Flat Roof Installation in Andover, CT

I will describe the roof problems that our customer in Andover, CT had, and what we did to eliminate the roof leaks, as well as give him peace of mind that his IB Cool Roof will protect his home, and provide real money savings on the ever-rising energy costs.

On the roof in Andover, Connecticut - with a happy homeowner after the IB flat roof installation was complete
On the roof in Andover, Connecticut – with a happy homeowner after the IB flat roof installation was complete

Roofing problems and our roof installation in the words of the homeowner:

In December of 2008 my wife and I awoke to a dripping sound in our master bedroom. Much to our dismay the drip quickly became a steady stream of water, as we were experiencing a rain storm that totaled 4″. We placed buckets under the stream to mitigate the damages. The next morning I opened up the Sheetrock ceiling which was sagging down. Upon opening the ceiling I could see that all of the insulation and plywood was wet. As I moved across the room I found that it wasn’t just that area that was leaking, but several places. Our flat roof measures 20′ x 34′ and has a 1 pitch covered with 5 year old roll roofing. We tarped the roof and called a water damage restoration company to come in and dry us out. Unfortunately, MOLD was discovered growing on the underside of plywood decking, framing, and sheetrock. An industrial hygienist was hired to do testing and determine the mold spore levels. We ended up having to demolish the entire area and having the mold professionally re-mediated. The insurance company did not like to hear about mold. Their limit on coverage was $10,000.00 and we were facing $24,000.00 in damages!
This is a very small amount when you see how much it can cost to remove mold. Insurance companies also will not pay to repair your roof. Especially a flat one. They will only cover the resulting interior damage. I was frustrated with the extent of damages that occurred all from what appeared to be a little leak. Often times, by the time water comes through your sheetrock it is too late and you have lots of mold and wood damage waiting for you. After settling with the insurance company I began to research possible ideas to make sure this never happens again. I investigated the idea of raising the roof pitch, which proved to be very expensive. Next I looked into flat roof systems, such as rubber. I found that the seams end up leaking after a while. Not to mention the fact that it is ugly, and retains heat making the inside of your home hotter in the summer. I also looked into metal, but no one could install it on such a low pitch and guarantee me that it won’t leak. Finally, I found Leo’s website talking about the IB Roof system. I was amazed by the fact that this product provided a lifetime guarantee for the product and labor. I also loved the fact that it is attractive looking and reflects the hot sun keeping my home cooler in the summer. As an added bonus, in the future I can add IB solar panels to my IB Roof and generate my own electricity. I’m told that in some places the cost for IB Roof may be a bit more than the alternatives. However, for me the cost of the IB Roof was actually less than my quotes to go with a rubber roof. Therefore, it was a no brainier. Leo and his crew were on my job-site within just a few days after our initial contact. It was impressive to see how the construction was performed and you can really see the quality of the product. Leo and his crew were very respectful of our home and they kept the property clean. I have already recommended Leo and IB Roofing to a few people that I know have up coming flat roof projects. If you are considering a flat roof project you can’t go wrong with Leo and IB Roofing. Do it once, stay green, and enjoy!

Alex from Andover, CT

Roof problems, causes of leaks, and installation of a new IB Membrane.

When I first met with Alex, the roof had an expensive, heavy-duty tarp on it and about 5 inches of snow. Although it was the time of a very cold arctic air front in New England, it was actually good for Alex’s roof as cold temperatures kept the snow from melting for a couple of weeks.

Flat roof covered with tarp to prevent more leaks
Flat roof covered with tarp to prevent more leaks

Alex planned to tear-off the existing rolled asphalt roofing with the help of his friends over the weekend and, put the tarp back on, until we would come to install our roof. All went as planned, but it snowed the day after Alex and his friends removed the old roof, and replaced rotten plywood decking and fixed some rafters. On Monday morning snow melted and the roof began to leak again. The heavy-duty tarp turned out to be damaged in few spots, and the roof was virtually unprotected.

We had to adjust our work schedule to quickly come out and make Alex’s roof watertight, to prevent any more water damages and additional repair expenses. Fortunately, the weather was dry for a few days, and on Wednesday we came to install our roof. Once on the roof, we found that there were numerous causes of leaks. The major contributing factor was due to roof rafters caving in, and creating a cavity for water to puddle on the roof.

It is known among roofing professionals that standing water causes the majority of flat roof leaks. Standing / ponding water easily breaks the bond between roof laps, and enters the house, destroying insulation along the way. If left unattended, or unnoticed, these leaks will create thousands of dollars worth of damages, as well as pose a health risk – mold causes and/or aggravates allergies, asthma and other respiratory illnesses.

My evaluation is that most water damages occurred were water ponded on the roof. Other leaks occurred due to Ice Dams, where ice slowly “traveled” between the seams, and melted under the rolled asphalt, causing slow, but steady rot of plywood decking and mold. Although Alex’s roof is not completely flat, Ice dams are known to affect roofs that are completely non-walkable, so this very low pitch roof was an easy “prey”.

Roof Installation:

We use IB PVC roofs exclusively, because in my opinion it is not only the best flat roofing product on the US market, but it creates a completely watertight blanket over the entire roof. With IB, I can look customers straight into their eyes and honestly say: “Your roof will not leak!”

New IB flat roof.

A new IB flat roof

The reason why IB is such a great roofing system is the hot-air fusion welded seams. Once we weld two sheets of IB roofing membrane, a permanent bond is created, eliminating the possibility of water penetrations. Additionally, IB manufactures all the flashing components, which speeds up the installation process, and minimizes installation error.

Alex’s flat roof is actually an addition and was added as a shed dormer to a pitched roof. When this roof was constructed, builders put in a soffit / ridge ventilation system, which is always a good idea to have for wood roof frame / deck. However, a ridge vent can create many leaks problems, as it is very easy for water to be blown in by wind past the vent, and into the attic.

Normally, roofing contractors would just cover the ridge vent completely to eliminate leaks, but this would take away the ventilation, causing the plywood deck to dry out, de-laminate and slowly “dry-rot”.

We have created a custom design ridge vent assembly for low-slope roofs and shed dormers, where the vent sits two inches above roof level, eliminating the possibility of wind driven water entering the roof. Although the installation of such assembly is tedious and consumes a lot of time, it is the right was to go to maintain proper ventilation and to preserve the roof deck.

Ridge vent assembly for IB flat roof eliminates wind driven water leaks.

Ridge vent assembly for IB flat roof eliminates wind driven water leaks.

As you can see from the picture, the ridge vent sits on top of a 2×4 wood, which is completely wrapped with IB membrane to create a water-tight barrier, and prevent leaks through the ridge opening.

In Conclusion

Overall, it was a straight forward installation which took 2 days to complete.

Special thanks to Alex for providing us with delicious hot chocolate, which made our work easier and warmer during these cold January days.

If you have a flat roof in Connecticut, Massachusetts or Rhode Island, you can fill our roofing estimate request form. You can also get an instant price quote with our online Roofing Price Calculator.

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  1. Roof installation is a hearty task that should be left to the professionals! Once water has been sitting and mold is present, it’s just a mess! Looks like you guys did an excellent job. Nothing better than happy customers!

  2. You guys have great really informative content. I install EPDM, and I agree that it has limitations, mainly the installers. Done and maintained properly its not a bad product. I am branching out into PVC and TPO, training classes this winter, would love to do some on the job training with you guys this winter on my down time. I have given you several referrals, one in Middlebury MA for 65 square flat this week, I would say without a doubt that you are the most educated roofers who know their product better than the manufacturers even.
    Keep it up!

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  5. Thank you for your thorough reply to my post.

    I think the only subject I asked about that you did not discuss was the differences in susceptablity to hail damage between flat roof material choices. I wonder if large hail stones may discount PVC as the best choice is some areas of the country.

    I’m glad your starting point endevor is to provide your customers a long lasting maintenance free roof that is the least expensive choice over the long term.
    That is real care, respect, Equality and love for your fellow human.

    Again thank you for your really great site and the opportunity to openly discuss.

    Jim mcdaniels
    Colorado springs co 80905

  6. Thanks for your wonderful informative website.

    I am an owner of a flat roof detached garage and needed a replacement roof. I found your website very very helpful, but ended up going with a EPDM black rubber roof because my handyman is helping design a deck system to place on top and we are on a budget and e-bay sells the EPDM for an ok price and we were able to purchase one sheet to cover the entire roof with no seams and we were able to use wood trim to terminate etc. so we greatly reduced our materials cost.

    After much reading on the net, I get the feeling you paint a true but skewed picture of the EPDM and PVC advantages and disadvantages. If this is true I hope you adjust your information accordingly to show a clearer picture of their comparison unbiased.

    You talk about the EPDM seams and what not having such disadvantages indicating that the seams fail around 1 year….however,
    I did find some on the internet stating these roofs installed over 40 years old are still working, that the black roof can help heat in the winter, that white paint coatings can be purchased to make them white for summer heat reflection, that they have improved the EPDM formulas, that the PVC is much more expensive, that the PVC and TPO are very susceptible to hail damage (hail damage is the reason my insurance company is paying for a new roof to replace the old rolled asphalt).

    I concluded that I am too poor to have a PVC roof and that in my area the hail is a great concern.

    Thank-you

    Jim

    • Hello Jim,

      I will start off by saying that when EPDM rubber roof can be installed as one piece (as is the case with your garage roof), that I do not see anything wrong with it. In fact I do mention this on our site. But when a roof is more complicated, and nearly flat (e.g. no slope for water to run off), the glued seams disadvantage becomes a problem in relatively short period of time.

      I did mention seam failures within just one year of roof being installed. While this is not common, it happens often enough, and especially on residential flat roof with rubber membrane. On average, seams last about 7-10 years when installed correctly, and using peel-and-stick seam tape, flashing material and cover tape where required (do not bee confused by the name peel-and-stick, as it is actually the better way to install rubber roofs, as compared to older splice adhesive or black glue).

      Still, most rubber roofs that we come across, fail within 1-9 years from installation. And one year seam failure mark is actually more common for us, as we often replace residential flat roofs that were installed by hack roofing contractors.

      As for EPDM rubber roofing lasting 40 years – that is true in some cases, but, you need to understand that rubber membrane is not what fails – it’s once again, the seams. And seams on these 40 years old rubber roofs have been re-glued at least once or twice and later, as rubber roofing industry began switching to peel-and-stick accessories, the seams we “re-seamed” using first the 6″ inch cover tape and later ans these seams begin leaking again, a 12 inch cover tape is used on top of 6″. So yes, membrane does hold, while seams fail and require repair. When it comes to rubber roof repair, it adds to the total cost of the roof, and not to mention interior damages and wet insulation.

      As for the Cool Roof – a black rubber surface does not really help to “heat” the building as in the winter cold does not enter the building or home – the heat escapes. And when it’s cold outside, and there is sun out, the roof is still pretty cold, and it can be covered in snow, so the sun does little to help heat the building. Cool white surface of PVC and TPO roofing, does help tremendously in the summer. Imagine this: on an 85 degree day, temperature of white roof such as IB, only goes op to 90 degrees and you can put your bare knees on this roof and not get burned. Black rubber will go to almost 160-170 degrees and you cant touch it with bare knees for more than a couple of seconds – it becomes painful. I tried both!

      And why would you coat a perfectly good black roof, instead of going with PVC roofing? There is no price difference, when yo add the price to install a rubber roof ($4-5 per square foot) plus the white roof coating ($1.5-2.50 / sq. ft.). Coating is a whole different subject in itself – you need to clean the roof and put primer and than at least two coats of either acrylic coating (chepaer and not as long lasting and also, not waterproofing) or Urethane coating which is more expensive.

      All in all, taking into account all of the above – roof repairs, interior repairs, hassles to deal with leaks, coating the roof, etc., it makes much more sense to go with more expansive PVC roofing, instead of rubber roof (imho), and especially so for homeowners. I say homeowners, because certified rubber roofing contractors rarely install residential roofs, so you as homeowner, usually end up having an untrained roofer who only installs asphalt shingles, doing your flat roof. I see too many residential rubber roofs failing for this to be a coincidence.

      As for you – I think you did the right thing buy putting rubber on your garage, as it is a single piece with no seams and no flashing.

  7. When one speaks of home improvements, more often than not, this is immediately connected to either interior remodeling or exterior house painting. For ardent DIY, remodeling and painting may possibly be a piece of cake but call on the best roofing contractors.

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