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6 Crazy Commercial Roofing Emergencies You Hope To Never Endure

Commercial Roofing Emergencies Blog Cover

Most of the time, Commercial roofing can seem like a pretty straightforward process, but there are so many things that can go wrong either before, during, or after the installation that can leave you with your head in your hands, dreading what comes next.

Here are a few scenarios that we hope you never have to endure. Check out these 6 commercial roofing emergencies.

1) Bearing the Load

Imagine the scenario: you are in need of a new commercial roof. You go through the bidding process and find the right roofer for your needs. You go through the installation process and come out on the other side with a new roof.

It seems straightforward, right? Well, it might not be if you don’t hire the right consultant. A real horror story goes something like this.

You bring in the contractor of choice to perform the job. The contractor, who has a reliable reputation, follows the consultant’s documents that layout an effort to recover a built-up roof. There is even a little extra gravel to make sure the roof is well-covered.

Here’s where the problem comes in: the structure is only meant to support 20 pounds per square foot. There are already 10 pounds per square foot of built-up roofing. Now, there is 17 pounds of re-covering roofing material per square foot. That’s not even including added drainage pipes or any other fixtures that may be added to aid in the drainage process.

You can see where this is going. Because the load is already precarious, all it takes is light snow or a buildup of water to bring a whole lot of water down onto your head and create a massive mess. The less here is to hire a competent consultant to make sure that your structure can withstand the work being done.

2) Get it in Writing

Another scenario that has happened all too often is one like this. A property manager has just taken over the job. Her predecessor had a new roof installed on the building just a year ago yet there are major, persistent leaks happening.

Further inspection reveals that the new roof had been installed over existing roofing material and it had been done poorly. The roof is no longer waterproof and has in fact seen a huge collection of moisture that leaves the vast majority of the roof saturated.

The manager goes to find the contract so that she can resolve the issue with the contractor. And then it sets in: there is no contract. The previous manager didn’t get one even though the previous installation cost $48,000.

Now, the new manager is left to explain to the owner of the property why the roof has to be replaced yet again and why there is no recourse against the roofer who performed the initial job. The moral here is always, always get a signed contract.

3) Closer Inspection

Having a roofing inspection performed is a great thing to do for existing buildings. But don’t wait until after the roof is installed before having someone look at it. Bringing in a professional to look things over before the installation can save your butt.

Take, for example, a contractor that was roofing an addition to an existing building. Instead of taking the proper methods to fill the pitch pans with grout, the roofer filled it with gravel from an adjacent roof. There would be no way to tell what happened without having someone look at it beforehand.

Then the vibrations start. This causes the sealer to crack prematurely, which then allows water to enter the building. The cracking continues until it is actually replaced with something more appropriate for that installation.

While this might not be as bad as paying for two roofing installations, leaks are nothing to scoff at. They can cause major structural damage to a building if left unchecked. Not only that, there is the chance that mold and mildew could follow. These can create serious respiratory issues for all involved, which then opens the business up to expensive lawsuits.

The moral here is to make certain that you have the roof inspected before and after the roof has been installed. This way, critical errors can be caught immediately before they have a real chance to cause serious damage.

4) It’s More Than Just Surface Appeal

Similar to one of the above scenarios, a facility executive begins to see issues with a roof that had been purchased the year before. They got it at a great price and even did their due diligence by having a visual roof inspection performed.

The problem here is that the inspection did not include scores of the roof as part of the overall scope of work. The roof, which is brand new at the time, looks to be in excellent condition and no one bats an eyelash.

Just a year later, the splits already begin to take place throughout the roof. There are some splits as large as 20 or 30 yards, but oddly enough, not every section of the roof was damaged. As you progress across the roof, you notice that the condition gets worse. The splits don’t’ quite follow the seams of the material and appear to be at random locations.

In order to determine what happened, cores were taken from both the bad and good areas of the roof. As it turns out, the roofer had started to leave gaps between the insulation boards and the gaps got progressively larger as he moved across the roof.

The roofer in question had underbid the project and was trying to save money by leaving those gaps, reducing the amount of material that had to be bought. The result of these gaps is that the membrane was no longer being supported.

The movement that happens in every kind of roofing material led to the membrane to relax and stretch at its weakest location, eventually causing it to snap. Moisture continues to get into the broken system, causing more blisters to appear over the roof.

Fixing this takes extensive work that costs your business hundreds of thousands of dollars. The moral here is to make certain that it is understood what is going on beneath the surface of the job.

5) Small Roofs Can Have Big Problems

Just because your roof is smaller does not mean that you are immune from some seriously large problems. For instance, consider a 40-by-20-foot building that has a coal tar pitch roof. The water eventually ponded heavily on the roof and developed a leak that no one could find. This building houses equipment for the local electric company and the water ends up in the electrical works.

The problem here is that there were no readily observable problems. An examination around the location of the leak revealed nothing out of the ordinary. Something like water staining may have been an indication. Since the water was puddling near a wall-floor intersection, the consultant thought that the water might have been coming from below.

Not only that, there had been a recent wall painting that got rid of the stains that may have revealed where the leaks were. With no signs of an issue, it can be tough to peg the problem. The leaking becomes worse and now there is a huge section of the roof that has structural damage.

The point here is that nothing is ever what it seems in the roofing and to uncover every stone until you find the problem. Commercial roofing emergencies can manifest in smaller roofs.

6) Bad Actor Roofing Contractor

Unfortunately, scams are apart of just about any aspect of life. There are scam artists looking to take advantage of people. All you can do is try to avoid them.

Here is an all-too-common scenario: a massive storm has just hit the area. In its wake, it has done substantial damage to your commercial building. The roof needs heavy repairs or a complete replacement.

Suddenly, a contractor appears on your property telling you that they can provide you with a timely replacement at a price that seems too good to be true. Here’s a little spoiler alert: if the price is too good to be true, it likely is.

The contractor performs the work and leaves. It isn’t long before you start to notice issues with the leak. Areas cracking, peeling, and otherwise not doing the job that they are meant to. Leaks begin to be a huge issue.

You go to find that local contractor’s information. Their phone is disconnected and there is no known address. You begin to panic as it sets in that you were had. A scam artist showed up, took your money, performed a subpar job with subpar materials, and left town before you would notice the difference.

Again, if the price is too good to be true, it likely is. Always vet a contractor before agreeing to anything because not vetting that contractor can result in tens of thousands of dollars lost. Sadly, these kinds of emergency repair scams happen all the time and there is a long list of horror stories.

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Can You Put New Shingles On Top of Old Ones?

Can You Put New Shingles on Top of Old Ones

There may come a time where your existing roof just isn’t doing what it should. Leaks, broken shingles, and a litany of other problems can creep up, bringing you to the conclusion that you need to make a change to your current system.

Unfortunately, that leaves you with another question: can your new shingles be placed over the top of the old ones? The short answer is “yes”, you can lay new roof shingles over top of the old ones, but there are other reasons to take into consideration.

The Basic Rules

Know this: placing old shingles over top of the new ones is only possible with asphalt shingles, which are also known as composition shingles. You cannot place a new layer over top of slate or wood and you should definitely never mix materials like laying asphalt shingles over cedar shakes.

And perhaps the most important rule for laying new shingles over top of old ones is that the old roofing has to be in pretty good condition. If you are laying new roofing shingles over top of an existing roofing system that has a ton of leaks or damage, you aren’t doing yourself any good.

Why Add New Roof Shingles Over Top of Old Ones?

It might seem like an obvious benefit to having multiple layers of protection on your roof, but that is not automatically true. As a matter of fact, having multiple layers of shingles does not mean that your roof is any more waterproof than it may have before.

Not only that, having multiple roofing layers can create problems all its own. The biggest reason to lay down new shingles over top of the old ones comes down to a simple matter of convenience and cost. Keeping the old shingles on means that you skip the messy labor and disposal costs that can be involved with the tearing off of the old shingles.

It is important to note that both of these have caveats. It isn’t as simple as putting the new roof over the top of the old; there is special prep work that needs to be done in order to complete the new install. Things like removing ridge caps, vents, and misshapen angles are just the tip of the iceberg.

That’s not even taking into account the fact that you might still have to replace or add new flashing. This can sometimes be tricky to do over old roofing. And the fact is that while you might be saving tear-off costs, you really are just delaying the cost. When you have to start over with a new roof, you’ll just have to tear it off and start over.

Putting new roofing over the existing structure is a “pay me now or pay me later” scenario. You will save on costs in the short-term, but you will eventually need to pay for the full cost of a new roof at some point.

Why You Should Not Add New Roofing Shingles Over the Old Ones

Though we already touched on a few basic reasons above that it isn’t a good idea to put new shingles over the old, there are also a few universal reasons not to reroof. Here are things to check out if you are seriously considering adding your new roofing shingles over top of the old ones.

Why You Should Not Add New Roofing Shingles Over Old Ones

Shingles Add Weight

Your roof is likely graded for a very specific amount of weight. This is factoring in not only the shingles but extra for snow that could accumulate as well. When you add extra roofing shingles over the top, you are only adding weight to the existing structure.

This creates an issue as far as how much your current roofing structure can handle. If you overload the roof, there is a chance that it may not be able to hold up. And when this becomes a possibility, there is a chance that the structure of your home is then unsafe with the chance of a potential collapse.

Shingles are Designed for Flat Surfaces

Shingles are not meant to bridge over gaps, humps, or dips. This includes the stepped texture that is created by overlapping shingles. While some experienced roofers have tricks for laying new roofing shingles over the old, there is still a chance that there are curled, cupped, or misshapen shingles.

These defects will then telegraph throughout to the new layer. If you decide that you absolutely have to re-layer your roof, use laminated, or dimensional, shingles, since they are thicker and offer, have staggered edge profiles that help to hid any high spots or dips that might be in the old roofing.

No Visual Inspection

Without that tear-off process, roofers are not able to see what the decking underneath looks like. A roofer worth their salt will perform a careful inspection, known as a “walking” inspection, to look for spongy and problem areas. This allows them to make localized repairs before the re-roofing process.

When you hire a less-than-reputable roofer to do the job, they might not bother with this portion of the process. This leaves your roof susceptible to any damaged areas, which could permeate through the new layer of roofing shingles.

There is a litany of reasons why it is not a great idea to simply shingle over top of an existing layer of shingling. It is understandable that some don’t want to fork out the upfront costs involved in new roofing installations, but it is beneficial in the long-run to not roof over the older layer of the roof.

The reasons above should be enough to deter you from simply laying the new roofing shingles over top of the old ones, but just know that there are even more reasons why it is not a good reason to do so. You might save in the short-term, but it will definitely cost you in the long-run.

Take the necessary precautions when laying down your new roofing shingles and, if at all possible, remove the previous layer before doing so. It will save you a lot of trouble in the end.

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5 Ways Modern Roofs Foster a Sustainable Commercial Building

Sustainable Commercial Building Cover

As modern research has inspired people to create a more sustainable commercial building, roofing has become one of its most vital components.

Below are just a few of the reasons that implementing a sustainable roof is a great idea not only for your business but for the environment as a whole.

1) Energy Savings

One of the most important factors in the drive towards sustainable roofing is in energy savings. But there is more to it than you might think.

The first is that we are doing a better job as a society at understanding that the resources we use are finite and cannot be used wastefully. This includes the use of electricity. That is why there is more of a focus on being energy efficient across a litany of industries.

The roofing industry is no different. With new regulations that are evolving all the time, there is a renewed focus on making certain that materials are being used effectively and getting the most of the energy that they do wind up using.

That’s not to say that there are no benefits for the companies that are making their roofing more efficient. By implementing roofing that has reflective qualities to it, the building is able to cool itself far more effectively as it is no longer absorbing a lot of sunlight.

Since the building is no longer as warm as it may have been with an outdated, inefficient roof, it is easier to keep the temperature regulated. That means no more leaning heavily on HVAC units that can cost an arm and a leg to run over the course of a summer.

Companies will not only be doing more to preserve energy, but they will be saving themselves on utility bills over the life of their roof. This means savings that can go right back towards the bottom line of the company. That is a pretty good incentive to go green.

2) Increased Life Expectancy

This might feel like a pretty obvious statement but having your roof replaced is an expensive endeavor. There is no situation where having your roof replaced will be cheap and if it is, that means that you’re either getting subpar materials, subpar service, or both.

While this might save on money in the interim, it will cost you eventually. So why not make sure that you are getting the best in quality right from the jump?

Having a more sustainable roof built from higher quality materials generally means that it lasts a lot longer. When you have a roof installed, the goal is to not have it replaced again for a good long time. Cutting corners to save costs means that you will just have to replace the roof again before long. This is the antithesis of savings.

Sustainable roofs are being made from higher quality materials, which means that they are lasting longer than ever before.

3) Environmental Assistance

As stated above, there is more of an emphasis than ever on producing sustainable materials. This is not only meant to have benefits to the owner of the building but to the environment as well. We as a society are coming to the realization that we cannot continue to be as wasteful as we have been.

And that is where roofing materials come into play. With materials of old, there would be a need to tear up the old roof before laying down the new one. This would create a ton (or several tons) of debris that required disposing of and not all of that disposing of was done responsibly.

But with newer roofing materials, that waste generated has been taken down by a considerable level. There are plenty of new roofing materials that can be sprayed on or applied directly over the old roofing material.

Not only is this easier in terms of the installation process, but it also minimizes the amount of waste that is produced when installation occurs. That is a win across the board, especially for roofing contractors. They can spend fewer man-hours on both the installation and the cleanup process, saving thousands upon thousands of dollars each and every year.

Roofing waste accounts for over 40 million tons of waste. That is five percent of all the solid waste that is generated annually in the United States alone. Being able to reuse and improve roofing materials gives us a great opportunity to reduce the massive buildup of landfill waste across the globe.

4) Less Maintenance

Just because a roof is stated to have a life expectancy of so many years does not mean that the time between installation and end of life will be smooth sailing. If the wrong materials are implemented in the roofing process, that just means that your roof will need a litany of repairs throughout the life of that roof.

This can occur in a number of ways. Things like leaks, mold growth, and structural damage are just a few of the issues that can come up. Leaks, in particular, can be a troublesome aspect of a roof with less than adequate materials use for installation.

Leaks can occur unnoticed, causing a buildup of water on your roof and, eventually, in the interior of your home. If left unattended, this water can seep into other areas of your home and create structural damage or mold.

Structural damage could make it unsafe for you and your family to be in the house until repairs are implemented and can mean serious money spent on repairing or replacing those damaged areas.

And then there is the case of mold. If there is a lot of moisture around your home, there is an excellent chance that mold could make itself known. Aside from being unpleasant to look at aesthetically, it has serious implications for your health.

If mold is left to fester and grow in your home, it can have long-term effects on your respiratory system. Living around mold for an extended period of time is dangerous to both you and your family.

This is why it is so essential to have a roof made of quality, sustainable materials. You want the roof to stand up to everything between its installation and end of life with very few repairs to be implemented in between.

5) Improved Air Quality

This might sound surprising, but your roof can actually have an effect on the quality of the air in your home. Doesn’t make sense? It actually does and you could be doing both yourself and your family a great respiratory disservice.

In addition to already saving on energy costs during the air-conditioning season, a cool roof can have a substantial impact on the quality of the air in your home. Because these “cool” roofs work to deflect harmful UV rays instead of absorbing them as older materials might.

By developing new standards for roofing materials and working to have a cooler surface to your roof, this helps to create heat-island effects in urban areas. It also has an effect when it comes to reducing air pollution and has shown the ability to help combat global warming as well.

Your roof is no longer about simply keeping the elements off of your head. There are many implications that are felt when your roof is not sustainable, and we are learning more and more about those effects. Implementing a new roof might seem like a costly endeavor, but there are so many benefits to be enjoyed over its lifetime.

The aforementioned reasons are just a few of those that would benefit from a sustainable roof on your home or commercial building. The money saved from energy costs should be enough to make home and business owners stand up and pay attention.

That’s not even counting the environmental impact, something that continues to be a concern, as well as the durability and stability that a quality roof can bring over a long period of time.

Look past the initial cost of a new, sustainable roof and you will see all of the benefits to be had by implementing a sustainable roof with newer, more efficient materials. It will be an investment that you will appreciate over the long-term and one that you will be grateful that you invested in.

As a result, there has been a move in recent years towards a more sustainable roof. This means a lot of things to a lot of people but knowing how modern roofs are ushering in an era of sustainability is an important thing to know.

Moving Towards Eco-Friendly Commercial Buildings & Roofs

We are moving further away from the days of inefficient, expensive, environmentally hazardous roofing materials and for a litany of reasons. This has a lot to do with the fact that society itself is moving in the direction of sustainability.

For roofing, there is a shift towards materials that provide both a long-term service as well as renewability options. Not only that, there is an increased focus on being cost-effective.

There are also government-sanctioned environmental regulations to be aware of. Decades ago, these regulations did not exist. Now more than ever, the government is aiming to protect our environment through the strict management of building materials and how they are both implemented and disposed of.

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Roof Flashing (Types + Techniques) for 2020

Roof Flashing Types Techniques

What is Roof Flashing?

Roof flashing is basically a thin material – typically a galvanized steel – that professional roofers will use in order to direct water away from the critical areas of the roof. Typically, it is wherever the roof plan meets a vertical surface like a dormer or a wall.

The Basics of Roof Flashing Installation

The flashing is installed to surround the features of the roof, like chimneys, vents, and skylights. Water should then run down the side of the flashing and wind up getting directed to the shingles instead of finding a way into the roof deck.

The Purpose of Roof Flashing

Without the roof flashing against those walls, water would slowly drip into the space between the roof and wall, and even potentially into the home. So, what do you do when you find yourself needing roof flashing? Knowing the different types as well as the techniques to implement can be helpful.

Roof Flashing Types

  • Continuous Flashing. This is also known as “apron flashing” because it acts in a similar manner to an apron. It is a long, single piece of metal that is used to carry the water down to the shingles that lay below.
  • Base Flashing. There are some roof features, like chimneys, that require two pieces of flashing. This is to ensure that the rain always meets a flashing surface to direct it downward. Not only that, it is notoriously difficult to install flashing around a chimney.
  • Counter Flashing. This is placed opposite of base flashing, or above base flashing. Counter flashing completes the team with the aforementioned base flashing.
  • Step Flashing. This is a rectangular piece of flashing that is bent 90 degrees in the middle. It is generally used for wall flashing. In this instance, multiple pieces of flashing will be installed as layers with the shingles to make sure that the water flows away from the wall.
  • Skylight Flashing. There are some skylight manufacturers that include flashing with their product, but others will require you to create it or purchase it separately. Knowing which option you have beforehand is helpful.
  • Valley Flashing. Any open valleys on your roof have metal flashing in order to protect this area, which is a critical area of the roof.
  • Drip Edges. At the edge of the roof, there is a thin metal flashing that allows water to drip off the roof without doing damage to the home or causing a pesky leak that can do further damage to the roof or home.
  • Kickout Flashing. Roofing contractors generally need something to bridge the gap where the step flashing comes to an end and where the gutter begins. This kind of flashing is used to direct water away from the wall and down into the gutter.

There are also a few different roofing materials that you need to be aware of. In the past, this would be lead or materials that were lead-coated. Now, professionals throughout North America have switched to one of three materials.

Roof Flashing Materials

  • Aluminum flashing is generally easy for roofers to form and it is also quite lightweight. There is one thing to note, however: aluminum has to be coated if it is going to be used with masonry and concrete since plain aluminum degrades and reacts when it makes contact with alkaline surfaces.
  • Copper roof flashing takes soldering well and is also malleable. Not only that, it is highly durable and tends to have a longer-lasting life. On the other hand, there is some discoloring into patina, which can vary based on the homeowner. Copper flashing is routinely found around chimneys.
  • Steel flashing is the most popular choice for flashing. In addition to aesthetic value, it is also malleable and, when galvanized, is corrosion-resistant.

There are building codes to be aware of that may call out a specific material. Have your roofing contractor look into this so that you can be covered in the event that a certain material is disallowed.

Identifying Roof Flashing Types

There are quite a few types of roof flashing; nearly as many as there are parts to the roof. Each roof feature requires protection, hence why there are so many different types of roof flashing.

Longer pieces of continuous flashing have trouble flexing as the home contracts and expand during the changing of the seasons. If left alone, it could warp or break and fail to keep that water out. If using longer pieces, they should have built-in expansion joints so that they can move as the home does.

Another benefit to two-part flashing is that when the roofing materials expand and contract with the weather, those two pieces can move, so the system stays secure.

So, how do you properly install roof flashing? Here are a few helpful techniques.

Roof Flashing Techniques

  • Step Flashing. The best instance for step flashing is where the roof face meets a wall. An example of this is where the dormer projects out from the roof. In a spot like this, it is entirely possible that water could flow down the wall and get past the shingles into the building down below.
  • Plumbing vent boot flashing. To put it simply vent flashing is the kind of flashing that has a cylindrical piece of flashing. This piece of flashing fits around the vent itself. These shingles are installed over the base or the boot. The height of the boot is meant to force water to run around the vent itself.
  • Counter Flashing. Counter-flashing is most commonly used to flash chimneys and involves two pieces of flashing. The first piece, the base flashing, is meant to sit around the base of the chimney. The second piece, the counter-flashing itself, finds itself embedded into the masonry of the chimney. This piece sits over the base flashing. It is meant to ensure that the water doesn’t slip in behind the base flashing. Professional contractors generally use counter-flashing for a litany of other purposes, but it typically involves a second piece of flashing that is set off from the first.

Before you can learn to install that roof flashing, you need to understand the three primary techniques that are involved. Each one is different and can be suitable for different areas of the roof. There are also flashing types that tend to correspond with a specific technique.

Step flashing is the way to ensure that the water is properly directed away from the wall and that it winds up in the gutter. This is called step flashing because it is installed in – you guessed it – steps. This involves layers of shingles between so that the water gets poured down each step and then down the roof.

Sealant Types

The main key when installing roof flashing is to use a sealant. There are roofing professionals out there, generally of the old school variety, that still use nails while flashing. This works, but they still need to choose whether to nail to the roof plane or to the vertical wall itself.

If the contractor decides to nail to both, the flashing could deform under the pressure from shifting wood or brick. If you decide to use nails and nail only to the roof plane or to the vertical wall, the flashing can then stay in place while the other materials used in the construction contract and expand as the weather changes.

It is that weather change that can cause the most havoc. If the wrong materials are used or they are installed in an improper manner, that constant expansion and contraction can lead to the materials to bend and warp, making it more brittle until it finally breaks.

That is why roofing cement is generally accepted as the most common type of roofing sealant. This is because roofing cement is meant to create a waterproof seal. Roofing professionals can use a trowel to apply it evenly so that it adheres properly.

Protecting Your Roof

Ultimately, the installation of flashing and the application of a proper sealant are meant to protect your roof and its trouble areas from water and other damaging elements. Those hard to reach areas can be the first to go without proper flashing, so it is imperative for the life of your roof that you have to flash that will expand and contract with the elements and divert the water off the roof.

Those tough to reach areas can go unnoticed by amateur roofers who may not have the knowledge or experience necessary. Having a proper roofing contractor is necessary to ensure that those trouble areas do not worsen.

If not handled properly, areas around vents or the chimney could have a pooling of water. This water can do damage to areas of the roof, creating discoloration and even leaks. Those leaks can be a real trouble area if left unchecked, potentially causing structural damage if left unchecked.

A proper roof flashing can do wonders for protecting your roof from water damage and unnecessary wear and tear to those trouble areas on your roof.

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Will Metal Roofs Attract Lightning?

Metal Roof Lightning Blog Cover

Will metal roofs attract lighting? No, having a metal roof should neither increase nor decrease its chances of being struck by lightning. Other factors like building height, size, and topography do, however, have an influence.

The Metal Construction Association has even pointed out that metal roofing may actually keep your building safer in the event of a lightning strike.

A Common Question

Installing a metal roof onto your commercial building can have a number of benefits. It is one of the most durable roofing systems available today, meant to last for decades. But the benefits of metal roofing systems are meant for another article.

The question that just about anyone asks is whether or not that metal roof is dangerous when it comes to attracting lightning. After all, we have been told our whole lives that metal is a natural conductor for lightning, so that must mean that it’s dangerous.

The short answer is no, metal roofing is not dangerous and does not naturally attract lightning strikes. Generally speaking, metal roofing is quite safe. It holds no extra attraction to lightning. Like buildings that are constructed with traditional building materials, any electricity from lightning strikes will be transferred safely to the ground below, keeping the occupants inside safe.

Still, that does not mean that you shouldn’t take preventative measures to keep your building safe from lightning strikes with a metal roof. Here are some things that you need to take into consideration.

Will Metal Roofs Attract Lightning

Metal Roofs and Lightning

The concern of the uninitiated about what happens when lightning strikes metal is directly related to the fact that metal can act as an electrical conductor. Despite that fact, metal roofs absolutely do not attract lightning strikes. Not only that, they are not struck any more frequently than any other type of roofing material.

What is lightning attracted to? Thin points, high points, and structures that cover a large area of ground. That means that the likelihood of a lightning strike hitting your home or commercial business building depends on both the height and size rather than the materials that were used in the construction.

Speaking of material, there is currently no known material that can be implemented to decrease the likelihood of a lightning strike. You can, however, do things to decrease the potential for any structural harm to your building should the building be struck.

Fire is actually the most destructive element of a lightning strike. This is because most roofs will immediately combust. This is where metal frames actually come in handy. As far as building materials go, traditional wood is much more likely to combust than metal due to the latter’s non-combustible nature.

So, what happens when lightning actually does strike your metal roof? The electricity will spread itself out across a larger area. This diminishes the immediate impact of the strike. From there, the fire-resistant properties of the metal will help to further protect your building.

What Happens When Lightning Strikes Metal

Factors That Influence Commercial Roof Lightning Strikes

Since we now know what can increase the chances of a lightning strike, there are measures to be taken. If you are planning a new build, you can plan the building strategies and site location. Consider these factors:

Size and Expense

The more expansive and/or taller than a building is, the more likely that building is to be struck. Depending on where you live, this could alter your building plans. Since lightning doesn’t strike buildings often, and your metal roof is tied to the ground using a strap or a lightning rod like other roofs, you should be fine.

Topography

As stated previously, lightning is attracted to high points. If your property has a number of flatlands and hills, the buildings on the hills – which are your high points – will be more prone to those lightning strikes than any buildings that are in the low-lands. This is something to keep in mind if you are looking for a building site.

The caveat here is that lower-lying lands tend to not drain as well and you are looking at weathering wet years instead of a lightning strike, so keep that in the back of your mind.

Proximity to Geographical Features

If your building is smaller than geographical features, and buildings around it – like the rock outcroppings or trees – it will be the least-likely target when storms roll in. On the flip side, having the tallest building on the horizon will likely make your building a quite literal bigger target.

Frequency

This one should kind of go without saying, but if you live in an area that is more prone to thunderstorms, your buildings – and everyone else’s – will be more prone to potential strikes.

Factors That Influence Commercial Lightning Strikes Infographic

Metal Roofs Can Reduce The Chance of Structural Damage

As touched on in the section above, you can do several things to decrease the potential of a lightning strike. But when your building is struck, it can put the structural integrity of the building as well as the safety of the occupants at risk.

This is why having the right materials in place is essential. Again, people get confused since metal is a conductor, thinking that it makes for unsafe roofing material. But the fact of the matter is that the exact opposite is true.

Since metal is a conductor, it actually spreads out the force of the electricity rather than focusing it in one place. For this reason, the full impact of the strike will actually be diffused. The electricity from the strike will travel nearly instantaneously through those conductive materials straight to the ground.

Did you know that the average lightning strike lasts only 30 microseconds? If your building materials are more likely to combust, the results of a strike are more often than not a destructive fire. When using metal and steel as building products, and also pairing them with fire-resistant materials, your building will be much more likely to stand up to a lightning strike than those wood-framed buildings that permeate your neighborhood.

More About Lightning Strikes

Knowing more about this natural occurrence can help you better understand lightning strikes that occur in our lives. Lightning has been studied for hundreds of years now and we have a pretty good base of information about it. What is unknown is how it forms and where it strikes. This makes behavior unpredictable.

Lightning is actually a rapid discharge of atmospheric static electricity. As such, there are three major types of lightning strike that can occur: cloud-to-cloud (CC) discharges from a highly-charged cloud into a less-charged cloud; Intra Cloud (IC) discharges inside of a single cloud from a highly-charged area in the cloud to a less-charged portion in the cloud, and cloud-to-ground (CG) discharges from a cloud that is highly-charged down to the earth. We best understand CG and it is the type that we are most concerned with when it comes to property and life.

While there is uncertainty about where lightning discharges appear, the exact location depends on topography, geography, as well as movements from the storm. When lightning is ready to discharge, it simply will. This happens whether there is a roof in the area or not.

There is faulty logic at work in assuming that metal roofs attract lightning strikes in a similar way to a lightning rod. This is because lightning rods are not actually made to “attract” lightning. They are made to channel that lightning safely to the ground if and when a strike hits the building.

What you might not have realized is that any electrical charge, including lightning, seeks out the path of least resistance to discharge. With CG lightning, it is discharging into the earth. To get there, it has to move through an expanse of air.

Lightning Strike

Buildings and trees are better electrical conductors than air. A taller building provides a much easier path by shortening the distance that the lightning has to travel through the air. In the area where that lightning discharges, it will seek out the best conductor that is closest in location to the cloud.

It should go without saying that a tall tree is far more likely to be hit by a strike than a shorter tree that is next to it. A large or tall building is far more likely to be hit than a smaller or shorter one. The material covering the roof, as well as other structural materials, are most definitely not determinant factors for where the strike will be.

When the lightning has struck, however, it depends greatly on what the building is made of and whether or not it has a lightning protection system. Lightning can travel more easily through something like steel or copper than it would through something like concrete or wood.  Even though the latter is a poor conductor, it has more electrical resistance. This converts that energy into heat, which can possibly cause fires or even explosions.

Understanding what happens in the event of a lightning strike is far more important than the conducting ability of your roofing material. You can rest peacefully at night knowing that your metal roof is no more likely to attract a lightning strike than any other sort of material and that it can actually help prevent commercial roof fires and limit the damage.

So forget all the things that you learned about metals being conductors. That doesn’t apply here when it comes to keeping your building safe. The next time someone asks you: is it safe to be in a metal building during a lightning storm, you can point to the reports of it being safer than normal. However, it is important to keep in mind that a metal roof fire is still possible and to be vigilant in keeping your building safe.

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Can You Live in a House While The Roof is Replaced?

Can You Live in a House While The Roof is Replaced

When preparing for roof replacement homeowners have a simple question: can you live in a house while the roof is replaced?

It is is one of the most obvious things to consider when replacing a roof.

The answer is yes… but there are some caveats which we will get into later.

Roof Replacement: What to Expect

There comes a time for most homeowners where the worst-case scenario happens: you need to have your roof replaced. It is something we all hope to avoid dealing with but may have to deal with during our time as homeowners.

The need to replace your roof can come for a number of different reasons. One of the most common is in the wake of a particularly heavy storm. Rain and wind damage can lead to several parts of the roof that are broken which then means that you have to replace the roof as a whole.

It could also be due to the age of the roof. If your roof has not been replaced in a long time, weather and age can take a toll on your roof that can leave it less than effective towards protecting yourself and the rest of your home.

Whatever the reason, there can come a time where you need to replace that roof and upgrade to something more effective and current than what you might have had. This doesn’t have to be a nightmare scenario if you choose the right roofing company.

But the one question you might have is “can I live at home while my roof is being replaced?” After all, if the roof is under construction, you might feel like you aren’t protected from the elements, so how can you live there while the roof is being worked on?

Roof Replacement: What to Expect

You Can Stay Home When Your Roof is Being Replaced

While it can be a sizeable inconvenience to your life, you can still live at home while your roof is being replaced. A roofing company worth their salt will take special care to ensure that you are not inconvenienced during the time of the replacement.

Roofers fully understand that you have things to do: raise the kids, household responsibilities, cleaning, taking care of the pets, and any other things that you might have to do.

Of course, you will want to know how long and when to wait for the roofing job to be completed so you don’t plan any family gatherings or have friends over during the repairs as that could cause inconveniences to the roofers.

Should I Be Home During Roof Replacement?

There are definitely things that you will have to put up with, but so long as you follow a few safety guidelines, you should be able to do so without any major concerns or issues during the replacement of your roof.

How Loud is Roof Replacement?

It can be very loud and depending on your noise tolerance, it might annoy you considerably. Take a listen for yourself:

Do Roofers Need to Come Inside?

It depends where you are in the replacement timeline. There will be periods where the roofer must access the indoors, oftentimes to inspect the attic. But this is done prior to the replacement.

How Long Does Roof Replacement Take?

With a quality roofing contractor, the job should take a few days to complete and you can definitely still live and work about your home as normal.

How Long Does a Roof Replacement Take

Keep Your Pets Secured During Replacement

One of the more important things to keep in mind during this process is to keep your pets secured during the entirety of the roof replacement. Because there are a lot of new and different things happening, they may not adjust well to these noises and new people that are in the area.

If possible or necessary, you might want to take the pets out of the home during the repairs that are being done and then bring them back later. You will be thankful that you did for both the sake of your pets as well as your sanity.

This might be a good protocol to follow with your kids as well. Make sure that they are not playing around the house while the roofing is being done and make sure they know to only stay in the house or within designated areas so that they do not put themselves into harm’s way or get in the way of the roofers at work.

Cleanup Your Outdoor Area

For those with outdoor furniture or any items of value that might be outside, make sure to remove those items before the crew arrives. The last thing that you want is to have something damaged during the process that could have been simply stored away.

Anything that can’t be moved should be properly covered and protected to ensure that it is not damaged in any way. It can also help to make the roofing company aware of these things, especially if they are larger items that can’t be moved out of the way easily.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the replacement process can be fairly noisy. While this is easier to deal with within your own home because you are aware of it, your neighbors might not appreciate it so much. Give them the heads up that you have scheduled to have your roof replaced so that they can make proper accommodations for dealing with the noise during this time.

Coordinate With The Roofing Contractors

Ultimately, the roofing replacement process is more of a team effort than you might think. You need to work with the roofing company to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible and that everything is accommodated. When this isn’t the case, it can make for a rough and uncomfortable experience.

A proper, professional roofing company will take any and all special care to coordinate with you and let you know what is happening each step of the way. Safety is paramount in these situations and if there is any major inconvenience that you may have to deal with, the roofing company will be sure to communicate that with you.

Since your roof is your home’s first line of defense, keeping it in the best condition possible is paramount. Keeping it in great condition is important for the investment that is your home and increasing the equity of your home.

The right roofing replacement professionals will take the most care possible each step of the way and will communicate any issues along the way. It might not be the most ideal of scenarios but having your roof replaced does not have to be a massive inconvenience.

It might be a few days of things being out of the norm, but you will be able to move forward with a brand new roof that will protect you and yours for a long time to come.

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The Best Commercial Chimney Cleaning Tools for 2020

Best Commercial Cleaning Chimney Tools

This post will teach you about the best commercial chimney cleaning tools for 2020.

Being a chimney sweep is quite literally a dirty job, but someone has to do it. It is the show Dirty Jobs come to life: hands (and other parts) coated in soot after a job well done. But it takes more than just a steady pair of hands to do a great job.

As chimney cleaning technology continues to improve, so too do the tools that these technicians implement. Tools can range from basic to comprehensive, but there are a number of different pieces of equipment that chimney technicians should have in their tool belt heading into 2020.

Chimney Sweep Brushes

This one seems like kind of a no-brainer, doesn’t it? After all, what is a chimney sweep without his brush? Every chimney sweep has the trusty wire brush that they rely on in order to take on those tough-to-reach nooks and crannies.

Having a top-rated wire brush, like the Master Sweep Wire Chimney Brush, in your arsenal can make you more efficient and effective than ever. It is fitted with a heavy-duty, double-spiral spindle design for maximum effectiveness.

While this is certainly one of the best chimney sweep brushes around, it isn’t all you need. Brushes are meant to handle things like tarred or glazed creosote deposits along a flue, but sometimes, you need to bring out the big guns for the big jobs.

Still, every chimney sweep technician should have this available at a moment’s notice. Besides, it would be weird for a chimney sweep to not have a chimney sweep brush.

Power Sweeping System

There might not be a more effective tool of the chimney sweep trade than a power sweeping system. Trying one of the best options available, like the SnapLok Power Sweeping Flue System, can make your life as a chimney technician all the easier.

This is a rotary cleaning solution that delivers the motorized capability of a traditional power tool with the durability that only solid nylon rods with a button lock system are able to offer.

The power sweeping system has an interlocking wire handle that is built to be incredibly strong while offering adjustability so that you can conquer any kind of flue without having to break your back in order to do so.

Best of all, there are plenty of customizable cleaning head options. This allows you to deliver the right cleaning method that you need to sweep out an encrusted flue. It doesn’t matter if the job calls for a rotary mole brush or something heavy-duty like the Death Star PowerWhip; this type of cleaning system is one of the most powerful and trusted solutions that is currently on the market.

No chimney sweep technician should be without a power sweeping system to get at the toughest and worst grime and soot. Might as well invest in the best chimney sweep rods.

Polypropylene Brush

The traditional chimney sweep brush is made of wire to grind away the dirt, soot, and grime that can build up in a chimney. But a polypropylene brush is just the opposite of that as it is a gentler alternative for cleaning chimneys with a certain type of lining.

When a chimney is lined with a more expensive metal, something like stainless steel, you want to make certain that the brush used will not damage or scratch the steel. Using a soft poly brush ensures that any warranty on the homeowner’s steel liner will not become null and void from needless scuffing and scratching.

An excellent choice is the Rock-Pro Poly Chimney Flue Brush. This brush will handle any stainless steel challenge with grace and aplomb. The polypropylene bristles make it capable of withstanding the acidic effects of coal, gas, and oil flues. These effects can wear down other chimney brushes far faster, meaning you will need to replace your tools before long.

Keeping this brush handy is a great idea, especially in the event that you run across round, metal chimneys that are found most commonly in prefab units.

It is always ideal to have the tools necessary to take both the soft and rough approach. Having options like a chimney sweep technician is what every good technician should have on them.

Smoke Chamber Brush

Unfortunately, the flue lining is not the only area of the chimney that finds itself susceptible to creosote buildup. That is why having the right smoke chamber brush to help break up those deposits of creosote is so important.

A good smoke chamber will not pose any hazards, simply performing the job as it was meant to. The Stiff Smoke Chamber ButtonLok Spin Brush is an excellent example of the range of motion in a smoke chamber brush.

This tool is ideal for getting into tiny corners or into cracks to get that soot that has become a problem for your chimney. Don’t ever battle with those annoying, hard-to-reach corners that you have had nightmares about for years.

Industrial Grade Chimney Sweep Vacuum

One of the measures of a great chimney sweep is not only the ability to do the job but to keep the areas in someone’s home near the chimney as clean as possible. No one wants to hire a chimney sweep that is going to get the rest of the house dirty while trying to properly clean the chimney.

A helpful tool for achieving this is an industrial-grade chimney sweep vacuum. Having one of these can help to prevent messes as they build while also removing pollutants that might be released during the cleaning process. That latter part is especially important when considering the air quality in our homes.

And when working with the integrity of a home’s air quality, having an industrial-grade filter is also a must. Something like the SootMaster 641M is a must for chimney sweeps everywhere. It has a double filtration system that can stifle all the debris that you can throw at it. Plus, it has a flexible hose that results in a greater reach.

The metal hose and 6-gallon canister offer great resistance to hot coals, meaning your vacuum won’t accidentally combust when you are in someone’s home. This is without a doubt the best choice for any savvy sweeper out there.

Being able to contain the mess as you go is something that customers will take note of and will help you to avoid any nasty messes that could leave the customer feeling upset.

Full-Face Respirator

This might sound shocking but being a chimney sweep means being constantly exposed to hazardous chemicals. These carcinogens can be especially hazardous to your breathing over the long term if you don’t do anything to combat it.

Having a full-faced, powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) is about as essential a tool as you need in your bag of tricks. These respirators come with a commercial-grade HEPA filter that provides you with clean air while removing contaminants from the air.

Even better, many of these industrial-grade respirator masks come with comfortable padding as well as an eight-hour battery to ensure that you are not only comfortable but that you don’t have to worry about the battery lasting for the length of a workday.

Powder-Based Creosote Remover

While there are a number of tools that can help you get into those hard-to-reach places, they might not make for the easiest of experiences. That is where having an industrial chemical cleaner can go a long way towards making your life easier than ever.

Having a creosote remover like A.W. Perkins Creosote Remover can help you get into air-tight fireplaces. Newer homes tend to have zero-clearance fireplaces, making them a huge hassle to properly clean. With a powder-based formula like this, you can not only properly clean the fireplace but also improve the overall performance of it by removing any accumulated soot and ash. This will also benefit the overall airflow when it comes to the fireplace.

Chimney Sweep Inspection Camera

One of the toughest aspects of being a chimney sweep is finding all of the areas that might be covered in grime and soot. It’s a dark area, to begin with, and that soot is black in nature. This can mean missed areas becoming a common occurrence.

But with a chimney sweep camera, you can get superior results right away. Using a camera like the Wohler VIS 400 Visual Inspection Modular System, you get a top-of-the-line camera that allows you to adequately inspect all areas of the chimney and fireplace for soot and grime.

With LED illumination, a waterproof camera head, and a crystal-clear screen, you can even utilize this camera as a marketing tool. After all, who wouldn’t want to hire the chimney sweep that has a cool inspection camera to get into all the nooks and crannies of their fireplace and chimney?

These types of tools can come with an investment cost, but they will more than pay for themselves over the life of their use. Not only that, you can become the most efficient and effective chimney sweep in the business before long.

Having the right tools is half the battle and these tools will allow you to win the war against soot.

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How To Stop Water Pooling on Flat Roof

How To Stop Water Pooling on a Rooftop

You came here because you want to know how to stop water pooling on your flat roof.

Having a flat roof can have a lot of benefits to it. But there is one definitive downside to those flat roofs: pooling water. This is because flat roofs do not drain water as effectively as their pitched counterparts. Those pitched roofs have a natural slope where the water can run down, draining off the roof.

Because these roofs don’t drain water that well, they are prone to developing what is known as ponding water. Ponding water is known in the roofing community as water that stands in a puddle on the roof for more than 48 hours at a time.

Ponding water might not be an immediate threat, but if it is allowed to persist over time, that water can begin to wear on the roofing membrane. This leads to a decline in the membrane’s lifespan and can lead to things like leaks which can cause serious problems for the rest of the building.

Thankfully, there are a few different tactics that you can employ to resolve those ponding water issues on your flat roof. And it is important that you address this issue because of the aforementioned leak potential.

Flush Existing Drains

Like the drains that live in your home, drains on commercial roofs can eventually become clogged with debris. In more extreme cases, these serious clogs can actually lead to standing water becoming a mainstay on your roof.

To prevent that buildup of debris, try removing sticks, leaves, and any other rooftop debris from the drainage system of your building. Not only will this allow rain and melting snow to flow away from your building, but it will also prolong the life of your drainage system as well.

On its own, that debris seems harmless. But when it builds and builds, it can lead to a variety of issues with not only your roof but the drainage system as well. Take those preventative measures and you should not only see a longer life for your drainage system but your roof as well.

You can also hire a professional roofing service to come out and perform those preventative cleanings on your drainage systems once or twice per year. That should be adequate to keep your drainage system clean and working optimally.

That little bit of preventative maintenance might cost a little bit of money in the short-term but will save you a whole lot of time, money, and trouble in the long-term.

Fix Low Spots

Despite the fact that they are called flat roofs, commercial flat roofs aren’t always completely flat. This is because there are subtle slopes in the surface of the roof that can come as a result of the installation process, weak spots in the roof, or a particular focus of debris or precipitation.

Additionally, qualified contractors understand how to slope a flat roof for drainage. These slopes are meant to facilitate drainage so that there is not a lot of pooling water on your roof. It helps to remove that extra water off to the edges of the building, where an external drainage system lives, or to designated internal drains that will carry the water away.

One of the flaws of these low spots is that water ponding can occur quite easily. When that happens, the drains can clog with debris and fail to do their job. This leads to a buildup of water that can cause damage to the membrane of the roof and eventually cause leakage.

A professional roofing contractor will be able to fill in those lose areas with a roof plaster in order to better direct that water towards the drains. Again, the goal is to direct as much water as possible to the internal or external drains that your building possesses.

How To Slope a Flat Roof For Drainage

 

Add more drain lines to the building

If the current drainage system has issues with effectively removing water from your flat roof, there are a few things that you can look into in order to help the process along. Though it comes with additional costs, adding additional drains is one of the most effective ways to take care of this issue.

Flat roofs, particularly those in areas with high precipitation, will sometimes need those additional drains to properly clear the water from the roof. Unfortunately, most building owners don’t realize this until they see that water ponding becomes a substantial problem in the wake of a heavy storm.

Most professional roofing contractors worth their salt can install extra drain lines or even widen the existing drains attached to your building in order to direct that excess water away from the rooftop.

Again, this is an extra cost and most building owners will stray away from this option. Still, if there is a more efficient option than this, it isn’t out there.

Install Roof Crickets

When it comes to pooling on your flat roof, you might find that the water ponds in specific areas. These areas typically are near chimneys or around large vents. The best way to battle water ponding in these areas is to install roof crickets in those areas.

Crickets are ridged structures that have been designed to divert melted snow and rainwater around roofing obstructions like the aforementioned chimneys and vents. Because of their positioning or design, those obstructions may have a naturally difficult time draining water on their own.

Adding crickets to these obstructed areas can also help when standing water is typically associated with transitions between the areas of the roof. If you are experiencing ponding water in other areas of the roof, crickets might not be enough. It is important to know how to drain water from a flat roof.

But if most of the standing water revolves around those aforementioned obstruction areas, installing roof crickets can be the remedy that you have been searching for and answer your question as to how to divert water on a flat roof.

How To Drain Water From a Flat Roof

Re-pitch The Rooftop

One issue that your commercial building roof could be having when it comes to keeping away ponding water is that the pitch was not properly designed or installed during the initial process. All roofs need some form of sloping to it, even if it is just subtle.

Without the right amount of sloping, the water that builds during a storm won’t be able to drain and will more often than not lead to additional pooling across your flat commercial roof.

The process of re-pitching the roof might be a costly one, but it might also be the only way that you can solve consistent ponding issues on your commercial roof. It might be worth exploring other options first, but if you need to make the investment, there are far worse things to put your money towards.

Best of all, if you know what you are looking for, you can actually re-pitch the roof before a problem arises. Sure, noticing standing water is an obvious sign, but maybe you live in an area that has a lot of storms and want to take preventative measures.

Replace The Membrane

The membrane of your roof is the protective layer that keeps your roof safe from things like moisture getting into the roof, attic, or other areas of the building. When that moisture builds up in the structure of your building, it can cause substantial structural damage.

When the membrane becomes damaged – and this can happen for a variety of reasons, ponding water chief among them – it might be worth simply getting a new membrane for the roof. This is an option if the cost of replacing the roof is not an option.

There are many membranes out there that are meant to withstand ponding water so it might actually be a blessing in disguise if you have to replace the membrane of your current roof for a more effective, modern version. An inspector will know how much ponding is acceptable on a flat roof.

You can also perform preventative maintenance to ensure that the membrane stands the test of time. Bring in a roofing contractor to perform an inspection once or twice a year to ensure that the membrane is holding up and not worn or damaged in areas.

Damaged Flat Roof Membrane

Compress Insulation

Another problem that can be combated with frequent inspections, compressed insulation can be another leading cause of ponding water on your commercial roof. You can also have serious issues with your roof if that insulation is insufficient.

Compressed insulation is generally caused by heavy roofing equipment that rests on the insulation during the installation process. Also, repeated treading over the roof area can lead to indentations in your roof that can lead to pooling as well.

The message here is that you need to ensure that the proper precautions are taken with the insulation and during any inspection processes. It is all too easy to damage the roof through these processes when some care could save you a lot of time and money.

Keeping your commercial business roof working optimally is one of the most important aspects of owning that building. That roof is the last line of defense you have from the elements and it needs to work properly.

With preventative maintenance and a little attentiveness, you can keep your roof working the way it is meant to work. Don’t let ponding water become an issue for your business when you can use these tips to get rid of that pesky water.

Modified Bitumen Roofing System vs TPO (Cost, Value, Longevity)

Modified Bitumen vs TPO

Modified bitumen vs TPO… it is a question on the mind of many commercial building owners.

Generally speaking, there are two kinds of commercial flat roofing systems that are most commonly found in the Northeast. These are modified bitumen and thermoplastic polyolefin or TPO. The former has been around since the 1970s and is one of the more traditional methods of flat commercial roofing.

TPO has been around since the 1990s and both do well in extreme temperatures, both extremely hot as well as bitterly cold. And given the locale (the northeast), this is a perfect set of traits to have to stand up to the huge swings in temperature.

More and more these days, however, TPO commercial roofing is surging in popularity. What you might not have realized is that TPO roofs are installed more than all other flat roof alternatives combined, including a PVC flat roof.

This piece will take a deeper look into both kinds of roof systems and examine each of them. This includes cost, expected life and longevity, and overall value of each of these roofing systems so that you can make the most informed decision possible.

Modified Bitumen Flat Roofs

One of the primary benefits of using a modified bitumen roof is that it comes at a lower cost to install. One of the biggest disadvantages, however, is that many major commercial roofing contractors have stopped installing them, mostly due to the surge in popularity of TPO roofs. Some have gone as far as to start installing TPO over modified bitumen.

As stated previously, modified bitumen began back in the 1970s and came along as a major upgrade over the traditional asphalt roofs of the time. It is termed as “modified” because of the addition of substances like styrene butadiene styrene (SBS) or atactic polypropylene (APP) which were intended to enhance both flexibility and longevity of the roof, especially when compared to those old asphalt roofs.

Over the years, there have been several issues that have arisen when it comes to modified bitumen roofs. The first is that, although an APP-modified bitumen roof is designed to have resistance to things like UV-light damage, cracking, blistering, and oxidation, there has been a lack of standards in the industry which has led to manufacturers skimping on the addition of that APP as a modifier.

What is the downside of that, exactly? This causes the roof to underperform. When the roof underperforms, that can lead to costly repairs. In the worst case, it could mean that your commercial roof needs replacing, adding another costly endeavor to your plate.

The second issue with modified bitumen flat roofs is that, although the gravel that is spread over a modified bitumen roof is intended to offer hazard and UV protection, that granular surface more times than not makes it more difficult to correct drainage issues and detect leaks.

Those drainage issues and leaks can persist far longer than they might with a TPO roof, which means that there can be a buildup of water that can damage the structure of the roof itself. When something like this happens, it can create structural integrity issues that can lead to even more costly repairs to your commercial business than you had ever expected.

The third issue with modified bitumen flat roofs is that any use of an open flame torch during the installation process can be a fire hazard. There have been more than a few instances of buildings burning when a torch used in the installation process was mishandled.

The risk here is definitely substantial and it can be substantial enough that some insurers won’t even cover roofers who apply that modified bitumen while using the open torch method. That is why open torch installations of modified bitumen are becoming a rarer commodity. With that said, the modified bitumen roof cost remains appealing to some.

Roofer Fixing Modified Bitumen Material

 

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) Flat Roofs

This method is also known as flexible thermoplastic polyolefin (FTPO) roofing. Generally speaking, there are three different kinds of commercial roof installations involving TPO: ballasted, fully adhered, and mechanically fastened.

TPO is considered one of the best values in commercial roofing because it offers a number of different advantages. And when it comes to your commercial roof, getting valuable and longevity are definitely two of the most important aspects involved.

The tear-resistant single-ply membrane is tough, and it resists oil, grease, and chemical spills. Not only that, but TPO roof systems are also fully recyclable and UV-resistant. Best of all, TPO single-ply roofing is often considered to be a “green” option because there are no plasticizers included in the formulation process.

One of the cool aspects regarding the rise of TPO roofs in commercial roofing installations is that many building owners and managers now have the option of selecting from over a dozen different colors. This includes white, which has proven to have energy-saving abilities to it as well.

The great thing about this is that now you can match your new roof to the exterior color of your building. This might not seem like much, but being able to match that color scheme can make your building stand out in the eyes of passersby.

Best of all, some of those initial costs of installing an Energy Star-rated TPO roof can be potentially recovered through lower energy costs over the life of that commercial roof. That makes it easier to take on the initial costs of installing the TPO roof to your commercial building.

Additionally, it is possible to apply TPO roofing systems over top of pre-existing modified bitumen as well as metal roof. This is as long as the current roof is in a sound condition and not substantially worn or damaged. The application of the new roofing system over the top of an existing roofing system then eliminates additional tear-off costs and will reduce the overall disposal expenses. That is a win-win across the board.

TPO is a reheatable and weldable material as well. This means that it is possible to re-weld any seams that require it years later. On top of that, smooth-surfaced TPO roof systems are easier to maintain and clean than those granular-surfaced roofs like a modified bitumen offers. Being able to properly clean and maintain your roof means that the roof will hold up for longer, saving you from having to get a new roof for a long time to come.

The thickness of the standard TPO single-ply membranes can vary a bit. There are some that are around 40 mils but they can be as big as 800 mils. If your roof is in an area where punctures are more likely – due to things like falling large branches or any other sharp objects – you might want to look into a thicker membrane to ensure that your roof does not get punctured by any of those falling objects.

The installation here is key as is the case with any type of commercial roofing system. Whenever a TPO roof fails, this is often the result of damage that is done during the installation process. If it isn’t that, it is because seams were not properly welded during the installation process.

These seam failures can lead to leaks or potential catastrophic failures when extreme winds occur, causing wind uplift. While these are certainly worst-case scenarios, they are things to be aware of when getting a TPO roof installed. When you hire a skilled, experienced roofing contractor to handle the installation process, you generally don’t have to worry about these worst-case scenarios.

The better manufacturers in the TPO roofing system business consistently produce high-quality, longer-lasting TPO membranes that you can have confidence in and get a longer life out of than ever before. Again, proper installation methods from a certified commercial roofing contractor will ensure that the TPO roof is installed properly and likely won’t fail.

TPO Roofing Material

Final Call: Modified Bitumen vs TPO (TPO is King)

Despite being cheaper, there are just too many downsides to using a modified bitumen roof to make it a viable option anymore. TPO is more energy-efficient, more reliable, and more versatile than its counterparts in the roofing industry.

Combined with the ability to customize the color of your roofing surface, there is just no matching TPO as a commercial roofing option. They also last longer than bitumen flat roofs, meaning you save on the costs of a potential installation that would occur sooner rather than later with a bitumen roofing system.

When you run a commercial business, there are a million different things that you need to keep in mind and worry about; your commercial roof should be at the very bottom of that list. When you install a TPO flat roof on your building, you properly protect it from even the most extreme of elements for a long time to come.

You can save a ton on costs of installation over the years when your heating and cooling bills are far less than they have ever been before. You can have confidence in your commercial roof to stand the test of time and to handle the elements with ease, allowing you to focus on the most important aspects of your business like generating revenue to keep that business going.

TPO is the reigning king of roofing materials and will likely hold that spot for a long time to come.

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Roofing Tar vs Silicone (2020 Analysis & Comparison)

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Roofing tar vs. Silicone. Which is superior?

Perhaps you find yourself in the process of having your roof repaired or replaced. If you are, there are a few questions that you might be asking. One of these is “what is the best roof sealant for leaks.”

Since there are a number of different materials to choose from, like slate, asphalt, silicone, aluminum, clay tiles, and more, it is important to have the right type of material. Generally speaking, it likely comes down to tar asphalt or silicone.

These materials have their distinct advantages but knowing which is the best one for you takes a little bit of research and a much more thorough look. Here are the two roofing materials side by side and what they can do for your roof.

Installation Process

Generally speaking, installing either roofing material can be a relatively straightforward process. For tar, you can install using a roller, but you have to ensure that the temperature is in the right range for it to effectively stick to the roof.

The last thing that you want is for the tar to not adhere properly. This could cause issues with peeling as well as potential water damage issues later on. Be certain that the temperature is right, and you will have no issues getting the tar to stick to the roof.

Perhaps the only downside to the installation of a tar roof is the fumes. When the sun hits the mixture, it creates toxic fumes that can leave you feeling dizzy and cause respiratory issues. Always, always wear a mask when installing a tar roof to protect against the side effects. No one wants to get dizzy and fall off the roof while installing it.

With silicone shingles, the process is a little more time-consuming but generally easy as well. There are no adverse side effects as far as fumes go, making it a safer option for installation.

Ideally, you should have a roofing professional come out to perform the repair or installation of your roof. It can be dangerous to take on the job if you are not experienced as those who lack experience often forego or forget the important safety procedures that should be taken during the process.

The overall installation advantage goes to tar roofing simply because you can roll it out relatively easy. Yes, there are toxic fumes involved, but as long as you wear a mask you should be okay during the entirety of the process.

Solar Energy

Silicone shingles reflect UV rays away from your home or business. This helps to keep the structure cooler without having to increase the amount of energy that you use through air conditioning or other cooling devices. Until you see a sky-high utility bill, you won’t understand just how much money that can save you.

Tar, meanwhile, has similar properties. It protects the structure from those harmful UV rays and helps to keep the building cooler even when the temperature is at its hottest. This is crucial during the hotter summer months when energy bills can soar.

Properly handling UV rays is one of the most important aspects of a roof. If it isn’t doing its job, your home could turn into an oven during the hotter months. This means cranking up the air conditioning and seeing your home energy costs skyrocket.

As both deal with the same problem in very similar ways – keeping those UV rays at bay and reflecting solar energy to keep the building cooler – either works fine for this specific concern.

Eco-Friendliness 

When it comes to roofing tar, they are very effective at keeping your home or business cooler during those warmer months; up to twice as much as most traditional energy-star certified roofing materials. This means that you can save substantially on your energy bills. Not only that, you could see benefits from green organizations like NAHB, LEED, or others.

The one drawback here is that the fumes can be quite dangerous to be around, though the effects on the environment aren’t quite as bad. If you do the installation yourself, be sure to wear a breath mask to avoid those toxic fumes that could be dangerous for your health.

Silicone is also great for saving money on energy costs. Even better, silicone offers protection against things like staining, dirt, and mildew. This gives them a distinct advantage in that they will look newer over time than a tar roof might.

The benefits are slight, but the advantage here goes to the silicone option. Both save you from expensive energy bills and are fairly easy to install, but Silicone protects against ugly staining while tar roofing material has toxic qualities during the installation process. Any time you can save yourself work on your roof, cleaning or repairs, that is a victory for you and one that you should take.

Aesthetic Appeal

With roofing tar, you are oftentimes limited to black or white. There are companies that specialize in offering a variety of different colors, but don’t be surprised if the majority of roofing companies in your area stick with tradition.

Still, if you can find the color that best suits your design scheme, it can match perfectly. Not only that, tar provides a smooth, seamless aesthetic without grooves or breaks.

As for silicone roofing material, they routinely come in a variety of colors and designs that allow you to get as specific as you want to when it comes to the color of your roof. Also, as previously mentioned, silicone is resistant to staining and dirt, which can cause unsightly spots to appear over time, making your roof look dirty and worn down.

Because of the versatility and choice in color as well as the ability to protect from things that may stain your roof, the advantage here goes to silicone. While getting different colors of roofing tar is not impossible, it is not as common as the selection for silicone roofing.

Durability & Longevity

Above all else, this is the most important feature of a roof. Because of the cost involved in replacing or installing a roof, it is not something that you want to have to do again in your lifetime. That is why using a roofing material that is meant to last is so imperative.

Tar roofs are very durable. This is because they remove the seams and cracks that we generally see in roofs and create a smooth surface. This is incredibly important when it comes to dealing with high winds or keeping snow/water buildup from forming on the roof.

The latter is particularly important. The majority of roofs experience some level of damage that can lead to leaks or water damage in other areas of the home. With a tar roof, you limit the possibility of that happening drastically. And as we all know, water damage is a real wild card that can play havoc on your home or business.

Silicone roofing material is also very durable. In addition to being resistant to the damage that can be caused by sunlight/UV rays, it also protects against things like rain, snow, and extreme changes in temperature.

The latter is very important in a roof, especially considering that the vast majority of us live in areas where the weather swings drastically depending on the time of the year. If you don’t have the kind of roof that can stand up to a snowstorm, you could find yourself in a pile of trouble before long.

These two are about even when it comes to durability. This is because both are meant to stand up to extreme temperatures, high winds, ran, and snow. They both protect against water accumulation and help to prevent those problematic leaks from occurring.

Perhaps the only real difference here is that a lot of silicone roofs come with a 50-year warranty, which should pretty much last you for life. Having that kind of security and peace of mind can go a long way towards picking the right roofing material for your repair or replacement.

Final Call: Roofing Tar or Silicone?

Even though this piece will give a slight advantage to silicone, the reality of the situation is that you really can’t go wrong with either material. This is because choosing a roofing material comes down to what your own individualized, personal needs are.

Silicone might have a better overall aesthetic value as well as the ability to stand up to staining and mildew, but using a tar roof won’t result in much of a difference. The same goes for being energy efficient – both are great at cutting down on your overall utility bills – and their overall durability.

If you are experiencing a repair or replacement to your roof and don’t know which material might be the best for you, make sure that you consult a roofing professional. You will be able to discuss your overall goals for the roofing projects, be able to better understand your local climate, and be made aware of any weather conditions that could affect your roof.

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