Tar and gravel roof systems are commonly being replaced with torch on membrane roof systems. There are many different combinations of materials and processes that can be called a torch on roof system. It is important that you are able to tell the difference so you can make an informed decision. All torch on roof systems are not created equal. The guarantees may be similar but the performance and life expectancy will certainly not be. You want to ensure you are comparing exact systems when collecting competitors’ quotes. The saying is “Apples to apples and oranges to oranges”. Do not be misguided by a contractor naming his roof system a two-ply, three-ply or other. A name is just a name and naming is not governed by any agency. For example, I could call my roof system a “ten ply”. Would that make it any better than what it really is?
The critical component of any torch on roof system is this: Ensure the first layer of material put down is a rigid board so the remaining roof system components (layers of membrane) have a firm and solid surface to build on. This board is known by several names including Torchsafe Board or Sopraboard. You then need to determine how many layers of membrane are fully torch applied to that rigid surface. Ensure that they do not have nails holding them down. It is not a layer of waterproofing if it has nail holes in it! Finally, make certain the perimeter edge receives the required additional layer called “stripping” (as per Manufacturer’s specifications) on both the base sheet ply and the cap sheet ply. This is a step that is, unfortunately, commonly omitted as it is both time and material consuming. Do not be misguided – stripping is a critical component.
Other components adding to the quality of the roof system are using aluminum plumbing vent stacks and not the old fashioned lead plumbing vent stacks. Insist on a 26 gauge baked enamel flashing. Both 28 and 30 gauge are available but they are lighter and thinner and therefore inferior. Ensure adequate exhaust ventilation is added. This will help keep the attic or ceiling space cooler in the summer time and thus your living space more comfortable also. Not to mention it will extend the life span of the torched roof system as it will not be “baking” from the underside.
I was reading my 2 year old daughter the story of the Three Little Pigs and I thought it was an interesting comparison tool to that of roof systems. You can buy a straw house, a wood house, or a brick house. The important thing is that you know which one is the straw house, which one is the wood house and which one is the brick house. You don’t want to pay for a brick house and receive the quality of a straw house. It’s the same with roofing. You have the good, better and best options. You need to know what quotation is specifying which quality of roof system. It is only then that you can make the correct decision for you.
Call Crucial Roof Services for all your roofing needs: 604.561.8798, or request a torch-on roofing quotation.