flat roofs

As Roofing Contractors we specialize in Flat Roof Repairs and Installations. We are certified Installers EPDM Rubber, TPO, and Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roofing Systems.

Chimney and Flat Roof Leaks – Brownstoners of Brooklyn and NY – Video

Chimney and Flat Roof Leaks 

Most chimneys and parapet walls are covered with tar, as a repair, to prevent leaks, however, the tar dries, hardens, and cracks creating fine fissures that expand over time. Water will penetrate these cracks and seep under the roof’s membrane making it appear as though the roof is leaking. Over time the roof will be compromised due to these leaks.

While installing a roof on a Brownstone in Brooklyn, we made a video explaining our technique, to prevent any leaking, by covering the walls and chimney with a Modified Bitumen Rubber Membrane.

Video Transcript – Chimney and Flat Roof Leaks

Leak Repairs: Modified Bitumen Torch Down – Brooklyn and New York

The best roofing material to use on a flat roof is a 2 Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof System. New York and surrounding boroughs have made the installation of new Torch Down roofs illegal, but it can be used to make repairs.

Flat Roof Chimney and Parapet Wall Repairs on a New York Brownstoner

The image below shows an example of a chimney that has been covered with a Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Membrane, sealing it permanently. This technique should be applied to all parapet walls and chimneys.

Chimney Flat Roof Leaks - Brownstone Brooklyn and Manhattan chimney transition to flat roof

Brownstone Roofs in Brooklyn

Below is an image of a group of roofs in Brooklyn. Notice that they are all Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber roofs. The one in the foreground, where Erik stands, is the roof that we installed. We used a Torch Down rubber membrane that has embedded ceramic granules to provide protection from UV rays.

The second roof is also a torch down roof; however, it is a plain rubber membrane because it does not have embedded ceramic granules to protect it from UV rays. Instead, this membrane has a painted-on aluminum asphalt coating for protection that is reapplied every 3-5 years.

The 3rd roof from Erik is also an aluminum coated torch down rubber membrane. The 4th roof is black because it is an unprotected torch down membrane, which does not have ceramic granules or coating for UV protection.

Also, notice the chimney to the left of Erik. Both the chimney and parapet walls were smeared with tar. We not only recovered the roof, but we covered the parapet walls and chimney with the Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber, as well.

Flat Roofs and Architects

A roof is one of the most expensive components of a building. When architects design buildings, they specify the materials to be used on flat roofs and normally go with the roofing materials they are most familiar with. Most architects will specify EPDM or TPO membranes. An architect’s specifications carry a lot of weight. Therefore, most buildings have one or the other types of roof systems. Although specified, these roofing materials do not provide the best protection. When a roofing system is considered, the cost of the material, its longevity, and its maintenance, all play a role in achieving the best, overall value.

Brownstone Roofs in Brooklyn - Both the chimney and parapet walls were smeared with tar. We not only recovered the roof, but we also covered the parapet walls and chimney with the Modified Bitumen Torch Down rubber
Flat Roof Chimneys and Flashing - This chimney had been continually smeared with tar but the leaking continued.

We are preparing a chimney’s surface by scraping off old tar so it can be covered with a rubber membrane.

Flat Roof Chimneys and Flashing - Here we are scraping off the old tar and preparing the chimney to install a rubber membrane.

This chimney has been completely sealed with a Modified Bitumen rubber membrane that has been embedded with white ceramic granules for protection against harmful UV rays.

Chimney has been sealed with white ceramic granules embedded in the Modified Bitumen Rubber membrane.

We Provide the Following Services to:

Residential and Commercial Flat Roof

Flat Roofs – Features of Roofing Systems – Watch Videos

Single Ply and Two Ply Roofing Systems There are 5 types of single ply roofing systems commonly used on flat roofs. They are EPDM, TPO, Modified Bitumen Cold Apply, Modified Bitumen Self-Adhering and Modified Bitumen Torch Down systems. Commercial Roof USA specializes in a 2 ply rubber roofing system which is the Modified Bitumen Torch Down …

Flat Roofs – Features of Roofing Systems – Watch Videos Read More »

EPDM & Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roofs – Which is the Best?

We took pictures of EPDM and Modified Bitumen Rubber Roofs that are about 10 years old to show a comparison of which roof lasts longest with the least amount of maintenance. We repair and install flat roofs Pittsburgh, Stamford, White Plains, and Norwalk. Above is a Modified Bitumen Torch down roof that is 14 years old. This EPDM roof is 10 …

EPDM & Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roofs – Which is the Best? Read More »

EPDM Rubber Roofs Fail Prematurely – Watch Video


EPDM Rubber Roofs Fail Prematurely

Prior to 2014, all EPDM Rubber Roofs have failed prematurely due to the break down of liquid adhesives used to bond seams. This single-ply rubber roofing system is predominately used on commercial flat roofs, but have failed to reach the life expectancy promised in the manufacturer’s warranty.  Manufacturers are still trying to develop an adhesive with properties that can withstand the extreme heat that is generated on the black surfaces of EPDM rubber.

Since 2014, a new system has been introduced and is referred to as a cover tape. Because this system is still in the field, it does not have a proven track record of performing as intended.

Watch this video to see how badly the EPDM was damaged by Ultraviolet rays.

EPDM and UV Protection

EPDM has no protection from harmful ultraviolet light so it becomes subjected to excessive heat for prolonged periods of time causing degradation to the single ply membrane.

We have been in the roofing business for over 30 years, and when called to replace a roof, more often than not, we see that EPDM rubber roofs have multiple repair patches due to the break down of the adhesives used to bond seams. As a consumer, it is important to be knowledgeable about which types of rubber membranes have the best ultraviolet light protection.

EPDM Rubber Roofs - Multiple repair patches on an EPDM rubber roof is a strong indication that the roof has failed.

EPDM Rubber Roof Failures

1. There is no protection against harmful UV rays.

EPDM rubber is a synthetic product that looks and feels much like the inner tube of a tire. It is thin, stretches, and is pliable. For the most part, this type of rubber is black in color. Even though the manufacturer claims that UV protection is built-in, we have yet to see an EPDM rubber membrane reach the life expectancy for which it was warranted. In the video below, you will see a relatively new EPDM rubber roof (around 8 years old) damaged by harmful ultraviolet rays.

2. EPDM can be pierced very easily.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer or EPDM rubber is very thin and can easily be punctured by nails, screws and other metal objects lying around on any flat roof, when stepped on. These objects are unintentionally left behind by A/C workers and other maintenance crews servicing rooftop units.

3. Seam adhesives fail to last.  

For the last 40 years, manufacturers of EPDM rubber have gone through, as many as, 4 trial and error stages, with seam adhesives. These adhesives have failed time and again, to withstand exposure to heat and harmful ultraviolet rays.

Since 2014, manufacturers of EPDM adhesives made a complete change in the technique used to bond seams together. They have introduced a self-adhering cover tape. This new technique of bonding seams will take at least 20 years in the field, before knowing whether tape is a worthy remedy to EPDM seam failures.

Patching an EPDM rubber membrane becomes endless due to the its deterioration from harmful UV rays.

This video shows the results of EPDM rubber failing to keep seams bonded. 

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EPDM Roofing problems stem from prolonged exposure to harmful UV rays.

EPDM Roofing Deteriorates from Harmful UV Rays – Watch Video

  EPDM Roofing Deterioration Stems from UV Exposure An EPDM roofing problem on a residence in Greenwich, Connecticut stemmed from the prolonged exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays. We found that the single ply EPDM rubber was shredded in a tight corner, next to a chimney, causing the roof to leak. Over time, the combination of …

EPDM Roofing Deteriorates from Harmful UV Rays – Watch Video Read More »

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