When it comes to replacing your flat roof, you need to think long-term. Getting a cheaper roof, such as EPDM Rubber, may be appealing at first, but you need to consider some factors that will affect the total price of your new roof. Here we will discuss in detail what the total roof replacement price includes, and factors affecting it.
Installation price from every roofing company also includes that company’s overhead or cost of running the business. For example, an established roofing company should be fully insured. This includes adequate Liability and Worker’s Comp Insurance. If for example you get a very low bid, consider that the bidder might not be adequately insured or have no insurance at all. If that is the case and you hire such a contractor, you will be responsible for any damages or injury claims that may occur.
Introducing IB PVC Roof – the longest lasting flat roofing system.
Over the last 30 years, IB Roofs, once a small family-owned company importer and installer of German-developed PVC flat roofing systems, has become a household name in the flat roofing industry. There is a reason for IB’s success – it is the ultimate quality of their products and unparalleled customer service. IB’s original roofs from 30 years ago are still in service and performing well, and when it comes to working with customers, IB will go out of their way yo give you the product you are looking for – be it a color of the membrane, a thickness, or special application requirements.
Quality of IB Flat Roofs:
IB Roofs has not changed the formulation of their PVC membrane since its early days in the late 1970′. Today’s IB membrane is the same great proven product that they were importing from Germany 30+ years ago. IB did not try to make the product cheaper by using less expensive components and fillers. On the contrary, IB has chosen to use the more expensive non-wicking scrim to prevent the membrane from splitting in the center due to water penetration, as is often the case with cheaper TPO roofs.
At some point, there comes a time when flat roof patches stop working and it is time for a replacement.
Here we will review flat roofing cost structure and factors affecting your price, IB Roof prices in Massachusetts and surrounding states ( CT, RI, NH, ME and VT). We’ll also reveal insights into choosing your flat roofing contractor, and what you should expect to pay for your particular roof, as well as your specific roofing product choice.
Flat Roof Replacement Cost: Residential and Commercial
Our general pricing for flat roof replacement works in the following manner:
Residential flat roofs are priced at $675 per square for a simple roof, with no existing roof removal. This includes 50-mil IB Roof membrane, 1/2 inch foam insulation with 2 r-value, perimeter pressure-treated wood nailer and half-roll membrane around the roof edges for wind-uplift prevention. Roof attachment using heavy-duty screws and barbed plates, 6 inches O.C. along the perimeter and 12 inches O.C. in-field. All required roofing parts and accessories are included.
Generally, for a 1000 sq. ft. residential home, your cost should be around $6750 for an average (simple) roof. If you would like to upgrade the membrane type or add more insulation, this will slightly increase your price. Please note: For all residential installations, all IB roofing membranes come with a lifetime residential warranty, therefore there is no need to upgrade from 50 to 80-mil product, as both will perform the same in protecting your roof from the elements and will remain water-tight throughout its life and beyond.
Commercial flat roofs are priced at $600 per square for roofs over 25 squares (2500 sq. ft.) The price difference from residential roofs is due to ‘economy-of-scale’ factors and lower per-square ‘setup’ and insurance costs.
If your commercial roof is around 50 squares you can expect a $30000 price range.
Use our interactive roof price calculator to estimate the cost of you roofing project. You can choose different roof options difficulty level, and will get ‘quotes’ for an IB roof, as well as other roofing products and approximate energy-savings derived from using an IB roof.
Please Note: All prices described above are assuming an ‘average’ roofing project and may/will change depending on your roof’s condition and scope of work required. The price may change in either direction, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
We are a premium roofing contractor and do not compete with other roofing companies solely on price. Our roof packages are priced accordingly to the quality, warranty and customer service we provide.
IB Roof packages and prices in New England
All packages described below include roof installation in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications and state/local building codes. They also include the cost of building permits, material warranty and our labor warranty. Prices below do not include tear-off of the existing roof, as that usually varies a lot from one flat roof to another. The cost of a tear-off is determined on a case-by-case basis when we perform a roof inspection. Please refer to our Residential roofing and/or Commercial roofing sections to see the available material / color / membrane thickness options available for your particular roof.
Package 1 – 50-mil white residential IB Roof with Lifetime warranty:
Our basic and most common roof package, includes 50-mil white IB Roofing membrane with all necessary trim, flashings and accessories such as drip edge, air-vents, inside/outside corner flashings, drains, etc., and 1/2 inch fan-fold Styrofoam insulation.
Cost of this package starts at around $675 per square (100 sq. ft.) of roof area.
Package 2 – IB Traditions flat Roof – Architectural Shingles Pattern imprinted onto the membrane:
IB Traditions was created specifically for low-slope roofs with aesthetics in mind. They offer the beautiful look of architectural shingle combined with proven reliability of an IB roofing membrane to give you decades of leak-free performance and curb-appeal. IB Traditions come in three color options: Sierra Vista ( beige / brown ), Stony Ridge (grey) and Mountain Spruce (green). To maintain a consistent shingles look, all IB Traditions installation feature hand-welding of all seams, and use special accessories / flashings designed to match the aesthetics of IB Traditions.
Cost per square for IB Traditions is $775-825, and includes 1/2 insulation and all necessary trim and flashings.
Package 3 – 80-mil white residential IB Roof with a Lifetime warranty:
Includes 80-mil white membrane, 1/2 insulation and all necessary trim / accessories / flashings. Cost per 1 square is $800. If you are looking for an 80-mil Color IB roof, there are six standard colors available and $850 per square. For custom colors the minimum order must be 100 squares ( This is the requirement of IB Roof Systems, and we have no control over it).
One: Roof Installation Prices
Our pricing structure is based on two direct (main) variables and a number of indirect variables that affect the total price of your roof replacement project. You can expect similar pricing methods from other roofing contractors.
First cost variable: Roof Size
The most important variable is the size of your roof. The bigger the roof, the higher the roofing cost. We base our pricing on the number of Squares, where each square is equal to 100 sq. ft. For example, if your flat roof is 1900 sq. ft. it is 19 squares.
Second cost variable: Roof difficulty
The difficulty of roof installation is the second most important variable affecting the cost of your roofing project. If you have a simple roof with a minimal number of roof penetrations (such as HVAC units, sky-lights, roof drains, through-wall scuppers, vent-pipes, posts, etc.), then your roof prices will be much less than if you had a more difficult roof with multiple roof penetrations and obstacles that require more roof flashing details. These roof penetrations require a great deal of professional manual labor and time, and slow-down the entire roof installation process.
Another factor associated with roof difficulty is the roof’s present condition, and presence of gravel and/or multiple roofing layers. These layers generally require removal and consume a lot of time because it is necessary to dispose of them. At the same time, roof removal must be performed quickly to eliminate the possibility of water penetration during the removal process.
Third cost variable: Indirect costs and material upgrades
Additionally, you can expect changes in roofing cost, depending on ease of access, roof location, and material options: As far as material options go, we offer a complete line-up of IB roofing membranes for residential and commercial installations. This includes: 50, 60 and 80-mil membranes in white and custom colors, as well as specialty membranes such as ChemGuard for restaurants, and IB Traditions (Architectural shingles pattern imprinted onto the membrane) and a Slip-proof IB DeckShield for walk-on flat-roof decks. We also offer a wide range of insulation options from 2-r fan-fold foam insulation to 20-r 3.3 inch ISO board and “tapered insulation” to create a slight roof pitch for drainage purposes.
Total Cost Concept
Consider the total installation price of the new flat roof. It will include: labor, materials, warranty and other factors. Roofing materials usually carry a manufacturer’s warranty period ranging from 5 to 25 years for commercial installation. Residential warranties will range from 5-15 years, while IB has the only Residential Lifetime Warranty in the industry. However, residential warranties are more complex, as many flat roofing manufactures will not warranty residential installations, or they fill impose certain requirements before they issue that warranty.
Any roofing job should also include a Labor warranty from the roofing contractor, and usually you can also purchase additional labor warranty from the manufacturer. IB Roofs offers an ‘NDL’ or No-Dollar-Limit labor warranty, which you can purchase as an additional ‘insurance policy’ for your roof.
Flat Roofing – thinking long-term
Most roofing contractors will warranty the water-tightness of the roof they install for the minimum period required by state law or building code. In Massachusetts for example, such minimum period is 2 years. After that, you are usually on your own. We find this especially troubling when someone chooses to install an EPDM or a black-rubber roof, which is especially popular among roofing contractors for its low materials cost. However, rubber roofs usually start to leak within 5 to 8 years after they are installed, due to failing seam adhesives. By this time your labor warranty has already expired and the cost of repair is on you – the owner.
We at CoolFlatRoof warranty our jobs for the length of the material warranty! We can do so, because we exclusively use IB PVC/CPA roofs, and we know that our roofs will NOT leak due to failing seams or other flashing detail.
Two: Overheads or Cost of doing business
It is in your best interest to hire a fully insured roofing company. However, adequate insurance coverage for a roofing company is very high: Worker’s Comp is usually 40 cents for each 1 dollar of payroll, or higher if the company had some incidents in the past. Liability Insurance is cheaper, but still it is one of the most expensive in the construction industry, due to possible damages if a contractor fails do adequately protect the building from water during or after installation.
Advertising: Market acquisition cost
Another considerable overhead for most roofing companies are the Marketing/Advertisement costs, as well as Sales-force commissions and office expenses. For many roofing companies, ‘market acquisition cost’ often range from $500 – $1500 per job. These include ‘Yellow Pages’ and news-paper ads, direct mailing, and Internet advertisement, such as Google or Yahoo Pay-Per-Click ads. As a result, you the customer, end up paying these expenses, or as we call it ‘marketing taxes’, that are not directly related to the cost of you roofing job.
We at CoolFlatRoof, do not spend any money on advertisement, except minimal expenses to run our web-site (around $100/year), so we will not charge you the ‘marketing tax’. Instead, we will provide you with the best materials, workmanship and warranty, for less.
Three: Ongoing repair and maintenance expenses
Ponding / Standing Water
While maintenance for most flat roofs is mostly due to the location of the building and surrounding conditions, one of the most frequent maintenance/repair expenses is due to ponding water. Positive drainage is preferable for any flat roof. However, the very nature of flat roof construction makes it often impossible to avoid ponding water accumulation, or it is too expensive to fix it. Ponding water can be eliminated in two ways: Installing Tapered Insulation, or creating a pitch, which is often impossible due to building design. Both are extremely expensive and will cost more than the roof itself, so eliminating ponding water is often out of budget.
While most flat roofing manufactures will void their warranty if there is presence of ponding water for periods of more than 72 hours after the rain, IB Roofs are explicitly warranted against ponding water and it is proven that an IB roof will keep your home or building dry even if you have big puddles of standing water for long periods of time!
As we mentioned above, many flat roofing systems will start to leak with-in 5 to 8 years after installation. Most roof leaks occur as a result of ponding water, failing seams, and to a lesser degree, faulty installation. Other factors affecting performance of a flat roof are weather conditions and devastating UV rays of the Sun. This is very true in the New England. We have hot summers and cold winters, and the temperature can dramatically change in matter of hours. Refer to our flat roof repair guide for more information on how roof leaks occur, and what your repair options and costs will be.
In most cases these repairs will be an out of pocket expense for you, as the usual warranty period will be long over by that time. We on the other hand will uphold our warranty after the usual 2-year period, if the leak happens. However, we do everything right the first time so there is usually no need to repair our roofs!
Four: Energy costs/savings
Cool, energy-efficient roofing form IB
Unlike most conventional roofing systems such as Epdm black-rubber, or Asphalt/Tar based BUR roofs, which attract, store and transfer solar heat, white IB Roofs reflect as much as 90% of the solar heat, and carry a Cool Roof certification! Even if you choose one of IB’s color choices, they are also certified by the Cool Roof Council, by implementing highly reflective color pigments. This will save you tremendous amounts of money in reduced HVAC costs. IB roofs act as a complete thermal barrier and increase the R-value of your roof, thus also reducing your heating expenses in the winter. By adding more insulation you will further increase the thermal qualities of your roof.
An IB Roof is the best choice when it comes to flat roofs. An IB Roof has the lowest Total Cost combined with unsurpassed quality and longevity. If the need to repair your IB roof ever arises, such repairs can be performed even 20 years from the day of installation, with IB’s unique Hot-Air fusion welding. It is however highly unlikely, unless there is unforeseen physical damage to the membrane. Expect not to have to repair your IB roof, ever!
An IB Roof will eliminate your ponding water problems and you will avoid expensive pitch-change. IB will also save you money every year by reducing your energy cost, and you will be covered by the Industry’s Best warranty!
If you are looking for a sustainable, long-lasting roofing product for your home or business pitched roof, the Metal Roof will be the perfect choice for you. Known for decades of leaks and corrosion free service, Aluminum metal roofs are becoming the prime choice for quality and longevity oriented home and business owners looking for a new roof. With its Cool Roof properties and permanent design, metal roofs will outlast any conventional asphalt shingles roof. Metal roofs are light-weight, and do not require any structural modifications. In fact they are only 1/4 the weight of regular shingles and 1/10 the weight of slate, and ceramic / concrete tile.
Use our Flat Roof Calculator to estimate the installation cost of a new IB Roof, as well as compare it with other alternatives. You can also estimate your annual energy savings derived from installation of an IB roof.
Are you excited about an IB Roof? Fill out our Roofing Estimate Request form and indicate which IB product you are most interested in, as well as details about your roof. We will contact you very soon after receiving your request, and we will work with you to provide the best roofing system available!
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
Here you will find video profiles of roofs we installed in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. These videos will demonstrate how the roof was installed from beginning to end, as well showcase short excerpts taken during roof installation, such as installing standing seam metal roofing panels, or hot-air welding of seams on IB PVC roof installations. Most videos are available in High Definition (HD 720P) to better show the details of the work performed.
You can also check out our roofing job profiles gallery which shows some of the roofs we installed in MA, CT and RI. Roof video profiles here will be presented in no particular order. If we’ve already written a full job profile, we’ll reference it below the video.
You can see more of our roofing videos on our YouTube Roof Video channel.
New Roof installation videos, added in March 2011
IB Flat Roof installаtion with Tapered ISO insulation- Cambridge, MA
IB PVC flat roof installation with 1/8″ tapered ISO insulation in Wayland, MA
IB PVC Flat Roof installation wit 3″ ISO insulation in Weston, MA
Flat roof installation and slate roof repair in Brookline MA
This PVC flat roof was installed in Brookline, MA on a roof of a home undergoing major renovations. The old rubber roof (with 5 layers of tar roofing underneath the rubber) was leaking, and the slate roof adjoining the flat roof was also in poor shape.
We removed old roofing, wet insulation and old slate roof, and installed new plywood over entire roof deck, 20-r value 3.3″ ISO insulation on a flat roof (sloped roof had insulation between the rafters) and new 80 mil IB PVC roof on flat and sloped sections of the roof, 4 inch Dark Bronze drip edge around roof perimeter, and copper drip edge with PVC coated flange on the sloped edges of the roof. The video is in two parts – on showing preparation work and slate roof repair, and the second one showing roof installation.
Part one – roof preparation – tear off, plywood installation and slate roof repair:
Part two – installing insulation and IB PVC Roof:
Standing seam metal roof in Plymouth, MA
This aluminum standing seam metal roof was installed in Plymouth MA in the spring of 2008. The job was about 2500 sq. ft. total. The roofing material was .032″ aluminum metal roof in Patina Green color. Check out full roofing job profile – Metal Roofing in Plymouth MA.
Rubber roof repair in Boston, MA
This rubber roof repair was performed on a residential rubber roof in Boston MA in October 2010. We prepared and patched three leaking outside corner flashings – two at HVAC units, and one at a parapet wall. If your rubber roof roof leaks, we offer rubber roof repair service in metro Boston MA, which includes 2 hours of repair work, all needed EPDM flashing materials and accessories, and costs only $375.
80-mil IB PVC flat roof with copper drip-edge in Newton, MA
This new IB roof was installed in Newton, MA in summer 2010. The job features include IB’s new copper drip edge with PVC flange – now you have a choice of not only PVC clad galvanized steel drip edge in white and dark bronze colors, but also stainless steel and real copper drip edge, and the roof system integrity will remain the same as IB material can be welded to the flange of copper drip edge. Check out the IB flat roof installation steps, to see how an IB roof is installed.
This flat roof in Newton MA also had a walk-out roof deck / balcony on the side, for which we used 80-mil IB membrane with floating deck on top. Check out the complete roof job review of this flat roof in Newton MA.
Metal Shingles Roof in Johnston, RI
This Tamko Metal Works steel shingles roof was installed in the summer of 2007. Back then, the GAF DeckArmor underlayment, which we use on all out metal roof installation was in it’s first edition – you can see that it is grey, whereas now it is light blue color, and a little thicker and stronger.
This metal roof installation included tear off of 2 layers of asphalt shingles, installing the GAF DeckArmor underlayment and Tamko steel metal shingles roof – Stone Crest Slate profile in Vermont Blue color. There are four roof sections and about 75 feet of roof to wall flashing, where we had to remove old ceder shingles siding off the walls, so we could install underlayment and side-wall flashing at least 6 inches up the wall. Total roof size was about 2100 sq. ft.
PVC Roof Repair
Besides rubber roof repair, we also provide PVC roof repair services (as well as TPO roof repair) in the metro Boston area, and within 50-mile travel distance from Boston. Here are two examples of PVC roof repair that we did. In all PVC roof repairs, we use new IB PVC roofing material, and MEK cleaning solution or acetone to clean and prepare an old roof for welding a new membrane. Check out our PVC Roof Repair page.
Trocal PVC roof repair using IB PVC membrane in West Hartford, CT:
Sarnafil PVC roof repair using IB PVC membrane in Needham, MA:
If you like the work we do, and need to replace your old roof or install a new flat or metal roof, or need a rubber or PVC roof repair done, request a roofing estimate, and get a free roofing price quote – click the Roofing Estimate button below or call us at 617-444-9020.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
Flat roof installation sequence and the way different components are put together can oftentimes be quite confusing. We also get many similar questions about particular aspects of how the roof detail work in different situations. To answer these questions and to demonstrate the step by step process of installing IB PVC flat roofing system, we are posting this quick roof installation guide. We welcome any questions you may have – you can ask them in the comments section at the end of this article.
Installing a flat roof (PVC single ply roofing membrane in this case) can be a pretty straight forward process, or a very confusing endeavor because each component must be installed in a particular order. Otherwise the system may not work the way it should. Of course there is an installation spec manual from IB roofs, which we always keep handy, and actually had to use once or twice. However, this manual only shows particular flashing detail or a general way of how membrane and insulation ought to be installed. It can’t possibly cover all the specifics of the roof installation that come up in the field.
Flat roof installation – mechanically attached assembly:
A reinforce PVC single ply roof allows installers a choice of installing the roof in a fully adhered assembly (sheets of membrane glued to the insulation) or a mechanically attached assembly where each sheet or roll of the roofing material is screwed to the roof deck substrate with heavy duty, corrosion resistant roofing fasteners, and barbed plates. Each roll is screwed to the roof deck on one side, and then the next roll, overlaps a row of screws, and is welded to the first roof, right next to the screws. Then the process continues in the same manner until the whole roof is covered by the membrane.
As you can see in the roof installation picture above, the narrow roll of membrane is installed around the roof perimeter and wider rolls are in place, and are ready to be installed. However, before you get to this point, there is a lot of prep work that has to be done first, and the actual membrane installation is the easy part.
Lets start looking at the prep work, and the order in which things actually happen.
Flat roof installation – prep work – insulation, wood nailer and penetration flashing.
PVC Roofing is a very durable and long lasting flat roofing material. However it should never be in direct contact with any oil and asphalt (also oil) products, and since most other roofing materials are made with oil or asphalt, we always install a protection layer between PVC membrane and either old roof or the roof deck. We usually use insulation to protect the membrane from being in contact with asphalt and also from deck fastener punctures. Roof insulation also serves its primary purpose of improving thermal insulation properties of your roof.
Before we install insulation though, we first install a perimeter wood nailer that serves as a rigid nailing base for the PVC-coated drip edge. Once wood nailer is in place, we lay out the insulation sheets and fasten them to the roof deck, using FM Global 60 or 90 mph wind rating standard – 8 or 10 plates + fasteners per 8×4 feet insulation board (although this is unnecessary, since it is a mechanically attached system). Once the wood nailer and insulation are in place, we install one or more rows of perimeter half sheet, which is a 3 foot wide roll of membrane, vs and standard 6 feet width for field rolls. The perimeter half sheet is installed to prevent wind uplift, and is fastened either 12″ o.c. or 6′ o.c. (for high wind areas).
Flat roofing – tapered insulation:
If there is a ponding water situation, the fastest and most cost-effective way to solve the ponding is to install a so called tapered insulation system, which creates slight roof pitch, which helps divert the water in a required direction and improves roof drainage.
Tapered insulation is basically the same thing as extruded PolyISO insulation with a fiberglass facing. The only difference is that tapered insulation is wider along one edge and narrower along the other. Tapered insulation system can have a roof slope ranging from 1/8″ per one foot run, to 1/2″ rise per one foot run or more. Normally we use a 1/4″ tapered insulation system which raises roof level 1″ for every 4×4′ insulation piece.
Flat roof installation – drip edge detail:
As we mentioned the perimeter half sheet is installed along roof edges, and fastened on the inside with screws and plates – what is holding the half sheet along its outer edge? Well, this is the question that homeowners often ask me. The way IB PVC roof system is designed, allows us to attach the outer edge either directly to the drip edge or run in over the roof edge by a couple of inches, nail it to the fascia board and install a drip edge metal over the membrane.
Both ways are acceptable, but most of the time we use the second method – especially in high winds area. Once the roofing material is installed and flipped down, over the edge of the roof, we install 10 foot sections of 22 ga PVC coated galvanized or stainless steel drip edge, and fasten it to the deck with the roofing screws, either 12″ or 6″ o.c. Then we weld a 5″ wide cover strip of the membrane to the roof and to the drip edge, to seal the screw holes and bake the whole detail water-tight.
Check out our video on how drip-edge metal is installed:
Once the 10-foot sections of drip-edge are installed, the joins are sealed using an aluminum tape and a PVC patch to mack the joint water-tight and protect the patch from metal expansion and contraction. After the joints are complete, the cover tape is welded to drip edge starter and the roof itself, and its now time to do the rest of the roof.
As a side note, there are many options for drip edge detail. Although the most used drip edge is the 2 or 3″ wide face, white starter, you can also choose it to be as much as 8 or more inches wide, as well as in gravel stop style (if you need to divert the water flow or prevent it from going over the edge of the roof.
Gravel stop drip edge has a 1″ bump-out, which stops water from spilling over, and makes it run down the roof – toward a drain or a gutter. Drip edge comes in two colors – white and dark bronze, and also can be painted any other color with acrylic paint. IB roofs also offers 16 oz. copper drip edge, with PVC material adhered to the flange, and can produce any style drip edge, with different angles, kick-in or kick-out face and in various widths.
Flat roof installation – field sheets, roof penetrations and roof to wall termination:
After all edge detail is complete, we install the field rolls of membrane and all penetration flashings, such as pipes, drains, HVAC / Skylight curbs, roof hatches, chimneys, etc.
IB Roof Systems produces a wide variety of flashing accessories, which allow installers to quickly and easily flash almost any roof penetration. Since all roof components are made of PVC, they are all welded together, and the use of any adhesives or glues is completely eliminated, as well as most installation errors by roof mechanics.
All curb and up-the wall flashing is installed using a two-step process. First, the roof is terminated that the wall, and then a separate piece of membrane is installed up the wall and welded to the roof.
After the flashing is installed and welded to the roof, the inside or outside corner flashing is welded to make a permanent watertight joint.
All IB flashing accessories are made of 60-mil non-reinforced flashing membrane and can stretch to perfectly adhere to any shape of a penetration on the roof. Pipe flashings and drains have a reinforced flange to be welded to the roof.
Bellow is a video demonstrating the curb flashing installation around a skylight:
As you can see in the video, the roof penetration flashing is a very clean process, and a chance of a leak is minimum to non. Unlike flashing details on a rubber roof, where a membrane cannot and should not be terminated at the base of the curb, due to high possibility of a leak caused by adhesive failure, the hot air welding process used in sealing overlaps and seams on a PVC roof, eliminates leaks, as well as membrane pull-out caused by contraction of the roofing material in cold weather.
Flat roof installation – special flashing details:
IB roof spec manual does not cover all installation details, as in the real world you often run into situations where you have to “improvise”, while your roof must still be watertight. One such example is the ridge vent detail on flat / low slope roofs such as shed dormers. While many low slope roofs are considered “flat”, they were built as sloped roofs with ridge / soffit ventilation in mind. However, many roofing contractors that install EPDM rubber roofs, block the ridge vent opening completely to prevent roof leaks.
We’ve developed a special assembly method, which allows us to still use the ridge vent, and keep the roof watertight. We run our roof up-to the ridge opening, weld additional strip of membrane, install a 2×4 wood to raise the level off the roof, flip the strip of membrane back and wrap the 2×4 with it. This prevents wind driven water from penetrating the roof, and ridge vent + ridge cap is installed on top, 2 inches up.
As you can see, IB PVC roof can be adjusted to virtually any type of flat roof, and roof penetrations. We recommend that you check out more roof installation videos on our Roofing Videos channel on YouTube.
You can see more examples of flat roof installations that we have done all over New England: Roofing in Massachusetts and roofs in Connecticut. We provide residential roofing and commercial roof installation services in all New England states. However most of our work takes place in MA, CT and RI.
Also, if you have a flat roof deck that is leaking, check out our roof deck section, to learn more about IB roof installation on flat roof decks, patios and balconies, using special slip-proof roofing material called IB DeckShield.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
In our overview of Flat Roofing Technologies: Part I – BUR, Tar & Gravel and Modified Bitumen, we discussed the older and in many ways inefficient types of flat roofs, that are not only outdated by today’s standards, but also have a short life cycle expectancy. Moreover, they pose numerous obstacles when it comes to repairing those flat roofs, as discussed in our Flat Roof Repair guide. See our comparison of two seemingly similar, yet very different in their nature flat roofing types – PVC and TPO roofs below.
In Part II we will take a look at the newer, more advanced roofing technologies, and explore the advantages and disadvantages of each single-ply roofing technology commonly used today.
What is single-ply flat roofing?
There is a lot of confusion about single ply membrane roofing. Many people think that any ‘single ply’ is the answer to their flat roofing problems. This however is far from being the truth. In reality, single-ply roofing membranes have only one thing in common – that is they are single ply or just one layer of membrane that is a water proofing barrier. The similarity stops there.
Single ply membrane formulation, or the components a membrane is made of, is what makes the difference between different types of single-ply flat roofing membranes. Single ply roofing membranes come in various widths, ranging from 6 to over 18 feet. In theory, the wider the membrane is, the less overlapping seam you have, thus reducing the possibility of leaks. The reality is different however, and most commonly used membranes do not exceed 10 feet in width.
The most crucial aspect to the reliability and longevity of single ply roofs is the method of attaching overlapping seams together. That is where 99% of flat roof leaks occur. Therefore, having permanently attached seams is the most important factor in the longevity of a flat roof installation. We will discuss it in more detail as we review different single ply roofing technologies.
Single-ply membrane installation methods:
Single ply membranes are installed either as fully adhered or mechanically attached systems depending on each roof’s condition, and other factors, as well as an installer’s preferences in some cases. Underneath the membrane there s usually a separation barrier and/or some sort of insulation board. Most common insulation is ISO or EPS foam board. Both types have an R-value ranging from 4-R to 6-R per 1 inch of insulation thickness.
Mechanically attached installation uses heavy duty screws and barbed plates to hold the membrane down tightly, and is not affected by possible ISO de-lamination. The membrane is attached using 12″ O.C. pattern with perimeter sheets attached 6″ O.C. This ensures that even the hurricane-type wind will not tear off your roof. Mechanically attached installation method does not require the use of heavy and expensive ballast, and is a preferred choice if your building is located in the high-wind area, such as along the coast line or on a high hill.
Fully adhered single ply membranes are glued to the fiberglass sheet laminated to both sides of the ISO insulation, which is in turn attached to the roof deck. While quick and simple, the fully adhered method has one serious disadvantage. If condensation forms underneath a roofing membrane, which often happens and may be caused by improper ventilation of the roof deck, it will ‘de-laminate’ the ISO board and/or adhesive that is holding membrane in place. If the membrane becomes loose, it is prone to wind blow-off, which will leave your roof unprotected. Results of such blow-off will be catastrophic not only to your roof, but to the entire building. While this is rarely the case, it is still a possibility – a gamble you might not want to take.
More common problems with fully-adhered single-ply flat roofing systems (Mostly EPDM rubber) are defects in glue/adhesive application that cause bubbles, badly glued seams and as a result, a very unpleasant view and more often then not, roof leaks. The image bellow demonstrates a defective Epdm rubber application.
Find out more information on why you should avoid installing EPDM rubber roofing on you home and how residential roofing contractors are trained to install rubber roofs.
Three most common single-ply roofing types:
Today, single ply roofing has become the prime choice when it comes to flat roof replacement. More and more roofing contractors are switching from old roofing types like BUR, Asphalt, and Tar & Gravel roofs to single-ply membrane installation, which is easier, safer and faster. Single ply roofing installation does not use the torching used in Modified Bitumen roofs installation, and therefore there is no fire hazard/possibility to bur down your home / business.
There are 3 most-used single ply membrane types present on the market today: PVC/CPA, EPDM rubber and TPO. While these abbreviations probably won’t tell you much, about these roof types, bellow we provide a brief summary of each of these technologies.
PVC (CPA) Roofing:
- PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride – a thermoplastic membrane utilizing a reinforcement scrim between the two plies of equal thickness (IB roof only). Top ply contains Cool Roof pigments, UV stabilizers, and other components to extend the life of the membrane. Bottom ply contains PVC ingredients to provide consistent weld of top and bottom plies and fillers. Material Warranty Period: Up to 25 years Commercial / Lifetime Residential. PVC roof system life expectancy: 30+ years.
- Special Notes: For a complete overview of IB flat roofing products for residential, commercial and restaurant use, as well as installation method and roofing accessories refer to our IB Roof products page.
- TPO – Thermo Plastic Olefin – a thermoplastic membrane utilizing a reinforcement scrim between the two plies. 35/65 % thickness for top & bottom ply respectively. Top ply contains Cool Roof pigments, UV stabilizers, and other components to extend the life of the membrane. Bottom ply contains TPO ingredients to provide consistent weld of top and bottom plies and fillers. Note that the top ply is about half the thickness of the bottom ply. Yet the top ply is the one that makes the roof long-lasting. IB PVC has a 50/50 or equal thickness of top/bottom ply.
- Material Warranty Period: Up to 20 years Commercial / NO Residential. TPO roof system life expectancy – 7 to 20* years. You should know that there is not a single TPO installation in existence in the USA, that was produced in North America and is older than about 15 years. Therefore it is unknown how long a TPO system will perform without any leaks*.
- Special Notes: * TPO roof systems are under continuous development by numerous manufacturers, who constantly change the TPO formulation to achieve the lowest cost with acceptable performance. While it is understandable that businesses always look to save money and to reduce costs, these constant TPO development process is being conducted, often at the expense of the roof owner. A TPO roof from the same manufacturer will most likely NOT be the same as the one produced few years before or after. Also the quality of different batches of TPO membranes may be questionable, as some TPO producers release the product to the end user without getting the UL and similar approvals/certification, as the formulation changes too often. Refer to our comparison article of PVC vs. TPO to find out more about the TPO problems / short-comings.
- EPDM Rubber – Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer – a rubber-like black membrane, usually non-reinforced. Most common application method is a fully adhered (glued down) membrane with glued seams / flashings.
- Material Warranty Period: Up to 40 years Commercial / NO Residential. EPDM roof system life expectancy – 10 to 15 years. Although the material warranty goes up to 40 years for a 90-mil Epdm from some manufacturers, it does not cover the seams. Failing seams are the main cause of EPDM roof leaks followed by ponding water, for which EPDM has no warranty either.
- Special Notes: EPDM is the least expensive single ply roofing type and requires no special equipment to install it (unlike PVC and TPO which require hot-air welding equipment) and thus is the first choice for roofing contractors entering the flat roofing market and asphalt shingle roofers, who ‘install rubber here and there’. Although many commercial roofing companies also use EPDM, they usually do not perform Residential installations so many times a home owner deals with a Part-Time flat roofing company.
Badly installed Rubber Roof:
Please note that there are many manufacturers of all three types of roofing, and each has their own formulation / manufacturing process / warranty conditions and periods, etc. Therefore we only provide a general summary for each of those roof types. Also, since our specialty is installation of IB roofs, when we use the term PVC or CPA we refer to IB PVC Roof (CPA or Co-Polymer Alloy is the way IB Roof Systems refers to its PVC product. IB membranes are 100% ‘compatible’ with other PVC products).
Common single-ply flat roofing choices: CPA/PVC membrane – IB Roof
CPA/PVC single play flat roofing membrane made by IB Roof Systems is by far, the best choice for any type of flat roof. The main advantage of IB’s CPA/PVC membrane is that the seams are Hot Air welded creating a physical bond between the sheets, which is stronger than the membrane itself. Such seam is a permanent seal, ensuring that there will be no leaks even if you have puddles of ponding water on your roof (which by the way is covered under IB’s warranty, unlike other types of flat roofing membranes that only cover the defects in material). IB’s CPA/PVC white membrane is the true energy efficient Cool Roof, this will not only give you years of worry-free performance, but will actually save you money in reduced energy costs. IB also offers a variety of colors, many of which will also qualify to carry a Cool Roof label. But the main factor speaking in favor of IB’s CPA/PVC membranes, is that they have historically proven to last over 25 years without a single leak!
Learn more about IB’s outstanding single ply flat roofing membrane, its advantages, and many choices for Residential, Commercial and Restaurant use.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
This is part 2 of our rubber roofing guide. In this part we will explain shortcomings of rubber roof (such as inherently faulty design), inability to hold ponding water and generally short life span, etc.
We will aslo demonstrate how many roofers are “trained” in installation of EPDM single ply roofing systems, results of their work (our Horrible Rubber Roofs series), and explain why we recommend that you avoid installing a rubber roof on your house.
Read this and you will save yourself lots of cash and many headaches. Also see our special “Horrible Rubber Roofs” video series below!
The truth about residential flat roofing market and contractors.
This rubber roof is just 1 year old, and has been leaking since day one, until we replaced it with a lifetime IB PVC flat roofing membrane.
Rubber Roof Contractors: It is unfortunate, but most residential flat roofs are installed by roofing contractors that specialize in asphalt shingles. Since they can easily purchase rubber roofing materials from their roofing supply warehouse, and are not required to be certified installers, nor do they need any special training or equipment, they will often undertake such projects to keep their crews busy.
Incorrectly installed EPDM roof in Quincy, MA – rubber glued right over shingles:
Horrible Rubber Roofs videos:
Horrible rubber roof part 1.
Location: Brockton, MA
Date taken: SUMMER 2011
Horrible rubber roof part 2.
Location: Revere, MA
Date taken: Fall 2011
Horrible rubber roof part 3.
Location: Country Club in Central MA
Date taken: Summer / Fall 2011
These are just some roof inspections that we did in the summer / fall of 2011. Look – even commercial roofs are not immune to hack roofers and faulty materials (like rubber roofing), but in residential, this is much more common.
Getting a quality flat roof installed:
The truth is that to get a quality rubber roof installed, it usually has to be done by a commercial roofing company that specializes in flat roofing. However, it is often the policy of such companies not to work with residential customers, for which there are many reasons. These contractors work with large commercial and institutional customers, employ union workers who are trained roof mechanics, specializing in their particular niche. For example, a commercial roofing contractor will have separate crews doing metal roofing or slate – these guys are “roofers”, and yet another crew doing flat roofing ONLY – these are “roof mechanics”.
A residential roofing contractor usually employs just roofers, who are good at what they do all day long – install asphalt shingle roofs, and often do not have a clue about how flat roofs work. When they get a potential client with a flat roof, they go to their supplier, ask what supplier has for flat roof, and the salesman at the supply warehouse TEACHES the roofer how to install EPDM rubber. This is not creative fiction or a product of my imagination – I see this happening nearly every time, when I come in to the supply store to get something.
“Trained rubber roofing installers”: If you are lucky, you may get a roofer that has received some sort of training about rubber roof installation. For example, one of my suppliers, provides installation training programs for their roofing contractors who install only asphalt shingles. The idea behind such training seminars is to increase awareness and solicit sales of more roofing products. A manufacturer technician provides a sample installation on a 8×8 feet demo stand.
Bellow is and example of such “hands-on rubber roofing training”.
As you can see, the roofers just sit around the demo stand while the MFG Installation technician shows them what to do. The whole demonstration took about an hour and a half, and covered thing like installing flat roofing insulation (ISO), adhering rubber to the ISO board, flashing a sky-light / chimney penetration with un-cured flashing material, installing the membrane up the vertical wall, cleaning & priming seams and installing seam tape, installing drip edge and a tape to seal the drip edge fasteners, and installing termination bar. In the same 1.5 hours we’ve also “learned” how to correctly apply yellow glue – membrane adhesive, seam primer – seam & flashing glue and how to install these systems in the winter, while violating manufacturer’s installation specs.
Out of 25 or so roofing contractors present, there were about 15 or so questions particular to the installation details. 7 of them where asked by me! Bear in mind that I already knew how to install a rubber roof and attended the event to talk to my salesman, representatives of the metal roofing manufacturer and for free refreshments
In any case, each one of those 25 or so roofing contractors, willing to learn a new, and very complicated roofing system, asked an average of 0.3 questions about this system.
Rubber roofs for residential customers: It was clear that my supplier and the roofing representatives were selling to Residential Roofing Contractors. Not once did they mention roof-top HVAC units, roof hatches, elevator shafts, gas/electrical pipes, roof drains, etc. They did however insist that the rubber is a good choice for a low slope shed dormer (without mentioning the poor low slope roof ventilation and ice dam prevention associated with shed dormers). They also mentioned that rubber is a good choice for a flat roof decks and patios.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
Metal Roof is the best and longest lasting roofing material that you can install on your sloped roof, and it has great many benefits for you. While a metal roof is not the least expensive option out there, it will actually be less expensive in the long run, than installing multiple asphalt roofs, and dealing with roof leaks and hassles involved in replacing your roof.
Metal roof will protect your home form rain, snow, and most important in the north east – ice dams. Metal roofing is ice dams proof, as it sheds ice and snow, and its design prevent ice dams from causing roof leaks as is the case with asphalt shingles. You won’t have to rely on faulty and often failing ice and water barrier, or other gimmicks to protect your home from regular roof leaks, and those caused by ice dams.
Metal Roof Installation:
Installation of metal roofing materials is our specialty, and we have wide experience in dealing with even the most complicated roofs. We have installed virtually every metal roofing system there is, and have created and perfected special ways of dealing and preventing common roof leaks. Here is one of the examples of how we install metal roofing to prevent leaks through ridge vent opening.
Our unique approach to metal roofing installation:
We pay special attention and dedicate extra time to roof details which are the most susceptible to roof leaks:
- Valley flashing.
- Chimney flashing.
- Roof to wall connection.
- Roof pitch change.
- Ridge vents.
- Eave flashing (ice dams preventions).
- Roof ventilation.
While any roofing can install a field metal roofing panel, the items above are what usually cause roof leaks, and where we stand out of the crowd. Installing your roof right, is our main goal!
Metal Roofing Materials that we install:
We specialize in installation of Standing Seam Metal Roofing systems with concealed fasteners, and Metal Roofing Shingles, in steel, aluminum and other metal choices. We can also install any other type of metal roof that you want, such as metal shakes, stone-coated metal roofing, corrugated steel panels, zinc and copper roofs.
While we install all types of metal roofing, the most popular choices are Standing Seam and Metal Shingles. Both of these roof types offer great weather protection, as well awesome new look for your home!
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
Whether you are considering getting a new roof for your home or business because you’re tired of patching leaks, or because you have heard how much you can save on energy bills with an eco-friendly roof, consider a spray foam roof.
What was that? Spray foam?
Spray foam roofing goes back more than 30 years, and its popularity has been growing exponentially because of its advantages over traditional roofing systems. What advantages, you ask? Consider this:
- It’s monolithic, meaning it is one piece with no seams, which equates to no leaks
- It insulates extremely well, and can lower the temperature of a roof by up to 100 degrees!
- Long lifespan with periodic maintenance*
- Pays for itself!
Spray Foam Roof Installation Process:
Installation is simple and relatively inexpensive! There are several reasons why this particular brand of roofing is so much less expensive than traditional methods. One of the main features of SPF is that the foam itself can adhere to nearly any kind of existing roofing material, with the exception of atactic polypropylene bitumen. This means that you don’t have to pay for the roofer to remove your current roof and pay landfill fees.
Usually, two 55 gallon drums, one with an isocyanate and the other with a resin, are hooked up to a machine that heats the liquids and combines them at the best ratio for effectiveness. Then the liquids are piped into a special spray gun that combines the two liquids upon application.
Once applied to the roof (after it has been cleaned to ensure the most adhesive strength), the combined liquids begin to form bubbles on a microscopic level, expanding to 20 or 30 times their original volume, all within about ten seconds, and you can walk on it in under a minute!
The final part of the installation is to apply a UV and weather protective coating to the foam. The type of coating really depends on your budget and how much energy you want to save as well as how much additional durability you would like the roof to have. The color of the coating varies, but white is usually the best choice from an economical perspective. White will deflect the most sunlight thereby reducing the amount of energy absorbed by the roof, and in the end lowering the cost to you for cooling the interior of the building.
Gravel and stretchy, elastomeric coatings are among the more popular options for protecting the foam roof. Other options include acrylic, silicone, butyl rubber and different types of urethane spray coatings. On top of this spray coating one more coat is applied in order to help prevent physical damage from the elements, including ultraviolet sun rays. This final coat has gravel-like granules sprinkled on or embedded.
What’s in it for ME?
Well, for starters, you will begin seeing a dramatic decline in the cost of heating and cooling as soon as the roof is installed. Don’t believe me? What if I told you that when Texas A&M switched roofing systems in 1975 they switched to spray foam roofing. By making the switch to SPF, they saved so much money on energy savings that they were, on most occasions, able to pay off the construction costs within four and a half years, sometimes just two or three!
Durability and longevity are other major advantages for SPF roof systems. Excluding major weather incidents, there are usually no repairs or maintenance necessary for at least 10 to 15, maybe 20 years depending on the type of system you have installed. When the time comes for maintenance, the existing roof will be cleaned and re-coated, simple as that. A well-maintained roof can easily last 50 years or more. Talk about return on investment!
Speaking of return on investment, how much will this investment set you back? Naturally it depends on a lot of variables including where you are, what kind of foam you prefer (as in density, thickness, etc.), what protective coatings are used, the building itself and the intricacy of the job. For average SPF systems you will probably be looking at starting prices of approximately $6 per square foot and up.
I hope this article has helped you in choosing a reliable, inexpensive and green roofing solution. All that’s left is choosing the right roof repair or replacement company for you. Overall, spray foam roofing is a great flat roofing choice. That, and enjoy saving up to 50% on energy bills for years to come!
This article was provided by Freedom Exteriors, LLC – premium roofing contractor in Arkansas. This article may not represent the opinion of CoolFlatRoof.com
Article commentary from from CoolFlatRoof Blog editor:
Spray for roofing is a highly energy efficient flat roofing material, which combines the roof insulation with the waterproofing layer. However, spray foam roofing or SPF, require regular maintenance and complete re-coating every 10 years to maintain the protective layer over the foam. Without that protective layer, the UV rays of the sun will quickly destroy the SPF roof. It is best to coat the SPF roof with a urethane coating rather than with cheaper acrylic coating, and to add stone granules to the coating for longest performance.
One thing we want to mention is that SPF is a very popular flat roof material in the southern US, whereas up north, you will rarely see a spray foam roof (though I know of at least two large roofing contractors installing SPF roofs in the northern US with great success). Here in New England single ply membrane roofing is a more popular choice for a flat roof.
Another thing for you to consider is the situation with ponding water and how well the SPF roof will handle it. Rubber roofs for example will leak under ponding water, whereas the PVC roof with hot air welded seams will remain watertight. Although it’s best not to have ponding water at all, in many retrofit roof installations, you just can’t avoid it, so make sure that you get a ponding water guaranty from your reputable roofing contractor.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
As of June 23, 2008, we now offer our customers a choice of using Recycled on New Poly-Iso insulation.
Benefits of using recycled insulation include instant and continuous financial benefits. Since we get recycled ISO board at a discount we pass on the savings to you, and with more insulation for the same amount of money you would spend on a new ISO, you will continue to save money on your energy costs year round.
But that’s not all! Although ISO insulation is not “green” per-se, using recycled insulation is a green choice since by reducing your energy consumption, it will also reduce carbon monoxide emitted into the atmosphere. It will also not go into our nation’s land-fills, therefore it will benefit the environment.
Types of insulation we use:
By default we use a 1/2 inch fan-fold Styrofoam insulation, which is mostly used when there is already some insulation on the roof. Fan-fold insulation comes with 2-R value, so it will add some insulating value to the roof. It also acts as a separation barrier between the deck or old roofing material and IB membrane. Fanfold insulation is attached with heavy-duty screws and corrosion-resistant insulation plates. It is light-weight, features quick installation and is ideal for a roof layover. It is also the most economical option.
As an option you may choose to use a common ‘new-construction’ and complete roof replacement choice of insulation – Poly ISO board, which comes in a wide range of sizes and features high R-values from 3 to 20-R. Sizes include 1/2, 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 and 3.3 inches and R-value is calculated using 6-R per 1 inch of insulation.
If drainage is a concern, ISO insulation comes in tapered design which has different thicknesses at each end, and is used to create pitch ( slope ) on a completely flat roof. Slope is usually directed toward drains or drip edges and diverts the water flow to where it can exit the roof.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
The concept of green roofs, or roof-top gardens that create healthier cities is great, and fortunately it is not just for enthusiasts. However, despite their many benefits to the environment and homeowners, green roofs still face many obstacles in becoming main-stream. Some of those obstacles are technological and, some (the most important ones) have to do with the price tag associated with a green roof.
We will review green roofs, not only from the Eco-friendly perspective, but also from a roofer’s point of view, as it is the roofer that makes green roofs work. We’ll also discuss recent technological breakthroughs in the green roofing industry, which have to do with simplifying design, installation, and greatly reducing costs.
Cost issues associated with Green Roofs:
Green roofs are expensive – no doubt about that. The Main reason being the relative difficulty of building and maintaining a green roof, while making sure the water-proofing membrane is intact, and performs for its specified life-period. Another reason is that all the components of a green roof (of which there are many) are expensive, and only a handful of suppliers offer them. Green Roof vegetation is also a concern, as these plants must be able to survive in a limited amount of soil and if the drought hits, these plants might not survive. It may also be necessary to set up some kind of a sprinkler system to maintain the required moisture level.
Technological (installation) issues associated with Green Roofs:
When all is set and done, a green roof will create a beautiful roof-top-garden and should significantly increase, if not double the life of your roofing membrane, as it protects the roof from the sun and the elements. A green roof will also make your building a lot cooler, as it absorbs most of solar heat.
To reap all these benefits and improvements, it is of the utmost importance to use the best available flat roofing membrane such as 80-mil IB Roof and to have a quality installation performed by a certified flat roofing installer. Just imagine that your new green roof is installed, and some time later this roof begins to leak – now you have to disassemble the green roof: remove the vegetation and soil, moisture retainers and water-flow base, while the leak may not even be where you think it is. That is why from the installation perspective everything must be installed to the highest standard; all seams must be checked and double checked in order to ensure a leak-free, functioning roof.
IB Roof and GreenRoofBlocks – the perfect combination for a Green Roof:
To make the installation and maintenance of a green roof as simple and inexpensive as possible, we chose to combine our IB Pvc roofing products with a simple, modular approach of Green Roof Blocks. These green roof sections come in 2×2′ aluminum boxes with specially formulated light-weight soil. Green Roof Blocks offer a quick installation, ease of roof repair – if there is ever a need to do some roof maintenance, all you need to do is to simply lift up the sections where you suspect the leak may be. Green Roof block is also the most cost-effective green roof you can find. Vegetation can be planted and grown before the roof is installed, or right on the roof-top.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
We are an Eco-Friendly, full service flat roofing company specializing in installation of Cool Roofing systems for a wide range of Residential and Commercial roofing projects. We carry all necessary General Liability and Worker’s Compensation Insurances, OSHA certifications, and are a Licensed IB Roof installer.
Roof installation service:
We offer a complete-package roof installation service, from pulling all necessary building permits, to coordinating with other contractors and service providers (such as utility companies, architects, etc.) involved in your roofing project.
Our installers and roof mechanics work safely, wear all necessary safety equipment and use state of the art installation tools and equipment. We pay top wages, and provide premium workmanship and services.
While a standard labor warranty in the roofing industry (a minimum required by law) is the 2-year period, all our roof installations include a Labor warranty that matches the material warranty (i.e., 80-mil IB membrane has a 25 year material warranty, which we match with our 25-year labor warranty).
Roof consulting service:
We offer roofing consultation services which include complete analysis of your present roof condition, inspection of structural components, roof deck and roof insulation. We analyze your roof’s drainage situation, and identify whether you may need more insulation, drains / scupper, or other roof components installed to improve your roof’s performance and extend its service life. We will provide you with a complete report of what has to be done on your roof, and identify parts you may not need. We can also negotiate with your General Contractor and/or Architect on your behalf, to get you the right products/services, while including needed items, and eliminating unnecessary and costly items. This will prevent future “change orders” and up-charges from your GC / Architect / Contractor, and save you money and frustration.
We hold all necessary State Construction Licenses and Registrations:
- MA Home-Improvement Contractor registration (HIC) and Unrestricted Construction Supervisor License (CSL)
- CT Home-Improvement Contractor registration (HIC) and Major Contractor Registration
- RI Home-Improvement Registration and Special Commercial Roofing Contractor Registration
Flat Roof installation service details:
For a flat and low-slope roofing application, we exclusively install IB Cool roofing single-ply membranes with up-to 25 years Commercial and Lifetime Residential warranties.
IB Roof is a versatile flat roofing system that can be adapted for any flat roof type and level complexity. IB roof is a perfect, long-lasting flat roofing choice for:
- Condos, Cooperatives and other Multi-Unit residential buildings.
- Storage Facilities
- Office buildings
- Manufacturing and Warehouse facilities
- Auto Repair stations and garages, Gas Stations
- Stores and Shopping malls
- All other commercial buildings with a flat roof
With its Cool-roof properties, IB will save you an average of 20% or more on the Air-Conditioning costs, which can run into hundreds of dollars per month. With the ever-rising electricity prices, this is especially crucial for climate-controlled storage-complexes, restaurants, and refrigeration-facilities, but will greatly benefit any building that uses Air-Conditioning equipment.
IB is also an environmentally friendly roof and you can have a Green / Garden roof installed, without worries of roof leaks or environmental incompatibility.
IB with its Lifetime Residential warranty, is perfect for any type of residential application: Your Home roof, Garage or even a walk-on flat roof deck. IB can be installed as a water-proofing membrane under a solid wood deck or you can choose an IB DeckShield* – a slip and water-proof, ADA (American Disability Act) compliant decking material. (* Due to anticipated constant foot traffic, IB DeckShield carries a 10 year warranty)
Your One Stop informational source about all aspects Flat Roofing, Cool Roofs, Solar BI-PV Roofs & Roof-top Gardens.
We specialize in Energy-Efficient flat roofing solutions for Residential flat roofs and Commercial / Restaurant flat roofs. We strive to provide our customers, with Eco-Friendly roofing solutions that are recyclable, & will help you conserve energy, as well as benefit environment.
Our Customer’s comments:
CoolFlatRoof installed an IB roof on a flat section of my house. They did an excellent job. I had problems for years with leaks and would hire someone to repair it but after awhile it would leak again. It had never leaked since Leo and Alex put this excellent roof on my house. It also seems to be more insulated: warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. Thanks guys. I recommend you to everyone who mentions a roofing problem. – Jack from Providence, RI
CoolFlatRoof quality promise: We are so confident in the quality of IB roofing systems and our installation, that we guarantee our roofs against any leaks. If the roof we installed ever leaks due to installation error, not only will we fix it, but we will also give you a check for $250.
Flat Roof leaks and repair information
For your convenience, we created a series of roofing guides that will help you choose the best solution for your flat roof and provide you with information that many roofing contractors and manufacturers do not want you to know. Check out our Do-it-yourself guides to rubber roof repair and tar & gravel roof repair for immediate steps you can take to temporarily stop roof leaks, until you can perform a complete re-roof.
When your flat roof begins to leak, the process is irreversible, and the sooner you start to deal with these issues, the less you will have to spend on repairs and roof replacement. Read our comprehensive Flat Roof repair guide to gain the insight on the issues and costs involved and ways to minimize your expenses when you deal with roof leaks.
Discover different types of flat roofing materials and choose the best roofing product for your home or business. It is a shame that in the 21st century many roofing contractors still use 19th century roofing technology, whih is inferior, inefficient and cost you more than a modern single-ply roof. Learn about different single-ply flat roofing systems and compare them to IB Roofs, the leading manufacturer of long-lasting cool flat roofing products.
Compare the two leading single-ply cool roofing products in our PVC vs. TPO roofing guide.
Flat roofing job profiles: Industrial, Commercial and Residential.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
- Are you tired of waking up in the middle of a rainy night, changing buckets under leaking ceilings, and worrying how much the repairs will cost you?
- Are you sick of that old flat roof above your house, which you’ve been patching for the last few years, but it just does not work, and the roof leaks keep on coming back?
- Are you considering building a sloped roof and going with a shingle roof, because there is no end to your roof leaks?
- Does your low-slope roof leak due to Ice Dams problems? A poor ventilation and attic insulation is causing your ice dams, but you can’t always solve the problem economically. This is where IB roof is a perfect product to eliminate Ice dam related leaks.
- Does your ridge vent leak, or did you have to completely remove the ridge vent to stop leaks? Check out our special Low-Slope roof ridge vent assembly, which improves your attic ventilation and eliminates leaks!
The truth is, there is a solution that will keep your home, probably your biggest investment, water tight for decades to come. The flat roof you can truly forget about, and the one that will actually save you money on the ever-rising energy costs.
If you have a flat roof deck you can choose between an IB DeckShield or a conventional 80-mil IB roof with wooden deck and railing system to solve your leaks problems and create a permanent water-tight roof-top patio.
When you want the looks of an Architectural Shingles and unsurpassed reliability of an IB Roof, IB Traditions gives you both!
IB Cool Flat Roof – The Best flat roofing for your Home!
An IB roof has its roots in commercial flat roofing, where the requirements and expectations of building products are much higher than in the residential market. In fact IB Roof has been chosen as the roofing choice for Hospitals, Airports and Universities through-out the country, where a leaking roof is not an option. Many of these roofs installed over 25 years ago are still performing well, without any leaks.
Most low sloped roofs in the northern United States have Ice Dams, which cause roof leaks and expensive roof repairs as well as cosmetic interior repairs of ceilings, walls, carpets and wooden floors. Those are the damages that you can actually see. Ice dams also create invisible structural damages which you can’t find until you open up ceilings and walls. These damages are extremely expensive to repair, as it would require to hire interior remodelers to fix structural damages, outside and inside walls, electrical systems, plumbing, etc.
Ice Dams in a nutshell: Ice dams are caused by poor attic ventilation and heat loss from the inside of your living space. Large piles of snow will accumulate on your roof after a snow storm. If your attic is improperly insulated and ventilated, the warm air escaping from your living area into the attic, will melt the snow. The water from melting snow will run down the roof and refreeze, usually along the eaves of your roof. These are Ice Dams. The more snow is melting the bigger Ice Dams you have. After some time, the ice dams become so big, that the melting water cannot travel downward anymore, so it starts to travel upward underneath the roof shingles or rolled roofing seams. As it freezes under the roof, warm air melts it, and it slowly starts to drip inside the attic, causing all of the above and below mentioned problems.
It becomes a vicious cycle were more heat loss creates more ice dams, which causes more damages to structural walls and insulation, destroying your home from the inside, increasing your energy-related expenses, and causing more heat loss, which creates bigger ice dams…
One negative effect caused by Ice dams, and which many homeowners neglect to address is the wet insulation in the attic and inside walls. When insulation gets wet, you loose insulating value, so your energy costs increase, as heat loss in the winter drives up your heating bill. The same happens in the summer with cooling. Also, mold begins to grow in the attic and inside walls, which cause and/or aggravates allergies, asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
IB roofing membrane is perfect way to eliminate Ice Dams on a low slope roof, as it is a seamless blanket over the entire roof. Hot air welded seams prevent water from backing up and re-freezing as is the case with shingles and rolled asphalt roofing, therefore eliminating the effects of Ice Dams. Also, Most of the snow will actually slide off the IB roof, thus there will be a minimal Ice and Snow accumulation along the eaves.
Additionally, we’ve designed a special Ridge Vent system, which we use on every low-sloped roof with ridge/soffit ventilation in place. This system prevents the wind driven water form entering your attic space through the holes in the ridge vent, while allowing the warm air to escape the attic.
Now you too can have this outstanding roof installed on your home. IB make the perfect choice for any residential flat and low-slope roof. IB roof will give you years of worry-free service, and make your home more energy efficient, as well as provide a transferable Lifetime Warranty! IB will also add beauty and usability to your home with its specialty Traditions & DeckShield membranes.
Traditions Classic: Printed Shingle Pattern
If you have a low-pitched roof, which is flatter than a minimum required for a conventional roofing, but is still visible from the ground, IB has the perfect solution – ‘Traditions Classic’.
Traditions is a single ply membrane that was designed to eliminate the problems associated with conventional asphalt shingle, but will give you the looks of an architecturally designed shingle roof that fits your home.
Traditions Classic carries a Lifetime Material Warranty and is also fade resistant and is perfect in the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut climate. It outperforms any shingle roof from any manufacturer.
Traditions – Design and appearance:
Traditions Classic gives you the perfect combination of integrity and beauty. It takes the excellent qualities of Industrial Grade IB flat roofing membrane and an outstanding looks of asphalt shingles with a choice of three popular colors:
Sierra Vista: Light Brown color will give you a perfect combination with red brick homes as well as other red, tan and brown shades of conventional siding.
Stony Ridge: Grey color – will blend perfectly with grey and most other colors.
Mountain Spruce: Great for suburban areas, and will bled well with background forest, as well as bushes and trees surrounding your home.
Traditions – Maintenance and Life-cycle:
A good roof is the one you can forget about and Traditions classic is no different. Traditions Classic is virtually maintenance free and is specially designed for low sloped roofs. The high quality membrane resists mold, mildew, algae, chemicals and ultraviolet rays, and will continue to look great on your home for years to come – guaranteed!
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
Flat Roofing – CoolFlatRoof.com Home Page
Cool Roofing Blog – Our official blog were we post our roof installation reports, new roofing and green building products and technology reviews, metal roofing system comparisons, IB Roof installation tutorial, Roofing Do-it-yourself guides, and our customers’ comments about our work. Experience what a cool roof installation is like, and how we would install your roof.
Roof Learning Center provides helpful roofing guides for Do It Yourself enthusiasts. Features educational roofing articles that address common roofing problems including Ice Dam build up, failing shingles, valley roof leaks, and roof repair articles. Find out things you should know when choosing a roofing contractor.
Flat Roofing Guide:
IB Flat Roofs – IB PVC single-ply membrane roofing – Products, Installation methods, system component and benefits of installing IB Cool roof.
Flat roofing prices – Detailed guide into the price-structure of flat roof installation. Discover why there is such a discrepancy in pricing from different roofing contractors bidding on the same roofing job. Learn the consequences of hiring the lowest-bidding roofing company that does not carry any insurance, and does not stand behind their work.
Flat Roofing technology guide – Overview of different flat roofing products and systems present on the market today, and installed on flat roofs throughout New England and US.
Roofing cost calculator – Calculate the cost to install a new IB roofing system and get instant quotes for other flat roof types such as Epdm rubber, Tar and Gravel and built-up roofs. You will also be able to estimate approximate annual energy savings that you will receive if you install a cool white IB single ply roof.
Roof Repair Guide – When a flat roof leaks, it is advisable to know all your options and what to expect from temporary flat roof fixes. This flat roofing repair guide outlines the possible scenarios and costs involved in patching up a flat roof as compared to a complete replacement.
Rubber roof repair – DIY guide to fixing rubber (EPDM) roof systems.
Tar&Gravel roof repair – DIY guide to fixing Tar & Gravel / Built-Up roof systems.
Single-Ply Roofs – Brief overview of different single ply roofing membrane technologies such as PVC (Poly-Vinyl Chloride) or CPA (Co-polymer alloy) – chemically IB’s CPA is equivalent to PVC, Epdm rubber and TPO (thermoplastic olefin roof)
PVC vs. TPO roofing – Detailed comparison of major differences between seemingly identical PVC and TPO membranes. Here we discuss the major issue of TPO’s curing after just a few years in service and its consequential inability to be welded, once the membrane is cured.
Green Flat Roofing – Green roof benefits for urban heat-island effect, design and costs guide.
Flat Roofing Insulation – Recycled Insulation, ISO, Styrofoam and EPS insulation technologies.
Flat Roofing Deck – Overview of roof deck waterproofing products, leak elimination and installation methods. Choose between IB DeckShield and conventional installation using 80-mil IB membrane and wooden deck + railings system
EPDM Rubber Roofing – Overview of flat rubber roofs, contractors installing rubber for residential customers and why homeowners should avoid using rubber as a flat roofing option on their homes.
Our Services, Job Profiles & Contact information:
Connecticut Flat Roofs – Overview of installation, repair and consulting services that we provide in the state of Connecticut to homeowners and businesses. We specialize in Commercial and Residential roof replacement using IB cool roofing technology. Check out the job profiles for the roofs that we have installed in CT, including a picture gallery and a short video clip.
Massachusetts Flat Roofs – Installation, repair and consulting services for flat roofing projects in MA. We specialize in Commercial and Residential projects. Also you can view some of the flat and Metal Roofing projects that we’ve completed recently. A picture gallery of each roof installation from start to finish.
Some of the Flat Roofs we installed:
Asphalt Shingle textured flat roof – This beautiful IB Traditions roof looks like asphalt shingles, yet it will never leak and will provide energy savings for this gorgeous house in Arlington, MA
Residential Flat & Metal roof (New) This house in Old Lyme, CT had a badly-leaking tar and gravel roof, which caused rotten plywood and some framing. Now it has a Lifetime 80-mil White IB roof and Tamko metal slate.
Flat roof house 80-mil grey IB roof was installed on this residence in Wallingford, CT.
Industrial Flat Roof – TesTex Corporation manufacturing facility in Central Falls, RI
Restaurant Flat Roof – Deli / Meat market located in the tourist attraction of Hampton Beach, NH
Condominium Flat Roof – Residential condos on the East Side of Providence, RI
Apartment Building with Restaurant / Deli Beautiful brick building in the center of North Attleboro, MA had flat roof leaks for years and patching did not help. An IB roof solved all the problems!
Flat Metal Roof – Metal roof acrylic coating – Power Generation Plant in Bellingham, MA
Restaurant Metal Roof – Permanent Aluminum Roof on an IHOP restaurant in Hyannis, MA
Stone-Coated Metal Roof – Beautiful Spanish Tile metal roof on Venus De Milo Restaurant / Reception / Wedding Capitol of Rhode Island located in Swansea, MA
Solar Flat Roofing, Solar PV Guide and Rebates:
Solar flat roofs – IB SolarWise – Building-Integrated Solar PV for flat roofing
Solar PV guide – Prices, ROI, system design & installation guide includes cost break-down for residential and commercial solar systems in MA, CT and RI
Solar Rebates / Incentives – Summary of Federal Tax Credits and State rebate programs for Solar PV and other renewable energy installation in MA, CT, RI
Massachusetts Solar Rebates – Overview of all available Rebates & Incentives for Residential, Commercial and Public buildings solar PV systems
Green Construction Directory and eco-friendly resources:
Green Building Directory – Lists Eco-friendly resources, green construction web-sites, green and solar blogs and construction companies that build green buildings and use energy-saving technologies.
Green-Living Directory – Sustainability, Eco-Friendly and Renewable links.
DIY Green Home Improvement – List of websites for do-it-yourselfers with the emphasis on green technologies and energy efficiency.
Home Improvement Sites – General home improvement sites with a good number of eco-friendly categories.
Metal Roofing Directory – A list of manufacturers and contractors specializing in Cool, Recyclable and Permanent Steel, Aluminum and Copper metal roofs.
Suppliers of Metal products – Metal Buildings, Specialty metals suppliers and manufacturers
Energy Efficient Siding and Windows – Manufacturers, Distributes and Contractors installing energy-saving Wood, Aluminum and Vinyl Windows and Siding.
Uncategorized / Coming Soon pages:
Solar PV Price Calculator – An interactive tool to estimate the cost of installing Solar PV for your home or business.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
- Types of flat roof decks – Choose between IB DeckShield & traditional wooden deck over flat roof.
- Flat Roof deck prices – Learn how much a flat roof deck will cost.
- Roof deck leaks – Learn why flat roof decks leak and how to prevent/eliminate these leaks.
- IB DeckShield – Details of IB DeckShield roof assembly – how it works and what goes into it.
- IB 80-mil with PT deck – Details of PT wooden deck over IB 80-mil roof assembly.
Roof deck & leaking.
Many homes in New England have a walk-on flat roof decks with living space under them, and 90 percent of these deck roofs leak, ruining your rooms. Stains on sheet-rock ceilings, popping hardwood flooring, wet carpets and rotted framing are just some of the damages that you may sustain as a result of these leaks. Destruction of personal property such as beds, book shelves, computers, TVs and other electronic equipment can also occur in cases of severe roof leaks.
All these items are very expensive to fix and even more expensive to replace. Yet you can easily solve these problems in a fairly cheap way (when compared to costs of replacing and repairs you have to incur if you let the leaks continue) with IB’s life-time roofing product. With IB Roof, you will never have to worry about roof leaks again and you could finally regain full use of your roof deck or patio.
Creating a leak-free Roof Deck with IB roofing systems
We offer two different solutions for you to permanently solve your roof deck leaks. Both ways utilize IB’s time-proven CPA membranes featuring hot-air welded seam. The main difference between the two methods is the product you choose to use, and aesthetics you desire.
Assembly type 1: IB DeckShield – a fully integrated waterproofing membrane system designed for use on walk-out roof decks. DeckShield is highly slip-resistant, and not only complies with and even exceeds ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements.
Learn how IB Deck Shield membrane is installed, installation prices and more general information of roof deck waterproofing using IB DeckShield membrane.
IB DeckShield – a beautiful and durable decking waterproofing membrane.
Benefits of using IB Deckshield assembly:
- Enhances the appearance of decks
- Eliminates annual painting and staining of wood decks
- Durable, Slip resistant Waterproofing system.
- Resists mildew, chemicals, and UV rays.
- Eliminates hazardous wood splinters and unsightly concrete cracking.
- Complies with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements.
Assembly type 2: Deck on top of flat roof: IB PVC membrane with a wood deck installed over it – a more traditional way of roof deck construction, features an IB Lifetime single-ply membrane with fusion-welded seams. This method will ensure permanent water-tightness of your roof deck combined with a deck and railings system built with your choice of wood and pattern. Download IB Roof brochure
Benefits of using IB 80-mil membrane with PT / Composition deck on top:
- Wooden deck on top of IB 80 mil roofing membrane protects the roof from accidental mechanical damages.
- Allows people to have a more traditional wooden deck / patio.
- Composition deck assembly eliminates the need to stain / paint the wood.
- Allows extended use of outdoor grills without worrying that you’ll burn through the roof.
- Allows the creation of beautiful deck designs and the use of steel outdoor furniture.
IB 80-mil PVC roofing membrane with composition board deck assembly create this beautiful patio
A happy client enjoys her private roof-deck in Arlington, MA. Roof assembly consists of 80-mil IB Roof for waterproofing, and a diamond-shaped, low profile deck.
Cost of flat roof decks
Why roof decks leak?
Most roof decks in existence today use a flat roofing material that were created over a century ago and were not designed for use as roofing for residential homes and living area. Another reason is original design flaw implemented by architects and/or builders, who were not qualified in flat roofing and did not have appropriate roofing technology to use.
Ponding Water leaks:
Very often you can find ponding water accumulating on these deck roofs. Majority of flat roofing system existing today cannot sustain constant ponding water and as a result water enters your house, and destroys your possessions and property.
Wood Deck and Railing leaks:
Often there is a wood deck installed on top of a flat roof or some sort of a railing system. To make these railings securely attached to the roof, builders often create roof penetration for every railing post on the roof. The only way to “seal” these penetrations for most builders, is to use roof cement or pitch-pockets – both of these methods are considered unacceptable by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). Yet most builders don’t have the appropriate products, expertise and many times, don’t care enough to make these penetrations water-tight.
This results in more leaks – usually these leaks don’t appear inside your home for years, but the hidden damages can cost thousands of dollars to fix. Water slowly enters your home and rots the beams and studs. While unnoticed for a long period of time, such leaks my sometimes result in partial or complete re-framing of your roof and/or support walls.
Leaking Flat Roof Deck
Details of roof deck construction using IB Membranes and DeckShield
IB DeckShield roof / deck assembly and installation:
DeckShield is easiest to use in new construction, however it can be easily adopted for retrofit use on existing homes. IB Deck Shield is installed as a fully-adhered application on top of Dens Deck – a fiber-cement type board that is 1/4 of an inch thick, or over plywood.
The surface for installing IB DeckShield must be clean, smooth and flat. That is why in some retrofit applications use of DeckShield may be difficult or impossible. When you have an uneven surface it is best to use the regular IB Roofing Membrane with a wooden deck over it. If you still want to use Deck Shield for a retrofit roof deck project, expect the additional costs of making your roof surface even.
DeckShield can be used for a small balcony as well as a large roof deck, and for everything in between. Hot-air welded seams make IB DeckShield a long-lasting waterproofing solution that is both eye-pleasing and safe to walk on when it is wet. Expect many compliments from your family and friends when they get to see your new roof patio with IB DeckShield.
DeckShield colors and texture:
DeckShield has a look and texture of tiny pebbles – something similar to a floor in a swimming pool. You can choose between two distinct colors – Tan and Grey – both look great and will compliment your home.
Since IB DeckShield is made from the same material as other IB membranes, it is easy to accommodate for any roof penetrations, such as a Railing System and Roof-Wall detail. This will ensure that your roof will be water-tight and you can take full advantage of your deck or patio once again, and will not have to worry about leaks. Invite your friends and family for a cookout, enjoy a cocktail, or watch the stars.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
For homeowners, it is of the utmost importance to be educated about the roofing choices they are going to make. Since roofing is one of the most expensive home improvement projects and a roof protects arguably one of the biggest investments in one’s life, it is necessary to know your roofing choices and how to select the right roofing contractor. This collection of How-To guides and roofing technology overview is designed for homeowners, as well as building and property managers.
Benefits of cool flat roofing – learn how an Eco-friendly Cool roof will help you dramatically reduce your energy resources consumption and costs, benefit the environment, eliminate your roof repair expenses, and reduce construction waste going to our landfills.
Green Roof – Roof-top garden design, benefits and cost overview
Choosing between a Flat and Pitched Roof
Flat roof house design
How to repair rubber roof using peel and stick rubber flashing materials and EPDM primer – no more black glue and much better results!
Fixing rubber roofs – DIY guide to fixing rubber (EPDM) roof
Fixing Tar & Gravel roofs – DIY guide to fixing Tar & Gravel /
Fixing Flat Roof – General overview of flat roof repair: What
Flat roof ventilation for low-slope residential and commercial roofs where a ridge and soffit vet system is present, but creates leaks from wind-drive water entering the attic trough the ridge vent. Learn about a special ridge vent assembly for low-slope roofs, which we have designed and use on all our residential roofs.
External Roofing Articles and How-to guides:
RoofingCalculator.org – estimate roofing prices using online roofing estimate calculator. Research roofing materials and learn about roof costs for standing seam metal roofs, asphalt shingle roofs, and flat roofing materials.
Roofs and roof types
Metal Roofing Installation – Comprehensive Do-It-Yourself HOW-TO guide to install a Standing Seam Metal Roof. Learn how to install a Vertical Panel metal roofing system with concealed fasteners (Architectural Standing Seam Roof) using this easy-to-follow step by step guide, brought to you by Metal Roofing Professionals over at NewEnglandMetalRoof.com
Guide includes a list of tools required, safety precautions / measures and tips & tricks used by the Pros.
Solar Metal Roofing – Overview of the benefits of using roof-integrated solar PV with Metal Roofing panels vs. asphalts shingle roofs and stand-alone Solar Boxes that require re-roofing every 12-15 years.
Roofing Installation Video – Collection of short video clips of Cool Flat Roofs installation and Metal Roof Installations. See how IB hot air welding is performed.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
Renewable Energy is becoming increasingly popular among Home-owners, Small Businesses and Large Corporations alike, especially with sky-rocketing energy cost. Solar PV (photo-voltaic) is by far the most popular renewable-energy technology, but despite such popularity, Solar is not economically feasible for most people without government support.
Solar PV technology has a huge potential to provide if not all, but a bigger chunk of US electricity, which at this moment comes mostly from fossil-fuels such as Coal and Natural Gas, as well as some Nuclear and Hydro power. Still, fossil-fuels provide most of our ever-rising electricity demand. While gas and coal are relatively cheap compared to other energy sources, they are polluting our atmosphere with ‘green-house’ gases. Also, due to rising energy demand, the cost of gas, coal and oil keeps rising, with no end in sight in the near future.
Solar on the other hand produces clean, ‘free’ energy in the form of electricity, heat, and light. Although benefits of solar are enormous, so is the initial capital investment, which without additional incentives becomes not so attractive to the end user. Fortunately the US government, as well as many other governments through-out the world see great potential and need in renewable energy, and offer end-users financial rebates and incentives to promote the spreading of renewable energy, which in turn reduces the cost of such technologies.
Here we will review rebates and incentives offered by Federal, State and local governments, as well as utility companies and other organizations in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island (Note: Due to the recent budget deficit and slow economic conditions in RI, most of the State-sponsored renewable-energy incentives are temporarily suspended – we will keep a close eye on the situation and post updates as they become available).
Federal Tax Rebates for Solar PV: Commercial and Residential
The Federal Government offers a Tax rebate for solar and other renewable-energy installed on your building. You can claim 30% Business Energy Tax Credit in the year of installation, and a 5-year accelerated depreciation thereafter. No maximum cap for Solar PV, while other technologies may have a limit.
For residential Solar PV systems, the Federal Tax Credit is 30% percent with $2000 cap.
Note: Current Federal Tax Credits for renewable-energy are set to expire on December 31, 2008. Unless they are renewed before expiration, Tax credits will be reduced to 10%. Currently, Big-Oil companies receive over $1.5 billion/year in Federal Tax Credits from the US government for oil exploration and drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. These same companies that had over $130 billion profits (net income after all expenses and taxes paid) in 2007. This money can be used to the advantage of the people of the United States in form of a Renewable Energy Bill, which President Bush promised to veto, if it passes in the senate. We urge you to call your Senator, State Representative, Governor, and other officials as well as Presidential Candidates, and tell them that we, the people, demand support for renewable-energy.
State Tax Rebates, Incentives and Grants for Solar PV
Each State has a different Solar Rebates and Incentives Program, and to eliminate any confusion, we list them under each state’s respective page. These programs are designed for residents and businesses located in each state to take advantage of all the great benefits of Renewable Energy, and to help out the environment.
Connecticut Solar PV Rebates – Section Coming Soon
Rhode Island Solar PV Rebates: Apparently, due to an excessive budget deficit in RI, there are no renewable-energy rebates available at this time. This is very unfortunate, and we try to do anything we can (which is not a lot, as this matter is in hands of RI policy makers) to bring those rebates back. To find out what is being done, and how you can contribute to these and other renewable-energy initiatives, visit Apeiron Institute – a group of volunteers and activists of Sustainable way of life in RI and surrounding areas.
If you live or do business in RI, you are paying a Renewable-Energy charge on your electric bill. Fight for your right to access a State-sponsored Solar PV rebates program, to which you and EVERY customer of electric companies in RI contributes every month. Yet, your money goes somewhere else, while the National ‘Greed’ keeps on hiking your electricity rates. Contact the RI Governor and the members of state senate and tell them you wand the Renewable-Energy Program back!
Massachusetts State Tax Rebates, Incentives and Grants for Solar PV
In 2008, Governor Patrick’s administration passed a new Solar Electric Photo-voltaic Initiative for the Commonwealth, which includes Solar rebates for residential and commercial Solar PV installations, as well as rebates for other renewable-energy technologies. This new program will allocate $68 million over the next four years (2008 – 2011). Here is a brief summary of rebates for Residential and Non-Residential (Small and Large Commercial, Non-Profit and Government) solar PV systems.
List of Massachusetts residential solar rebates:
|Type of Rebate||$/Watt DC|
|PLUS: Additional to Base Incentive|
|Mass. made system components||$0.25/Watt|
|Moderate Home Value||$1.25/Watt|
|Moderate Household Income|
|Option A: Less than or equal to $91,552||$1.00/Watt|
|Option B: Less than or equal to $76,296||$2.00/Watt|
|Maximum possible rebate
Moderate Home Value varies by county and ranges from $300,000 to $400,000. If your home value is equal to, or less-than your county’s Moderate Home Value (determined by municipality), you are eligible for this rebate.
|County||Moderate Home Value|
|Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire||$300,000|
|Bristol, Suffolk, and Worcester||$350,000|
|Barnstable, Duke, Essex, Middlesex, Nantucket, Norfolk, and Plymouth||$400,000|
Massachusetts made system components: If any MAJOR component of your solar system was produced in MA, you are eligible for this rebate.
Official wording to qualify for this rebate adder:
To qualify for this adder, the Applicant must provide evidence that either the PV modules or the inverter(s), or another significant component are manufactured by a company with a significant Massachusetts presence as determined at the sole discretion of MTC and DOER. Current companies and products on this list are:
Evergreen Solar: modules
RWE Schott: modules
Solectria Renewables: inverters
How to calculate your Massachusetts residential solar rebates:
For our example, we will use an imaginary Family – the Simpsons – living in the Bristol County of Massachusetts. Their home value is $279,000 as determined by their City’s Tax Collector Office. The Total Household Income is $90,000/year (which is above Mass. median household income of $76,296). The system consists of SolarWise PV and an Inverter manufactured in Mass.
They plan to install a 3 kW Solar PV system that costs $8 per watt. Total Cost of this system is $24,000 (3000 watts * $8)
They qualify for:
- $2.00/watt – Base Rebate
- $0.25/watt – Mass. made components adder
- $1.25/watt – Moderate Home Value adder
- $1.00/watt – Moderate Household Income adder
- $4.50/watt Total Rebate ($13,500)
Their cost/watt is $3.50, and the total system cost is $10,500. They also qualify for a $2000 Federal Tax Credit, which reduces final cost to $8,500.
Now, their new system will generate an average of 4000 kWh per year. At average cost of $0.19/kWh and assuming they will sell their REC (Renewable Energy Credits) for $0.06/kWh, this solar system will save the Simpsons $1000/year (~$83/month) in electricity costs, which they would have to spend anyway. At first, it seems like the pay-off period (or the ROI) is about 9 years. But if they finance that $8,500 with a 5-year Home Equity loan, with a 5% APR, their monthly payment would be $160.41. If we subtract the $83 reduction in electric bill from $160.41 we get $77.41 monthly loan payment for five years. After that, the new solar system will be paid off and will generate FREE electricity. Any reduction in the total system output (which is common with ALL solar modules, and for IB SolarWise PV it is about 1/2% per year or 10% over 20 year warranty period) is more than offset by the inflationary increases in electricity and energy sources’ costs.
Massachusetts Commercial and other Non-Residential Solar Rebates:
While total non-residential solar PV rebates in Massachusetts are less than those for residential solar, they still cover a major part of the total cost, and considering much more attractive federal tax credits, the ROI with any commercial solar PV system is higher than that of a residential. Here we will not get onto complicated tax-related calculations, but bear in mind the 30% federal tax credit with no limitation, and the 5-year accelerated depreciation. With that you get the reduced electric bill and of course the state rebates. Bellow is an overview of what you can qualify for.
Note: At this point, Federal tax credits for Solar PV on other renewable-energy technologies is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2008. We assume that once the presidential election is over, the Renewable-Energy Bill will be updated and renewed for another 8 years as was proposed in the 2008 Energy Bill, but never made it through the Senate. President Bush also said that he’d veto this bill if it passed the Senate vote. (PS, the bill passed in the House of Representatives, and was 1 vote short of passing in the Senate)
Non-Residential Rebates for Incremental Capacity ($/Watt DC)
|Incremental Capacity:||1 – 25 kW||> 25 to 100 kW||> 100 to 200 kW||> 200 to 500 kW|
|PLUS: Additional to Base|
|Mass. made components||$0.25/W||$0.25/W||$0.25/W||$0.25/W|
|Public building adder||$0.50/W||$0.50/W||$0.25/W||$0.25/W|
With these incentives in place and their availability through 2011, it actually makes sense for any business to have a solar PV system installed on their roof, and even more so for public entities, such schools, city/town halls, etc. For and average commercial installation state rebate will range from $2.75 to $3.50 per Watt DC, and considering that the initial cost for larger, commercial solar PV installations is less than that of a residential system, it is a bargain!
With IB SolarWise PV system, the cost/Watt scales down as you increase the system size. This happens because all you do is add more solar panels, and some labor to actually weld those panels to the main IB roof, while most of the labor is on the electrical side of the installation: Connecting all panels to the Inverter, installing power shut-offs, generation meter, and connecting the system to the building’s electrical system and the main eclectic meter. Also bear in mind that the Inverter is already there, so when you add more panels to the system, you do not need to add inverters, which reduces total cost/Watt even more (of course you need an adequate size inverter).
This concludes our overview of Mass. Solar rebates. There are some limitations in place, and certain guidelines to apply for and receive MA Solar PV Rebates, and a lot of other related information. However, we cannon include all of it into one article, as it would be too cluttered.
For more information, directions, and step-by-step guides, visit the Commonwealth Solar Program which cover all aspects related to this topic in great detail, and we based this article on the information from there.
You can also read the Mass. Solar Program Handbook which is a detailed summary of Mass. solar rebates for residential and non-residential installs.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
Solar Photo-voltaic (PV) technology is the way of the future, for generating and supplying electric power for homes and businesses in the US and across the world. Despite the great potential of Solar PV, current cost and efficiency of solar panels makes them a green, yet expensive alternative to conventional ways of generating electricity, such as Coal, Gas and Oil operated power plants, as well as Nuclear and Hydro electricity.
The main obstacle that is holding the wide-spread of solar PV is the long ROI (return on investment) that in some situations may exceed 10 years. Fortunately, the US federal government and local and state governments have a multitude of incentives and rebate programs for solar and other renewable energy projects.
The Purpose of this Solar PV system design guide is to help you squeeze the most efficiency out of your home solar system, making it collect as much sun light as is available throughout the year.
Solar guide quick navigation:
- Is solar PV for you? – Planning a Solar PV System
- Designing Solar System for you – Estimate how many KW solar system will you need, & how much electricity it will produce.
- How to choose solar equipment? – Learn which solar PV panels, inverter, and control units you should choose.
- Cost of Solar PV – Compare prices of solar systems installed by an integrator or do-it-yourself.
A rack-mounted Solar Photovoltaic system installed on a flat roof
After reading this Solar System Guide you will also learn how to minimize power losses due to electrical resistance of the wiring, how to choose the right type of solar panels and inverter, and how much of solar PV capacity (system size) you will need for your home or small business, and what kind of solar rebate you will be eligible for.
All of the above may dramatically increase your ROI and reduce the time that your solar system pays for itself. But first things first, lets plan out your Solar PV system.
Planning a Solar PV system for home and small business:
Before we begin, first and foremost – you need to figure out if your site can accommodate a solar pv array so that it operates at or near its rated efficiency. If your site conditions (roof of your home or business, backyard, etc) will limit the electricity production even by 20-25% – everything else is irrelevant and solar is probably not for you.
Step 1 – determining if your site can accommodate a solar photovoltaic system
Southern Exposure: Solar PV systems operate by converting sun light into electricity, so the first thing they require is enough sun light through-out the year, with as little obstruction or shading as possible. If you plan to use a solar system that will be fixed (usually a roof mounted solar array), you will need to position it so that it faces South. In this case your solar PV system will collect as much sun light as possible, as the sun will move from East to West.
Shading: During the year, the sun is positioned very different, depending on the season – in the summer the sun is up high and in the winter it is very low. You need to consider this, as this issue has the potential to make your system very inefficient. Solar Pathfinder is used by solar professionals to determine the position of the sun during the year and to find any shading that will obstruct the sunlight to the Solar PV Panels. Using a pathfinder you could determine whether it makes sense to have a solar system installed at your location, and if you would need to remove some of the shading – eg. cut down some trees or move your neighbor’s house 20 feet to the left .
It is unlikely that a homeowner will have a Solar Pathfinder handy, but using just common sense, you can get a good idea if you have too much shading or if your location is perfect for the installation of a Solar PV system.
Angle or slope for solar panels: Depending on where you live or plan to install your solar system, an angle or incline of the panels may have a significant effect on electricity production. Here in New England the sun is at about 20 degrees to the earth surface and at about 45-50 degrees during the summer. If you plan to have a fixed solar system installed in MA or at the similar longitude, an ideal angle for your panels would be 30-32 degrees. Down south, the sun is higher in the sky, so it is better to lower the angle of the solar panels. At the equator, solar panels can lay flat on the ground and will get the maximum electricity production. At the north or the south pole, they should stand up vertically.
Size of your roof: If you plan to have a ground-mounted solar system, this will be irrelevant, as there is usually enough room to have a decent size system installed. If like most other people you plan to have solar panels installed on your roof, depending on the number of Kilowatts you plan your future solar system to be, you may need a considerable roof area. If you have a large roof and you are thinking about a metal roof, a Roof-Integrated Solar PV System, a standing seam metal roof with Uni-solar panels is a very good choice providing you with a long lasing roof and slick-looking yet efficient amorphous-silicon thin-film solar panels. These babies require more space to produce the same amount of electric power, but are a better choice from the perspective of roof / solar system longevity and integration.
Lets assume that now you have performed a site inspection and determined that it would make a good place to have a solar system installed. Maybe you will have to trim some trees, but over all, you have a decent size south facing roof with a good 35 degrees angle, and no or very little shading going from east to west.
Step 2 – figuring out the size (in Watts) of your future Solar PV System:
This will surprise many people, but solar PV systems are priced in Watts or Kw – NOT in Sq. Ft.
Every second person calling us about a Solar Roof, asks me: “how much is solar per square foot”. The truth is – I cannot answer this question and frankly, no one can. The question itself is wrong, but here is the right answer: The cost of solar will be determined by the system size measured in KW. Here I will explain how many kilowatts of solar you may need or want, and below you can find out how much it will cost.
How many Kilowatts do I need? – This is actually simple, but pay attention to the theory behind it all.
Electricity production of your solar system depends on how many “sun-hour-days” you have in your area. In Massachusetts and surrounding states (Connecticut, Rhode Island, Southern NY) we have an average of 4.2 – 4.5 hours of sunlight (sun hours) per day annually. This accounts for rainy and cloudy days as well as long, sunny summer days and short winter days.
Most households in the US consume on average 750 kWh (kilowatt-hours) per month. Assuming a 4.5 sun-hour-day in your area, 1 Kilowatt solar pv system should produce 4.5 kilowatt-hours of DC electricity per day. Per month it will produce 135 kWh DC. Now this DC electric current has to be converted to AC, so that your home appliances could use it. An inverter takes care of this part, as well as making your solar panels work at optimal production. However, as any electrical device it has resistance, so there will be power losses. An average modern inverter loses 3% of electricity due to resistance, while total power loss can be as much as 7-10% or more, depending on how well or poorly your system was designed.
Basically to become completely independent from your Utility company you will need to produce about 750 kWh of AC electricity. With 4.5 sun-hour-days you will need 6 kW solar PV array (5.83 kW to be exact, but bear in mind that this is all relative), which is optimally designed and is placed in an optimal location – no shading, perfect angle, etc. This is the best case scenario.
So what size solar system will YOU need?
When considering installing a Solar PV system, you as home or business owner will need to know the future size of your solar system in kW ( 1 kilo watt is 1000 watts) and the cost associated with this solar system. You also need to establish your current annual electricity usage and decide if you want to reduce or completely eliminate the use of electricity that you purchase from your utility company.
First, gather your electric bills for the last 12 months, record your total electricity consumption – the number of kW-hours, and the total amount you had to pay, excluding any late fees and other miscellaneous fees. Divide your total cost by the total number of kWh – this will give you the real cost per kWh.
In Massachusetts, the average cost of electricity for residential use is 19-24 cents per kWh, and 15-17 cents per kWh for commercial use. Both are set to increase by 20% in the near future, as has been announced in April 2008 by local utility companies.
Designing a Solar PV system, tailored for your need
To make the best use of your solar system, you will need to capture as much sun-light as possible, therefore the best location to place your solar system is on the south-facing side of the roof. You also want them to be installed at a certain angle – about 20-30 degrees.
Assuming the 4.5 hours of sun per day, a 1 kW Solar PV system will produce 4.5 kWh per day, and 135 kWh in a 30-day month (4.5 x 30 days). Please keep in mind that the energy produced is in DC volts, and when it goes through the conversion into AC, you lose about 20-25% of that electricity.
Average household electric consumption is 750 kWh per month for a single family home. To cover 100% of this consumption with solar electricity, you will need about 8 kW solar PV system. 135 kWh DC x 8 = 1080 kWh – 10% = 972 kWh AC at 100% production output of solar panel. Note that ALL solar panels loose an average of 0.5% of production output per year, or 10 % through its 20-year warranty period.
Average residential solar installation is 2-4 kW system which usually eliminates 50-70% of electric power that you purchase. How ever those installations are still dependent on additional electricity.
Commercial solar installations can range from 10 kW to over 1 MW (1 megawatt = 1000 kW). Commercial Solar PV systems can supply power to the building they are installed on, or they may be a so called solar farm – or a solar power plant supplying electric power directly into the electric grid. For the purposes of this guide, we will concentrate on smaller, roof-top solar installations for individual home or business use, as the topic of solar farms goes way beyond the scope of this guide, and is considered a power utility for taxes and other purposes.
Step 3 – How to choose equipment for your solar system:
This is the most difficult part, as there is no right answer to this question. However, there is a general guideline to follow, which will help you choose the longest-lasting and best performing solar panels, inverter(s), control units, production monitors, etc.
This part of our solar guide will be the most confusing part also, as I will go over equipment and the solar systems’ sizes, how to pair different components, and to get the best solar pv rebates, all at the same time.
Lets begin: to avoid as much confusion as possible, we will pretend that we are designing a 3 KW solar system for residential installation, in Massachusetts. Some of the variables will be different for your state, but this will be a good reference point for you.
Basic metrics for choosing solar equipment (or any electronic equipment for that matter) is such that you don’t want to be an early adaptor. You want to buy a 2nd or even 3rd generation stuff (inverter for example), which is a very safe bet that all the bugs of first / second generations were worked out and the equipment performs at maximum efficiency. You also want to get UL rated equipment, or your electrical inspector will never sign off on the permits. A good example of such an inverter is the Sunny Boy 2500, which is a 3rd generation, tried and true work horse which also offers one of the best expandability and efficiency. This is not to say that other inverters are bad – you should use the 2nd/3rd generation metric and do your due diligence.
You also need to keep in mind that the average life-span of an inverter is 7-10 years, while it’s cost is up there (on average you can expect to pay just under $1 per watt of the inverter’s capacity). If you plan for a big solar system, it is better to have many smaller inverters than one big inverter. If a small inverter dies, others are still performing, and your system is only partially down and it is a LOT cheaper to replace one $3000 unit, out of 5, than one $15000 unit.
For our hypothetical solar system we will choose one of the more simple inverters from Sunny Boy, rated at 3000 or 3500 watts. There is never an exact number of watts produced, and in the first year, your Solar system WILL produce about 10% more than its rated capacity. You want to utilize that and also don’t want to “overload” your inverter: this is a little confusing – an inverter will only accept as much electricity as it’s rated capacity – not more, so anything extra will just disappear.
A slightly larger inverter will allow for some future expansion of your solar system.
Cost of Solar PV systems:
National average cost to install a Solar PV system ranges from $9 to $12 per watt or $9000-12000 per kW DC (direct current) of solar system installed, with smaller installations being at the top for this price range due to fixed costs such as equipment, setup, installation, permits and paperwork.
The most expensive components of the solar PV system are the solar panels themselves, however equipment such as an inverter (which converts DC into AC and feeds it into your meter) also add a considerable amount to a smaller size PV systems. Therefore, for a 3 kW residential solar system, the cost will be around $11 per watt or $33000 total system cost when using conventional solar panels.
Fortunately the $33000 price tag is not you actual cost, as many states have a wide range of rebates for solar PV installations as well as federal tax credits, available for both commercial and residential systems.
ROI and pay-off period for Solar PV
For the purposes of this guide, we will use two hypothetical solar PV systems – one being a 4 kW residential system and the other being a 25 kW commercial system. To simplify this guide and to avoid any confusion, both of those systems are installed in Massachusetts. This way we know exactly what the MA state rebates are for each system and what the local electricity costs are from N-Star and National Grid utility companies. These two utility companies have the widest presence in MA market.
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+