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Buying Time: Rooftop Repair or Replace?

A D+D Online Feature published February 21, 2013



More items for Maintenance + Renovation

by Tom Stuewe

Preventive maintenance (PM) that makes a good roof better is far more cost-effective than neglect. But that does not mean that all neglected roofs are unsalvageable....
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Tagged categories: Adhesion; Building envelope; Facility Managers; Garland Company; Humidity and moisture; Insulation; Maintenance coating work; Regulations; Repair materials; Specification; SSPC; VOC content

Comment from Ron Pelkie, (2/22/2013, 7:27 AM)

Just a couple things to point out. First of all, vegetation growth on a roof is not necessarily failure of the roof as stated in the caption for Figure 2. Its just a sign that routine maintenance is needed to remove the debris that is supporting the growth. For single-ply roofs, the membrane typically acts as a root barrier so the growth usually does not breach the roof membrane, unless there are other defiiciencies in system. Bituminous roofs are a different story though and can be seriously damaged by vegetation, especially older systems that have other types of distress occurring. Vegetation growing out of a drain can also be a serious problem that can affect the plumbing as well as the roof at the drain, but it still does not mean the roof has failed. Don't assume that if there's vegetation on the roof that it has failed and needs to be repaired or replaced. Maybe the roof just needs to be cleaned off. Secondly, Figure 4 is labeled as a seam repair. To me, a roof consultant, that looks like the construction of a new EPDM seam and not a repair. The repair of an EPDM seam more often than not will include cleaning the affected section of the seam and stripping it in using the specific roofing membrane manufacturer's primer and pressure sensitive materials. Having an understanding of roofing systems, how they are designed and constructed, and how they perform over time is critical in making the decision to repair or replace. Inaccuracies or an apparent lack of understanding in simple statements like the captions for the 2 referenced figures in this article undermine the thrust of the article.


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