand kind of took me a while I highly recommend when you guys are doing this to use the robot use the robot to weld your your fingers as well it saves you some time now the only reason I'm doing it by hand our generators being used somewhere else so I need I want why not finish this up so I'm using the hand Walter but always try to use the welder to help you guys out with the job  so now what we're going to be doing here we're going to end up doing the wall flashing and it's we had to like a steel beam on the side of the on the bend so we're gonna move the flashing seven inches on the flat so one of the tricks that I was taught by market by Dave Wiley and Mark was we're when your guys are there you mark your seven inches when you come here you measure 14 inches so you mark your 14 inches because once again pretty quick we have a 7 inch on the flat so we're going to do is go back and put that put the edge of the seam right here where those up 14 inches went just crease it out and then with the roller we're gonna roll in so by rolling this in once we're done this is that's gonna help the tpo do an l-shape so we're not fighting it because if you don't crease it instead of having that that nice little L shape it's gonna come out and it's gonna bow out by where it right at that transition so we really really want to square this up is as you can see it's gonna stay nice and flat and this crease helps us out so this is a cool trick I recommend everybody using it and you're not trying to fight to try to get the TPO tight to that to the transition I'm going all the way duck  well we got through another one rarely barely we're wrapping this one up here in Maine we've done tear off we've AIT's a pitch you need some pitch learn some pitch what six inches to tear off something like that we got all the tpo on our end tapered systems on everything's buttoned up ready to go for the roofer contractor to kick off tomorrow it's up to him to finish this job it's about 5:30 or 6 o'clock here in Maine and I think we're just about ready to go what do you think I have myself anything gonna add it's been a long day I'm ready to go back to work and get some rest I heard that let's go

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a Tucson roof benefiting from white roof coating

Today we are looking at liquid applied seamless membranes that seal out the elements. With materials engineered for the restoration of most roof substrates, GAF Topcoat resurfacing products are your solution for long term, total roof protection.

Less expensive than a new roof or retrofit, Topcoat systems offer a wide range of warranty options, with up to 20 year full labor and materials protection.

Replacing your old metal roof with a new one can be twice as expensive, and if left unprotected the new roof will eventually leak, just like the old one. Compared to other roofing systems, Topcoat goes on in a fraction of the time, and at a fraction of the cost.

Topcoat restoration products are not just for metal roofs, they also provide a low cost resurfacing alternative for most low sloped asphalt and for single ply roofs.

By resurfacing an existing roof system you can

  • Extend the life of your roof and avoid the inconvenience and cost of a full roof replacement
  • Avoid costly disposal and business disruption costs
  • Gain the environmental and energy efficiency advantages of a highly reflective UV resistant roof membrane
  • Add years to the life of your roofing system at a fraction of the cost of replacement

GAF Topcoat products can save you money by decreasing your cooling costs. The high reflectivity of a Topcoat membranes white surface membrane can greatly reduce rooftop surface temperatures on roofs by as much as 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Topcoat products meet the stringent requirements and are qualified by today's most recognized energy efficiency programs.

Elastomeric and acrylic membranes and coatings cure chemically, a process accelerated and enhanced by the UV rays of the sun. Even on a cloudy day in Seattle, Topcoat can greatly reduce rooftop surface temperatures.

The difference in the thermal heat load between a section of EPDM roof that is not treated with Topcoat and a metal roofing area that is can be very significant. Formulation is one of the most important elements of Topcoats performance. Also, solids content and polymer quality are of critical importance for durability and longevity.

Topcoat membrane is highly durable, will stand up to the harshest weather conditions, and is resistant to most chemical attacks. Topcoat is tough because it has a higher percentage of solids than other liquid applied systems. The binders used to produce all GAF resurfacing products are the best non-chalking grade available. Topcoats water-based products use high quality flame-retardant ingredients, and achieve UL class A and FM class 1 approvals. Colors can be added for a custom tint, and unlike the copycats the pigmented Topcoats product does not contain cheap extenders such as clay.

The polymer is the backbone of any liquid applied product. Low quality polymers will break down from the sun's ultraviolet rays. As the polymer erodes in a low quality product, the powder is exposed and washes away. The result is chalking. Topcoats high quality polymer resists chalking. Extreme temperature changes can cause significant expansion and contraction of metal roof panels. The Topcoat system is flexible, from minus thirty degrees Fahrenheit to 180 degrees Fahrenheit.

Installing a Topcoat roofing system is as simple as prep, seal and coat. The roof must be clean and in sound condition to receive the liquid membrane.

You might check our other article about Best Roof Coating For Flat Roof

Benefits of Roof Coating Systems


Roof coatings are a great way to extend the life of your low slope or flat roof they protect the roof from wind rain and Sun that can cause a roof to dry out and crack and can provide energy savings by lowering the temperature of the roof before you coat the roof replace any wet insulation and address any ponding water areas once the roof is sound you're ready for the roof mate system the roof mate system includes all the components needed to restore the roof the system includes roof mate base coat top coat butter grade flashing fabric and seam tape the roof mate coating system can be used directly on most metal asphaltic and single ply roofs restoring the roof with coating is a three-stage process prep seal and coat the prep stage is where you clean and prime where needed pressure washing the roof is recommended taking care not to force any water into the scene once the roof is clean completely dry and free of any debris climbers should be applied GAF has two primers that can be used based on the roof type acryl x400 primer can be used on rusty metal concrete masonry and wood SP primer is a must for single ply loops SP primer on TPO and PVC membranes promote adhesion and prevent plasticizers from staining the coating once cleaned and primed the next stage is to seal the roof it's important to seal penetrations curbs and seams since most roof leaks occur at these locations roof mate scene tape should be used on all of the scenes on a metal roof roof makes butter grade flashing should be used to fill small voids such as alligatored areas on asphaltic roof roof mate butter grade flashing and fabrics should be used for all penetrations and curbs and should also be used for loose scenes on asphaltic and single ply roofs once the prep and seal stages are complete you are ready to coat the roof the roof is coated in two steps each coat is applied at one to one and a half gallons per 100 square feet of roof using a sprayer roller or brush first apply roof mate base coat and allow approximately 24 hours for drying this base coat is light grey in color and contains a bleed blocker to prevent asphalt oil greetings in the white topcoat for the final step roof mate topcoat should be applied perpendicular to the base coat to ensure even coverage once this coat is finished you are done so that's the roofs made coating system a simple and effective professional coating system that will give you years of protection and energy benefit

Step 1 - Prep the Roof Surface

Inspect the roof looking for required repairs such as minor sheet metal repairs. All loose or missing fasteners are re-secured or replaced. The roof is then power washed with water at 3,000 psi and allowed to dry. Sheet metal crickets are installed behind all rooftop units. All rust is treated with Topcoat mp 300 rust inhibitor. Areas of residual asphalt are primed with Topcoat mb+.

Step 2 - Seal Protrusions

Horizontal seams or end laps are sealed with a six inch width of Topcoat flashing grade, reinforced with Topcoat flashing fabric or Topcoats liquid fabric product without reinforcement when conditions apply. All vertical seams are sealed with Topcoat flashing grade. All detail areas including curbs, ridges, pipe penetrations, rakes and skylight perimeters are sealed with Topcoat flashing grade, or Topcoat flex seal, and Topcoat flashing fabric. Fasteners are encapsulated in Topcoat fastener grade or flex seal. Where present fiberglass skylights may also be restored with Topcoat skylight after they have been sealed.

At this point on guaranteed projects the roof receives its first mandatory inspection by a GAF field service representative.

Step 3 - Coat

The base coat of the Topcoat membrane is applied to the entire roof area. The finished coat of the Topcoat membrane, typically white, is installed over the base coat. Now the membrane is fully coated and sealed. The second GAF inspection is performed, and the GAF Topcoat system guarantee is issued.

Existing low sloped roofing systems can also be restored. Even an aged, smooth surface asphalt roof that has already been in place for over 30 years. Even if a lack of maintenance has led to leaks in a few areas. Again follow the basic steps of restoration. Prep seal and coat.

A moisture scan identifies wet or damaged areas. Those areas get replaced as part of the prep phase of a restoration. This step is of critical importance and a required element for GAF guarantee coverage. Without replacing wet roof areas, a coating will blister and peel away from the surface.

Next all the penetrations must get sealed with Topcoat flex seal and Topcoat flashing fabric. Then the roof gets coated with two coats of Topcoat mv+. The temperature difference can be immediately noticeable.

Topcoat products can also help assure watertight system performance when used as part of a yearly maintenance program. High quality sealants membranes and coatings can reduce thermal stress, seal open laps, repair aged caulk, and seal metal flashings. GAF is so committed to the importance of maintenance that they extend the duration of their membranes guarantees up to 25% when a certified maintenance professional maintains your newly installed roof. And including Topcoat products in your maintenance program helps assure the vulnerable areas of your system are properly maintained.

Join the growing numbers of industry leaders who are protecting their buildings with Topcoat. Take the first step in restoring your most valuable asset by contacting a licensed contractor in your area to help you determine which Topcoat system is right for your roof.

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How To Apply Elastomeric Roof Coating

Elastomeric acrylic coating system are an economical alternative to a costly re-roof. Advances in polymer chemistry have resulted in elastomeric coatings that provide lasting restoration, retrofit or repair. This liquid applied membrane completely bonds to the surface as it dries, yet remains elastomeric. It stretches as the substrate moves. And then returns to its original shape without deformation.

Elastomeric coatings are versatile, easy to apply and repair lightweight and watertight. When you use a quality product like APOC, Henry or others which are manufactured with strict quality control, you can count on quality that's consistent batch to batch. Many are also energy star rated and independently tested to EPA guidelines, with results of initial solar reflective values up to 86%, and three year aged values up to 72%.

Professional roofing contractors favor acrylic coatings for long-term performance and ease of application without the use of fabrics. Before making use of a new roof coating, a field representatives will walk the roof with you and will provide warranty inspections for system warranted projects. Then the following steps will be followed: power wash, prime, flash, and finish.

You can go here to learn more about Liquid Applied Membrane Roofs

Power washing the roof

Before power-washing, prep and clean the roof surface. Start by removing all loose coatings, old brittle patching materials, and soft or active roof cements. Any areas with excessive rust should be cleaned with a wire brush. If heavy debris or loose dirt exists, broom the surface.

Now you are ready to power wash, either with water alone or using a mixture of specifically designed roof cleaning solution.

This step effectively removes existing oil, dirt or grease that would adversely affect the bonding of acrylic coatings.

For a roof without gutters, remember to wet the side of the building first, to prevent cleaning runoff from discoloring the exterior. After completing the power washing, visually inspect the exterior walls and rinse as needed.

Prime the roof surface

Apply a metal roof primer to the clean dry roof. A primer is required for coating rusted or bare metal, and for all projects obtaining a labor and material system warranty.

Check weather conditions first. Do not apply if weather conditions will not permit complete cure before rain, dew or freezing temperatures.

Use a modified acrylic primer exhibiting excellent adhesion and corrosion resistance which provides re-coat ability and durability in a single component primer. The primer totally encapsulates existing rust and inhibits the development of new rust, while it maximizes the adhesion of your elastomeric coating.

A typical primer will be applied at a rate of one half gallon per 100 square feet. A brush is suitable for details and flashings. A roller may be used for coating small flat areas. For large areas, airless spray equipment is recommended using a tip size of .015 to .027 inch diameter, with a wide angle fan pattern.

Thoroughly mix the primer prior to application. After installation, there should be no visible rust. If more product is required to cover rust, additional coats should not exceed one half gallon per 100 square feet. Applying a primer at higher coverage rates in one coat can result in surface splitting or blistering, due to trapped moisture. A 12 hour cure time is recommended between coats and multiple coats should always be applied within 72 hours of each coat. This minimizes the chance of contamination that would require additional cleaning. Cool temperatures and high humidity are factors that may retard curing, which can result in longer cure times between coats.

For application in high temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it is recommended that applications be done in multiple thin coats to prevent trapped moisture problems that can cause splitting and blistering.


When the primer has cured apply flashing grade to seal fasteners, panel seams, penetrations and end lap joints. But remember, do not apply if weather conditions will not permit complete cure before rain, dew or freezing temperatures.

Apply by brush or extrude, and cover with a minimum of 1/8 inch thick coat. Make sure all vents and other metal flanges are properly secured to the roof deck before applying. Areas that need a build-up of product thicker than an eighth of an inch should be applied in multiple coats to prevent trapping of moisture, which could cause splitting or blistering.

When working on open seams and end lap joints, make sure to back brush. Flashing grade sealant will skin over in approximately two hours, depending on temperature and humidity. If additional product is required a minimum of 24 hours is recommended between coats.

Finish - Applying the elastomeric coating to your roof

The final step is to coat with your quality elastomeric roof coating. Again do not apply if weather conditions will not permit complete cure before rain, dew or freezing temperatures.

Apply by brush for details and flashings and a roller may be used for coating small flat areas. For large areas, airless spray equipment is recommended using a tip size of .025 to .035 inch diameter, with a wide angle fan pattern.

Thoroughly mix your coating material prior to application. Apply the first coat at a rate of one and one half gallons per 100 square feet. Coating thickness can be tested using a wet mil thickness gauge. The coating should be 24 wet mils thick per coat. When dry, you will achieve a dry mil thickness of 13.2 mils per coat.

Allow approximately 12 hours curing time between coats, or enough time so that the product is sufficiently dry that foot traffic will not damage the coating.

Apply the second coat at a rate of 1 1/2 gallons per 100 square feet. The finished roof is now coated with a total of three gallons per 100 square feet and is ready to deliver years of trusted performance.

Elastomeric Coating: Tried And Tested Tips


okay so when it comes to elastomeric coding there's a lot of different options out there the one we like here at twin home experts that's truly been tested with all of the jobs that we've done is going to be the sure coat systems now you've seen a lot of our videos to do elastomeric coatings on roofs while this one is their structure coat specifically made for stucco one of the products that we really like using first to prep is going to be the sure scrub this is basically soap go in pressure wash the surface of the old structure de-grease remove and get a better application but what I love about sugar coat systems is the fact that the staff if there's questions the support is right there at your fingertips you simply dial them up someone's gonna answer they're gonna take care of your issues if there's any issues on the job site you're going to get that support unlike other competitor elastomeric coating manufacturers the other benefit with this here and it actually shows it right here it's 80 percent eighty six percent thermal emittance you've got protectants again heat saves money and energy protects against moisture the building that we're doing right behind us right now had moisture issues we've actually tested this out on the front of the building which had a lot of exposure to rain it stopped everything it does a great job with them what I wanted to offer you now is what does sure coat cost well a five gallon bucket of shirt coat is gonna be around two hundred to two hundred and ten dollars for five gallons it's gonna cover about a hundred and thirty-five square feet it does give you two coats with that coverage that I just expressed you sure scrub about thirty dollars for for this size right here then you got to consider your rollers and paintbrushes and all the plastic and tapes got to factor that in as well let's go ahead and take you to the building here and we'll show you some tips and tricks that way so one of the tips that you might want to consider before you start applying elastomeric coding is to really do a detail job in protecting the windows the pathway such as sidewalks the staircase you can just see right above me the rails as well as the pathway here this is six six mil the reason why we use six mil here is because it does offer not only protection but it's not going to tear and rip if it's a high-traffic area you might want to consider more of a painters drop cloth so that way nobody slips in this case we're just taking care of this today so this will be removed again strong tape so good sticky tape on some of these areas is a must if not the stuffs just gonna peel apart so again windows doors stairs floors you got to protect all that before you start applying it the other thing is is if you're going to run your elastomeric coating on your walls you want to make sure that you excavate down into the ground and bring the elastomeric coating into the soil the reason for that is because if the soil is is ends up at this elevation right here and you just painted it to this point you're going to end up getting some more water and throughs and going into the stucco and that starts to absorb as you can see here this doesn't have a weap screen so again this is the Elliott you really want to add a lot more elastomeric coating may be even consider doing three coats and these lower areas here just offers a little bit more protection alright let's go ahead now and go to some areas in the front of the building that are tall walls we'll show you what that looks like in respect to painting alright folks so here we are in front of the building with a 20-foot Eve here so what we like doing is we use about a four foot ladder and then the long 15 foot poles and as you can see makes it safe it's pretty easy to paint all right folks so now if you just pay attention to the roller you can see right here coming a little bit closer as you can see the hairs of the roller are not sticking out when it's flattened out like this this is a sign that you need to do another dip of the elastomeric all the way you want to dip your roller into a five-gallon bucket is just like this all right folks so one of the steps that you need to take before you start rolling on the walls is do all your cuttings around the windows doors in this case it's a mailbox so it's basically a four inch paintbrush and basically you're just gonna cut in all the way around windows and doors what this will allow you to do is be able to roll on the elastomeric coating be a lot more effective in covering everything so cutting in is very very important to all your windows and doors alright folks well hopefully you like this video

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Different Roof Coating Options for Your Commercial Roof - Torch Down, EPDM, TPO Roofing

Although there are many commercial roofing systems to choose from, there are three specific types of single ply roofing systems commonly installed by contractors across the United States. Of the three types, EPDM is the most popular. It has been used for over 40 years. It is the same synthetic rubber membrane used to make inner tubes.

Another type is TPO, which is a thermoplastic polyolefin membrane, and is probably the fastest growing type of commercial roofing product material.

And finally there's modified bitumen, which is an asphalt based membrane that is similar to a Built-Up Roof (BUR) that is used on many commercial buildings.

Let's look a bit closer at each of these membranes.

EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer)

EPDM is an extremely durable synthetic rubber roofing membrane used in low-slope buildings that are susceptible to water ponding issues. It is widely used in the United States and worldwide . Its two primary ingredients, ethylene and propylene, are derived from liquid oil and natural gas.

EPDM is produced in different thicknesses. They are 45, 60, and 90 thousandths of an inch. Most contractors use the industry standard of 60 thousandths of an inch, which is very near the thickness of a quarter. 

Some advantages for using EPDM on a flat roof are:

  • It is the least expensive system to install per square foot
  • It is simple to install with the use of anchors adhesives and rollers
  • It weighs less than other single ply membranes
  • It is sold in wide rolls of eight to twenty feet resulting in fewer seams

Some of the disadvantages of EPDM are

  • Harmful ultraviolet rays degrade adhesive used on seams and flashing causing very premature separation.
  • The black membrane absorbs ultraviolet light causing shrinkage and brittleness, which decreases its life expectancy drastically.
  • Protective mats are definitely needed because the thin membrane is susceptible to punctures due to foot traffic on sharp objects left behind by maintenance crews.
  • Another reason we don't recommend EPDM is because it's so easily punctured. For example, you may see roofers lay out mats for workmen to walk on, and this is supposed to offer protection, but because there's never enough mats to cover the whole roof, there almost always tends to be issues created by the foot traffic.
  • Repairs to seams and flashing is required long before the warranty of the fifteen to twenty years expires.
  • The surface preparation can be an added labor cost when removing an old roof system, or installing one over a pre-existing one.
  • And lastly, the black color of the membrane absorbs heat, and can lead to the super heating of the structure below, causing air conditioning costs to rise significantly.

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) Roofing

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) single-ply roofing membranes are among the fastest growing commercial roof coating products in the business and have gained praise across the industry for their many performance and installation advantages.

There are two thickness options to TPO; 45 and 60 thousandths of an inch, which is roughly equivalent to the thickness of a quarter. TPO is composed of laminated layers. Of the three membranes, this one requires more experienced roofing technicians and much more equipment.

Some of the advantages of TPO are

  • The seams are heat welded rather than glued, so they are much less prone to separation.
  • The white surface of the membrane reflects much of the ultraviolet light keeping the structure below cooler as measured by infrared instruments as well as basic temperature readings.
  • If the contractor is certified by the manufacturer, to install the membrane, the manufacturer, rather than the contractor, honors with warranty.

Here are some of the disadvantages of TPO

  • The system is fairly new to the roofing industry, about 20 years, and has a long track record of revisions and improvements due to surface and seam failures.
  • Also, TPO is known to shrink and its rigidity causes stress on seams and flashing.
  • A prolonged period of excessive heat exposure causes ultraviolet light degradation
  • Another con is that contractors must calibrate their welding machines very carefully. Improperly welded seams may come loose during the first freeze and thaw cycle and lead to water infiltration.
  • Lastly, the manufacturer's warranty is only fifteen to twenty years.

Installing TPO Roofing


mechanically attached roofing system the Versa weld mechanically attached roofing system uses 45 60 72 or 80 mil reinforced membrane field sheets are either 8 10 or 12 foot wide depending upon wind zone deck type and building height step 1 begin by laying the approved insulation with no gaps greater than 1/4 inch versico recovery board and polyisocyanurate insulation with thickness 1 and 1/2 inches of greater utilize a minimum of 5 fasteners and plates / 4 by 8 foot board when using 4 by 4 foot boards regardless of the thickness a fastener and plate are required every four square feet please refer to the details for specific fastening requirements step 2 for the required perimeter secure meant position the four or six foot wide perimeter sheets over the substrate fast in the perimeter sheet according to the required number of fasteners for the project the project requires 12 inch on center fastening versa goes HPV X fasteners plates must be used to fasten the versa weld membrane to the deck position the next perimeter sheet by overlapping the first perimeter sheet approximately 5 and 1/2 inches fasten the perimeter sheet in the same manner as the first utilizing an automatic heat welding machine weld the two sheets together to achieve a minimum 1 and 1/2 inch Heat welded splice step 3 in the field of the roof position the versa weld membrane over the substrate whether using 8 10 or 12 foot rolls when encountering penetrations cut the membrane to fit as tight as possible around the units utilizing the pre-printed X markings along one edge of the sheet install all of the required fasteners the HPV X fasteners and plates are required for membrane securement and lap splices are set at a minimum of 2 inches to achieve a minimum 1 and 1/2 inch weld no mechanical Sherman is required at this location the sheets are typically fastened a maximum of 12 inches on center this project requires 12 inch on center fastening for the field sheets after the sheet has been fastened in place position the next roll of membrane overlapping the adjoining sheet at least 5 and 1/2 inches step 4 complete all splices utilizing an automatic heat welding machine there are 4 details which require additional membrane securement the pre molded and split pipe seal the filled fabricated pipe seal and the versa weld sealant pocket these four details require the use of HPV X fastener plate located 12 inches maximum from the detail round penetrations less than 6 inches in diameter only require four fasteners and plays pipes over 6 inches in diameter will require fastening 12 inches away from the penetration and 12 inches on center heat weld a piece of versa weld reinforced membrane over the plate to achieve a minimum 1 and 1/2 inch heat welded splice past the plate in all directions after the splice area has cooled probe this place and make any necessary repairs to complete the detail apply a bead of tpo cut edge sealant to the edge of the membrane. This is great for waterproofing as properly applied it is highly water-resistant.

The importance of waterproofing all seams and penetrations can't be overstated. Without paying attention to these small but critical waterproofing details, you are almost guaranteed to have water leak beneath the membrane..

You want to have a qualified roofer do this for you, so you might want to check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) for a bit of due diligence before hiring a contractor.

Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roofing

Now, let us talk about the modified bitumen torch down membrane that has been around since the late 1960s.

Torch down roofing (sometimes referred to as “torch on” roofing) is so named because it requires an open-flame propane torch.  The membrane layers of a torch down roof are made of an asphalt compound called bitumen that is modified with either rubber or plastic.

These single ply membranes can be combined to create a two-to-three ply membrane, that offers the best roofing system to date because there's a forty year guarantee.

Some advantages for installing the modified bitumen membrane

  • It is designed to be flexible in extremely hot and cold weather
  • It is a two ply membrane with a thickness of about five quarters, or three-eighths of an inch, which is very puncture resistant.
  • The membrane surface has been embedded with granular ceramics to protect it from ultraviolet degradation.
  • Seams are fused together with high heat to prevent any separation, unlike EPDM and TPO, the 2 to 3 ply system can withstand a heavy amount of foot traffic.
  • This 2 ply system can be installed over any existing roof or surface with minimal preparation.

There are actually two advantages for installing a new membrane in this case.

  1. 1
    There is no cost for stripping and removing the old membrane and
  2. 2
    Fusing an additional membrane over an old one creates a roof that will last well beyond 40 years, unlike the 15 to 20 year life wear expectancy of EPDM and TPO single ply roofing systems.

Some disadvantages to modified bitumen membrane are

  • The installation requires highly skilled roofing technicians
  • The additional layer has an added costs for labor materials

With a 2 ply system, when torched together, the membranes are fused so well together they cannot come apart and the underlying stones never puncture through. Everybody always asks if a simple base sheet is enough, and it is.  It's a fiberglass reinforced base sheet and it is not going to get punctured. You can walk on this kind of roof material all day long. It's what you want in a situation where there are air conditioning units that need maintenance on a regular basis for example, creating a lot of foot traffic, because it's so extremely puncture resistant.

In conclusion we feel the modified bitumen is likely the best, most cost effective and widely useful roofing repair system for the price. The type and condition of your existing roof does not matter as this is a roofing system that will be cost effective and will outlast any other.

When it comes to commercial roof coatings, you have a lot of options and solutions available to you. Whether your looking at options for a new building or an older one that needs a roof replacement or just a roof restoration service, there are a lot of different application that can be used on your property. And whether you have a metal roof, foam or any other material, a good roofing company can help you figure out if an acrylic elastomeric or silicone spray will provide you the most benefits. Either way, when you add a cool roof reflective coating, your building will need less energy to keep it cool during the hot Arizona summer. Building owners are often shocked at how well these work as a shield against the sun's scorching temperatures, regarding the energy costs and money that they save when these coatings are applied to their roofs when they really only thought they were looking for help with roof leaks.

We gladly service the entire, greater Tucson area, including Oro Valley, Marana, Saddlebrooke, Green Valley and Vail, AZ.  Call DC Roofing today! (520) 979-9095

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aerial inspection of a commercial roof in Arizona

Getting a  Commercial Roof Inspected

Roof inspections and roof surveys differ significantly. Oftentimes when customers call asking for a roof inspection, what they’re really looking for or needing is a roof survey.

A commercial roof inspection is kind of general in nature. It might be for a real estate purchase agreement where they just need to note the existing conditions for bank information, might be for an insurance audit. Before that insurance company will provide a policy they want to know the existing condition, so it’s general data gathered on the roof conditions.

What You Need to Know About Your Flat Roof


so now we're down here on the flat roofing I mean this is just freakin ridiculous look at people just just throwing their trash everywhere before fixing this thing like nails or like the worst thing to leave laying around your roof idiot step on on poke holes in your roof and then your roof leaks I mean come on who can't get that everywhere I have to try to avoid these things it's incredible so here he is a giant patch it looks like somebody actually used looks like it's hot tar be honest it could be torched down, I think this is hot tar by the way it's alligatoring that's what they call skin you can see that it's just coming up yeah this is crap you can't have that like that is gonna have to be removed 3-course granulated they did they throw some granules on top instead of putting the granules over here they just threw one of the things that always leaks on these flowers these joints right here this is Paulie see how it's popped out you're supposed to crimp it inward and then put one nail right here and then this doesn't happen leaks all over the roof watch a bitch it leaks right there every one of these leak is the amateur mistake look at that gravel are joint finger right underneath there water dry rot most likely it's exactly why they had to fix that area right there grab a card joint these people Wow so you want to hire somebody it's halfway competent and it's incredible it's crazy because they'll tell you that they are they're not so what's this gravel garden toast somebody actually spread tons didn't bother to split the roof they just put some tar on it they attempted to fix it it's all crispy just coming straight off you know what is this Oh No let's see what they did up here by this little window I'm almost afraid to look he's got their panda right there oh holy smokes they just roof right up to the window seal don't ever do that you gotta be kidding me I mean this is krimpets a roofing although look if it's mud table over here that's funny they leak straight inside the window that's a mess that's just a mess you know everything about that I've no idea what so anyways don't be powerless company

Now, a roof survey or a roof assessment performed by a roofing professional typically is performed by the contractor, the contractor sales technicians. Some will employ consultants. Generally with a quality contractor you don’t need to bring a consultant in, the contractor can handle that.

Now that survey is going to provide a much more in-depth analysis of the existing roof condition, it’s going to look at the age of the membrane, look closer at the flashings, the perimeter edges, the coping systems, provide all those data points into a formal professional package to be forwarded to the owner.

Checking everything from the roof flashing to roof mounted equipment

During the inspection the roof matrix as a whole is being inspected, so it’s not just the condition of the membrane that you need to be concerned with, it’s everything else that affects the waterproofing characteristics of the facility. So that might entail rooftop equipment, condensing units, perimeter edge, metal flashings, coping conditions, brick wall conditions, satellites might be up on that roof. There are such a large number of rooftop installation variables on these structures these days, there’s terraces and patios that are put up there, so you have to encompass all of that into the survey.

Additionally you need to determine what the existing roof assembly or the matrix of the roof core sample is, so you have to take a core sample and look at that.

The first data point gathered from a core was how many roofs are installed. Building codes allow for two roof systems to be installed on commercial low-slope buildings. Beyond that you have to begin the tear off process.

The second thing that core will tell you is if there’s any moisture present in the assembly. Now, it is a very small point within the roof assembly so multiple cores should be taken to determine if it’s dry. It would also give you a visual inspection of what type of roof deck there is and whether it is sustaining any water damage.

Oftentimes you can see if there’s any deterioration of that deck through that core assembly, and again, they’re small, additional analysis needs to be performed especially on a roof deck inspection from underneath to make sure that there’s no structural deterioration.

The two primary ways, cores will determine on a spot analysis, but the more thorough way is, and more popular way is with an infrared camera. So at dusk or into the evening hours the roof cools off, the moisture laden areas retain heat and the infrared camera picks up those anomalies.

So a couple of roof technicians will be on the roof utilizing the infrared camera, we’ll use marker paint to mark the anomalies or saturated areas, and then as long as that area doesn’t grow too much beyond 20% to maybe 30% of the roof we can do spot tear off and save the owner money. There’s no point in throwing away the existing insulation if it’s performing fine and if it’s not saturated.

Determining if a full roof replacement is needed

From a price perspective, it's always preferable to do repairs as opposed to replacing the entire roof because repairs will always be less expensive.  However, if it is in excess of say 25 or 30%, at that point the cost savings of doing spot tear off versus complete removal and replacement, it is lost and it’s better to just go ahead and remove the whole thing.

Capacitance Moisture Meter

The other method is a capacitance moisture meter.  This is a device, kind of looks like a lawn mower, that you actually walk across the roof assembly in a grid pattern and it is emitting electronic frequencies into the roof assemblies, and it reads at a different level when moisture’s present so that that electronic frequency actually travels through the moisture-laden material, it reads it on a meter.


It doesn’t lay it out in a pretty picture like an infrared camera will, but you can use it to determine, and especially if, in situations where there might be multiple layers of insulation and a infrared camera can’t read through all those installation layers you can tear a couple layers off and then deploy the capacitance meter once you get into the lower levels to see if there’s any hidden moisture in there as well.

Both are functional, infrared’s gaining more and more popularity. And the cost of the equipment has been coming down over the years, therefore so has the service.

Quality contractors these days, most of them will have that infrared capabilities and be able to provide that data in either video or photographic evidence and then obviously will verify the results of the infrared with rooftop core samples to identify that the moisture readings are correct.

The reports themselves should be very professional, well-documented, and well-prepared.

It should be something the professional contractor out there makes obvious through a well prepared document they spent a significant amount of time preparing ir for presentation. They should include photographs; photograph says a thousand words.

They also can put some descriptions underneath the proposal, most building owners don’t want to be on their roofs, that’s why they’re calling the subject matter experts to get up there and do this survey. It’s generally better to just let the roofing contractor do their job, especially from a safety standpoint.

So you’ve got photographs with an explanation of what they’re seeing in that photograph, maybe some roof drawings, roof diagrams, and those should be either done through some sort of CAD technology or some other software that gives you the ability to legibly draw the locations of the rooftop equipment. That should include the sizes of everything, locations of skylights, drains, gutter locations, down spouts, roof edges, coping conditions, different penetrations, satellite dishes, and then have a legend that describes all that because at some point these roofs can get pretty busy and it needs to be legible from the lay person standpoint exactly what they’re looking at in that diagram.

In addition to that there’s significant narrative needs to be included that describes if there are any ponding conditions.

The age of the roof system, oftentimes the owner is unaware, whether they bought the building or the building’s been around for years and a couple of the maintenance department guys have changed hands, nobody knows when the last time it was installed or even maintained. So the roofing professional should be able to identify the age of that roof system within a couple of years one way or another, so it gives you an approximate date of the original installation.

So again, you need to analyze in a narrative form all of the other ancillary products, if there are walkways up there, are they effective, have they been abandoned over time? So you’re really trying to get the story of what’s on that roof in a clear and concise manner so that the owner understands what and why they need to do what they need to do on that roof.

Once you receive the roof inspection, you really want to start looking at the proposals that typically are forwarded with that. Now after that inspection you might glean from two out of the three contractors that simple maintenance is only required. There might be a recommendation for a spot repair, there’s no reason to have to replace the entire roof system if it’s only one area that was deteriorated.

Or it’s possible the proposal will be for complete removal and or overlay situation, so, now you want to look at two to three professional roofing contractors and get proposals that have detailed scopes of work.

You have to be able to compare apples to apples on this, so oftentimes you’ll get contractors that have different solutions, and it can be very difficult to identify apples to apples. You may start trying to look at R-value and insulation thicknesses and membrane thicknesses and warranty terms, and each one has something a little bit different and can justify the difference in cost in their proposal through those differences. So oftentimes it’s good for the building owner to prepare a scope of work of what you want and ask those contractors to fall within a very small margin of error on that scope of work so that you can truly get an apples to apples comparison and make the best decision moving forward.

Roof Inspections with Drones

Drones are helping everyone from roofing inspectors to your local handyman improve safety, collect better data, and boost efforts to rebuild storm damaged buildings littered with debris with much greater safety and efficiency.

Drone-based roof inspections can easily be carried out by users who are not highly tech-savvy, flying them from their cell phone. And with price points coming down in recent years, it alows even budget conscious project management to get the job done without requiring an excessive fee to the end clients. Removing the hazards of falls alone should be one of the main advantages of making full use of drone technology for the roof or home inspector.

Some of the more popular drones used are made by DJI. The specific models that are used most often include the DJI Mavic, DJI Phantom and DJI Inspire, sometimes combined with the popular GoPro action camera. The key thing that you want from drone for your commercial roof inspection is the ability to use thermographic imaging. Thermal images using infrared thermography allow you to see areas of trouble that the naked eye would not see. Wind or hail damaged shingles or gutters are easy to spot the traditional way, but seeing beneath the surface where there has been water damage and corrosion brings it to a whole new level.

Given the variety of different types of drone technology available on the market today and the wide range of applications, roof inspection is probably one of the most common professional uses of arial infra red photography.

When it comes to commercial roof inspection, the money you pay compared to the work and money you'll save on needing significant roof repairs or even a completely new roof for your property makes for an easy choice.

Whether you decide to schedule a maintenance plan where a company will provide regular, complete service inspections to your roof is up to you. But it's a major point to understand that having professionals in the commercial roof inspections industry inspect your roof today to find any issues, rather than waiting for some major weather to arrive only then to find the problems and call your insurance company to learn what kind of estimate they'll offer you can take a lot of future stress out of your business life.

Don't wait to find a roof leak by getting the news that you have water on the floor - request that a professional roof inspector, who knows commercial roofs backward and forward, access your roof and help prevent future damage before it's too late. Call around and you may even be able to get a free quote to check the health of your roof. Once things are in order, it's a good idea to regularly have your site checked for potential issues and have a team go up top and fix them before they turn into a major roof construction project.

Need to learn more about Roof Coatings? We've got you covered.

We gladly service the entire, greater Tucson area, including Oro Valley, Marana, Saddlebrooke, Green Valley and Vail, AZ.  Call DC Roofing today! (520) 979-9095

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showing the need for commercial roof repair on a Tucson roof

Roof Repairs Can Be an Alternative to a Complete Commercial Re-roof

If your commercial building is suffering from roof leaks or other problems, it might be time for a new roof, which can be a major expense to deal with. However, sometimes a knowledgeable commercial roof repair contractor can show you affordable alternatives to the expense of re-roofing your entire building.

The vast majority of phone calls from facility managers asking for prices for re-roofing end up where the building in fact does not need an entire new roof, but rather some repairs coupled with ongoing preventative maintenance.

One thing we all know - commercial roofs at some point in time will suffer some corrosion and will leak. And commercial roofs, at some point in time, will need to be replaced. A good commercial roof contractor can assist you in planning for that expense when the time comes, but in the mean time, preventive maintenance will make your roof last longer. Preventive maintenance will eliminate the headaches caused by water getting into your facility, and preventive maintenance will in fact lower the eventual cost of roof replacement.

By getting your flat roofing waterproofed and keeping water out of your roof assembly - for example out of your roof insulation - you can maintain the integrity of the roof insulation and reuse it when it comes time to re-roof. So it's extremely important to keep water out of your roof assembly.

Another element when it comes to budgeting for, and actually re-roofing buildings, is the concept of partial roof replacements. If you're dealing with, for example a 100,000 square foot facility and monetary restraints keep you from re-roofing the entire facility, you can do a part of the roof. You can do 25,000 square feet or 50,000 square feet at this time, and then simply tie into that new section at some future point with the balance of the roof replacement.

5 Common Causes of a Leaking Commercial Roof


Weather plays a big role on your roof it's outside in the elements harsh weather freeze tall rain when everything takes its toll on your roof hi my name is David Mann I'm a service technician here at west roofing going on my 25th year and today we're talking about the five common causes of a commercial roof leak signs of a leaking roof is obviously some stains yellow stains brown stains whatever the water stains may be if you see water on the floor or dripping from the ceiling that's obviously yes tell sign there's also an odor I mean a pungent odor strong I mean mold does kind of smell and you can definitely smell it as long as you've had any in your home or anywhere else and you have to smell the smelly you-you'd it's hard to get rid of something that has poor drainage it could go back to your gutters you can go to your drains as far as just drainage itself standing water it can actually seep into there and they can bill open your gutters you can get underneath layers and also go down inside your pipes of your drains and actually freeze and thaw and freeze until the break pipes to an open penetration means there's a vent or something coming through the roof where they had to go around that when they're putting on the membrane penetrations could be a gas line coming through could be all water lines could be HVAC a vent pipe a drain pipe anything that comes through your roof roof flesh is kind of go hand in hand with penetrations because when you do have penetrations or a wall changing you're gonna have flashing flashing is are not always metal they could be part of the real system that they use up there and they can use a termination bar to terminate that damaged membrane is the actual surface that you walk on is on your roof a lot of foot traffic and kind of damage and crush anything like that it can get through the membrane and then throw four into your insulation then all the way down if you have a small area that's damaged it's easy fix the longevity of a commercial roof is based upon the amount that you put down what you put down the material you put down there are different thicknesses of everything there's different thicknesses of rubber everything that you put on there determines your longevity to minimize any kind of damage more inside on the thirst equipment or anything like that please move everything out of the way as quickly as possible if at all possible if you can please mark any point of entry so when the service techs get there you can point out where it was um if you seen it move if you've seen it travel coming out of a ductwork coming out of a light fixture anything like that any more information you give the service tech when they get there would be very helpful it's always good to look around you never know if that's your only leak you might have one ten feet away if you have a leak like right by a wall go into the next room to see if it's leaking in there also so after you've maintained everything moved everything out of the way you want to call your roofing contractor at that time to get the problem fixed as soon as possible so if your building has received any internal damage it's probably best that you get your insurance company involved and if you can't at all possible look for your warranty information and if you don't have it our service tech will be able to help if your roof is under warranty depending on what the damage is it could be no charge to you no matter how you treat a roof leak it's a serious problem and it can grow larger here at West roofing systems we have a Mars program which is the maintenance repair of service there are different levels different tiers involved in that and if you call in for a roof leak we'll get the paperwork in order as fast as we can we do have a 24 hour on call service when you call in you'll leave a message and it'll get sent and just back to the person that's on call that eating and you'll receive a phone call possibly within a net 10 to 15 minutes you can also visit our online learning center to learn more about what causes roof leaks and what you can do to prevent them in the future you

An experienced commercial roofing company analyzes a particular building and identifies unique solutions, from making use of an energy audit to recommending highly energy-efficient solutions for your rooftop. It is best to hire a licensed, professional roofer to carry out the inspections and maintenance of the roof, as typically the plant owners have no knowledge or experience in the commercial roofing trade.

There are a lot of commercial roof options for flat roofs when it comes to materials, some of which include metal roofs as a common commercial roofing system, restoration options over your existing roof include spray foam, modified bitumen, reflective roof coating roof, built-up roofing (BUR), single-ply coating systems, Torch Down, EPDM rubber (ethylene propylene diene monomer), single ply membranes, TPO Membrane Roofing system, TPO over gravel and more. For more information on the best commercial roofing products and services, contact us today.

Tearing down the roof usually means limiting your business activities for at least a few days, which can cost you even more in revenue. If you want to maximize the life expectancy of your roof and get the most out of your investment, consider implementing a commercial roof repair and maintenance program.

When it comes to commercial roofing repair, you have a lot of options. Compared to a full roof replacement for your property, the money you pay compared to the time, work hassle and cost you'll save on a full new roof installation makes for an easy choice. Whether you decide to request a scheduled maintenance plan where qualified roof contractors with professional equipment will provide regular, complete service inspections to ensure your flat roof is in good shape going forward is up to you. But it's an important point to understand that having a professional roofing company inspect your roof today rather than waiting for some big storm to call your insurance company to learn what kind of best estimate they'll offer you can take a lot of future stress out of your business life. Don't wait to see water leak or other problems develop - get a regular inspection and roof maintenance team on your roof at least once a year and prevent future damage before it's too late.

When it does come time for a repair, remember that not all roofing contractors are the same - there are different types out there. Make sure the one you hire offers solutions using high quality industrial materials on your project and that they have the experience to apply them properly. Check to see that previous customers are happy with the work they have done by checking with the Better Busines Bureau (BBB). Doing so will ensure that you get many years of hassle free use from your roof.

We gladly service the entire, greater Tucson area, including Oro Valley, Marana, Saddlebrooke, Green Valley and Vail, AZ.  Call DC Roofing today! (520) 979-9095

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Flat Roof Leak Diagnosis

Today we'll be walking through a case study of a flat roof leak diagnosis and repair. Understanding the process that a qualified roofing contractor goes through can give you insights into your own roof and problems that may arise.

flat roof repair and coating on a Tucson house

There are two types of flat roofs. The ones that leak and the ones that are going leak. Additionally, many flat roof leaks are misdiagnosed and many times, unnecessary expensive repairs are performed.

The owner of this flat roof case study has had flat roof leaks since the day the building was purchased, which was roughly 10 years ago. The building owner employed many roofing contractors to make roof repairs which included the installation of new roof membranes, installation of new flashing, and the installation of new top reflective sealant coating. After all these repairs, the roof membrane still leaked. The building owner and his secretary would control the roof leaks with buckets. The last roofer decided to get an opinion from a building scientist (Marko Vovk) to help diagnose the root cause of these roof leaks.

Upon arrival and beginning inspections, the roofer cut the roof membrane and found trapped water. Water was running between roof membranes and leaking at two different room locations below. While on the roof, the maintenance man was adked to bring up a 5 gallon bucket full water. Several cups or water were thrown to an upper elevation brick wall. The water beaded off.

The maintenance man was asked who sealed the brick. He said, that 10 years ago, when they bought the building, the previous owner disclosed that the window at this location leaked and it was repaired. He wasn't sure about and brick sealing. He stated that since this repair, the window has not leaked.

Well it was quite obvious that somebody 10 years ago knew it was the brick that was leaking and not the window. This is why they sealed the brick with what appeared to be a water resistant coating.

While walking and inspecting the roof it was noticed that a higher elevation roof brick wall also existed at this area. Several cups of water were thrown onto this brick. This time, the water was absorbed or sucked into the brick. Brick and mortar joints are naturally absorbent; this is why you need weep holes in brick.

This brick upper roof wall did not have weep holes. This brick wall was once an exterior wall of an older building. The building roof that has the two flat roof leaks was an addition that was built over 20 years ago. The brick was getting saturated during long duration rains. This wall also faced the southern and western exposure which is more susceptible to weather. The water was getting sucked into Brick and mortar joints and running down that back side of the brick in the ¾ capillary space.

This newer addition building had roof joists that rested on pocket ledges that were cut into the brick 20 years ago. Instead of water running down into lower levels, it escaped at these cut pockets.

This was going to be an easy fix. Simply by sealing the exterior brick would fix this leak.

The owner was warned though, that when you seal brick, it no longer breaths and the potential of brick spalling may occur. I told the owner to control indoor humidity by running a dehumidifier during cold climates.

The reason for this is that if you have high indoor humidity it will travel to the exterior through a vehicle called vapor diffusion. If the brick is sealed on the exterior, it will act like an exterior vapor barrier. During the winter, when it is cold, it freezes, and brick spalling can occur. So controlling indoor humidity when you have sealed brick walls is very important.

The second leak diagnostic was also simple. Directly above this second leak was 12 year old HVAC unit. We cut into the roofing membrane at this location and encountered moisture. When a 5 gallon bucket of water was dumped into the HVAC unit fan area, it wasn't long before the water started dripping into the room below.

In the room below you could see a roof fasteners rusted and dripping water. The secretary said, the roof would leak for several days after rain storms. This leak existed for 12 years due the HVAC installation contractor not being a roofer.

Go hear to read about How To Patch A Roof Leak

This roof top unit had a roof duct penetration that was poorly sealed. The HVAC installing contractor created this leak 12 years ago. This was also an easy repair.

The HVAC unit needed to be lifted and roof membrane needed to be replaced.

Sometimes when looking for leaks you need to apply some building science knowledge, not just roofing knowledge. Sometimes, roof leaks are not roof membrane related as they were in this case.

DIY Flat Roof Repair


Today we'll be discussing making repairs to an old flat roof which, to be fair, is long overdue for a total replacement, but the owners haven't quite decided what to do with it yet. It's had a few minor repairs over the years including a temporary repair with an acrylic based paint on sealant, and in fact that's still waterproof and holding good, but what we'll be considering this time is a low-cost paint on repair that's within the grasp of most people, and it will seal the whole roof not just small areas.

The first place to start is with a clean dry roof and as you can see it's dry but not very clean. All we're going to do is thoroughly sweep the surface with a stiff bristle brush, and if any of the dirt or moss is really stuck, it may also involve scraping with a paint scraper as well. What we need is a dust free, dirt free contact with the roof surface so we can prime it up in a moment. You'll probably find the tiny mineral finish or mineral edging like this grips onto dirt really well so it's important to remember that any debris you leave on the face of your roof will into the bond we're looking to achieve. When you've removed as much as feasibly possible just sweep it up or into the guttering ready to removal later on.

This is a bitumen primer and all sorts of makes are available. The fastest and easiest way to apply the primer is with a standard 9 inch roller. And if you haven't got a dedicated roller extension you can make one. Simply sure a broom handle straight inside the roller and here I'm spinning a roller into place but you could also use gaffer tape if you really wanted. To just pour out some primer into a puddle about a mugful or two at a time don't go berserk this stuff goes a very long way. As you can imagine, it's not worth bothering to cut in neatly with a brush. I'm just doing the whole lot with a roller because I'll be stripping this roof off in the next year or two anyway. But if you want to do neat but full sheets best for the outside edges.

Now let me explain at this point how much primer you want on the roof, and the answer is as little as possible to do the job. By all means be generous on your first pass, but on the second or third what you're looking for is the least amount of primer as possible. Once it's done its job by bonding the loose particles on the surface of the roof, that's it. Any puddles primer is not only a waste it's going to take longer for your roof to dry. The exact same applies to the mineral edges or drips. Once you have it primed roll it out to get rid of the excess less is more. With that done you just need to let it dry or flash off. In the summer this can be as little as 20 minutes but in the winter it can take a couple of hours. So go and have a tea break and come back when it's done.

Now this is a roll of glass fiber scrim and it's just like rendering or plastering scrim. And if you want to you can skip applying this stuff totally but I'm going to show you how it's done in case you want to. What I'm going to do now is place this onto the prime roof and roll it out. Just make sure that you get it nice and parallel now roll it to the outside edge of the roof and cut it just short of the drip edge.

Next roll back the other side all the way back to the halfway mark and when you get there pin it in position with something just to stop it springing back or blowing around. Fantastic now we're ready for the roof sealant and this is what I'll be using again there's many manufacturers but this is basically a solvent based bitumen roof sealer, and 25 liters of this should be enough to coat this roof twice.

Once you've popped the lid off you're going to need to give it a stir a good one the solids always settle to the bottom and the liquids to the top and obviously you want a consistent even coating. So with a flat sided stick nice and carefully pull up all the solids from the bottom and only when you're happy stop mixing.

Applying the roof coating needs nothing more elaborate than a decent soft bristled brush. A nice natural fiber like this works best not too stiff and not too soft. If you don't want to work directly from a 25 liter container consider putting a couple of inches off one side of your brush with a hacksaw. Not only does he make it slightly easier to work with but you can also get it in a standard builders bucket. Handy if you don't want to look a whole 25 litres up the roof you.

Back on the roof we can now start applying the roof sealant to the room and because we've already primed it it should stick like an absolute beauty. It's just a matter now of applying about two millimeters of sealer over the roof everywhere that the scrim will sit when it's rolled back out. That way when we apply more bitumen on top the scrim will effectively be sandwiched between the two layers.

Now using a scrim like this does make this type of repair slightly harder and messier than not using one, but there are two distinct benefits. Firstly it guarantees a minimum depth of coating of two millimeters, meaning no drama spots or missed areas. Secondly when dry it will add additional strength which is important if you have lots of cracks in your roof or it has a slightly soft feel to it. This as you can imagine helps to stop most cracks reappearing as the bitumen sealant dries out with age in the years to come.

When you have the first half done roll back the other half and start the process again. Now there are two disadvantages of using a scrim and here they are. Firstly it's a messier job and you have to keep pressing over the roof filling up any holes that reappear. This obviously takes a bit more time and you will use a bit more product. Secondly if your roof isn't flat or has nasty hollows or ridges in it the scrim can resist following these contours which will make it a lot more difficult otherwise known as a pain in the arse. Okay so here on the second run I'm going to do exactly the same process this time making sure that one scrim overlaps the first scrim by two to three inches. Then we're going to cover it up, just as we did before.

On the third one though I'm going to show you a slightly easier and lazier way to apply the scrim. Here I've just placed a couple of dabs of sealant onto the roof and I'm going to stick the scrim in it and roll it out into position. This time though I'm just pushing the bitumen straight through the scrim from the top surface alone whilst this isn't as good as the previous method it does still work. But like I said it's a lazy method not quite as good. Your roof your choice at the end of the day.

And of course there's the no scrim method. If you're looking for a repair that's a little easier and cheaper just apply the compound directly to the roof. Yes the depth of the sealent becomes harder to judge and it doesn't add the strength that we've talked, about but you can always have a second coat later on and to be honest I would do that as a matter of course anyway. Now all we're doing is covering the whole roof with a nice even coating trying to achieve the two millimeter depth that we require. Covering the whole roof and working back to the ladder or exit point.

With that done you should not have something that looks like this. On a summer's day it will be fully waterproof in about an hour, and re-coatable in five to twelve hours. What you want the surface to look like if something like this, nice and even with no pinholes. But sometimes especially if you've used scrim you might get some small pinholes like me near the edges where I was trying not to flip bitumen into the gutter or on the floor below.

A second coat of sealant here we'll pay absolute dividends and because the hard work has already been done recoating will be so fast it's almost embarrassing. Any small flecks of bitumen that find their way onto the floor can usually be dealt with by applying building sand generously to them and treading it in. Let it absorb the bitumen for as long as possible and then just sweep it off.

For a really nice finish and to protect your hard work for longer consider applying solar reflective coating. Again this stuff settles to the bottom and it will need a darn good stir until the solids flow freely. Then it's just a matter of cutting in around the edges with the two inch paint brush and applying the solar reflective coating with a cheap 9 inch roller just as we did with the primer.

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commercial rooftop in Tucson, AZ

The Basics of Commercial Roof Maintenance Programs

A new roof is not a set it and forget it project. It requires a plan be put in place for preventative maintenance, just like any other component of your building, whether it's interior or exterior. The relatively small ongoing investment for preventive maintenance will save significant money compared to the cost of sudden, unexpected repairs. 

Most times, people will have their carpets cleaned, or have their windows cleaned, but never think about performing preventative maintenance on their roof assembly. Now, your roofs are certainly exposed to much harsher elements than your carpets, the interior of your windows, but it's easy to forget the things that you don't see every day. But without that preventative maintenance, can be a very costly long-term ramifications.

Here's an example of how that could play out in the real world. In 2011, on the same city block, two identical roof systems were installed. Basically, the roofs were the same size, and had the same specification, in regards to warranty term.

AFter 10 years those warranties expired, and after a few more years, the owners both decided that it was time to renew, or recoat, those roof systems.

One owner had enrolled in a program of annual preventative maintenance, throughout the life of that warranty, and even including the couple years beyond. The other had not performed any maintenance at all.

The owner who had not performed any maintenance, his renewal and recoating price, was 30% higher than the facility-owner who had installed that recoat - or the preventative maintenance. The overall savings was significant.

Regular roof maintenance can prevent various different types of damage being caused to the building.

Regular roof maintenance basically gets somebody on your roof to take a visual inspection of all the different components. It doesn't take much for a small split or tear to develop into a major leak quickly, especially if it's over a weekend, when the facility's not occupied, it can become very costly, very quickly.

Options for maintenance on your new roof can be as simple as a couple of technicians simply walking the roof on an annual, or even semiannual basis, just to clean the vegetation or debris that may have accumulated around drains, or gutters, or scuppers, just to make sure that the water's flowing.

The next level of that is to have them perform a greater, or a more in-depth, survey of all the seams, and the penetrations, and all the flashing conditions, the coping and metal edge conditions plus any penetrations where you might have equipment mounted to the rooftop. This takes a little bit longer. They're on more of a task for actually looking at deficiencies, than generally on the earlier one, just being a type of a cleaning, or just a pure debris-removal project.

The third aspect would be to perform larger and more extensive repairs, which would occur later on down the road, typically once the roof has aged four or five, six years, and older, where at that point, you might have a preventative maintenance program that includes maybe up to a couple of percentage of the square footage of the entire building being replaced, in addition to some of the cleaning and general maintenance that would go on.

Different Types of Commercial Roof Maintenance Programs

We feel that there are four primary types of commercial roof maintenance programs.

They can be as simple as having just a couple of technicians walk the roof, just to clean debris off the roof, and make sure that all the drainage components are flowing properly, make sure there's no debris accumulation around the drains, the gutters, the scuppers. It's a very simple process, generally it only takes a couple hours on the average-size facility, and it's very low-cost, but it can prevent some disastrous results, if you've got backed up drains, and building swimming pools on your roofs.

The next process is the probably the most common, which is combined with cleaning of the drains, and scuppers, and getting debris off the roof.

But it can be taken to the next level of actually looking at all the seams, penetrations, all the flashings... actually looking for items that possibly aren't leaking yet, but could develop into a leak concern within the time frame between this maintenance, and the next annual or semi-annual maintenance that is performed. It takes a little bit longer, and it costs a little bit more than the first option.

But that's generally what is being accomplished - making sure that nothing's letting loose, or going to fail within the next six to 12 months.

The third type is a little bit more extensive, where it might be that a roof gets a little bit older, and is starting to begin to show some signs of age. It might still be under warranty, but the owner might opt for, in addition to the maintenance that was just mentioned above, possibly installing even a sacrificial coating over some of the roof areas.

As the UV starts to break down some of these membranes, possibly installing an aluminized asphalt, or an acrylic, or even a silicone coating, can extend some life and add some peace of mind to that facility owner, that they've got a sacrificial coating, and it's gonna help prolong that roof system for a couple more years.

Another type of maintenance program that can be offered is a program that entails some callback features in it, so that basically, the contractor will come in and do a maintenance program on more or less an as-needed basis. Oftentimes it's difficult to capture all of the maintenance issues in that first call, so the idea is to build into that initial price, a first, and second, and the third return call, so that if not every concern is captured in that first visit, that the owner can call, and know that the contractor will return to continue to work on it two or three more trips, without additional fees running up on time and material basis from port to port, and oftentimes it's more cost-effective. And then it puts the contractor on a little bit higher-level of accountability, because they don't have that open checkbook, knowing that if it leaks again, that they can just come back and bill, and bill, and bill again.

That additional level of accountability is something that many consider a very good option.

Scheduling your maintenance program should be something you're thinking of any time you're doing any capital improvement, budgeting, or sequencing within your facility. Most maintenance contracts are performed, at minimum, annually.

In the northern portion of the United States, where you've got the climate change and heavy snow, anything that's harsh experiencing winter, or any type of repetitive freeze-thaw cycles, maybe a semi-annual basis is more appropriate. Here in Arizona, an annual review is typically adequate.

However, getting up there prior to the powerful monsoon season is a good idea, just to make sure that everything is clean, drainage components are working properly, and there's nothing that's going to cause an issue when the heavy rains and wind come through.

The third part of that is, you really wanna get a professional looking at your roof after any significant weather event. Whether it's a thunderstorm, a hail activity or event, or a micro-burst as we know can happen during the summer, it's always good just to get some trained eyes, if your facility doesn't have maintenance guys who can handle that type of activity, just to get another look at it, and generally that's just a walk through to make sure that something as minor as a panel on an HVAC unit hasn't fallen off and rolled across your roof, and you haven't noticed it leaking yet, but it's near it.

So if you have any questions regarding roof inspections, roof replacements, and more importantly, roof maintenance, feel free to get in touch with us here at DC Roofing of Arizona.  As licensed and insured roofing contractors, we'll give you an honest assessment of your roof.

An experienced commercial roofing company analyzes a particular building and identifies unique solutions, from making use of an energy audit to recommending a highly energy-efficient solution for your rooftop. It is best to hire a licensed, professional roofer to carry out the inspections and maintenance of the roof, as typically the plant owners have no knowledge or experience in the commercial roofing trade.

There are a lot of commercial roof options for your flat roof when it comes to materials, some of which include metal roofs as a common commercial roofing system, restoration options over your existing roof include spray foam, modified bitumen, reflective coating roof, builtup roofing (BUR), single-ply coating systems, Torch Down, EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), single ply membranes, TPO Membrane Roofing system, TPO over gravel and more. For more information on the best commercial roofing products and services, contact us today.

Tearing down the roof usually means limiting your business activities for at least a few days, which can cost you even more in revenue. If you want to maximize the life expectancy of your roof and get the most out of your investment, consider implementing a commercial roof repair and maintenance program. 

When it comes to roof maintenance compared to roof repair or replacement, the money you pay compared to the work and money you'll save on a full new roof installation makes for an easy choice. Whether you decide to schedule a maintenance plan where qualified roof contractors with professional equipment will provide regular, complete service inspections to ensure your roof is in good shape is up to you. But it's a top point to understand that having a professional inspect your roof today rather than waiting for some big storm to call your insurance company to learn what kind of best estimate they'll offer you can take a lot of future stress out of your business life. Don't wait to see water leak or other problems develop - get regular roof maintenance team on your roof at least once a year and prevent future damage before it's too late.

We gladly service the entire, greater Tucson area, including Oro Valley, Marana, Saddlebrooke, Green Valley and Vail, AZ.  Call DC Roofing today! (520) 979-9095

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flat roof coated with white elastomeric roof coating in Tucson

Roof Coating Specialists

In hot weather climates with a lot of flat roofs like in Tucson as well as the rest of Arizona, you hear a lot about roof coating, especially elastomeric cool roof reflective coatings (or some combination of those terms).  This material is exremely popular in the roofing industry and has many benefits worth considering.

When you hear the term elastomeric, think elastic - it can stretch and contract back to its original shape.  This is a great quality to have in roofing material, especially in the desert where the temperature fluctuations can vary so greatly.  This type of material comes in liquid, but as it is applied to a roof surface, it creates what is known as a monolithic roofing membrane, meaning it’s a single entity as it binds to itself and the roof, making a watertight seal against moisture (when properly applied). 

One of the variables that determine whether you get a true, single waterproof seal has to do with how the material is applied. Another factor in its water resistance is the quality of the material itself.  

Quality elastomeric material such as APOC 252 applied with a ¾ in nap roller, followed by a second coat once it’s cured, will give your roof a solid seal, and you don't need to put down primer coat first. If you use the bright reflective white, you will reduce the heat absorbed by your roof and into your home.  Studies have shown that cool roof coatings can lower rooftop temperatures and reduce air conditioning bills.  See this video for what  difference it can make

Benefits of Elastomeric Roof Coating in Arizona


okay we want to show the comparison with the coating the elastomeric coating versus the non coating this temperature is 95 degrees on the heating unit that has no elastomeric on it and if we go down to the ductwork which I just did 46 degrees a huge difference in in comparison so that means all of your cold air the air conditioning is now going to be insulated even more than what the ductwork has so in the middle of the summer when this is the case this ductwork won't maybe a hundred degrees versus 150 degrees makes a huge difference for your heating bill and after the roof the difference the roof let's go over here so here before we coat the roof the temperatures about 85 more or less that's on the on the surface that's not been coded if we go up onto the white onto the last merit it's 54 degrees big big difference and again in reflectivity as far as the heat and also the sealing process so that's why that you want to get the thicker the coating of the elastomeric the better and the longer-lasting against the UV rays but also the more reflective and better insulation as well big difference and long lasting

The thing with these kinds of materials used in roof coatings is that the product and application process described above is not what every roofing contractor will do.  Some roofing companies have been known to use lower cost, lower quality products, sometimes even diluting them with water.  On top of this, they may use a spray application leaving you with the appearance of a white, cool coated roof, but giving you no more benefit than a white paint job.  So… know what materials are being used and how it is being applied before settling on a bid simply because it’s the lowest price.  

You must also distinguish between roof coatings and deck coatings.  While you are certainly able to walk on a roof surface with elastomeric roof coating without any problem, they’re not designed for high foot traffic. For an area with any kind of regular, ongoing use, whether by people, cars, bicycles, there are specifically designed materials known as deck coatings that offer more structural protection that should be used. 

It's clear to see why this relatively easy to apply material that does an excellent job waterproofing your roof is a popular option for roof repairs.  But it is not ideal for all situations.  For example, it does not work well and is not recommended to be used over existing shingles of any kind, and in particular, asphalt shingles and built-up roofs.  

rolling elastomeric roof coating on commercial roof by a Tucson roof coating specialist

In fact, the National Roofing Contractors Association’s (NRCA) director of technical services has stated "The roofing industry is aware of a number of issues that could have negative consequences for field application of silicone coatings over asphalt shingle roof systems. Anyone considering this type of application should be aware of the concerns so they can weigh them against the benefits claimed in coating product promotional materials."

One area where roof coatings may not work quite as well as initially anticipated isn’t so much a failure on the part of the material, but on the challenges of flat and low-slope roofs.  With a flat or nearly flat roof, there is a high likelihood of depressions that can cause water to ‘pond’, especially around scuppers or drains.  When subjected to ponding, coating materials may not last their full expected lifetime.  

When looking for the manufacturer's warranty on the roof coating you choose to use, check whether it covers areas of ponding.  Also, check your roof on occasion to see if you have ponding issues.  A ponding issue can be fixed more easily than a leak.  When you hire a skilled roofing contractor, they look for areas of ponding and address them as part of the job.

Roof coatings, especially reflective coatings in Arizona, are a great option for your residential roof.  It will seal up any leaks you may have when it’s properly applied, it will also extend the life of your roof by reducing the transfer of heat into your home, thereby reducing the load on your air conditioner.  The reflective, heat reducing properties also reduces what is known as ‘thermal shock’; the expansion and contraction of your roof which helps extend the lifetime of your roof.  

elastomeric roof coating applied by the Tucson roof experts at DC Roofing

A properly applied roof coating can last up to 10 years or more, depending on the quality of the material and the thickness and method of application.  When the roof coating degrades, as everything will over time, especially when subjected to the brutal heat of Arizona summers, you can apply a fresh coat over the top of the existing coat, re-sealing and regaining the benefits that may have been lost over time.

When it comes to your Tucson roof coating, there can be confusion by consumers between an elastomeric roof coating specialist and rubberized roof coatings. Elastomeric is simply a generic term for “rubber-like” roof coatings, so don't let it throw you!

Coating a Roof - APOC Shades Of Green


these roof restoration experts are dedicated to creating long-lasting structures while conserving energy and protecting our environment you've noticed your monthly electric bills keep rising Americans are using record amounts of electricity and paying record high prices today we're going to look at the problem and a solution that works on almost any kind of building cool roofing buildings use approximately forty percent of all the energy consumed in the US of a third of all the energy used by buildings can be ascribed to the energy efficiency of the roofing systems because the surface of a cool roof is highly reflective the surface of the roof remains cool the roof will last longer second benefit is less energy from the roof is being transferred into the building and the air conditioning equipment for that building runs less cool roof coatings were developed to reduce energy usage in a building by reflecting and emitting heat what makes a roof coating good these coatings have to be stronger they have to stretch more they have to be more resistant to UV and they have to be resistant to washing away through erosion cool roofs save money for homeowners and for businesses when the Sun is between 100 115 degrees you need something reflect off your roof if you do not do that you're going to feel the heat inside your living space but also your air conditioning will have to work twice as hard to try to cool off your area inside if you don't use white roof coatings on your roof eventually you would have to replace the roof after a certain time they work really well for retail for office buildings you don't have that the odors associated with hot asphalt built up roofing you'll see how cool roofs help cut your monthly electric bills and make roofs and air conditioners last longer as a bonus cool roofs make our world cleaner and greener by reducing global warming improving our air quality and cutting landfill waste besides impacting just a single bill cool roofs also act communities temperatures within the urban center of the city and to be much much warmer than those in the surrounding communities this phenomenon is called the urban heat island if you take 100 cities change every energy absorbing surface in those cities now you can talk about reducing the global temperature which would have an offset on global climate change as a building owner we save money by installing a cool roof because we're utilizing the existing roof system and applying a system onto it that elongates it it's useful life at the end of that useful life you have several options one would be to tear off that roof and replace it with a new roof fortunately today we have a coding restoration system which can actually extend the life of that roof the net effect or customer and many times is he saving money on his cooling costs he'll make a more comfortable work environment as you're reducing surface temperature some you know 60 70 degrees one company that has taken the lead in promoting cool roofs and energy savings is a POC the division of Gardner industries a POC has always been the industry leader we spent significant resources maintaining the highest quality control standards in the industry we continually look to improve our company through the implementation of new technology as well as improving our operational efficiencies lastly we have the number one research and development program in the industry we've recently developed and launched the highest-rated independently tested and certified cool roof coating manufactured in the world a POC is a company that has made a great investment in research and development for as you may imagine there are a vast number of materials if it can be used to make coatings they are also changing on a day to day basis as well which means that you need to do a good deal of research and development in order to keep up with changing raw materials but also to continuously improve your coatings and make them some of the highest reflecting and emitting coatings in the industry in supplying white roof coatings there are many markets that we serve we serve residential customers through the sale of our coatings through big box and retail stores we also serve many contractors through larger building supply houses and roofing supply houses that sell these products directly to contractors who would apply them on commercial buildings apoc recently partnered with the city of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Vice President Al Gore and promoting cool roofs throughout the city on a hot summer day the temperature on a heat reflective cool roof can be as much as 60 degrees Fahrenheit lower than on a dark surfaced roof the internal temperature on the top floor of a building can be 10 to 20 degrees cooler and that translates into substantial savings on the cost of air conditioning we're building owners saving as much as fifty percent in a one-story building and ten percent and a five-story building because they less stressed by extreme heat cool roofs last five to ten years longer air conditioning units last longer to all of which saves building owners money actions that help to solve the climate crisis also have found economic benefits putting people to work saving on energy costs making our buildings and our economy more efficient one of our clients is in a distribution building of 130,000 square feet and they were complaining that it was too hot in the summertime so we applied the apoc product and the following winter they're complaining it was too cold

Polyurethane and other roof coatings

As you can see, roof coatings can be beneficial to your roof whether you currently have acrylic, metal, modified bitumen over your head. Polyurethane foam and other types of product used for roof coatings such as EPDM rubber (ethylene propylene diene monomer) can provide you protection against all kinds of wear from the wind, sun and hot weather. Having a professional roofing contractor do this kind of coating service is the best bet to ensure it's done right and that your roof will keep doing its business for you for the long haul. DC Roofing of Arizona are your roof coating experts.

We gladly service the entire, greater Tucson area, including Oro Valley, Marana, Saddlebrooke, Green Valley and Vail, AZ.  Call DC Roofing today! (520) 979-9095

Answers to Questions About Roof Coatings for Your Home

How many gallons of roof coating do I need?

A good rule of thumb is that every 100 square feet of roof equals one gallon of coating. Be sure to allow for roofing on parapet walls, garages, and porches. Take a simple sketch of your roof with dimensions to your coating dealer for help.

What is the best elastomeric roof coating?

When you talk about “the best” of anything, you’re going to get a lot of varying opinions. Without a doubt, a very good choice of elastomeric coating for your residential roof in Tucson would be APOC 252 Sunwhite Premium.

How to apply roof coating?

  • Thoroughly clean the surface of any large debris using a broom or blower, followed by pressure washing.
  • Make necessary repairs, especially around roof penetrations or low areas that creates ponding.
  • Use a ¾ inch roller to apply a thick, even coat across the roof surface. Allow to dry completely and repeat.

How much does roof coating cost?

Ballpark pricing for elastomeric coatings can range between $1.50 to $2.00 per square foot. This includes labor.

What is cool roof coating?

Cool roof coatings are a white roof coating material designed to reflect away the sun’s heat. It can have a dramatic effect on lowering the temperature of the roof, thereby reducing the energy requirements of the air conditioner to cool the building.

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Getting Familiar with Materials and Terms Used by Residential Roofers & Contractors

When it comes to having a roof over your head, you want to have a solid one. When there are questions or issues with the roof on your home, you need to have a qualified residential roofing contractor in your corner.  We are here to provide you with some general roofing information to help you get a good understanding of the industry and to help you form the most appropriate questions for your needs when you deal with a local Tucson roofing service expert. 

Whether you want to design the home of your dreams with a brand new home construction, retrofitting a fixer-upper or just need to understand what’s involved with your existing roof that may be leaking, the subject can quickly get confusing for someone who isn’t familiar with all the variables.  Domestic roof construction of roofs on residential homes can vary a lot, from the pitch to the materials used and how they are put together. Talking to a professional roofer about what you want and need for your particular home or business is an excellent idea. Before you do, you may first want to look at and become familiar with some of the different materials found on home roofs.

Common Types of Residential Roofing Materials Used in Arizona

  • Ceramic or Concrete Tiles
  • Different Roofing Shingles including Asphalt Shingles, Wood Shingles or other Composite Shingles to Mimic the Look of Cedar, Slate or other natural materials.
  • Flat Roof using Bitumen, Built-Up or PVC materials (among others)
  • Metal Roofing (because DC Roofing doesn't currently work with metal roof buildings, we won't be going over that option here).

Roof Tiles - Ceramic or Concrete

Benefits of Tile Roofing

The look of a tile roof is very appealing appearance to many people. Reminiscent of Mediterranean style homes, as far as roofing products go, they are very long lasting and stand up to the elements such as heat and salt water air, making them very popular along coastlines such as California and Florida as well as in the hot, dry areas of the Southwest, Another benefit for areas that get heavy rains in short bursts is their ability to drain a lot of water quickly, due to their shape.

The durability of tiles is another very attractive quality.  Some manufacturers say you can expect tiles to last 50, 75 or even 100 years - time frames that are otherwise never talked about in the roofing industry.  While the original tiles were typically made from a fired clay or terracotta, today many tiled roofs use concrete that has been tinted and molded into a variety of different shapes.  

Looking for more good reasons to go with tile? Well, they are impervious to insects, rot and are non-flammable and don't require much of anything in the way of maintenance.  That doesn’t mean you can’t still have some roofing problems due to underlying wood and other roofing materials, but for a great looking outer layer, tile is pretty hard to beat. 


Something else to keep in mind with regard to tile roofs is that while the tiles themselves do perform a critical function of draining water quickly, they are not the real reason a roof will be water tight.  They really act as the cosmetic overlay to the true waterproofing, which is the underlayment beneath the tiles.  If water is starting to enter your home, it is this underlayment that will need to be replaced.  

That being said, there are some downsides that you need to consider before committing to a tile roof. 

Downsides of a Tile Roof

As far as roofing products go, tile roofing can be considerably more expensive than other material options. Compared to an asphalt roof, you may end up paying 2 or three times as much. Something to consider with these higher costs though are the long life that roof tiles offer, as outlined above. 

Another difficulty regarding tiles is that they are heavy and therefore can be more difficult (and expensive) to install.  Consider that the weight per square, (a square is industry term for 100 square feet of area), for tile can be around 850 to 950 pounds for clay vs concrete material respectively.  For the same surface area, and asphalt roof will weigh in the neighborhood of 225 to 325 pounds. 

As you can imagine, you can’t simply swap out your asphalt shingle tiles for concrete tiles because they look good.  Making such a drastic change in your building would require consulting an engineer, which would definitely add to the entire cost of the roof.

Also, as mentioned, roofing with tile is more difficult.  It takes an experienced, professional roofer to know how to properly lay the tiles to make sure there are no gaps that could allow moisture to get through and to make sure water drains properly.  On top of that, while these tiles are durable, they are also brittle.  That means if they’re not properly handled or carelessly walked on, they could easily break.  Again, more expenses adding up.  

A tile roof is not any kind of weekend DIY project for a bunch of buddies!

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingle roofing is the most commonly used residential roofing material in the United States, and for good reason.  It’s affordable, easy to work with so virtually any roofer knows how to work with it.  Plus, it’s easy enough for many homeowners to do DIY repairs and maintenance on it, and it has good durability.  

Asphalt tiles, made from a fiberglass base and mineral and asphalt granules, usually have a 20 to 30 year warranty because the material is so good at flexing and contracting as the weather changes. As long as it’s properly installed and isn’t subjected to any unusual situations or conditions, there’s no reason an asphalt shingle roof won’t easily last 10 to 25 years or more.  

Beyond just the functionality, another nice benefit is the fact that you can get asphalt shingles in a variety of different colors to match or create the look you want for your home.  

While you may default to thinking of the black/grey asphalt shingle, they also come in a variety of shades of grey, brown and red.  Some people mix in a variety of light and dark tones to create an aged, vintage look to their roofs.  

With consumers becoming more environmentally aware, roofing material manufacturers have rolled out new, more green and energy efficient options, including in the realm of asphalt shingles.  The new “cool roof” shingles are designed to absorb less heat from the sun, thereby transferring less of it into your home, reducing how hard your air conditioner has to work during those hot months. 

When you consider the lower costs per square foot, plus all the other benefits that go along with it, it’s easy to see why asphalt tiles are such a popular option for home roofs. 

Composite Roof Shingles

In Tucson and other parts of southern Arizona, some traditional roof materials that people may have been familiar with in other parts of the country (or world), aren't so applicable here.  For example, cedar wood shingles or slate.

For people who long for a specific look and the unique corresponding colors that come with those kinds of materials, the good news is that today's composite material shingles can have you covered. 

CertainTeed offers a luxury line of composites under the brand name Symphony. Made of polypropylene and calcium carbonate, CertainTeed’s well-regarded product is a ‘dead ringer’ for slate. Arguably, the lightweight and fade-resistant Symphony shingles improve upon the genuine article. Aside from being cheaper to buy and less costly to install, they are backed by a 50-year warranty and boast Energy Star certification.

DaVinci Roofscapes, LLC, offers perhaps the most comprehensive line of composite shake and slate-type products. Polymer-based, with top impact and fire ratings and a strong warranty, Davinci shingles come in multiple widths and colors, enabling homeowners to create blends with realistic textures and shade variations.

Flat Roofing Materials

In Arizona, there are a lot of homes with flat roofs, from ranch style homes built years ago to more modern, southwester style homes.  With a flat roof, your options don’t include the materials mentioned above, but there are still options to consider.

Modern flat roofs use innovative materials that can provide better insulation than many people might think, and make them more energy efficient and cooler than older, traditional pitched roofs. EPDM roofing for example, (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) is very highly energy efficient. In studies at Oak Ridge National Laboratories it was found that temperatures can be reduced by 30 to 40 percent with EPDM. With such such significantly lower heat transfer into the home, this can be a smart choice for homeowners in warmer areas looking to reduce the demands on their air conditioners.

Built-Up Roof (BUR)

Built-up roofing, also referred to as BUR, is one of the most common types of roofing systems you’ll find on low slope roofs and is the business that keeps a lot of local Tucson roofers in business. It is made up of alternating layers of ‘built up’ reinforced fabric and asphalt or bitumen.  Typically the top most layer is some kind of aggregate such as stone or small gravel.  One of the reasons this is a preferred material for flat or low-slope rooftops is because it creates a continuous seal, as opposed to other materials such as shingles or tiles that are independent pieces.  This is important because water will not drain off a flat roof as quickly as a more pitched roof, so having good waterproofing is critical. 

Built up roofing tends to do better and be more popular in hot climates like we have here in Arizona.  The average lifespan of a built-up roof is usually 15 to 30 years, but they can last even longer if properly maintained.  

Membrane Roofing

Another option for flat roofs is membrane roofing - a material that used to be used much more in commercial roofing than for the residential customer, but is starting to be used more and more in residential roofing, and for good reason.

Compared to BUR roofing, a membrane roof makes it easier to create a complete, waterproof seal on the roof, providing years of hassle free experience.  This is because it can be difficult to create really good binding between seams of BUR material.  The newer materials used in membrane roofing allow for either a seamless installation, or else the seams are actually just as strong as the body, thereby eliminating most issues regarding leaks developing.  

Furthermore, these membrane materials attach directly to the roof.  The asphalt in BUR roofing actually just rests on top of the roof, and is not actually attached to it.  The gravel or aggregate added to it is in part necessary to weight down the bitumen, as well as to protect it from UV rays from the sun, which tend to deteriorate asphalt.  None of this is necessary with a membrane roof.  

  • There are a number of different materials used for membrane residential roofing systems, including:
  • Neoprene (polychloroprene)
  • EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer)
  • PVC (polyvinyl chloride)
  • Chlorinated polyethylene and chlorosulfonated polyethylene sheets
  • Polymer-modified bitumens

Probably the best and most popular choice of these is EPDM, which is a synthetic material. While it is long lasting and can give you a largely trouble free roof, it should be noted that if any kind of repair does need to be done, you must use the proper materials.  EPDM is not compatible at all with any kind of asphalt based coating.  So make sure whoever is working on your membrane roof is well aware, informed and prepared to work with the materials at hand.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) roofing is another popular roofing membrane material choice because it’s known for its durability and affordability. Since it can be prefabricated for your specific roof, it means less scrap and waste at the job site. 

Another added benefit is that PVC is fire resistant. It is also solar heat reflective, helping to reduce the heat transmission of the sun into your home, creating less work for your air conditioner when it’s hot out and reducing your energy bill. 

You can expect a membrane roof to last you between 20 to 35 years.  You can read more about different membranes roofing options throughout our website

Basic Residential Roofing Components


hi everyone in this video we're going to be talking about basic roof components the idea of this video is for you to learn what elements are needed and have a visual understanding of each element that gets used by a roofing company first we're going to be talking about the asphalt roof shingles itself it is the most common roofing product available it is the most cost efficient also comes in different profiles and also for different weather conditions let's say that your house is in a very high wind area there's shingles for that just specifically for wind problematic areas also if your area is susceptible to hail storms there there's also a shingle that is hail resistant so they're also easier to locate leaks and deficiencies they last roughly between 20 and 25 years just depending on the type of roof ventilation where the house is located and and stuff like that also the cost is a third of a cedar or rubbery or rubber roofing system also they come in a lot of colors so it can blend pretty good to any color scheme of a home now the insurance starters and rich caps these are complimentary parts of a properly installed roofing system starters serve as the first course of shingle helps the first shingle not blow off by the wind you see the image on the right hand side that is the starter and you see those little thar lines those help the first shingle adhere properly and that way it doesn't blow off the ridge caps serve as a finish type on the top of the slopes for a smooth transition it looks good and keeps the water out there's also high profile Ridge caps which make the house have a little bit more depth in the roofing system you will be able to see the the lines of the hips and the ridges pretty pretty easily and it's just for looks oh it does look better too a little bit more expensive then we have the underlay the underlay is one of the key components of a properly install roofing shingle it is a secondary protective layer of a the underlay we always use underlay a synthetic underlay because it has the following benefits it is 12 times stronger as a traditional petroleum-based underlay it is inert to mold growth it does not absorb water or wrinkle it is you we protect resistant and it is slip resistant so you know before they used to use petroleum-based ones which they would absorb water they would tear easy easier than the traditional that then the monolithic ones that are typically used so if somebody is going to do your roof just make sure this is an aesthetic underlay and that they do install the underlay not everybody does it and it's just a good review practice next is the the roof fence there's two fundamental benefits of a effect of an effective roofing ventilation system the first one is a cooler attic in the summer which will help the shingles last longer just because they don't overheat and the other fundamental benefit is a dry attic in winter this helps avoid at a condensation if you don't know what attic condensation is we created in another video talking about this common issue that we have here in Calgary just due to our Chinooks freeze files and and stuff like that but basically at a condensation is moisture gathering in your attic space when it's super cold outside and it's warm in your house Moisture collection your attic it freezes and then if you don't have proper ventilation proper insulation that that moisture will start to melt during saw cycles and it will appear that you have roof leaks and they'll appear on the ceiling around the the washroom fans and stuff like that so yeah these two benefits of having the cooler attic and the dry attic both result in energy savings greater home greater homeowner comfort and higher integrity of the house now we're going to be talking about the pipe jack the pipe jack is a preformed flange that is placed around the plumbing stack so that black PVC that you see on the image is actually part of the plumbing system and it's meant to be open that way and the pipe jack is just a flashing that helps the pipe transition from the inside of the house to the exterior and you know they can't they come like that just pre-made they come to size there's different sizes and that basically they all come in in plastic for shingles and stuff so next we have the goose neck the goose neck is a is basically a venting another roof vent that is used to transition from the from the flex pipes that go from a washroom fan or a kitchen fan or another could be from a dryer it also helps for attic venting so basically you know you tie in the Flex pipes from those fans into on the bottom of the roof deck and this is where they come it comes out and they have two presentations one in metal and the other one in plastic and that's their basic function now the metal Valley well the valley on a roof is one of the most vulnerable areas of your roofing system if it's not properly protected a valley can channel water directly into your house causing interior damage installing a sheet metal as in the image will help add extra protection to this critical area of your roofing search and we'll ensure that you know you have no issues in the valley also it helps the shingles not deteriorate in this area since the water collects from the two slopes into that valley the shingles tend to deteriorate faster in that area and it's also a critical part of your roof so you've got to make sure that you are extra protected in that in that area now the drip edge the drip edge I've seen in the image is um it's a metal strip that goes just below the on the roof line just below the shingles and it helps it it helps the water get into the gutter easier it also helps prevent the the roof deck just under the shingle to deteriorate or to curl over time because it does get wet if you don't have that drip edge installed finally we have the ice and water protection the ice and water protection is the self adhesive resilient non-woven glass fiber mat which serves to waterproof under the shingles preventing water penetration due to ice dams and driven wind driven rain rights it also is used to protect critical areas such as skylights chimneys and valleys so this is a pretty sticky product and it is and also it's used if you have a very low pitched roof so it's the slope of the roof is very minimum we recommend installing it on the whole house that way if you have any ice damming or any any anything like that you make sure that that your whole roof is protected and also it's recommended by the manufacturer to install it on the entire roof to get that warranty that they provide. Many people researching a new roof ask about whether they should be concerned about choosing a hot roof, a warm roof, or a cold roof and what the differences are. The different types of roof are created simply by applying the layers of the roof in a different order. Namely the insulation layers. In a cold roof, the insulation is applied between the rafters, but in a warm roof, the insulation is applied on top of the existing roof surface. The term “hot roof” is something of a misnomer, as the attic space will only be a few degrees warmer than in a traditional roof. a Hot Roof is a system most likely to be found in newly built homes.

We gladly service the entire, greater Tucson area, including Oro Valley, Marana, Saddlebrooke, Green Valley and Vail, AZ.  Call DC Roofing today! (520) 979-9095

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commercial building rooftop with AC units in Tucson

Understanding Different Commercial Roofing Material Options

When it comes to commercial roofing, there are a handful of materials that are most commonly used. We'll have a look at each of them and consider the benefits and drawbacks of each.  

First, the roofing materials we'll cover here are:

  • Spray Polyurethane Foam
  • Single-Ply Membrane
  • Metal
  • Tar and Gravel
  • Shingle

We'll come back with another article to address PVC roofing (polyvinyl chloride), which is a single-ply roofing solution used on many commercial and industrial roofs that are flat or low sloped. PVC or polyvinyl chloride, is the third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer

Spray Polyurethane Foam

Spray Polyurethane Foam, more commonly referred to as SPF, is a material that is sprayed as a liquid so it can expand into a foam, creating a solid layer across an existing roof.

An SPF Roofing system can be used in any climate, and when properly installed and maintained, can last over 50 years.

The energy efficient properties of Spray Polyurethane Foam Roofing contributes to significant energy savings throughout the life of a building. SPF delivers thermal, air, and vapour barriers and delivers the highest R-value per inch of any cool roofing insulating material available. 


  • Easy installation
  • Energy efficient
  • Easy maintenance
  • Seamless and waterproof
  • Renewable and sustainable


  • Specialized contractors required
  • Limited installation window
  • Overspray potential
  • Regular maintenance needed

What is Spray Foam Roofing?


spray polyurethane foam aka SPF is a material that's made by combining two liquids a resin and an isocyanate as it sprayed onto the existing roof substrate it creates a foam that expands 20 times in size to form a seamless foam roof surface when the foam is expanded this layer can be between 1 & 1 & a half inches in thickness when the installation is complete it will create a durable renewable foam roof covering SPF roofing is not the most well known type of roofing material the technology has been around since the 1960s for industrial commercial and residential facilities

Single-Ply Membrane

Single-Ply Membranes are sheets of rubber and other synthetics that can be ballasted, mechanically fastened or chemically adhered to insulation creating a layer of protection on your commercial facility. While Single-Ply Membrane Roofing is one of the most well-known types of commercial roofing material, there are several types to fit your budget and facility needs.

There are two main types of Single-Ply Membrane Commercial Roofing: Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) and Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer (EPDM). They differ in their chemical makeup, how they are installed and their energy efficiencies 


  • Proven track record
  • Options for insulation materials
  • Choice of reflective or retentive properties
  • Easy installation on a flat roof
  • Lightweight and flexible


  • Membrane is easily punctured
  • Roofing accessories can prolong installation
  • Seams are vulnerable to leaks
  • UV Rays can degrade adhesive

What is Single-Ply Membrane Roofing?


single ply membranes are sheets of rubber and other synthetic that come in rolls and are cut and adhere to your facility roof on top of the insulation there are two main types of single ply membrane commercial roofing PPO and EPDM they differ in their chemical makeup how they are installed and their energy efficiencies there are three ways to attach the single ply membrane to the cover board ballasted with rocks or stones which may be more prone to leaks adhesion with a rolled on adhesive or mechanically fastened with equipment

What is TPO Membrane Roofing?


thermoplastic polyolefin is not your father's pvc. a single ply roofing membrane that is one of the fastest growing commercial roofing systems on the market TPO roofing systems are made up of a single layer of synthetics and reinforced scrim that can be used to cover flat roofs known as white roofs tpo is generally manufactured white and highly reflective PPO membrane can be attached to the cover board with a bonding adhesive or mechanically fastened when the membrane is rolled out the contractor then returns to use a hot air gun to hot air well the seams together

What is EPDM Membrane Roofing?


ethylene propylene diene monomer is a single ply membrane that consists of a synthetic rubber compound that allows it to be flexible EPDM has been used on commercial roofing facilities since the 1960s and is considered a time-tested option with EPDM you have the option of choosing from 45 60 or 90 ml thickness and either black or white for the color while tpo has a natural white color EPDM results in a dark gray or black color for your roof the darker colour is not helpful in reflecting UV rays it does retain heat for those in cooler weather

What is a Silicone Restoration Membrane?


what if I told you there was another option to paying for a full roof replacement a silicone restoration membrane or SRM can save you time and money when facing a commercial roof project a silicone restoration membrane is a fluid applied silicone coating sprayed directly on to an existing roof system an SRM system is a great option for buildings that have age groups that are still in good condition the roof needs to be in better condition than most roofs at the end of their life the SRM can be applied to restore the waterproof barrier on your roof

Built-Up Roofs (Tar and Gravel)

Built Up Roofing (BUR) Systems have been in use in the U.S. for over 100 years. These rooftop systems are commonly referred to as “tar and gravel” roofs and is often used for flat roofing jobs.

The first layer can adhere directly to the roof substrate. If needed, a base sheet can be fastened to the roof to create a flat and safe work space. A Built-Up Roof System is installed by alternating layers of modified bitumen and reinforced fabric.

Bituminous waterproofing systems are designed to protect residential and commercial buildings. Bitumen (asphalt or coal-tar pitch) is a mixed substance made up of organic liquids that are highly sticky, viscous, and waterproof. These systems are sometimes used to construct roofs in the form of roofing felts or roll roofing products.

Property owners and managers can choose three, four or five ply roofs to meet their needs and budgets.

The last layer is rock or stone; this layer protects the underlying layers from UV rays, extreme heat or cold, and wind damage. 


  • Seamless and waterproof
  • Reflects UV rays
  • Low- maintenance


  • Hazardous fumes and vapors when installing
  • Adds extra weight to the building structure
  • Slower installation time frame


Metal Roofing is one of the oldest commercial roofing systems on the market.

Most Metal Roofing Systems use corrugated galvanized steel, although other materials such as aluminum or tin can also be used. After a metal roofing system is installed, an acrylic or silicone coating can be added for waterproofing, rust protection, and UV protection.

Since material on metal roofs is rather light in weight, it can be installed right on top of the existing rooftops. A contractor will install a frame, or substrate, with trusses and purlins for the metal roof to be fastened to. 


  • Variety of material choices
  • Ability to hold up to high winds and snow
  • Sheet metal can be made from recycled steel
  • The metal panels will not burn in the event of a fire


  • If water ponds on the roof it can cause severe damage
  • Roof frame is difficult to work with
  • Metal panels create seams that are prone to water leaks
  • Weather such as rain, hail or wind can create a lot of noise


Shingles are not only for residential roofs. Many facilities with a high-slope roof will choose to install shingles rather than the other roofing types.

Asphalt Shingles are used for commercial roofing, they are made of a base material (felt or glass-fiber mat), asphalt (or some other kind of filler), and a top layer of granules.

The most important layer of the Shingle Commercial Roof is the underlay or insulation. This layer is what provides insulation while the shingles, sealants, flashings and edge metal provide the weatherability. 


  • Cost-effective
  • Variety of colors and designs
  • Lasts 20-50 years


  • Regular maintenance required
  • Can’t install in cold weather
  • Impact can crack the shingles

Commercial Roofing Basics - Take-aways

  • Spray Polyurethane Foam is a material that is sprayed as a liquid so it can expand into a foam.
  • Single-Ply Membranes are sheets of rubber and other synthetics that can be ballasted, mechanically fastened or chemically adhered to insulation. 
  • Built-up Systems are installed by alternating layers of asphalt or tar and supporting fabrics directly onto the roof. 
  • Metal Roof Systems use corrugated galvanized steel, aluminum or tin. An acrylic or silicone coating is added for waterproofing and protection.
  • Shingles are not only for residential roofs. Asphalt Shingles are commonly used for commercial roofing.

In Arizona it's important to find a top quality roofing service that knows the solutions that work best in the desert heat. Having a team that has the experience to work any job, large or small, from giving a fair quote, to performing quality repairs to having a solid company warranty, striving for the best customer satisfaction in the industry is the most important job.

Whether it's for residential or commercial roofing clients, new construction or repairs, experience matters. Professional service, worker safety, affordable costs for customers, projects remaining on schedule today and for year to come, a company that ticks all these boxes is worth searching for. DC Roofing of Arizona, while a recently established new business, is that professional roofing contractor company with the skill, crew and quality products that you can count on. 

We gladly service the entire, greater Tucson area, including Oro Valley, Marana, Saddlebrooke, Green Valley and Vail, AZ.  Call DC Roofing today! (520) 979-9095

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