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Old 11-11-2005, 11:14 PM   #1
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Torch Down Instructions Needed - DIY


Hi All,

My wife and I are building a 400 sq foot extension to our house and doing all the work ourselves except the foundation. So far, all the walls are up and the roof rafters and OSB are going down this weekend.

I have an existing torch down roof with a 1:12 pitch and need to tie the new roof to the existing roof. Since the new extension is only on one half of the existing roof, the new roof is in the same plane as the existing roof. That's a pretty lousy explanation, but look at it this way. The original roof has only two sides that slope 1:12 from the middle. We're building the new extension so it extends only from half of the length of the house starting at the middle.


After the OSB goes down we hope to install the torch down by overlapping the existing torch down for about 2 or 3 feet to assure no leaks. I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not.

Additionally, I've never put a torch down roof on, but it doesn't appear to be that hard. We have permits to do the work and we're pretty good at framing, electricity and plumbing, so how hard can the roof be? :-)

Is anyone aware of a DIY site that explains the torch down procedure?

Thanks all! Nice site. :-)

Mike - Burien, WA

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Old 11-12-2005, 06:00 PM   #2
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Torch Down Instructions Needed - DIY


Hang on, the roofers will be around. Be aware that they are not real keen on DIY torchdowns, it seems that it is really easy to 'torchdown' the whole structure (think Fire Dept.).

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Old 11-13-2005, 10:17 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeinBurien
Hi All,

My wife and I are building a 400 sq foot extension to our house and doing all the work ourselves except the foundation. So far, all the walls are up and the roof rafters and OSB are going down this weekend.

I have an existing torch down roof with a 1:12 pitch and need to tie the new roof to the existing roof. Since the new extension is only on one half of the existing roof, the new roof is in the same plane as the existing roof. That's a pretty lousy explanation, but look at it this way. The original roof has only two sides that slope 1:12 from the middle. We're building the new extension so it extends only from half of the length of the house starting at the middle.


After the OSB goes down we hope to install the torch down by overlapping the existing torch down for about 2 or 3 feet to assure no leaks. I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not.

Additionally, I've never put a torch down roof on, but it doesn't appear to be that hard. We have permits to do the work and we're pretty good at framing, electricity and plumbing, so how hard can the roof be? :-)

Is anyone aware of a DIY site that explains the torch down procedure?

Thanks all! Nice site. :-)

Mike - Burien, WA
Teetor is, of course, correct.

Torchdown modified bitumen is not simple, and not a DIY project. I strongly suggest that you hire a professional roofer with extensive experience with torch applied modified bitumen, enough general liability coverage to cover the repalcement of your home if they burn your house to the ground.

Aside from the fire hazard, flat roofing is a skilled trade, and it is easy to make a leakif you dont know what youre doing.

I can frame and wire a house, and run copper and pvc piping too, but would not like to say I "know how"

Hire a professional for this, it is your best bet.
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Old 11-13-2005, 10:56 AM   #4
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Thanks guys. :-) I understand about the liability. That's the same thing the Home Depot guy said when I told him I was putting in new 200 amp service myself from the pole. He pretty much had a fit and told me what and idiot I was, but as it turns out the local electric company was fine with it and I'm still around. I'm very proud of my new mast head, meter box, breaker panel and #00 wire.

Now, putting in 200 amp service from the pole is not the same as putting on torch modified bitumen, but how hard can it be? Sure, I agree it makes sense to be careful. And do understand there's fire involved. If I can frame a house, wire it all, put in all the copper, tile, walls, etc, etc. I can do the roof as well. We've already purchased the materials and we're ready to go.

I'll take your warnings very seriously.

Having said all that, what I need now are instructions to do the torch down. Are there any sites that explain the procedure?
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Old 11-13-2005, 09:00 PM   #5
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Mike, have you looked at other options such as Grace ice and water shield or some other peel & stick? I'm pretty good at most things but also realise the potential of open flame and petroleum products, it's not something that I would do with so many other options.
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Old 11-14-2005, 06:45 AM   #6
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I seriously doubt there will be many roofing contractors willing to give you instructions in this . This is due in part to the sue happy society we wlive in...if you burn your house down, there could be legal ramifications for anyone that did not cover EVERY aspect of installing a torch applied roofing system.
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Old 11-14-2005, 11:29 AM   #7
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Hi Teetorbilt and Aaron. Makes sense that you're unlikely to see torch down instructions on the internet, but surely this information is not entirely limited to apprenticeship and hand-me-down knowledge. I'll do some research to see that I can find and report back.

But in the meantime... Peel and stick. That *does* have a nice DIY sound to it. I'll check into that as well to see if we have that type of roofing material locally.

Mike
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Old 11-14-2005, 06:40 PM   #8
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Mike, what really sold me on the Grace peel & stick was what I saw last year. Three buildings dried in with the stuff went through two hurricanes in a month and the stuff stayed put. The torchdown on my bro-in-laws office was in a parking lot 2 blocks away, quite a few others were trashed too. Lost a few more this year.
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Old 11-14-2005, 06:47 PM   #9
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This is NOT a DIY project.

You need to call a professional!
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Old 11-15-2005, 02:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeinBurien
Hi All,

My wife and I are building a 400 sq foot extension to our house and doing all the work ourselves except the foundation. So far, all the walls are up and the roof rafters and OSB are going down this weekend.

I have an existing torch down roof with a 1:12 pitch and need to tie the new roof to the existing roof. Since the new extension is only on one half of the existing roof, the new roof is in the same plane as the existing roof. That's a pretty lousy explanation, but look at it this way. The original roof has only two sides that slope 1:12 from the middle. We're building the new extension so it extends only from half of the length of the house starting at the middle.


After the OSB goes down we hope to install the torch down by overlapping the existing torch down for about 2 or 3 feet to assure no leaks. I'm not sure if this is a good idea or not.

Additionally, I've never put a torch down roof on, but it doesn't appear to be that hard. We have permits to do the work and we're pretty good at framing, electricity and plumbing, so how hard can the roof be? :-)

Is anyone aware of a DIY site that explains the torch down procedure?

Thanks all! Nice site. :-)

Mike - Burien, WA
Mike,
I am a DIY'er much the same as you and your wife. Damn the torpedo's.....full speed ahead. Others may scoff and question; yet if I'm informed and can read and follow instructions, I'd rather do it myself. I feel great for the accomplishment. Currently I'm installing a new roof. 48 squares. Even built myself a shingle hoist capable of lifting 8 bundles at a time at 6 feet per minute, 18 feet up.

I'm a Dodge/Jeep partsman by trade and also make it a point of mine: if someone needs something or how some way to do something, I can figure it out. In 20 years, I'm at least 150 and 0. I've found them all. As with your instruction needs, I was up to the challenge. Go to:
http://www.texasrefinerycoatings.com...n_roofing.html

Email the company and tell them NOTHING of your intentions other than you are considering using there products and would like to see an instruction manual to make sure you are considering the proper product for your home.

Have a great and fun time at it. Don't burn the house down, learn much, save plenty.

Bill
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Old 11-15-2005, 04:15 AM   #11
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Torch Down Instructions Needed - DIY


That's right...amd when your roof leaks at every penetration or when you burn something that shouldn't have been burned...by all means come crying back here about how to fix it and...being the stand up guys that we TRY to be (despite some peoples best efforts to be the "ultimate...I can do anything a professional can do... DIYer"), we'll answer the best we can and TRY to help you fix the problems. BUT, if our suggestion is (again) to hire a professional...will you do it, or just carry on damaging your home and putting your family at risk just to say "Look neighbor Bob, I did that myself...Wasn't hard at all...sure I can help you with yours, I'm practically a pro at this now"

:confused: :confused: :confused:
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Old 11-15-2005, 10:54 AM   #12
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jproffer :D
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Old 11-15-2005, 11:13 AM   #13
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Well, I mean...dammmmmmm. You can lead a horse to water...ya know?

I'm not trying to be an a$$ here, but really, this is definately NOT something you want to try for the first time on your own. Set your own windows and doors, install your own siding, but not this. You drop a window, you buy another one, siding comes off, ya put it back on, but if you screw this up, you could be looking to buy a new home...or worse yet...a new family.

Quote:
Don't burn the house down, learn much, save plenty.
If you can guarantee that you won't do the first one (which you can NOT), then I'm all for the second and third.

I think we need another party here....even one that's on your side. Have your wife read this thread and get her opinion on the matter.

Last edited by jproffer; 11-15-2005 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 11-15-2005, 06:22 PM   #14
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Ever since Home Depot started selling torch down, we have many flat roofs to repair or complete locally. These are done by homeowners, and I make more money on the repairs than I would have doing the roof installation, and even find some nice deals on nice new torches.

OK, when you do this roof, NO sealants except at desiganted termination points. (no roof cement especially)
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Old 11-26-2005, 10:57 AM   #15
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Torch Down Instructions Needed - DIY


Ok - Here's an update.

As it turns out, applying "torch on" roofing materials is pretty straight forward. As noted on this thread, it's not for the squeamish and I agree that in general this should be left for professionals. Having said that, unless you're a complete idiot or blind, this can be handled as DYI if you're prepared, did your home work and have a clear picture of what it takes.

I did my homework, asked around, met with roofers, talked to the manufacturer.

The work was completed in about 6 hours since the largest part of the roof was free of obstructions such as roof vents and plumbing stacks.

I used a two-layer system with a fiberglass substrate and the bitumen top layer. The fiberglass goes down fast using 7/8" square head nails. This took about an hour on our 500 sq ft addition. Putting the bitumen down was also straight forward, except when you get to the obstructions. With a little bit of practice I was able to get the bitumen to melt nicely without being concerned about burning my house down. There is clearly technique involved and it's mostly a matter of making sure you're not overheating the bitumen. This is evident if you see pooling of the tar as you apply the heat. You do not need to heat right at the roof, but can apply heat about 3-6" up the bitumen as you're rolling it out. The substrate acts as a minor heat barrier to avoid smoldering bits of roof sheathing.

We used Polyglass products which are very nice to work with. They include lines on both the substrate and the top layer to help you align things. The Polyglass people were actually the most helpful and quickly followed by the building materials distributor (not Home Depot, etc., but actual people that selling roofing only materials). Polyglass provided instructions that were awesome in a very detailed application guide called "Technical Guide". Lots of specific detailed instructions regarding preparation, application and the important dos and don'ts section.

The tricky areas of course are the vents and plumbing stacks. Naturally you have to precut the bitumen out for any vents and stacks which is the easy part. To make sure your roof doesn't leak around these areas, you need to apply "patches" around each of the vents and stacks. This is definitely the area where big technique comes into play. Instead of burning your house down, I found that most roofers burn their finger tips since you have to heat the relatively small bitumen patches by holding them up and applying heat to the underside of the patch. You have to heat up the whole patch and you have to get very close to the point where you're hold it in the air.

At the end of the day, this was a very successful project and I would do it again. It's rained hard since the roof went up and not a single leak. Of course time will tell.

Now, I have to admit that I took at least some of the advice of the experts on this discussion group and hired a professional. Instead of having the roofer actually do the work, I paid "Ron" to act as a consultant so I could learn from the experience and get guidance on areas where I wasn't quite sure what I was doing. Ron works for a very reputable local roofing company and the consulting fee paid was very reasonable. Ron wasn't there the whole time, but got me started and came back later on to show me the vent techniques. Really nice guy.

If you decide to do this work yourself, you must take precautions to avoid burning your house down. If you're uncomfortable doing this work, don't do it. Importantly get the Technical Guide from the manufacturer of the product you plan to use. And if it's your first time, hire a "consultant". It was worth the price paid and I still saved lots of money.

Side note - not a single house has burned down in the county that I live in from a homeowner applying a torch down roof. (Can't speak for the quality of the job though and lack of leaks.)

Thanks to everyone that worked with me privately to get through this project. I'm a happy, and dry, camper.


Last edited by MikeinBurien; 11-26-2005 at 11:04 AM.
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