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Safer flat roofing has less environmental impact

Having your flat roof replaced used to mean using a traditional Built-Up,Modified Bitumen or Single ply roof system.  While these roofing systems are capable of offering long term watertight integrity, each of these systems can easily have a negative impact on the building’s occupants and even the building itself.  The cause of the negative impact has always been the means by which the roofing system is adhered and sealed. By using cutting edge adhesive and sealing technology many of the inconveniences associated with having your roof replaced by Roof Services are a thing of the past.

Most traditional flat roof systems fall into one (1) of three (3) categories: 1) Built-Up Roofing, where layers of asphalt impregnated felt are installed in hot asphalt. 2) Modified Bitumen, where rolls of bituminous membrane as installed in hot asphalt, cold-applied adhesive or with a 400,000 BTU propane torch. 3) Single-Ply systems where EPDM,TPO or PVC membranes are installed with solvent based adhesives and primers.

The adhesives used in each of these systems emit foul odors, as anyone who has ever walked passed a roofing kettle can attest to.  They also often emit high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s).  In the case of hot asphalt, in addition to the smell there is the high noise level of the gasoline powered kettle or tanker pump to deal with. Finally, as these adhesives are designed to bond, they can be more than a nuisance if accidentally spilt as their removal often removed the finish of what they were spilt on also.

The result of these odors and noises is a high level of disruption to the building occupants.  Foul and toxic smells often dictate the shut down of building HVAC equipment and sometimes the evacuation of departments or even entire buildings.  Building occupants who remain find it hard to work and concentrate with the constant noise of the kettle pump just outside.  Even when used properly and cautiously, 400,000 BTU torches can start fires and have been responsibly for accidentally burning entire buildings down.  After dealing with a roof replacement, the last thing most owners want to deal with is the cleaning and re-finishing of trim, siding or even cars which were accidentally soiled on during the roofing project.

New flat roof systems incorporate self-adhesive technology which eliminates the traditional adhesive and sealants as well as most of their negative effects.  The new self-adhesive flat roof systems fall into two (2) categories: 1) Self-Adhesive Modified Bitumen such as Johns Manville’s DynaGrip or Soprema’s Colstix systems. 2) Self-Adhesive Single-Plies such as GenFlex’s Peel & Stick TPO or Sarnafil’s Peel & Stick PVC.

By utilizing self-adhesive technology, the elimination of adhesives means that no foul odors are emitted.  VOC emissions are drastically reduced, and often entirely eliminated depending on the specific systems used.  No gasoline powered pumps are needed and no torches are used.  Not using adhesive means that it cannot be spilt.

The quiet, odor-free installation of a self-adhesive flat roof means that disruption to the building occupants is kept to an absolute minimum.  HVAC equipment can remain on, as there are no foul or toxic rooftop odors which can be sucked in.  All activity is kept on the roof and gasoline powered equipment is not used, resulting in a quieter roof installation, especially for ground floor building occupants.  The elimination of 400,000 BTU torches (or any other equipment employing a flame) means that it’s virtually impossible for the roofing crew to burn down the building. No adhesive used guarantees that no adhesive is spilled.

Though the means of adhering self-adhesive flat roofs may seem new and therefore untested, both categories of self-adhesive flat roofing employ time-tested adhesive technology to ensure quality equivalent to traditional systems.  Self-adhesive modified bitumen systems employ a thin layer of low molecular weight modified bitumen which is fully compatible with the base layer of standard modified bitumen to which it is added.  Self-adhesive single-ply systems use a layer of butyl based adhesive, the same type of adhesive which has been used in single-ply seam tapes for over a decade.  Manufacturers of all self-adhesive flat roof systems stand by their products offering the same warranties (including 20 year no dollar limit) as traditional systems.

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