Discover a permanent solution to leaks on shed dormers and other flat roofs
Many homes in New England have shed dormers, which are build to use otherwise unusable space in the attic, and greatly expand square footage of the home, without huge expenses of building an addition. However, the way these shed dormers are built, requires them to have a very low sloped roof, at times almost flat. These roofs are the first to leak, as conventional roofing materials cannot stand up to the Ice Dams build up and wind driven rain water, penetrating the roof between the seams in shingles and rolled roofing products.
The problem with shed dormer roofs is that often asphalt shingles or rolled roofing materials are used, and the seams on such roofs are held together with adhesives – usually tar that melts under the sun’s heat and seals the seam. When asphalt shingle is used in such roof assembly, the joints between the shingles and the overlaps between them are an easy way for water to penetrate the roof. In the winter, moisture between shingles freezes, expands and breaks the seal. At this point, the roof leaks constantly, and no matter how many patch jobs you do, it will still leak. Also, a low slope on the roof greatly shortens the life of the shingles. Not to mention that when shingles are installed on a pitch of less than 3 in 12″, the warranty is immediately void on them.
While many roofing contractors will try to convince you that with the use of Ice & Water shield such as Grace (considered by many to be one of the best I/W shield products), will make your roof water-tight and leaks free, real life experience shows that even on a steeper slope, such as 3 or even 4 in 12, the roof still leaks, and Ice dams leaks find their way inside your house.
A metal roof could be used to solve the constant roof leaks and ice dams on such low slope roofs, but in this particular case (the picture above), the pitch of the roof is too low for even a standing seam metal roof to work, and the best solution in this case would be an IB Flat and Low-slope roofing membrane. Besides, standing seam would cost double of what an IB flat roof cost would be.
Another solution commonly used by residential roofing contractors is the rolled asphalt roofing, or simply rolled roofing. Please keep in mind that most flat roofing systems come in rolls, but each type has it’s own trade name, such as Tar & Gravel, Rubber roofing, etc., and rolled roofing usually refers to a fiberglass membrane saturated in asphalt and asphalt, and coated with stone granules – very similar to asphalt shingles. Learn more about different types of flat roofing materials. Rolled asphalt was a popular choice for DIY roofing projects and many residential roofing contractors would use it, as it was fairly easy to install and easy to buy from a local roofing warehouse, without any special training involved. Unfortunately, these roofs only last about five years, and often begin leaking even sooner, causing expensive to repair structural damages, such as those shown in the picture below. Because the seams of rolled asphalt roofing are sealed with roof cement and fastened with roofing nails right through the membrane, the condensation below and the ice above the rolled asphalt quickly break the seal and the roof begins to leak. Patching such a roof will temporarily stop the leak, but it will actually create more damages, as in the meantime you allow water more time to destroy the roof decking and rafters.
We recommend that homeowners with a flat or low-slope roofs avoid the cheap alternatives which may last you 5 years, and will cost much more the next time you have to replace them, as additional repairs of rotten wood replacement and tear-off / disposal fees add on to the total price tag. Instead, choosing a lifetime IB roof system will make your roof last for decades of leaks free performance and will reduce your cooling costs, as its Cool Roof surface will reflect almost 90% of the solar heat. You will also be eligible to receive up-to $1500 tax credit for installing an Energy Star rated Cool Roof, making your final price almost the same as that of a cheap leaky alternative.
Benefits of installing an IB Roof are many, but here are some of them:
- IB Roofing membrane is a fully watertight system, utilizing hot-air fusion welded seams, which insure a permanent bond between the sheets, flashing and even the drip edge.
- There is no glues or adhesives involved in the installation, as is the case with EPDM rubber roofs. Rubber roofs use splice tape or black glue to keep the seams together, and after just a short period of time the adhesives break down, and the roof begins to leak.
- IB Roof is a complete roofing system with all the components made out of PVC / CPA material, which are welded right to the membrane, ensuring permanent watertightness. There is a flashing for every possible roof penetration, such as in-roof drains, inside and outside corners, air vents, pipe boots, etc.
- IB Roofing membrane does not cure over time, and remains weldable even 25 years after installation. What does this mean for you? If there is ever any mechanical damage to the roof, such as falling tree branches or accidental cuts, the roof is easily fixed by just welding a patch to the damaged area. No need for special cleaners or glue. Just wipe the dust off and weld.
As an additional benefit to the environment and to your wallet, an IB roof will outlast 2, 3 or even more conventional roofs, which would otherwise have to be dumped in a landfill.
As a certified IB Roof Systems Installer, we can install and IB roof for you in any part of Massachusetts, Connecticut & Rhode Island, as well as in southern ME, NH and VT. Schedule your flat roofing inspection / estimate today.
5 thoughts on “Flat and Low Slope Roofing on Shed Dormers”
Very nice information for flat roofing. Any kind of roofing require repair after some time. Precaution is better than prevention, so always install proper gutter system also from proper drainage of rain water.
I came accross this website because I have a low grade roof and I had ice damming problems last Winter. I am very interested in this IB Roofing Systems but I am afraid that you do not service upstate NY. I live in Rochester, NY which is an hour south of Canada. As you can imagine our Winters are rough. I do not want to keep putting new roofs every 5-10 years and this sounds like a perfect solution.
Do you know or can you recommend anyone in Upstate NY (Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester) to do this type of work?
Any feedback is greatly appreciated.
Carlos A Ospina
A roofer once told me 2 types of flat roofs exixt. One that leaks now and one that will leak. From what I have seen over the years I have to agree.
great post, look forward to reading more!!