Roofing In Utah Since 1974
Flat Roofs: TPO, EPDM, Low Slope Roofing
Flat Roofs have been a part of Utah homes and American architecture for hundreds of years. Advances in building materials have helped to extend the life of flat roofs, and extend the time frame between flat roofing repairs.
Leaking Flat Roofs
A main reason for failure of these traditional flat and low-slope roofs is lack of maintenance, or failure to notice where people or events cause the rupture, tear, break or holes in the material (tar paper, gravel, etc.). This exposes it to weather and sun, producing cracking and blistering over time, and eventually leaking moisture and water inside the home or building.
One problem with maintaining flat roofs is that if water does penetrate the barrier covering, it can travel a long way before causing visible damage or leaking into a building where it can be seen. Consequently, it is not easy to see where it is leaking in order to repair it. Once underlying roof decking is soaked it often sags, causing a further collection or "puddling" of water in that area, making the problem worse.
Another common reason for failure of flat roofs is lack of maintenance of drains. Gravel, leaves and debris block water outlets (for example, around spiggots, drains, downpipes and gutters). This collected water cannot drain away, and consequently builds up. The deeper the water, the greater the pressure. This forces more water into the tiniest of cracks or holes. When the Utah winter climate arrives, puddling water freezes into ice, breaking up the roof surface, as it expands and freezes.
EPDM Roof Materials
EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, a type of synthetic rubber. EPDM was used in roofing materials, particulary on flat, low slope roofs, because of its outstanding heat, ozone and weather resistance. The cold Salt Lake City and Utah winter weather seasons made EPDM a quality choice for flat roofs in the past.
TPO Roof Membranes For Flat and Low Slope Roofs
Especially since 2002, TPO roofing material has superceded EPDM as a flat and low-slope roofing membrane.
TPO (short for Thermoplastic Olefin or Polyolefin) are single-ply roof membranes constructed from ethylene propylene rubber. They combine the durability of EPDM rubber with the proven performance of hot-air weldable seams. They have been tested as having excellent resistance to ozone, are algae-resistant, environmentally friendly and safe to install. The material's manufacturers are so confident in properly welded seams that the material is sometimes advertised as a monolithic (seamless) roof. Seam strengths are reportedly 3 to 4 times those of EPDM's adhesive and tape seams.
TPO is highly resistant to tears, impacts, and punctures with good flexibility to allow for building movement.
TPO membranes are installed with glue bonding chemicals for full adhesion. This means the glue forms a chemical bond between the membrane and sub-roof surface.
These flat roof membranes can also be mechanically attached, using some type of special screw-type fastener to secure it. The type of fastener depends on the type of sub-roof surface.
Properly installed TPO roof systems have service lives ranging above 30 years, depending on the type of installation. Full removal of the existing roof, the amount of slope the roof has, weather conditions, as well as several other criteria contribute to the longevity of a roof's service life. Typically, if you remove an old roof down to the deck before installing a new one, then the new roof will last longer. Also, the steeper the slope and the less severe the weather conditions, the longer a roof will last. High winds and hail can do a roof in rather quickly.
TPO and EPDM Advantages:
TPO and EPDM Challenges:
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