FAQs

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

 

Commercial Roofing FAQs


How do I know if my commercial property needs a roof replacement?

One of the most important questions property owners or property managers are forced to consider as their properties’ roof system ages is whether or not it’s time for a replacement. Naturally this is a big decision and our focus at Flat Roof Tech is to ensure that this process and decision goes as seamlessly as possible. The first order of business is to perform a thorough onsite evaluation and gather as much information as we can regarding your roofing system, as they all have a history and a story to tell. During this evaluation we will assessing various key attributes of the existing roof system such as the current substrate, age, maintenance and repair history, active issues and vulnerabilities, as well as performing a core sample. When a roof continues to age and deteriorate it often will impact various areas of the facility with the number and frequency of those areas increasing as time progresses. Therefore, it’s very important to not only assess the roof system itself, but to evaluate the interior and exterior of the building for vulnerabilities such as water stained roof tiles or dry wall, mold, and exterior cracks to name a few. Once a thorough evaluation has been completed our team of experts will be able to work with you one on one to identify the most appropriate solution for your roofing system!


How do I know which roofing system is right for my business?

There are various things to consider when evaluating which type or roof system is appropriate for your business from its unique climate, energy cost, current system, in addition to all the information gathered from thorough onsite evaluations. At Flat Roof Tech, it’s our goal is to assist you through every step of the decision-making process and provide you the best roofing options available to you. Give our team of experts a call today to schedule your free evaluation!


What types of roofing systems do you offer and or service?

With our extensive network of certified contractors, we can install just about any roof system available to the commercial market! Here is a rundown of the most common roofing systems currently used within the commercial roofing industry:

  • Single-Ply Membrane: TPO
  • Single-Ply Membrane: EPDM
  • Single-Ply Membrane: PVC
  • Spray Polyurethane Foam: SPF
  • Sheet Metal
  • Built-Up-Roof (BUR) – Asphalt, Modified Bitumen, Tar
  • Coatings- Silicone/Acrylic
  • Sustainable- Green/Solar

 

How long can I expect my existing or new commercial roof system last?

While every roof system will have its own unique set of circumstances playing part in the overall extent of deterioration as the roof ages, there are several factors that can serve as catalyst such as the current system, quality of the initial installation, design, all the way to the climate changes experienced annually.

Here are some of the life expectancy averages seen with common roof systems today:

  • Spray Polyurethane Foam: 30 – 50 Years
  • Single-Ply Membrane TPO: 15 – 20 Years
  • Single-Ply Membrane EPDM: 20 – 25 Years
  • Metal: 30 – 45 Years
  • Built-Up: 10 – 15 Years
  • Coatings: 15-20 Years

 

Does the work you provide come with a warranty?

Absolutely! Flat Roof Tech warranties any work we perform, which includes replacement, restoration, and repairs!

With every project, we adhere to specific guidelines that ensure we are in compliance with certain measures that are required by our manufactures in order to secure warranty approval. Additionally, should an issue occur we will work directly with the manufacturer to ensure that all work that is performed continues to fall within their product specification.

In the event any item doesn’t fall under the cover of a labor or manufacturer warranty our team will notify you ahead so there aren’t any surprises. Our teams mission is to be your advocate and provide guidance on the needs of your property and ensuring that your roof is continuously in the most serviceable position it can be in to maximize its life.

 

 

ROOF COATING QUESTIONS:

  

Why should I get my roof coated with a reflective coating?

Coating will greatly extend the life of the roof, by reducing heat transfer into the building, decreasing thermal shock (thermal expansion and contraction of the roof membrane), and helping to mitigate leaks. Reflective coatings also can reduce heat energy costs and improve the aesthetics of the roof. Depending on the type of restoration coating and the applied thickness, a roof restoration will have an independent warranty, giving the owner or property manager peace of mind.

 

 What kind of roofs can be coated?

Almost all types of roofs can be coated. Some examples include metal, spray polyurethane foam, single-ply, modified bitumen, and TPO/EPDM. While possible, in Flat Roof Tech’s experience, ballasted and built-up/tar gravel roofs membranes are best suited for reroof vs. a restoration coating. This is largely from a cost perspective, not on the efficacy of roof coatings.

 

How is the coating applied?

The coating can be applied using spray, roller or brush. This is determined by several factors:

1) Accessibility of the roof
2) accessibility on the ground
3) size of roof
4) type of coating
5) concentration of cars and nearby pedestrians

 

Do I need a primer?

Flat Roof Tech has done extensive testing with and without primer. Like several of the other answers, it depends on the type of existing roof as well as the type of coating used. If a primer is recommended, we will price the roof with and without primer. If a primer is not needed, we will not recommend it as it will be an unnecessary cost to the building owner.

 

How much coating should be put on the roof?

This depends on the coating manufacturer and the project specifications. Without exception, the thicker the application of coating, the longer the warranty and increased performance. Depending on the coating, this can be accomplished in one coat, or in several.

While Flat Roof Tech can coat/restore a new roof, it is generally not necessary. If the desire is purely energy savings, there are several options that add reflectivity without the waterproofing. This is considerably less expensive, and can be restored again for reflectivity, or for restoration to treat leaks and revamp the reflectivity.

 

What are the energy savings?

This depends on the geographic location, insulation, electricity costs, and existing roof. Restoring an aged black EPDM roof will provider more obvious energy savings than restoring a relatively new white TPO roof.

 

Will a reflective coating extend the life of my roof?

Yes. The coating becomes the first layer of UV and waterproofing protection for the roof,  and helps reduce expansion and contraction (thermal shock) of the roof.

 

Are there any warranties available?

Yes. Flat Roof Tech offers several in house warranties as well as manufacturers warranties. These vary in price and duration. Warranty costs are usually a fixed rate per roof and then a variable cost per sq. ft.

 

How long will the coating last?

Based on long-term histories, typically the roof life of a properly applied roof coating can be extended 10 – 20 years or more. Performance can vary depending on type and conditions, as well as the coating film thickness.

 

Can the roof be recoated in the future?

Absolutely. One of the largest benefits of a coating restoration is that it can be coated over and over again, without the added major expense of removing the roof.

 

Do I need a contractor, or can I do it myself?

The coating can be applied by an experienced roof coatings applicator. A roofing contractor is strongly recommended if there are such issues as existing leaks, wet insulation, damaged deck, or manufacturers’ warranties.

 

Can a coating stand up in ponding water conditions?

That depends on the coating. All roofs should be designed and built to have positive drainage and not allow ponding water. Some coatings are designed to withstand ponding conditions; however, not all coatings will withstand these conditions. We offer a full range of coatings from acrylics, to polyurethanes, to silicones. Like any building material, there are pros, cons, costs, and other tradeoffs between the coating applied. Selecting the right coating and the right thickness is absolutely imperative for a successful roof restoration.

 

How long does the coating take to dry/cure?

That depends on many factors: air temperature, wind, roof surface temperature, relative humidity (water borne coatings) coating color and the type of coating applied. Rest assured, regardless of the coating and existing roof, Flat Roof Tech will apply in accordance to meet or exceed manufacturers specifications.

 

Can I coat a rusted metal roof?

Rusted metal roofs can be coated after the rust conditions have been addressed. If the roof is “white rust” (zinc or aluminum) it can be coated after cleaning. If the roof is “red rust” the rust must be removed or treated with a corrosion inhibiting primer. All rusted fasteners should be treated or replaced. Untreated rust will bleed through almost any type of coating applied and cause premature failure to the coating. Flat Roof Tech has extensive experience with metal roofs ranging from 10,000 to 275,000sqft.

 

What is ENERGY STAR?

ENERGY STAR is a US Government sponsored program encouraging the use of energy efficient products. Roofing materials including coatings can qualify for ENERGY STAR if the coating meets specific solar reflectance minimum criteria.

 

What is the Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC)?

The Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) is an independent, non-profit organization that maintains a third-party rating system for radiative properties of roof surfacing materials.

 

Is there a tax advantage or rebate program available?

Some states, municipalities and utilities have programs. Further, some insurance companies offer a reduction in premiums for using a coating to increase the longevity of the roof without the capital intensive removal and reroof option.

Regarding the IRS, roof coatings are typically classified as maintenance, and in many cases can be written off as such in the same calendar year in which the coating application is completed. In Texas, maintenance is not subject to sales tax, saving an additional 8.25% compared to the cost of a reroof.

 

How do I maintain the coating?

It is recommended that the roof, including the coating, be inspected semi-annually and after a major storm or high wind “event”. Additional coating may need to be applied to repair damage to the coating and underlying roofing substrate. Flat Roof Tech offers several types of maintenance contacts to ensure that the roof stays in compliance with any warranty issued.

 

What are Solar Reflectance and Thermal Emittance?

Solar Reflectance is a measure of the ability of a material (roof coating) to reflect the sun’s radiation. Thermal Emittance is a measure of the material (roof coating) to release trapped heat back into the atmosphere.

 

Will the coating stop my leaks?

While coatings may potentially stop minor leaks, the roof should be properly repaired and dried prior to coating application. Coatings may be able to seal pinhole leaks, which are leaks not visible to the naked eye. If the roof is leaking, the roof leak will need to be identified and repaired prior to any recoating; do not expect the coating to find and seal the leaks. This is where hiring an experienced and certified roofing contractor will make the difference. Flat Roof Tech utilizes an array of IR cameras, moisture meters, and infiltration testing to determine where the leaks are occurring. Further, if the substrate is moist, it is imperative to remove/replace these damaged areas to providing bubbling and blistering of the roof coating. A coating applied incorrectly can be worse than useless.

 

Is there a difference between restoration contractors?

Absolutely. A coating installed incorrectly is worse than useless and can cost more to fix than if nothing was done at all. Once a coating is applied, leaks are harder to find. If moisture is not correctly identified in the substrate, blistering and bubbling will occur- often creating new leaks and generally voiding any manufacturer’s warranty. Incomplete, or unsatisfactory preparation can decrease the adhesion of the roof coating causing premature failing.

Correctly installing a roof coating- is one of the hardest and most skilled trades in roofing. Applying a roof coating incorrectly is one of the easiest. Get your roof done right the first time. Get your roof done Flat Roof Tech.

 

 

SINGLE-PLY MEMBRANE AND TPO (THERMOPLASTIC POLYOLEFIN) QUESTIONS:

  

What is a Single-Ply Membrane?

It’s a roof system that combines both polypropylene (plastic) and ethylene-propylene (rubber) that creates a single synthetic polymer based waterproofing layer (membrane). The sheets are commonly installed using a variety of methods, from adhering the sheets or fixating using fasteners, with joints between the sheets sealed with an adhesive, heat, or mechanical means. Single-Ply Membranes are one of the fastest growing commercial roofing products in the country and by virtue of their unique constructs, they are one of the most cost effective, easy to install, and lightweight roofing systems that are predominantly used in commercial construction.

  

What are some of the advantages to installing a Single-Ply Membrane?

  • Transforms your commercial roof into truly energy efficient and cool roof.
  • Offers exceptional resistance to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and ozone exposure which means it can drastically reduce your property’s solar heat gain.
  • Reduced solar heat gain and lower temperatures results in lower energy costs during peak months
  • In most cases no tear-off is required, so installation does not disrupt your day-to-day business.
  • Comes with a variety of manufacturer backed warranties spanning 15-20 years.

  

What are the various types of Single-Ply Membranes offered?

  • TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin)
  • EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer “True Rubber”)
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
  • Modified Bitumen

  

What is TPO?

TPO is the most commonly installed single-ply membrane used in the commercial roofing industry. Unlike other synthetic rubber compounds used in the roofing industry, it has the ability to be fused together similar to that of a plastic PVC membrane over its life. Once the seams are successfully fused, the TPO lap forms a truly monolithic and homogenous rubber roof system spanning the entirety of the roof field. This unique fusing feature eliminates the need for 2-sided tape or glue down systems required by other roof systems and provides the added peace of mind and confidence gained from choosing a roof system that’s not only stronger, but more durable and longer lasting. At Flat Roof Tech we specialize in TPO installations and pride ourselves on only using highly trained and TPO certified installers. Give us a call today and let us help walk you through this important decision-making process.

 

What are the primary benefits to installing TPO?

  • Seams are hot air-welded, making these seams on average 3 times stronger than other synthetic rubber roofs that utilize tape systems and 6 times stronger than those with glued seams.
  • Unmatched durability and weather resistance as a result of this increased strength.
  • Exceptional membrane flexibility making installation significantly easier and a more compatible solution for more complex roofing structures such as mechanically attached roofs (fully adhered and ballasted).
  • Highly resistant to scratches, tears, and punctures (especially with fleece-backed membranes)
  • Offers a unique reflective quality not found in many roof systems, which has proven successful at reflecting close to 87% of the sun’s damaging UV rays away from the roof.
  • With the increased energy efficiency and UV reflective qualities buildings that are air conditioned will benefit from a reduction on the load put on AC units, ultimately reducing energy cost.

  

Is it true TPO can be installed over an existing roof system?

Absolutely! In fact, the majority of TPO installs we do here at Flat Roof Tech are over an existing substrate. However, TPO is not the cure all for all roof problems and we always strive to use roofing best practices when making the decision to install every roof system. A thorough inspection and core sample should be performed to assess for any wet insulation in the existing roof system and plans for wet insulation removal should happen prior to ANY new roof system installed, including TPO. After all the existing insulation and decking has been inspected and approved, then and only then can a TPO system be installed with the use of an insulation board has been applied over the existing built up roof system or other single ply membrane.

Note: Depending on the building codes in your city and state, it’s important to perform a core sample in order to identify the number of existing substrates. In some states code regulates that a tear off needs to be performed in the event of two existing substrates, which can drastically affect the overall cost of the project.