Commercial Roofing

TPO vs Tar and Gravel or Built-Up Roof (BUR) Flat Roofs

Some commercial and residential roofs use Tar & Gravel or Built-Up Roof (BUR) as a roofing solution. Let’s look at both solutions. Both solutions work on a little to no slope type of roof.

First let’s define what a Tar & Gravel or Built-Up Roof (BUR) is. It’s made up of 3 to 5 laminated layers, hot tar and roofing felt. It also has a layer of bitumen and an aggregate top layer. It’s been used for well over 100 years. It works, but there are some disadvantages which we’ll get into shortly.

What’s a TPO roof? As we’ve mentioned in other posts, a TPO, Thermoplastic Polyolefin, roof is a thin rubber like single ply roofing material for low-slope roofs. It’s been used on commercial and industrial roofs since the late 1980s in both the US & Europe. It was initially used in pond liners and the auto industry. It is an alternative solution to other roofing materials such as PVC, EPDM & others and usually cheaper.

So what gives? I have a flat roof what should I choose for a roofing solution: TPO or Tar & Gravel? Let’s looks at the advantages and disadvantage of both.

Both TPO & Tar & Gravel can be about the same price depending on the installer and product used. However, that’s just about the only point where they are the same. Often times you will find that TPO is actually cheaper with many advantages whereas Tar & Gravel has more disadvantages.

When it comes to environmental questions both help with UV light in that it will reflect or absorb the UV light for roof longevity. However, TPO is cooler in the summer and warmer in the  winter due to TPO reflecting and absorbing heat depending on the color used since TPO can be white, black or gray.

What are other environmental considerations? A Tar & Gravel roof with tar, felt and fiberglass isn’t recyclable at all. Whereas, A TPO roof is 100% recyclable. As anyone that has ever been around tar knows, it smells. It’s bad for the installers as well as the people around it when it’s being installed. Granted it’s a short-lived inconvenience for the building owner, not so much for the installers. They deal with it frequently. A TPO roof doesn’t have that smell, is safe for the installers and is energy star rated. A Tar & Gravel roof is not due to inconsistencies in depth. More on that later.

What about installation? A Tar & Gravel roof can take longer to install than a TPO roof as it has to be “created” on site. Remember the smell we mentioned earlier? A Tar & Gravel roof, since it’s “created” on site doesn’t have a consistent thickness. You will have some areas that are thinner than other areas. Whereas a TPO roof is manufactured so thickness is consistent across the roof. Both Tar & Gravel and TPO use heat to install but in VERY different ways. Tar & Gravel, as mentioned above, has multiple layers which involves heated layers. Did we mention the smell? Whereas TPO uses heat to “heat weld” the seams. One final point worth mentioning. Depending on the thickness of the Tar & Gravel roof your roof may need to be reinforced to accommodate the additional weight vs. a TPO roof which is no issue with regard to weight.

Let’s consider if something goes wrong. Both roofing solutions can be walked on. Both are waterproof depending on how well the installer does the install. But what if a leak happens? Leaks in a Tar & Gravel roof can be very difficult to find. Think about it from this perspective. Try finding a water path when pouring water through rocks in a garden. It’s not easy. It goes all over the place. That’s how a Tar & Gravel roof is since it has aggregate. That’s not to state that a leak can’t be found, but it’s not as easy as TPO and could be more challenging to repair. Whereas a TPO roof leak can be found and sealed using different techniques. It’s similar to finding and sealing your favorite pool float or inner-tube. You find it, patch it and walk away knowing that it’s truly found and sealed.

Final thoughts. We most certainly advise customer to use TPO instead of a Tar & Gravel roof based on what we’ve mentioned above. It’s cheaper, more environmentally friendly and, generally, easier to repair should something happen.

 

By |March 15th, 2019|Commercial Roofing, Flat Roof Repair, Flat Roof Systems, Flat Roofs By Pegram, Residential Roofing|Comments Off on TPO vs Tar and Gravel or Built-Up Roof (BUR) Flat Roofs|

The Benefits of TPO Roofing

IN case you didn’t see our post on “Why TPO is the best choice for commercial & industrial roofing” here’s what TPO is.

A TPO, Thermoplastic Polyolefin, roof is a thin rubber like single ply roofing material for low-slope roofs. It’s been used on commercial and industrial roofs since the late 1980s in both the US & Europe. It was initially used in pond liners and the auto industry. It is an alternative solution to other roofing materials such as PVC, EPDM & others and usually cheaper.

A TPO roof has several benefits. They are as follows:

  • First and foremost, compared to other roofing materials such as rubber, PVC & EPDM, TPO is usually cheaper with similar longevity. With regard to longevity, it’s worth stating that TPO has only been out for a while; shorter than PVC & EPDM. So the longevity isn’t known compared to PVC & EPDM. However, everything is showing that it has good longevity especially when installed by an experienced professional.
  • TPO is more environmentally friendly. It’s UV resistant and heat-resistant like EPDM. It’s also the greenest, environmentally friendly single-ply roof material available. It contains no chlorine, even the welding process has no chlorine in it. Finally, it’s 100% recyclable.
  • Heat-weldable like PVC for flexibility of use. AND because you can weld it, it can also be repaired if something happens. The welded seems are stronger than EPDM. Depending on what you read, the welded seams of TPO can be 3-4 times stronger than EPDM.
  • Though the choice of colors are limited you still choices: white, light grey and black.
  • TPO resists: mold growth, dirt accumulation, tears and punctures. It also resists those same tears and punctures due to a building’s movement or settling as well as thermal expansion due to environmental conditions such as heat and cold.
  • TPO is easier to install and with less seams.
  • Resistant to chemicals (think air-conditioning coolants & lubricants), acid, salt, oil, airborne bacteria, etc.
  • TPO roofs are easy to install, but we most certainly we recommend someone that has been trained and has experience such as Flat Roofs by Pegram.
By |February 18th, 2019|Commercial Roofing, Flat Roof Repair, Flat Roof Systems, Flat Roofs By Pegram|Comments Off on The Benefits of TPO Roofing|
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    Why TPO is the best choice for commercial & industrial roofing

Why TPO is the best choice for commercial & industrial roofing

A TPO, Thermoplastic Polyolefin, roof is a thin rubber like single ply roofing material for low-slope roofs. It’s been used on commercial and industrial roofs since the late 1980s in both the US & Europe. It was initially used in pond liners and the auto industry. It is an alternative solution to other roofing materials such as PVC, EPDM & others and usually cheaper.

Why would you choose TPO over other roofing solutions such as PVC or other flat roofing solutions? If installed correctly, any of those roofing solutions mentioned will work fine. However, TPO is a cheaper alternative to PVC and other flat roofing solutions. In this case, thankfully, if the correct brand is used and it’s installed correctly by a knowledgeable installer, such as Flat Roof by Pegram, you get a great roof at a better price than the alternative roofing solutions. Other benefits are it’s 100% recyclable, UV resistant, resistant to mold, & tear resistant. It’s also energy efficient as it reflects the sun rather than absorbs it. So it can reduce your monthly energy bills. Added bonus, should something happen to a TPO roof like a tear it’s reparable in many cases. Some roofing solutions are not reparable.

Before any new roof or roof replacement, you should start by doing your research. If it’s an existing building, find out what you currently have and decide if you want to use that again or replace it. Regardless of if it’s a new or replacement roof your next step should be to contact potential contractors! Talk to 2 – 3 contractors to find out what they recommend, why they recommend it, how they’re going to install it and an estimate for the work. If you’re the research person like we are before we make a purchase, find out what brand they are using and do your research to find the pros and cons of each brand of TPO. Also find out how they’re installing the TPO solution they’ve recommended.

Be VERY careful in your research to find a find a contractor, such as Flat Roofs by Pegram, to install TPO. Also be aware of the quality of the product being used. Like almost any product whether it be a roofing material, a bicycle or a truck, there are differences between each manufacturer. Without the proper knowledge of the material and the knowledge of installation you could make a costly mistake. When done incorrectly problems could occur quite quickly as incorrect installation could cause leaks.

Call Today For A Free Estimate, (757) 537-1945, fill out our form for an estimate.

Common Causes for Roof Leaks in Heavy Rain

Even if your roof is well-maintained or fairly new, heavy rainfall is still a cause for concern. The areas of your roof that are prone to pooling water can lead to a leak during heavy rain. Not to mention, your gutters simply may not be able to keep up with the downpour.

Below are some common causes of roof leaks in heavy rain.

Leaking Skylight
It is not uncommon for skylights to leak during heavy rains. This does not necessarily mean the skylight is damaged, but that the condensation from the rain and runoff has a higher chance of leaking through.
Caulking has left gaps that rainwater is seeping into.
In most cases, placing a bucket under the leak will do as a temporary fix. After the rain stops, find a roofing inspector immediately to assess the damages from the leak.

Flat Roofs
Some flat roofs lack the drainage required to keep up with heavy rainfall. If your roof lacks proper drainage, this is an excellent place to begin improvements.
Home and Business Owners with flat roofing must also ensure their roof is properly sealed, and that all eaves and flashings are in good standing. This means that seasonal roof inspections cannot be allowed to fall by the wayside.
Keep in mind that flat roofs don’t always leak in the same manner as roofs with more shape. Instead, you may find drip marks down a large area of your walls or a wet spot on the ceiling.

Chimney Leaks
Chimneys are designed to do an adequate job of keeping the elements out, but your chimney could be the cause of your leaking roof. Homes with chimneys are commonly facing problems with roof leaks.
The outer structure of your chimney often retains water, which can make the roof leak in a hard rain. You must also make sure the shingles and flashing surrounding the chimney are in proper working order.
The flashing is a piece of sheet metal that covers the overlapping areas of the chimney and roof. Two layers of flashing is applied to the chimney and roof, and a sealed with a high-quality urethane caulk.
Naturally this caulk becomes loose over time and creates a pocket for rainwater to seep in. Often times reapplying the caulking could work as chimney leak repair, but flashing may need additional maintenance and a trained eye.

Plumbing Leaks
If you have any vent caps for ventilation exhaust fans on your roof, they may be the source of your leak. Before you climb on the roof to look for leaks, make sure your bath fan duct is insulated.
A fan duct that is not properly insulated will moisten the air. This leads to condensation in the duct. Look out for moisture building in the bathroom walls, or within the attic.
Looking for wet or dark spots when searching for a bathroom exhaust fan leak

CALL US TODAY FOR YOUR FREE INSPECTION 757-537-1945

Flat Roof Maintenance IS Important To The Life OF Your Roof

If you have a flat roof and want it to maintain its value and to look its best, a regular flat roof maintenance program is essential. A regular schedule of roof assessment and maintenance will ensure that your roof will hold up to harsh environment exposure, particularly to winter snow and to the overall aging process.

1) Ponding on your roof
A flat roof is particularly vulnerable to “ponding.” Ponding occurs water accumulates in pools when the roof becomes saturated with water from rain or snow. If left undetected and not corrected, this condition can cause leaking and serious structural problems – even roof failure which could result in damage to the interior of your home.

2) Splitting in roof material
When inspecting your roof, look for splits or long cracks that, if present, will be visible parallel joints of your insulation. These will often appear spongy. These cracks are caused by poor workmanship, freeze-thaw conditions and surface stress.

3) Roof blistering
If the wrong bitumen is used on your roof, or if the roof is exposed to excessive heat, this could cause some, or all, of the felt layers on your roof to move.

4) Roof ridging
Ridging usually takes place in bituminous (built up) roofs in the insulation joints, due to moisture that condenses under the felt. These ridges may appear as long, narrow cracks and are typically the result of the roof membrane having been poorly attached.

5) Membrane Fasteners
If your roof is a fastened system, you should examine it for loose fasteners. The fasteners may become loose because they were not long enough or because of water saturation.

6) Felt Movement
If the wrong bitumen is used on your roof, or if the roof is exposed to excessive heat, this could cause some, or all, of the felt layers on your roof to move.

7) Snow Removal
If you live in an area where with heavy snow fall, you will want to be very careful that your flat roof doesn’t accumulate too much snow. This excessive snow could put your roof in danger of collapsing. If there is an accumulation of over 12 inches of snow, you should find a way to have the snow removed. But be aware that removing snow from a roof can be dangerous. Every year there are serious injuries to those who remove roof snow without adequate experience and equipment. Therefore, if possible, hire someone who has the proper equipment and expertise in roof snow removal.

Let’s Talk About Flat Roofs

Flat roofs offer some interesting advantages over a traditional sloped roof. Although it’s typically viewed as an industrial or commercial building style, flat roofs have a place on residential structures as well. With some designs, the entire roof can be flat; with others a portion of the building can incorporate the horizontal/flat design. Whether it’s a residential or commercial roof, there are reasons good reason for choosing a flat roof including structure, practicality and aesthetics.Flat Roofs By Pegram Flat TPO Roof Contractor

A flat roof provides easy access via ladder or steps which makes accessing the roof much safer. It doesn’t require special equipment or skill to simply walk on the roof. It does, however, still require expertise to inspect and conduct routine maintenance which any roof requires as your first defense against damage and repairs.

The flat access also makes your roof potentially an additional usable space. Your HVAC components can easily be placed on a flat roof to make use of traditional HVAC areas for flat roofs by pegram roofing contractor hampton roadsstorage or other purposes. Solar panels or even rainwater barrels can be used on top of the roof for eco-friendly purposes. With a bit of planning in a residential setting, it can even serve as a traditional deck for light gardening, sunbathing or simply spending time outdoors.

A flat roof is a practical choice for commercial buildings and can offer an interesting design for residential homes. Consider the available options with your next building project and contact us at Flat Roofs By Pegram to discuss your project.

Willie Pegram, Owner, (757) 537-1945