low slope roof

Cool Flat Roof Installation in Weston MA

In the early fall of 2012, Cool Flat Roof installed an IB PVC roof with tapered insulation and new gutters on a beautiful contemporary new construction house in Weston, Massachusetts.

Initially, the homeowner contacted us, looking for a “rubber roof”, and I immediately explained that we do not install EPDM rubber, because it does not meet our quality standards (more on why we don’t install rubber roofs here and here).

Instead, I suggested our IB PVC flat roofing systems, with Lifetime Warranty, and hot air welded seams, that will never come apart. After receiving аn estimate from us and several other roofing companies, they chose us to install a more expensive, but a much more durable and long lasting IB roof.

Cool-Flat-Roof-Weston-MA

Roof Details

Total roof size was approximately 3500 sq. ft. installed on two levels – the main upper roof, and a lower garage roof, connected to the back porch. The roof was to be installed over unprotected roofing substrate (plywood), and we had to start the roof and get it watertight fast, in lieu of prolonged, massive rains. We installed all roofing materials and welded all seams and flashing in 2 days, to protect the substrate and inside of the house from being damaged by rain water. The roof was priced based on our Flat Roofing Calculator, so there were no last minute surprises about the cost of this project.

IB Roof Installation in Weston MA – video footage taken on the job:


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Ice Dams Prevention & Ventilation of Low-Slope Roofs




Ice Dams can cause very serious and expensive to fix problems, and are usually caused by improper ventilation of your attic space and inadequate insulation of your roof. Ice Dams are a sign of heat loss in the attic, and this lost heat is money you throw out the window.

Ice dams may seem harmless at first, but they are known to cause thousands of dollars in roof leaks, structural  damages and repairs of your home. The can also create dangerous mold growth, which can cause or aggravate allergies, asthma and other respiratory diseases.  Fighting ice dams can be costly, and you also need to know how to approach the problem to make your efforts more efficient so that you can permanently eliminate them.

This Ice Dams Prevention Guide will help you identify Ice Dams and eliminate either sources of the problem (preferred method, though not always feasible) or the effects, which are just as dangerous for you home.

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Metal Shingles Roof Installation in Cumberland, RI

This metal roof installation was more of an emergency job. During Hurricane Irene, a large (1500 lbs.) tree fell on the roof of this house in Cumberland, RI, breaking much of the framing and roof sheeting, and leaving a huge hole in the roof, as well as destroying a previous roof that was on the house – Interlock’s aluminum shingles roof, that was installed just a few years prior.

image of Metal Shingles Roof in Cumberland, RI - view from the back Continue reading

Flat Roofing Tapered Insulation Questions (from an email conversation with a customer)

This post is actually an email conversation with a customer, regarding Tapered Insulation and our flat roof installation in Cambridge, MA done in the summer of 2010. This email conversation is posted as is with the customer’s permission – the only editing on this post was done to remove any personal information, and spelling :). I thought this would be helpful to our readers, who are interested in tapered insulation and/or have ponding water problems with their flat roofs.

Here is the original roof video, so you have a better idea about this roof:

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What makes PVC the Best Single-Ply Roofing Membrane for Flat and Low -sloped Roofs

Senior project written by Riess Stanley
Nov 4, 2010

With economic strife on the rise, it has now become necessary to seek out ways to save money, as well as to find ways to “stay green”, and to do what you can to help the environment. Unfortunately, accomplishing both at the same time seems to be very difficult. Believe it or not, there is a smart, fairly simple, and very efficient way to succeed in these two areas in a way not often looked upon as a money saver, but rather a necessary and costly project when it doesn’t need to be; the roof. When you really get down to it, the roof is either costing too much, or saving plenty.

First off, if a building with a flat or low-sloped pitch was to have a black tar roof, it would be taking more money than one would realize. In warm weather, the black roof will absorb so much heat that an abundance of energy and money would need to be invested into cooling down the building. Moreover, all that heat beating down on the roof will make it crack, which in turn will cause it to leak once the rainy weather begins. This defeats the entire purpose of a roof. So, what is a low cost alternative for a black tar roof, that can keep the roof cool during summer months and can keep out the rain? The answer; PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) single-ply membrane. Continue reading

Flat Roof Installation in Cambridge, MA

Image of Flat Roof in Cambridge MA

We installed this flat roof near Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the summer of 2010. The installation consisted of four separate roof sections on different levels of this house, which at the time was undergoing major renovations inside and out, including total new insulation in walls and between roof rafters, a new heating system with radiant floor heat, new energy efficient windows, and a new IB PVC flat roof (which we installed of course).

The old rubber roof was leaking and we had to remove it, including the wet roof insulation. We installed a new 50-mil white IB Flat Roof, with 4 inches of tapered insulation (4 inches at the highest point and 1 inch at the lowest level). The tapered insulation system was utilized to eliminate ponding water on the two bigger sections of the roof. At the deepest point, there was as much as 2 inches of ponding water, and a puddle with at least 12 feet diameter. This ponding water caused both roof leaks and the roof rafters settlement.

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NERCA Roofing Convention in Boston, MA

Last week, Boston was a host to hordes of roofing sales people, roof manufacturers’ reps and local roofing contractors from all over Massachusetts and New England. It was the NERCA (North East Roofing Contractors Association) annual convention, where most roofing materials, tools and equipment manufacturers were present, promoting their new products and services.

Boston MA a roofing convention

After being to a few of these shows already, I have found that they don’t get any more exciting, but it’s always nice that NERCA sets up up open bars with semi-decent wine, and cheese / crackers / fresh veggies & berries tables. I think that for roof sales professionals, these roofing conventions have become a boring necessity, as all they do is schmooze with each other and talk about competition. As for me and other roofing contractors, we can always find some new and exciting roofing materials, tools, equipment and services, such as infra-red roof scanners, roof lifts, a hydraulic-powered dumpster, which can be lifted to the roof level to speed up roof tear-off and clean up process.
As a Flat Roof contractor we were there supporting IB Roofs, which had a booth there, and I got to meet IB’s new Regional Manager, Dana Spurgeon, as well as IB’s local reps in Massachusetts – Jerry Lang and Kevin Laprte (whom I already know of course).

Roofing Equipment Presented at the Show

Besides the obvious and now ritualistic visit to the IB Roofs stand, I wanted to find as many cool, interesting and innovative roofing products at this show, and quickly wondered off, to explore the unknown. My first find was an excellent new automatic hot-air welder by Leister – the new Varimat V2.
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Flat Roof in Lowell, Massachusetts

Replacing an old rubber roof with IB PVC roofing membrane in Lowell, MA.

In the beginning of Dec. 09 we installed a new IB PVC roof in Lowell, MA. This roof replaced an old EPDM rubber roof, which was installed by a hack roofing contractor about two years ago. The roof was failing miserably, due to two factors: poor roofing system design on the part of EPDM, and a horrible installation job by the contractor. I suspect that this contractor had almost zero knowledge about flat roofing and rubber installation. Before I go into the IB roof installation, I want to talk a bit about the two factors mentioned above that contributed to the roof failure.

Rubber roof failure due to EPDM flaws and limitations and faulty installation by a roofing contractor

The roof actually consisted of two sections not connected to each other. One smaller roof in the front of this historic home was about 100 sq. ft. in total, but its shape made using a rubber roof not feasible due to limitations / flaws of rubber roof system design. Another roof section was just over 300 sq. ft. and covered an enclosed porch in the rear of the house. This section had a low slope (about 2 in 12 pitch) and a hip roof design. The failure of both front and rear roof sections was the result of bad installation by the roofing contractor, EPDM membrane’s shrinkage, as well as seam adhesive failure.

When EPDM rubber roofing membrane is installed on a roof connected to a wall of a building, the membrane must be laid down with a flap going up the wall – in essence, the wall flashing and the roof covering must be done with one piece of material to eliminate leaks in the the roof to wall connection. In the case of EPDM, the field sheet of roofing membrane is only held down by glue (which happens to break down after 5-7 years). While in some cases this work out fine, very often the rubber shrinks and pulls away from the wall-to-roof connection point. This results in either the detachment of wall flashing, membrane pulling away from the corner of roof to wall connection, or in some rare cases, when the wall flashing is securely attached to the wall, the shrinking rubber roof may pull the wall with it – for example it can pull a brick parapet wall. Continue reading

Rubber Roof Repair in MA

As you may know, we specialize in the installation of IB roofs – premium grade PVC flat roofing membranes, with fusion hot-air welded seams, which ensure permanent lap bond, and as a result, leaks-free performance. At the same time, if you have a rubber roof, which is in fairly decent shape, but has developed some leaks due to lap sealant (epdm rubber glue) failure, we can repair it fairly inexpensively, as compared to installing a new IB membrane, and extend the service life of your rubber roof. Learn more about our rubber roof repair services in MA, CT and RI. We want you to know that although we repair rubber roofs, we will not install one, because for us it is an inferior roofing material with too many limitations and extremely high probability of developing leaks.

Here we will explain you how these repairs work and what you can expect, as well as show a few roof repairs in Massachusetts, which we have done recently. We also recommend that your read our Rubber Roofing guide, which explains the shortcomings of rubber roofs, and why we advise home owners to stay away from EPDM rubber roofing systems due to product limitations and an overwhelming number of dishonest roofing contractors eager to install rubber roofs, without proper knowledge of this system. Instead, we recommend installing IB Flat Roof – a PVC single ply flat roofing system with hot-air welded seams, which will not break down, as rubber roof seams tend to do after 5-7 years.

We also want to let the flat rubber roof owners know that any rubber roof repair or installation must be performed in temperatures above 40 degrees F, as the primer / adhesives will otherwise freeze or be too cold to properly dry/tack, and provide proper adhesion. Unless your roof repair is more of an emergency, we recommend postponing it until warmer temperature sets in. If your roof repair is an emergency, special measures can be taken to keep the adhesive warm, and on a sunny day black rubber will be warmer than outside temperature, so repair can be done even on a colder day. We strongly advise you against installing a new rubber roof in general, and in the winter especially. Read more info on pros and cons of winter roofing. Keep in mind that IB flat roofs can be installed in any temperature, because they are not glued, but hot air welded. Continue reading

Building Inspectors vs. Homeowners & Contractors (just a rant)

Foreword: If you are a building inspector / official, please try to understand that this rant is from a contractor’s point of view… Or at least try to be objective and unbiased.

Building permit

Pros and cons of building permits:

Why do we need building inspectors (and do we really need them)? Well, they are supposed to inspect – right? They are there to protect homeowners from shady contractors, and ensure that construction goes in accordance with state / national building codes. That’s why we also have specialty trade inspectors (electrical, plumbing, mechanical, etc). But do they really do their job? Another question – why do we need building permits? Yes, to pay the building inspector for doing his/her job of doing the inspections. Yea, right!

I will purposely omit building inspectors in charge of large construction projects, such as bridges, sky-scrapers, factories, etc. There is a lot more responsibility there, and these inspectors are a lot more knowledgeable than your average “Joe, the building inspector”.

In my time being a roofing contractor, I had to pull many permits in the last 10 years – for almost every job we did. In all this time, only once have I seen a building inspector at a job site, and he was there to harass the home-owner about the “illegal kitchen” that came with the house they just purchased. In the beginning of my career as a contractor, I needed to get permits, but did not have sufficient / adequate insurance and in some cases did not have the Home Improvement Contractor registration in a state where I was doing work. Luckily for me, I was able to get permits, and because I have dignity (I’d like to think so) I did decent work without code violations and nothing bad ever happened. I once had a “stop job” order posted at a job site, where we forgot to pull a permit. Ahh… the good old days.

When you get into serious contracting like Metal Roofing and IB Roof installations, you can’t afford not to have proper insurances and licenses. Your clients by default expect everything to be current and you to be fully insured – both worker’s comp and general liability.  And besides, it is easier to show proof of insurance than to explain why you do not have it, or better yet to ask a home owner to pull “an owners permit”. It is also much easier to get a permit in 5 minutes instead of waiting 3 days and hoping that the inspector is not a complete a$$ or is looking for a bribe – for some reason, I have a very strong suspicion that some building inspectors in Lynn, Revere, Malden and other surrounding towns in Massachusetts, purposely jerk contractors around, as if telling them – “give me $300 and you will have your permit”. I really believe so. Or they just hate people in general. But let me get back to building inspectors. Continue reading