Rubber roof repair and flat roof replacement in Quincy, Massachusetts:
The roof we recently had to replace in Quincy, MA, was a typical example of a poor and careless installation of a rubber roof (EPDM rubber membrane), by untrained roofers, with little to no knowledge of a rubber roof. The rubber membrane was glued directly over asphalt shingles, without using the recovery board or any other insulation / separation layer in between, which is a requirement in any rubber roof install – even the one with no manufacturer’s warranty.
This was our second encounter with this flat roof in Quincy, in the past 6 months, as we already repaired some obvious bad leaks behind the skylights on the front portion of this roof. However at the time of this rubber roof repair, I told the homeowner that this roof will not last long, and repairing it may actually be almost as much as installing a new roof, since there was nothing done right on this roof. But let me start from the very beginning.
Rubber roof glued to the asphalt shingles:
Badly installed, leaking rubber roof in Quincy, MA.
This roof that we replaced, was only one and a half years old, and has been leaking since the beginning. Besides gluing the rubber roofing membrane directly to the asphalt shingles, the original roofer also used wrong materials for flashing details, and did not use the newer and better peel and stick rubber roofing accessories such as 3″ seam tape, uncured peel and stick flashing and cover tape. All seams were glued with older rubber glue. Corners were patched with cured pieces of rubber, and skylight flashing was not installed properly at all. In fact, majority of roof leaks were caused by bad skylight flashing.
What original roofing contractor did, was running the skylight flashing up and over the skylight frame, instead of removing the counter-flashing on the skylights, installing flashing up the curb, and terminating it with the built-in flashing, which is a common practice in roofing and actually the only right way to flash a skylight.Instead, the rubber flashing glued to the skylight frame, separated after some time of being exposed and skylights began to leak. These leaks caused mold between the roof rafters and a strong odor inside the living room under the skylights.
Initial flat roof repair on this rubber roof:
In November 2009, we first saw this roof. During that time we repaired the most obvious sources of roof leaks – mainly the rear parts of two skylight flashings located on the front part of the roof. These flashing was almost completely separated from the roofing membrane, after the rubber roof adhesive broke down. To perform this flat roof repair we used a 6″ Carlisle cured cover tape, and a 12″ uncured flashing membrane for flash the corners of the two skylights that we’ve repaired – both were Peel-and-stick type rubber accessories, and were installed using rubber roof primer. We first installed the uncured membrane up and around the corners of the skylights, as well as extending the flashing back up the flat portion of the roof, so it would later be overlapped by the 6″ cover tape.
We had to use a wide 12″ uncured tape, to make sure that corner flashing covers the old 6″ flashing and is still water-tight. Once the corners were flashed, we installed the cover tape, overlapping the old skylight flashing, so that water would not be able to get under it.
After the skylights were repaired, we also fixed the roof-to-wall flashing, which was simply glued to old ceder shingles siding and was also leaking. We pulled back the wall flashing, installed a thick bead of roofing-grade Solar Seal 900 caulking / adhesive to make the flashing water-tight, put the wall flashing back, rolled in the adhesive with a silicon roller and terminated the flashing to the wall with roofing fasteners.
After the skylight flashing repair was complete, it was time to get going – bear in mind, it was late November, and the temperature that day was barely over 40 degrees F, which is the minimum temperature to safely repair or install a rubber roof. I also mentioned to the homeowners that this repair will last for some time, but there was still plenty of patch work to be done on this roof, which was time consuming and expensive. Chasing the roof leaks on this roof was not very economical at all, and I suggested to replace this roof with a new IB PVC flat roof, which does not have all the inherent defects of rubber roofs – namely the glued seams which break apart and begin to leak long before the rubber roof itself, fails.
PVC flat roofs are hot air welded, and once the seam are put together, it’s nearly impossible to separate them. Additionally, IB PVC roof comes with all pre-fabricated flashing components, such as inside and outside corners, pipe flashing, vents, etc., which increases the roof installation speed and greatly reduces installation errors.
Later, in the spring of 2010, we replaced this leaking rubber roof with new IB PVC flat roof – a commercial grade 80-mil Red-colored membrane. Take a look at our overview of this flat roof installation in Quincy, MA.
We also recommend that you check out other flat roofs that we installed in different cities in Massachusetts:
Flat roof in Lowell, MA – a medium size residential low-slope roof, where we replaced a failing rubber roof with new 50-mil white IB PVC roof.
Flat roofing Boston – replacement of old rubber roof in Boston, Massachusetts. On this roof we used an 80-mil white IB roof. The roofing job also included extensive repairs to the brick parapet walls.