Posts Tagged ‘Roofing MN’

What Are My Roofing Options?

February 15, 2011

Roofing Guide

Asphalt shingles—used on an overwhelming share of the U.S. residential roofs—can be reinforced with fiberglass materials. Fiberglass-reinforced products are more durable and dominate the market.

Fiberglass shingles have a fiberglass mat, top-and-bottom layers of asphalt and mineral granules. They are available in architectural grades and a variety of colors that offer a textured appearance.

Wood shingles and shakes are typically made from cedar, redwood, and southern pine. Shingles are machine-sawn; shakes are hand-hewn and rougher looking. Their natural look is popular but brush fire concerns limit their use.

Slate is quarried and applied mostly in the northeast and comes in different colors and grades. Considered virtually indestructible, it is, however, more expensive than other roofing materials.

Synthetic roof products simulate various types of traditional roof coverings, such as slate and wood shingles and shakes. A point to consider: Although synthetic roof products may simulate the appearance of traditional roof coverings, they do not necessarily have the same properties.

All roof systems have five basic components:

Structure: the rafters and trusses that support the sheathing.

Deck/sheathing: the boards or sheet material that are fastened to the roof rafters to cover a house.

Underlayment: a sheet of asphalt-saturated material used as a secondary layer of protection for the roof deck.

Roof covering: shingles, tiles, etc., that protect the sheathing from weather.

Drainage: the features of the roof system’s design, such as shape, slope, layout, etc., that affect its ability to shed water.

Flashing: sheet metal or other material laid into the various joints and valleys of a roof system to prevent water seepage.

Ventilation is Key

One of the most critical factors in roof system durability is proper ventilation. Without it, heat and moisture buildup in the attic area combine to cause rafters and sheathing to rot, roof shingles to buckle, and insulation to lose its effectiveness.

It is important never to block sources of roof ventilation, such as louvers, ridge vents, or soffit vents. Proper attic ventilation will help prevent structural damage, increase the life of the roofing material and reduce energy consumption.

In addition to the free flow of air, insulation plays a key role in proper attic ventilation. An ideal attic has:

  • A gap-free layer of insulation to protect again heat gain or loss
  • A vapor retarder under the insulation to stop moisture from rising into the attic
  • Enough vented spaces properly allow air to pass in and out freely
  • A minimum of 1 inch between the insulation and roof sheathing

Roof Enemies

Sun: Heat and ultraviolet rays cause roofing materials to deteriorate over time.

Rain: When underneath roofing, water can work its way to the deck and begin to cause rot.

Wind: High winds can lift the roof edges and force water underneath.

Condensation: The buildup of relatively warm, moisture-laden air in a poorly ventilated attic promotes decay of the wood sheathing and rafters.

Moss and algae: Moss can grow on wood shingles and shakes if they are kept moist by poor sunlight conditions or bad drainage. Once it grows, moss holds even more moisture to the roof surface, causing rot, and its roots actually work their way into the wood.

Algae also grows in damp, shaded areas on wood or asphalt shingle roof systems. Besides creating an ugly black-green stain, algae can retain moisture, causing rot and deterioration.

Trees and bushes should be trimmed away from the house to eliminate damp, shaded areas, and gutters should be kept clean to ensure good drainage. Tree branches touching the roof will scratch and gouge roofing materials as they are blown back and forth. Leaves retain moisture and cause rot.

Missing or torn shingles: No longer complete protection.

Shingle deterioration: When shingles get old and worn out, they curl, split, and lose their waterproofing effectiveness and are more easily blown off, torn, or lifted by wind gusts.

Flashing deterioration: Many apparent roof leaks really are flashing leaks around chimneys, vents, skylights, and wall/roof junctions.

How long can you expect a roof system to last?

The condition and lifespan of your roof system will depend on the type of roof system you have, the effects of the local environment. According to the American Society of Home Inspectors, asphalt shingles generally last 15 to 20 years; wood shingle/shakes, 10 to 40 years; clay/concrete tiles, 20+ years; slate, 30 to 100 years; and metal roofing, 15 to 40+ years. Most top-of-the-line roofing product manufacturers offer a variety of warranties.

When selecting a new roof, cost and durability are tops, but aesthetics and architectural style are important, too. The right roof balances these four considerations.

To discuss all of your options, contact a Minnesota roofing contractor today!


This Year In Minnesota Has Turned Out To Be The Mother Of All Ice Dam Winters

January 20, 2011

Minnesota property owners and homeowners have never seen ice dams as severe as we’ve had this year. The result has led to a surge of insurance claims for rotting ceilings and walls, collapsing roofs other problems.

For Minnesota property owners this has shaped up as a really bad catastrophe year. We keep hearing the same thing over and over from property managers and homeowners: “I’ve lived here a long time and I’ve always had ice dams, but they’ve never been this bad and they’ve never caused roof leaks until this year”, referring to surging ice dam claims on top of damage from 104 tornadoes in the summer. The worst year for ice dams was in 2001, when insurance companies paid out $50 million in losses. This year has been as bad or worse.  It turned from the garden variety of ice dam winters to the mother of all ice dam winters.

Until this year, ice dam problems were more evident in older houses in first-tier suburbs. This year, even newer suburban houses have problems because the snow is deep and blocking roof vents where warmer air usually would escape.

If your building has experienced  ice damming, contact a reliable roofing contractor to repair the roof damage as soon as possible. They will work with your insurance company and can assist you in filing your claim.

Commercial and Industrial Flat Roof Systems

January 4, 2011

Commercial Flat Roof Systems

It is important that customers are educated on their roofing needs as the investment in commercial flat roofing systems are significant. Here is some information from the National Roofing Contractors Association on the most common flat roofing systems for industrial & commercial buildings to help you make your decision.

Built Up Roofing System

Built Up Roofing – BUR

These roof systems are sometimes referred to as “tar and gravel roofs” (although we don’t use actually use tar as it’s a carcinogenic) and asphalt BUR is the most common type of flat roof at this time.

BUR systems generally are composed of alternating layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics that create a finished membrane.  The number of plies in a cross section is the number of plies on a roof: The term “four plies” denotes a four ply roof membrane construction.  Sometimes, a base sheet, used as the bottom most ply, is mechanically fastened.  Built up roofs generally are considered to be fully adhered if applied directly to roof decks or insulation.  The reinforcing fabrics also are called roofing felts or ply sheets.

The bitumen typically used in BUR roof systems is asphalt, coal tar or cold-applied adhesive.  The asphalt or coal tar is heated in a kettle or tanker and then applied by mop or mechanical spreader.  Asphalt is a petroleum product refined from crude oil; coal tar is derived from the distillation of coal.  Cold-applied adhesives typically are solvent-based asphalts that don’t have to be heated in a kettle or tanker.

The materials used for built up roof systems include aggregate (such as gravel, slag or mineral granules), glass-fibre or mineral surfaced cap sheets, hot asphalt mopped over the entire surface, aluminum coatings or elastomeric coatings.  Asphalt BUR is the most common type of flat roof at this time. It is made up of multiple layers of reinforcing plies and asphalt forming a redundancy of water proofing layers.  The reflectivity of built up roofs depend on the surfacing material used.  Gravel is the most common and they are referred to as asphalt and gravel roofs. Asphalt degradation, however, is a growing concern. UV-rays oxidize the surface of the asphalt and produces a chalk-like residue.  As plasticizers leach out of the asphalt, asphalt built up roofs become brittle.  Cracking and alligatoring follows, allowing water to penetrate the system causing blisters, cracks and leaks.  Regular maintenance is required to ensure that a BUR roofing system achieves its life expectancy.

SBS (APP) Roofing System

Single-Ply Membranes

Single-ply membranes are factory-manufactured sheet membranes. They generally are categorized as either thermoset (EDPM) or thermoplastic (TPO or PVC). Thermoplastic materials can be repeatedly softened when heated and hardened when cooled. Thermoset materials solidify, or “set,” irreversibly after heating. Single ply membranes commonly are referred to by their chemical acronyms, such as ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM).

Single-ply sheet membranes are produced using one of three manufacturing processes: calendering, extruding or spread coating. The membranes may contain reinforcement layers. Common reinforcements for single ply membranes include polyester fabrics or scrims, glass fibre, or a felt or fleece backing.

A finished sheet’s thickness typically is referred to as mil thickness. Common mil thickness for these sheet membranes range from 30 mils to 60 mils. Single-ply membranes can be installed fully adhered, mechanically attached or held down with ballast. Most single-ply roof systems do not receive surfacing. In many instances, a combination of attachment methods are used to secure a roof system.

For instance, an insulation may be mechanically attached to the substrate with the roof membrane fully adhered to the insulation.

EPDM Roofing System

EPDM A Single-Ply Membrane

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EDPM) roofing is an efficient rubber roof style used on low-slope roofing surfaces. It is a synthetic rubber most commonly used in single-ply roofing because it is readily available and relatively simple to apply. It is also called Single Ply Membrane and it is one of the common types of low-slope roofing. It’s been in use on roofs in the Canada since the 1960’s. When properly applied, it has a life cycle of 15 to 25 years. It is great for preventing leaks and is often installed for roofs that have problems with weathering, failing joints, and inflexibility. It is relatively inexpensive as well as simple to install as compared to BUR. Compared to conventional built-up roofs, it is also much cleaner and doesn’t emit the odors and fumes that are often associated with built up roofing systems. (Although Conestoga Roofing uses an “odourless kettle” when it comes to applying BUR.) Vulcanized EPDM is the most common type of EPDM roofing system. Non-vulcanized EPDM is typically used for flashing purposes.

There are three methods of applying EPDM:

  1. Fully adhered EPDM uses water-based or solvent-based adhesives to adhere the EPDM rubber to the substrate.
  2. Mechanically fastened EPDM is attached to the substrate by manufacturer-approved mechanical methodology.
  3. Loose-laid membranes are secured only at the perimeters and any penetrations. A ballast of round river rock or concrete pavers is used to hold the materials in place. The river rock is usually installed at a rate of 1000 – 1200 pounds per square (100 square feet of roofing surface) and the pavers typically weigh 20-pounds per square foot. Structural integrity is of paramount importance with a loose-laid roof system. The seams are sealed using either an adhesive or a splicing tape.

EPDM Benefits:

Highly dependable, economically beneficial, high durability, and high efficiency makes EPDM an attractive option to any building owner looking to a commercial, industrial and institutional roofing contractor for a new roof or an upgrade to the existing roofing system. Additionally, an EPDM roof will often come with long warranty, low maintenance requirements, low installation labor costs, and generally garner rather easy code approvals. For regions subject to potentially catastrophic weather experiences, such as hurricanes – EPDM roofs have very high resistance, making them quite practical for those who live in those areas.

Advantages of EPDM

EPDM roofs are highly resistant to weathering, ozone, and surface damage. It is flexible in cold weather and still has high fire and heat resistance. You can’t go wrong choosing EPDM for low-slope roofs and flat roofs that need to be waterproof and durable against the harsh Minnesota weather.

TPO Roof System


Another example of a Single-Ply Membrane is the thermoplastic TPO or PVC roofing system. These membranes can be repeatedly softened by heating or hardened when cooled. Because of the materials’ chemical nature, thermoplastic membranes typically are seamed by heat welding with hot air or solvent welding.
The most common thermoplastic roof membranes are PVC and TPO. The following provides general descriptions of these two systems .

Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO)
TPO membranes are produced by calendering with lamination, extrusion with lamination, or extrusion-coating techniques. TPO sheets are a blend of polypropylene and ethylene propylene polymers and usually are reinforced with polyester. TPO sheets contain colorant, flame retardants, UV absorbers and other proprietary substances to achieve desired physical properties.

  • Sheet widths range from 6 feet to 12 feet wide
  • Sheets are typically 40 mils to 100 mils thick
  • Seams are sealed by heat welded with hot air
  • TPO membranes Commonly are white or black
TPO roofing

PVC sheets are produced by calendering, spread coating or extruding, and typically are reinforced with polyester or glass-fibre mats or scrim. PVC sheets contain plasticizers and stabilizers, as well as other additives to impart flexibility and achieve other desired physical properties. Some membranes are available with nonwoven fleece backing adhered to the underside of a sheet.

  • Sheet widths range from 6 feet to 12 feet wide.
  • Sheets are typically 45 mils to 90 mils thick.
  • Seams are sealed by heat or chemical welding.
  • PVC membranes are produced in numerous colors, though gray and white are the most common.

Modified Bitumen

Polymer-modified roof membranes are composed of reinforcing fabrics that serve as carriers for the hot polymer-modified bitumen as it is manufactured into a roll material. MB roof system membranes are composed of multiple layers, much like BUR membranes. MB roof systems typically are installed as a two-ply system and almost always are fully adhered.

There are two types of MB roofing membranes:

  • SBS polymer-modified bitumen membranes commonly are installed in hot moppings of asphalt (similar to BUR systems) or cold adhesive. Some SBS modified membranes are self adhering; that is, they contain an adhesive backing.
  • APP polymer-modified bitumen membranes typically are heat-welded or torch-applied.

Generally, APP modifiers impart a “plasticized” quality to asphalt, and SBS modifiers impart a “rubberized” quality to asphalt. MB membranes and EPDM a thermoset membrane, often are confused by consumers because of colloquialisms used by roofing contractors. MB and EPDM membranes are sometimes called “rubber roofs.”

Modified Bitumen

Surfacings for MB membranes include aggregate surfacing, mineral surfacing, metal foil-laminate surfacing and smooth liquid-applied surfacing.

Look for a roofing contractor that specializes in different types of roofing, and can help you to decide which will work best for your building – residential or commercial.

If you are planning to install a flat roof for your building, the best thing that you can do is to contact a professional roofing service that has extensive experience working with commercial roofing systems.

Prevent and Repair Water Damage From Ice Dams

January 2, 2011

Ice Dams and Water Damage

Ice dams can be a very destructive situation for a home in areas of the country with heavy or frequent snowfall and moderate temperature swings. Ice dams do not often occur where daytime temperatures remain below freezing for long periods of time. Snow is allowed to melt or evaporate gradually and ice dams are not formed. Knowing what to do before and after severe winter weather can help lessen the damage from ice dams or prevent them from occurring in the first place.

Ice Dam

Water damage to your home is one of the most costly repairs you can encounter. Whether it be from a roof leak or plumbing leak, materials in your home that get wet from leaks, like sheet rock, wood and carpet, can not only result in expensive repairs but pose a serious health threat from mold and mildew. If leaks are detected early enough you can prevent any resultant mold and mildew. Time is of the essence here though. For mold to develop to damaging levels on sheet rock it will need to remain wet longer than 24-48 hours and on wood if it stays wet longer than 2 weeks. So once the water source is removed the opportunity for mold to develop is inhibited.

The winters are a time when water intrusion into your home has an added opportunity to occur when it snows and the temperatures remain at or below freezing for a minimum of 2-3 days. Snow buildup on your roofs can form what are called “ice dams” and leak water into your attic. If enough moisture penetrates through your roofing materials and gets absorbed in the insulation or sheet rock, you won’t notice it until the damage has reached a level that could require a professional mold remediation team to remove it.

Ice Dam on Roof

Ice dams form when snow settles on a section of your pitched roof and the temperature above the packed snow is warmer than the snow below it, as this illustration shows. The higher, warmer temperature melts the snow and as it runs over the colder adjacent lower section of roof it freezes before it gets to the edge to fall off. This ice buildup sits against the snow and a void is then created between the two elements, underneath, where water forms. As this water sits there it can permeate roofing materials that have porous imperfections in them that may have occurred undetected during the building process or have developed over time as the elements have impacted your roof.

If you are one of the many Minnesota homeowners with roof damage from ice dams, contact a Minnesota roofing contractor today!

Ice Dams Causing Serious Damage To Minnesota Homes

December 31, 2010

Weather Conditions Make Ice Dam Problems Worse In Minnesota

Finally, the rain. You think Thursday’s rainfall was a good thing because it whisked away some snow? Not necessarily. Water retention, especially on flat roofs, could compound the problem, as could freezing temperatures today and Saturday. The melting-freezing cycle is a big reason the ice dam epidemic could continue into the New Year.

In the Twin Cities, many longtime property managers and homeowners say this is the first time in memory they have grappled with significant ice dams. They fear gutter damage, water damage, mold and even collapsed roofs.

A spokeswoman for State Farm Insurance said the insurer has received about 50 claims per day regarding ice dams in the metro area, or more than 500 to date.

Why is this year so bad?

“We’ve had 34 inches of snow in one month,” said Paul Douglas, former Twin Cities television meteorologist and founder of WeatherNation, a weather news service in Excelsior.

Douglas called the convergence of snow, thaw and rain a “worst-case scenario” for ice dams. But he said there’s a pale light at the end of the tunnel: Drips and leaks should stop tonight as temperatures fall and rooftop snow stops melting.

We’re going to be below freezing through next week, so homeowners may have a chance to catch up and try to get rid of some of these ice dams.

There’s also the chance rain and higher temperatures knocked off enough snow and ice to eliminate some ice dams.

In some roof configurations, if there’s not good drainage, it could actually add to the problem. It just wasn’t warm long enough.”

If you have experienced  ice damming, contact a reliable roofing contractor to repair the roof damage as soon as possible. They will work with your insurance company and can assist you in filing your claim.

Avoiding Roofing Disasters

December 28, 2010

Avoid Common Mistakes That Could Cost You Thousands!

Exciting and informative, this video gives you the inside scoop on selecting a new roofing system, the right contractor, and best materials to protect your biggest asset – your home.

The result… your ultimate peace of mind!

Learn how to make not only the right choice, but the “safest” choice for your roofing needs. The following educational video is provided by GAF-ELK Roofing Manufacturing. United Roofing and Remodeling Inc. is able to bring you this video because of our Master Elite Certification from GAF-ELK.
The video features Jim Hartz (national TV news correspondent) and JoAnne Liebeler (from Hometime® seen on Public Television).

Because of GAF-Elk’s stringent standards, only the top 3% of all roofing contractors have qualified as Master Elite contractors! Choosing a GAF-Elk Master Elite contractor is your assurance that you’ll be dealing with a quality, reputable, and dependable professional contractor — not some “fly-by-night” contractor that is not available to answer your questions.


EPDM Roofing Systems Are An Energy Efficient Option

December 23, 2010

Commercial EPDM Single – Ply Roofing System Part 4

Longevity Pays

Other important aspects of designing an energy-efficient roofing system are product durability and the role of life cycle assessment (LCA), which evaluates the environmental impact of a product throughout its life cycle. Although the USGBC has incorporated LCA of building materials in its LEED rating system, some industry experts believe there is an overemphasis on environmental benefits without equal concern for durability.

In a white paper titled “Life Cycle Assessment and the LEED Green Building Rating System,” Dr. James L. Hoff, DBA, research director for the Center for Environmental Innovation in Roofing, explained, “É no building product should be considered truly sustainable unless it also meets or exceeds the desired durability of the building itself.”

In terms of roofing, the primary concern with LEED is the insufficient emphasis on durability. For example, a project can achieve one LEED point for painting the building’s roof with a reflective coating, some of which may last less than five years. However, no credit is afforded for selecting a high-performance, non-reflective roofing system that may be designed and warranted to last 30 years or more.

Life cycle costs of EPDM membranes are lower than those of other popular low-slope roofing systems. EPDM membrane durability has also led to long life expectancy ratings, including more than 23 years in covered applications, more than 26 years in exposed applications and an estimate of more than 50 years for ultimate service life.

In the face of challenging economic times, choosing roofing materials that can help reduce overall energy costs involves looking beyond surface color. For more than 40 years, architects, roof consultants and contractors have relied on EPDM’s weatherability, durability and other long-term performance attributes. Today, the environmental benefits of EPDM play an equally significant role in determining what roofing system is best suited for an individual building.

Talk to a Minnesota commercial roofing contractor to find out if an EPDM roof system is the right choice for your building.


EPDM Roofing Systems Are An Energy Efficient Option

December 21, 2010

Commercial EPDM Single – Ply Roofing System – Part 3

For any new or re-roof application, a multitude of factors must be weighed to determine the most appropriate roof design for each building.

White EPDM

In use since the 1980s, white EPDM roofing membranes feature the same characteristics and benefits of black EPDM, yet provide a highly reflective solution to coated membranes and thermoplastics. With its high solar reflectance index value, the bi-laminate, white-on-black cured membrane can help achieve points in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, specifically section SS 7.2 regarding the heat island effect, which requires the membrane to have a SRI value of greater than 78 for low-slope roof systems.

As a rubber-based material, white EPDM roofing systems are more flexible than other membranes, allowing for year-round application. In cooler temperatures, fully adhered EPDM membranes remain pliable and easy to install, while other membranes tend to stiffen and can be often more difficult to install, particularly on irregular substrates and vertical walls, such as parapets.

White EPDM roofing membranes are ideal for UL- and FM-rated systems, while exceeding ASTM D-4637 standards. They are well suited for new construction and re-roofing applications, and they can be installed over steel, concrete, wood and other common deck types.

The durability of EPDM membranes results in long life expectancy ratings, including more than 23 years in covered applications, more than 26 years in exposed applications and an estimate of more than 50 years for ultimate service life.

Saving Energy

Although reflective roofing materials have inherent value in the fight to gain energy efficiencies, the issue is not simply black vs. white. For any new or re-roof application, a multitude of factors must be weighed to determine the most appropriate roof design for each building. Choosing the right roof for the right situation is most important. That means moving beyond roof surface color and focusing on the building’s entire roofing assembly, including decking, insulation and roof substrate.

Light-colored roofs can reflect sunlight and help reduce cooling costs, particularly in warm, southern climates. However, the energy required to heat a building is often a more significant factor in overall energy usage.

According the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, commercial buildings are a large and growing consumer of energy. They account for 18 percent of total U.S. energy consumption. In a typical office building, energy use accounts for 30 percent of operating costs, the largest single category of controllable costs.

The DOE’s ORNL also developed a Cool Roof Calculator that estimates cooling and heating savings for low-slope roof applications with non-black surfaces. A review of data available from the calculator indicates that among all 243 sites in its database, which includes cities within all 50 U.S. states, the Pacific Islands, Puerto Rico and eight Canadian provinces, only 35 (14 percent) have more cooling degree days (CDDs) than heating degree days (HDDs).

From cities like San Diego to Boston and Lubbock to Fargo, there are more HDDs than CDDs. As such, the need to reduce heating-related energy demands is much greater than air conditioning demands in many climate zones. Dark-colored roofing materials, such as black EPDM membranes, are often the most beneficial in such environments because they absorb solar radiation and transfer it into the building. By heating the building’s interior, less demand is placed on the heating system.

Through its Building Technologies Program, the DOE also publishes the Buildings Energy Data Book. Table 7.4 of the 2007 book outlines energy use intensity in various commercial building types, comparing heating and cooling as a percentage of total energy consumed. The average results show that heating accounts for 29 percent of the energy consumed within a building, while cooling totals a mere 6 percent. The statistics are even more compelling when broken into specific building segments, such as health care and educational facilities, which feature 55 percent to 10 percent and 33 percent to 5 percent heating-to-cooling ratios respectively.

This information reaffirms that reflective roofing should not be the only consideration when seeking to improve energy efficiencies for commercial buildings. It also points toward the need for more focus on reducing heating costs, and not merely lowering cooling costs.

Talk to a Minnesota commercial roofing contractor to find out if an EPDM roof system is the right choice for your building.


EPDM Roofing Systems Are An Energy Efficient Option

December 16, 2010

Commercial EPDM Single – Ply Roofing System Part 2

EPDM roofing membrane accounts for more than 1 billion square feet of new roof coverings in the United States each year. Today, there are well over 500,000 warranted roof installations totaling more than 20 billion square feet of EPDM membrane in place nationwide.

However, when seeking a “cool roofing” option, many building professionals do not realize that black EPDM provides similar energy savings as its white, non-EPDM, counterparts. A cool roof, as defined by the California Energy Code, is a roof covering or surface that has been tested and labeled by the Cool Roof Rating Council as having an initial solar reflectance of a least 0.70 and an initial thermal emittance of at least 0.75. So where exactly does ballasted roofing fit among cool roofing options?

A three-year study initiated by the Single Ply Roofing Industry (SPRI) and conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) was completed in 2008 and provided extensive analysis of the energy performance of ballasted systems. As part of the study, titled Evaluating the Energy Performance of Ballasted Roof Systems, six roof panels – four ballasted EPDM featuring different stone/paver ballast weights and two control panels (a white TPO and a black EPDM membrane) – were subjected to daily weather cycles side-by-side from March 2004 through April 2006.

EPDM Roof System


Among the key findings:

  • The cooling loads for the heavy and medium stone-ballasted and uncoated paver-ballasted systems were approximately the same as for the white system.
  • Cooling loads for the lightweight stone systems were slightly larger than for the white system but significantly less than for the black system.
  • By the start of the second year of the project, temperature and cooling loads increased for the white system due to the effects of weathering.
  • Heating loads for the ballasted systems showed random variation as loading increased and type changed. Except for the heavyweight stone system, they were about the same as for the white system.
  • The heavyweight stone system showed slightly less heating load than the black system but this is considered an anomaly due to rain effects.
  • All evidence on clear days of diurnal behavior showed the heavyweight stone and uncoated paver systems performing equally due to the same thermal mass despite different solar reflectance.

The study further revealed that the ballasted EPDM profiles offered better thermal emittance properties. While solar reflectance measures how well a roofing material reflects sunlight, emittance measures the roofing material’s ability to release absorbed heat back into the atmosphere, rather than into the building. Both are important properties that help a roofing system remain cool.

In the study, the ballasted EPDM profiles delayed the temperature rise for up to three hours, effectively moving about 20 percent of the cooling load into off-peak hours of the day when energy costs are lowest. Summarizing the study’s results, AndrŽ Desjarlais, program manager of the Building Envelopes Program at ORNL, stated that certain ballasted roof systems “are as effective as white-membrane roofs in mitigating peak energy demand.”

As a result, several regulatory bodies across the country have adopted new standards in regard to cool roof materials. For instance, the California Energy Commission has approved the use of ballasted roof systems as a cool roofing option as part of its 2009 Title 24 energy standards. And, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has tentatively decided to update its cool roofing standards and will recognize ballasted roof systems as an acceptable alternative to light-colored materials. Likewise, the city of Chicago, which has earned international accolades for its commitment to sustainable roofing practices, has added ballasted EPDM as an accepted cool roofing alternative in its municipal code for low-sloped roofs.

Talk to a Minnesota commercial roofing contractor to find out if an EPDM roof system is the right choice for your building.


EPDM Roofing Systems Are An Energy Efficient Option

December 14, 2010

Commercial EPDM Single – Ply Roofing System – Part 1

Learn about the energy efficiency, durability and other various benefits of both black and white EPDM roofing systems.

As the green building movement continues to grow with the commercial construction market, energy-efficient roofing technologies are often at the forefront. For many building and roofing professionals, however, much of the attention has been directed solely at white or light-colored reflective roofing materials.

Many roof designers are taking their clues from studies that show reflective roof surfaces reflect solar radiation back into the atmosphere, keeping the roof system cooler and ultimately reducing building energy usage through lower air conditioning demand. In some cases, a white thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) membrane fully adhered over polyiso insulation may in fact be the most appropriate roof design for a given building. This is especially true in climates where cooling degree days outnumber heating degree days.

Yet, frequently missing from the discussion about creating eco-friendly roofs are several important aspects:

  • EPDM roof systems, both black and white, can provide a strong, energy-efficient option
  • Reducing a building’s heating costs is often more important in many parts of the country
  • The roofing material’s durability and life-cycle assessment should be considered

EPDM Proven History

According to EPDM Roofing Association, ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) rubber roofing membrane accounts for more than 1 billion square feet of new roof coverings in the United States each year. Although EPDM has been in use for over four decades, it has been the last 25 years where its growth has made it the single-ply market leader. Today, there are well over 5000,000 warranted roof installations totaling more than 20 billion square feet of EPDM membrane in place nationwide.

Behind more than four decades of successful field performance, EPDM has become the trusted system of choice for many roofing contractors and building owners worldwide. In addition to outstanding weathering characteristics, flexibility, durability, and life-cycle costs, EPDM also offers superior wind, hail and fire resistance. Specifically, ballasted EPDM roofing systems are among the most common and economical installation available today.

Talk to a Minnesota commercial roofing contractor to find out if an EPDM roof system is the right choice for your building.