Austin Commercial Flat Roof Repair

Four Commonly Used Commercial Flat Roofing Systems

An Explanation of Four Commonly Used Commercial Flat Roofing Systems

Flat roofing systems commonly installed in commercial buildings can be of four types. Our specialization is the highly durable 2-ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down system. Our services are available in Fairfield CT, Stamford, White Plains, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh.

What are these four commonly used systems? They are:

* BUR or Built Up Roof also called “Hot Tar and Gravel” roofs
* Roofing systems using Metal panels
* Modified Bitumen Membranes
* Single Ply Membrane. PVC, TPO, and EPDM

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Built-Up Roof Systems (BUR)

This is a system that has been used in the United States for more than a century. It is also called the “Tar and Gravel” roof. These roofs are made up of asphalt paper layers that are each mopped down with hot liquid tar. This is the reason why it is called a “built-up roof”. The layers of paper are laid down in a criss-cross pattern, and depending on the contractor, the installation can consist of as many as 12 layers of both paper and tar.

Thus asphalt layer can be saturated and form a felt or a ply sheet. Fiberglass matting is used to reinforce these roofing felts.

Solid cold blocks of coal tar are used to make the tar. This asphalt gets heated by propane gas in a kettle, and is then pumped up to where the work is being done on the roof. The heated tar is spread over the surface that is being worked on and then felt paper is rolled over it.

Crude oil is refined into the petroleum product, asphalt. Distillation of coal forms the basis for coal tar. Both coal tar or asphalt act as the adhesive between the layers of felt paper to form the roof membrane.

Once the required number of layers have been built up into the roof membrane, a further layer of asphalt is spread over the entire roof membrane and 1/2 ” aggregate or gravel is spread over all parts of the membrane. This stone acts to protect the roof form the ill effects of ultra violet light.

BUR roofs can last for many decades, but ultimately will show some signs of degradation. Drying of the petroleum based products causes them to become brittle, leads to cracking from evaporation, and this further results in leaks in the roof.

A BUR roofing system becomes expensive because it involves a lot of labor. Roofs with many layers can last for over 50 years. Roofs have been noticed by us that have 15 layers, but there are also contractors who will reduce the number of layers to just 3 or 5.

Metal Panel Roof Systems

Where roofs have low slopes, many of them use a structural metal panel roof system. You will see them quite widely used in warehouses and factories.

Metal panels are laid over rafters that can have a spacing of as much as four feet, and be able to support the weight of a person.

Metal panels will have seams and overlapping joints and these need to be sealed with special sealants. Bolts are used with neoprene washers to fasten the metal panels to the rafters.

Properly maintained metal roofs can last from forty to fifty years, and make for excellent barriers against water leakage if they are properly installed.

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Modified Bitumen Membranes

Commercial Flat Roof Repair ContractorsThis system, the Modified Bitumen Torch Down Membrane is a development pioneered by the Italians in the 60s, and then made its appearance in the United States. It consists of a 2 ply membrane that is made up of asphalt with modifiers that cover reinforced fabrics. It is these modifiers that give the asphalt elastic properties on both the sides. This modified asphalt gives the material a feeling of rubber, and is manufactured in rolls that are 36″ wide. This has led to the membranes being called as rubber roofs, because of the rubberized technology used.

MB or rubber membranes come in two types:

APP – Polymer – Modified Bitumen Membrane. The seams of this membrane are welded together with a torch, leading to their being named as torch down membranes.

SBS – This Modified Bitumen membrane is installed cold or hot with asphalt or tar adhesives. SBS membranes can be self adhesive, and these have a sticky backing that will allow it to adhere to any surface that it is rolled on to.

In the MB roof system, the installation is meant to be a two-ply system, but some contractors will use just a single ply. Our specialization is the two-ply system as this prevents premature failure, as thinner membranes are vulnerable to both ultra violet rays and precipitation.

These MB membranes can have three different types of surfaces. They are those with a smooth surface, those that have a mineral surface, or those that have a foil laminate surface. A ceramic type of material is used in mineral surfaces that gives it protection against ultra violet rays.

In the business of roofing installation, we specialize in using the best materials in the systems we use and only use 2 ply membranes with ceramic surfaces, with the equipment used for the torch down being one that will give the best result for your commercial roofs. This system can last for thirty years more than any single ply system. This system, the Modified 2 Ply Bitumen Torch Down Roof System needs practically no maintenance.

Single-Ply Membranes – TPO, PVC, ad EPDM

These are generally referred to as TPO and PVC and are factory made wide sheets of vinyl or synthetic rubber. They are very thin and rolls can be anywhere between eight to twenty feet wide.

These membranes have no protective surfacing. Their top layers have a composition that allows them to withstand ultra violet rays for a limited period of time.

The use is made of an adhesive to allow the membrane to adhere to the substrate that has to be properly cleaned. If this substrate is not prepared as per the instructions of the manufacturer by removal of all dust and particles, its adherence can get compromised and lead to a reduced life of the roof.

Seams in TPO ad PVC membranes are sealed with the use of hot air, using solvents as a primer.

EPDM is material that is made from two compounds that come from natural gas and oil. This is the same material that you will see being used in the inner tubes of tires. Seams in EPDM are sealed with liquid adhesives or special self adhering tapes.

EPDM, during its short time after introduction has been plagued with problems. The adhesives used do not have the ability to withstand the extreme heat that roofs are often subjected to. This single ply membrane degrades with ultra violet light and is prone to punctures.

Armadillo Roofing & Exteriors (512) 333-7663, provides commercial flat roof repair, commercial flat roof replacement and commercial flat roof installation services to Austin, Texas and the surrounding communities. We have been providing commercial roofing services to the area for over 15 years. When ypu have concerns or questions about any commercial flat roofing system, we can help.

You can also visit our sister site,, if you have questions or need need help with commercial metal roof restoration or repair.

Commercial Flat Roof Repair

Flat Roof – Repair or Replace?

Commercial Flat Roof Repair You Can Count On

Does your commercial flat roof have a leak? Water damage and leaks can be the result of several issues – poor installation, improper maintenance, or just plain old age. When this happens, the big question is always should you repair or replace your roof?

How often should you replace your flat roof?

What type of flat roof you have will be a big determine factor in when your roof should be replaced. Different materials have different lifespan expectations. Here’ss what to expect from the main types:

  • EPDM Rubber – If you were to believe most of the information online about this material, you would expect it would last as long as 50 years, but its simply not true! Based on our experience out in the field, rubber is the least durable membrane and it will that last 10-12 years probably, at most under perfect conditions.
  • TPO – This material should last a good 15-20 years and is a quality product.
  • PVC – This is the longest lasting single-ply membrane, with a lifespan of 25-35 years, or more.
  • Modified Bitumen – Another short lived material. You should expect about 10-15 years.
  • Rolled Asphalt – Hardly ever installed today, and for good reason. Typically It will last only 5-7 years.

As you can see, depending on what you have and how many years its been since it was installed, you can get a pretty close sense of when it will be time to replace your flat roof. Its also critical to keep in mind that a lot of these materials can and will fail completely, requiring replacement long before these projected average life expectancies. This is usually due to faulty installation, or if the property is located in a particularly harsh climate.

Always Get An Inspection First

Commercial Flat Roof Repair ContractorsTo figure out whether you’re better off doing a roof leak repair or replacing it with a new membrane, ask a professional commercial roofing contractor to complete an inspection on your roof. Be sure that you hire an experienced professional, because a basic general contractor or a residential roofing contractor won’t know all the details and complexities of these materials. Because of this they could give you poor advice that will cost you more money and time to repair or replace in the future.

During the inspection, your contractor should include checking all of these items to be thorough:

  • – Seams
  • – Flashings
  • – Attachment points
  • – Check for cracks at joints and corners, around chimneys and ventilation slits.
  • – Assess any damage: deterioration, punctures, aging, leakage, ponding water, etc

It’s critical that they do a test-cut – cutting through the material to see what its like under the top layer. Often, they will find mold and rotted sheathing underneath that won’t be visible on the surface.

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Cost to Replace

Prices will vary, also depending on what type of material you select.

  • EPDM is the least expensive option. It usually costs between $4.50 – $5.50 per sq.ft. But it also has the shortest lifespan and is more prone to moisture penetration than the other materials.
  • PVC is an excellent membrane that can cost $6.50 – $7.50 per sq.ft. It offers premium water resistance and durability.
  • TPO is a good value, typically costing $5.50 – $6.50 per sq.ft. It offers a compromise in terms of quality and price between the other single-ply materials.

How Do You Know To Repair Your Flat Roof?

If your roof has been properly installed, you’ve performed routine maintenance regularly, and it started to leak anyway, repairing is probably best.

There are a several things to consider:

  • 1 – If you don’t want an endless cycle of repairs every few months, get an expert, experienced, commercial roofing contractor to do the job. You might pay a little more money, but you will save yourself thousands of dollars, as well as avoid stress associated with recurring problems in the long run.
  • 2 –  If you have modified bitumen, you will most likely need a pro, as it requires torching to repair.
  • 3 – If you have a tar and gravel roof thats leaking, finding the source of the problem is not easy. Even the most skilled professional will probably have a repair success rate of 50% or less, so, it will most likely have to be replaced.
  • 4 – If you have a single-ply membrane, shy away from roof coatings. They’re expensive and only last a few years. The coating will eventually start to peel, chip and crack. If your roof still leaks, it becomes pretty much unrepairable.

Regular Routine Maintenance is Critical

Whether you have just replaced or repaired your roof, regular maintenance is the most important factor to its living up to its expected lifespan.

Even the best, most costly products won’t achieve their top performance without proper care and maintenance. It just takes a few simple steps:

  • As a rule of thumb, do maintenance at least once every year. You should also do the necessary upkeep on an as-needed basis, for example after a major snow/rain/wind storm, freeze/thaw cycles, etc.
  • Remove any loose or embedded organic debris like moss, sticks, branches, etc.
  • Check the seams and flashings for obvious wear and tear.
  • Clean the drains and keep them clear from any obstructions.

Here at Armadillo Roofing & Exteriors, we’ve been helping our commercial clients with their flat roofs since 2003. When you need a trusted, experienced commercial roofing contractor to inspect and give you advice about repairing or replacing your flat roof, give us a call at 512-333-7663.

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Commercial Roof Repair, Commercial Roof Replacement and Commercial Metal Roof Restoration for the Austin Area

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Need commercial roof repair? At Armadillo Roofing we offer customers affordable commercial roof repair options.

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Modified Bitumen, White Membrane, Metal or Green Roofing Systems, we can install the highest quality roof on your commercial building.

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We'll keep your property's Metal Roofing System in top-notch condition with our extensive experience and expertise with Commercial Metal Roofing Systems.

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Let us show you how you can save a lot of money, as much as 30-40%, by restoring your commercial metal roof instead of replacing it.

About Us

I’m Mark Franz, the owner of Armadillo Roofing & Exteriors.

I’m proud to say no one can beat our quality and experience in commercial roof repair, commercial roof installation, commercial roof replacement, commercial metal roof repair and commercial metal roof restoration in Austin, Texas.

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Check out these recently completed commercial roofing projects.

Whether you’re looking for commercial roof installation, commercial roof repair, commercial roof maintenance, commercial metal roof repair or commercial metal roof restoration, we here at Armadillo Roofing have you covered.

With Commercial Roofing we are experienced in Modified Bitumen, White Membrane, Metal, Tile, Shingle, Green and all Flat Roofing systems.

You can save a lot of money, as much as 30-40% over a replacement, by taking advantage of our commercial metal roof restoration services.

Some of Our Latest Projects

Here at Armadillo Roofing, nothing is more important than taking care of the most important asset we have – our satisfied customers.

We take pride in the number of 5 star reviews you will find online that our customers have posted.

We will always deliver on our promise to ensure the finest quality materials and craftsmanship, stressing integrity and rewarding excellence. We are craftsmen who take pride in the roofing services we provide to our customers, both commercial and residential.

Our commitment is to deliver “Quality Craftsmanship at an Affordable Price,” and we have been doing just that for well over a decade now in Austin and the surrounding areas.

“Thanks for taking care of us in a professional manner. It was a pleasure to deal with someone who actually did what he said he would do. Look forward to seeing you soon. Thanks again.”

Mike McCoy – Mission Mortgage

“Thanks for a job well done. I look forward to working with you in the future. Let me know if you need any references on your future jobs. I’d be glad to be of help. Take Care.”

Mike Wilson – Central Texas Development Assessments, Inc.,

“Thank you again for your hard work. You did an amazing job on our building’s roof system and I would certainly recommend Armadillo to anyone needing your services.”

A.W. Armstrong – Kestrel Management Services, LLC

“Armadillo Roofing replaced our old roof with a beautiful new one. David managed the entire process to the detail. He was there during the work and walked the roof with me after it was finished. Quality, friendly and trustworthy best describes our experience with Mark and David at Armadillo.”

Lisa Y. – Austin

“We had an amazing experience with Armadillo Roofing and can’t say enough positive things about them. They replaced our entire roof in time to put our house on the market.”

Court C. – Cedar Park

“A hail storm left us with roof damage. Armadillo was referred to us and we couldn’t be happier. David was onsite at the start and finish of each phase to ensure everything was done properly. Mark is engaged and responsive anytime we had questions. They do great work! I would recommend Armadillo to anyone.”

Danny W. – Austin