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Old 07-17-2011, 12:02 PM   #1
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Shallow pitched roof membrane?


I have a house with a nearly flat roof with a very shallow pitch. It has a membrane style roof but I'm trying to figure out what type of membrane is in use. I've read about the different membrane types (EPDM, PVC etc) but haven't come across a clear way to identify what it actually is.

The roof appears to be in good shape but I would like to make sure that if there is any kind of routine maintenance that should be performed on whatever type of roof membrane I have I can do so this summer.

How would I go about identifying what type of roof I have?

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Old 07-17-2011, 01:13 PM   #2
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Shallow pitched roof membrane?


a picture would help greatly. im not a roofer but im sure someone could identify it from a few photos.

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Old 07-23-2011, 01:13 PM   #3
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Shallow pitched roof membrane?


Here are a few pictures. I'm guessing this is a modified bitumen roof but I'm not sure...









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Old 07-23-2011, 02:48 PM   #4
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Shallow pitched roof membrane?


Looks like modified bitumen to me.
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Old 07-23-2011, 06:55 PM   #5
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Shallow pitched roof membrane?


Looks like modified bitumen, but has been glazed over with hot tar for some reason. I say that because it has more aligatoring than is normal with modified bitumen. Maybe it's hot tar installed on 3' felt rolls. Normally we see the rolls half lapped with 18" exposures... but it really looks thicker, like it may be modified bitumen. Unusual.

I would totally whole heartedly disagree about the "shape" of the roof. I would put it in fair to poor condition with serviceable life remaining. That there, is a 10 year rated roof. had it been silver coated, it would have been a 12 year rated roof. Sure they can be made to last longer with proper care and maintenance.

You've got some wrinkling of the membrane which is beginning. This is usually a sign that the top layer of roofing wasn't properly adhered to the layer beneath, or that inadequate fasteners were used in the base sheet beneath the modified bitumen. This can be fixed if you wish before it gets worse.

It looks like some of the seams need attention. it could be an optical illusion, but some seem to be splitting.

I do not like the way they wrapped up and over the top of the coping the way they did. Most likely the roof we are seeing is a recover. That's not really a proper edge detail.

You can keep this one going, it for sure needs repair, but begin budgeting for a new roof.
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Sometimes the savings that comes from doing it yourself can be blown away with one mistake.

The information found in this post is not to be considered legal advice. All information should be considered relative, not specific. Never attempt any repairs you are not comfortable with. Always maintain safety! The author of this post takes no responsibility for any losses that occur. Use at your own risk.
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Old 07-23-2011, 08:05 PM   #6
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Shallow pitched roof membrane?


When I first made this post I thought it looked to be in pretty good shape but after doing more research and looking at it again this afternoon when taking pictures I agree it probably needs more work than I thought.

It does seem that there is some wrinkling and de-lamination happening between layers because you can sort of feel some soft bubbles almost in areas when walking on it.

What kind of preventative maintenance can I do now to extend the life ?

Also, It seems to me that MOST of the seams are very solid and not separating but I'm no expert...

I think the previous owner mentioned something about resealing the roof but I'm not sure what he used. If its like the rest of the work hes done on this house I'm certain it was done wrong...

What kind of price range might I be looking at to tear off and start over?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumpy View Post
Looks like modified bitumen, but has been glazed over with hot tar for some reason. I say that because it has more aligatoring than is normal with modified bitumen. Maybe it's hot tar installed on 3' felt rolls. Normally we see the rolls half lapped with 18" exposures... but it really looks thicker, like it may be modified bitumen. Unusual.

I would totally whole heartedly disagree about the "shape" of the roof. I would put it in fair to poor condition with serviceable life remaining. That there, is a 10 year rated roof. had it been silver coated, it would have been a 12 year rated roof. Sure they can be made to last longer with proper care and maintenance.

You've got some wrinkling of the membrane which is beginning. This is usually a sign that the top layer of roofing wasn't properly adhered to the layer beneath, or that inadequate fasteners were used in the base sheet beneath the modified bitumen. This can be fixed if you wish before it gets worse.

It looks like some of the seams need attention. it could be an optical illusion, but some seem to be splitting.

I do not like the way they wrapped up and over the top of the coping the way they did. Most likely the roof we are seeing is a recover. That's not really a proper edge detail.

You can keep this one going, it for sure needs repair, but begin budgeting for a new roof.

Last edited by SteveB87; 07-23-2011 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 07-26-2011, 09:16 AM   #7
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Shallow pitched roof membrane?


Giving pricing is pretty hard to do because there are so many variables. Location is the biggest factor. The type of new roof you want and how it is installed are also going to play a pretty major role in the installation cost. Here are some other variables I take into consideration when pricing a job.

Height of building
Access of dumpster, will we have to touch the garbage twice
garbage chute
access of materials, can we have it craned up or will we need to manually carry it
number of layers to be torn off and type, tering off gravel is alot of work and tearing off coal tar is no fun
insulation, in ceiling or on roof
condition of walls and any necessary masonry work
gutter or other drainage
new warranty requirement


I can tell you I just quoted a Chicago 2-flat 1,200 sq ft about $9k plus insulation. I just sold a chicago 2 flat about 1,500 sq ft last Friday for $25k which includes roof, insulation, and new parapet walls.

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Sometimes the savings that comes from doing it yourself can be blown away with one mistake.

The information found in this post is not to be considered legal advice. All information should be considered relative, not specific. Never attempt any repairs you are not comfortable with. Always maintain safety! The author of this post takes no responsibility for any losses that occur. Use at your own risk.
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