Flat Roof installation in MA using IB PVC roofing.

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Does your flat roof leak? Are you tired of putting up buckets every time it rains? Did roof leaks destroy the your ceilings, walls and carpets?

You can put an end to your roof leak headaches by installing IB Flat Roof – a true lifetime flat roofing material, designed for commercial roofing application and brougth to residential flat roof market with Industry’s Best Life Time Warranty!

Flat roofing is a very specialized niche in roofing market, and most roofers have very limited experience and knowledge about flat roofs. Most roofers who attempt to install a flat roof (namely rubber roofs as they are seemingly easy to install), fail miserably, and their roofs usually leak soon after installation.

We specialize in installation and repair of IB PVC roofing systems – the only true lifetime flat roof, featuring hot air welded seams – once you weld a PVC roof seam, it is never coming apart. All flashing and overlaps on a PVC roof are fusion welded using special hot-air welding equipment, and the whole roof uses no glues or adhesives to keep the roof watertight.

For us, flat roofing is a specialty (as well as metal roofing) – flat roofing is all that we do!

(As an example of a failed flat roofing installation, see a job profile for a rubber roof repair, followed by IB Flat Roof installation in Quincy MA, that we did in the spring of 2010.)

Image of PVC flat roof

Why flat roofs leak?

Flat roofs are notorious for leaks and many home owners and businesses have constant problems with flat roofs, and trying to repair them, to only have yet more roof leaks just few weeks or months later. Flat roof leaks are caused by the nature of flat roof construction – water pools in some spots and often has nowhere to drain. Any roof penetration is a nightmare for roofing contractors, as trying to properly flash a skylight, HVAC curb or a chimney can be very tedious.

Most flat roofing contractors use outdated and often obsolete roofing materials such as Built-up tar and gravel roofing. Many will resort to using cheaper and easier-to-install rubber roofs. All of these older roofing materials have common flaw – the fact that they use some kind of adhesive to glue the overlaps in membrane, and once the adhesive begins to fail, roof leaks start popping up all over the place.

Image of leaking rubber roof.

IB PVC flat roofing:

IB Roofs is a roofing materials manufacturer that specializes in PVC roofing technology, that was originally imported from Europe in the late 1970’s. Original IB roofs installed starting back in 1979 are still 100 percent leaks free. Since then, IB did not change their PVC roof formulation and today, you get the same great quality as the original IB PVC roofs.

Benefits of IB PVC roof system include polyester reinforced scrim which prevent the membrane from tearing, and equal thickness top and bottom ply over the scrim. Top ply of IB PVC roof is usually white and includes the UV stabilizers to prevent the membrane from being damaged by the sun over its service life, and keep the roof weldable. Even now – 30 years after original IB roofs were installed, they are still flexible and you can weld a new patch to it in case there is a roof leak.

IB PVC Roof installation video taken on a job in Charlestown, MA

As you can see in the video above, once you weld a seam on a PVC roof, it is permanently fused to the underlaying sheet of membrane, eliminating any roof leaks.

IB Roof is a complete flat roofing system. As an IB Certified Roofing Contractor, we have full access to a wide range of roof flashing accessories, such as Inside and Outside corners, Pipe flashing ranging in width from 1/4″ to over 20 inches, PVC coated flashing metal such as drip edge, termination bars and PVC clad flat stock (for custom metal fabrication). We can also have IB Roof Systems custom manufacture specialty flashing components such as commercial roof drains with PVC flange, Thru-wall scuppers, Roof Deck and Membrane vents, etc.

All IB roof flashings are either made from IB PVC material or have a factory installed PVC flange, which allows us as a contractor to seamlessly integrate and flash any type of roof penetration and detail, by simply welding the flashing or accessory to the roof. This greatly speeds up the installation process and minimizes installation errors by roof mechanics.

Image of PVC roof flashings and drains

IB Specialty Flat Roof Materials – Roof Deck Membrane, Chemically Resistant Flat Roof and Residential Flat Roof materials with Asphalt Shingles Pattern:

Flat Roof Deck waterproofing membrane – IB DeckShield:

Besides the regular flat roofing materials, IB Roof Systems has developed flat roofs for special use, such as walkable roof decks / patios / balconies, where there is constant foot traffic and any other flat roofing material would immediately loose its warranty. This great product is called IB Deck Shield, and it is a special IB PVC membrane, with a slip resistant surface and beautiful pebbles pattern that imitates pool decks. IB Deck Shield is 100% compatible with other IB roofing membranes – the only difference is the surface and the installation method where the waterproofing membrane is fully adhered to the DensDeck moisture resistant substrate, for exceptional durability and puncture resistance.

IB DeckShield installation video – Roof Deck installed in Newport, RI

IB Chemguard – Chemicals and Oil resistant flat roof for commercial / industrial / restaurant use:

If you own a restaurant with a flat roof, you probably had many problems with grease and fats dripping from exhaust fans onto your roof and causing membrane breakdown, adhesive failures, etc. In the industrial sector, roof can be exposed different chemicals and gases, which will eat through the roof membrane, causing leaks and making it impossible to repair.

Image of a rubber roof damaged by freon leak

IB Chemguard is a special membrane created by IB Roof Systems to be chemically resistant, and able to withstand exposure to all animal fats, petroleum based products, and other industrial chemicals. IB combined their PVC roofing materials with DuPont Elvaloy for chemical resistance. IB ChemGuard comes in commercial grade 80-mil thickness (25 years commercial warranty) and 50-mil thickness (15 years warranty) more suitable for restaurants. IB Chemguard also has a complete line of accessories with Elvaloy added to the formulation, so that entire roof is chemically resistant.

Other than having Elvaloy, IB Chemguard is identical to other IB roofing membranes, and is 100% compatible with PVC roofs. If your roof has only one specific area that needs to be chemically resistant, the rest of the roof can be regular IB Roofing membrane.

As a sidenote, we will mention that all IB Roofing Materials have a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty for residential application, and 15-25 years commercial warranty. The only exception is the 10 years warranty for IB DeckShield, as it is by default, subjected to continuous foot traffic.

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Roofing in Quincy Massachusetts

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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 inĀ  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.

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Flat roof installation and replacing skylights

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This guide is based on a PVC flat roof installation that we performed in Quincy, MA. We already covered the rubber roof repair which we did on this roof back in the fall of ’09, and as the roof began to leak in different spots, it was time to replace it. Basically this is a continuation of our previous roof installation review, which we will also use as a guide for homeowners, to help them choose the right roofing contractor and to know what is involved in the flat roof installation.

To read the beginning of this story, refer to our rubber roof repair in Quincy, MA article.

Replacing rubber roof with a new IB PVC flat roofing system:

… As I predicted, the roof started to leak again in the early spring of 2010, but this time it was not the flashing that we installed – the leaking water was coming in at the top of skylights, where rubber flashing was glued to the skylight frame. This time around, homeowners did not want to waste any more money on temporary rubber roof repairs, and wanted to install a lifetime IB PVC roof.

Flat roofing in Quincy Massachusetts

Homeowners chose to install a commercial grade, 80-mil IB flat roofing membrane in red color to match the rest of their roof, which is red asphalt shingles. In the roof specifications we were to remove the old roofing down to the deck – both rubber roof and shingles bellow it. We also installed new skylight curbs for the 4 skylights on the rear portion of the roof – these curbs were designed to increase the slope of the skylights to over 3 in 12, which is the minimum pitch for this type of skylights. The roof was a mechanically attached assembly, over 1/2″ styrofoam insulation. All flashings were color-matching pre-fabbed accessories, using either the same membrane as was used on the roof or the unreinforced 60-mil flashing material.

As we discovered during roof removal, the strong odor in the living roof was caused by the rotting and mold growth in the asphalts shingles layer, underneath the rubber membrane. Once the old roofing was removed, we needed to install the membrane, and also double-flash two skylights the same day, to avoid roof leaks from rains that were forecasted the next day.

The skylights had to be flashed “twice” as they were installed on a curb which was 5 inches wider than than the skylight frame, so we had to bring flashing up, over and then again up to completely seal the skylight, and also install 12 corner flashing on each skylight. This whole procedure was very time consuming, so the first day we worked well into the dark, and had to use flashlights to finish the work that day.

We flashed the skylights to make them watertight, but since skylights were to be replaced, and we were still waiting for new units, we did not install the corner flashings at this point, and used small pieces of unreinforced flashing material to temporary make skylights watertight. Later, as we received the new skylight units, we cut the flashing along the corners, pulled out old units, installed new skylights (which were Velux non-vented units), and reinstalled the corner flashings as well as skylight counter-flashing.

This procedure actually turned the number of skylight flashings to 3, as we had to flash the skylights once again, after swapping old units for new ones. Fortunately, these skylights were already sitting on curbs and had sufficient roof pitch, which allowed water to safely drain down onto the roof bellow it.

Installing IB flat roof on the rear roof section – building and flashing 4 skylight curbs:

All in all, the rear roof was much easier to install than the front roof. To avoid roof leaks between the day when we installed the roof and when we built and installed four skylight curbs and flashings, we simply removed the skylights altogether, leaving a “hole” in the roof, which was covered by a continuous piece of roofing membrane.

Later we just cut out the openings in the membrane and installed the curbs which were build on the ground and also stained from the inside to match the interior trim of the house. This allowed us not to rush with the installation of the curbs and skylights as we knew the roof was watertight.

Once we built all skylight curbs, installed the skylights and flashing, the rear roof was pretty much complete, as well as the rest of the roof. It was now time for some small finishing touches.

We still had to install a PVC-coated steel drip edge, weld a 6″ cover strip to the roof and the drip-edge metal, install all pipe flashing, weld in all inside and outside corners, and re-nail the ceder siding along the bottom of the wall – where roof to wall termination is.

This was a short overview of the flat roof installation and rubber roof repair on this roof in Quincy, MA. However the actual job took more than 7 work days to complete. Between tearing off old roofing, repairing rotten wood, flashing new roof up under the shingles roof, building and installing skylight curbs, flashing 6 skylights and doing the inside trim, this roofing job was very involved. However, we are happy that we spent extra time on this roof – now we know that this roof will not leak in the next 30+ years, and for much longer after that.

To see more flat roof installations that we’ve done in Massachusetts, check out the following roofing job profiles:

Flat roof deck Wellesley, MA – on this roof deck, we installed an 80-mil grey IB roof, flashed multiple railing posts with pre-fabricated post flashing and installed strips of membrane where deck rafters (slippers) will lay, to protect roof from the deck.

Flat & metal roofs in Massachusetts – short reviews of a multitude of flat and metal roof installations in Massachusetts that we installed in 2009 – this review article covers roofs that we installed in Framingham, Westminster, Hingham, Boston, Wellesley, and other cities in MA.

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