Membrane roofing is a type of roofing system that is usually used on flat or nearly flat roofs. When installed correctly by licensed roofing companies, it protects the building from the elements, keeps water out and acts as insulation. Unfortunately, some membrane roofs experience seam failure. We explain why this happens here.
How Are Seams Sealed?
How you seal the seams on your commercial roof depends on its material. Hot air is used to melt thermoplastic membranes like polyvinyl chloride (PV) and seal them. Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) rubber is sealed using adhesives. Roofs made of modified bitumen are sealed with hot asphalt or cold glue.
Why Do Seams Fail?
Seam failure in membrane roofing systems are a result of the following:
- Normal wear and tear: Heat, snow, ice and rain all speed up the normal wear and tear on a roof. No matter how strong your commercial roof is, it will naturally wear down over time. Wear and tear can cause the membrane to shrink and get brittle, exposing your roof to further damage.
- Extreme weather damage: Extreme weather, like rainstorms and snowfall, can cause membrane roofing systems to shrink and become brittle. Storm damage is almost always unavoidable, but you should have your roof checked regularly to make sure it is in good shape. During a roof assessment, professional roofers can fix any problems caused by weathering or poor performance. If problems are found, they will be fixed so that they don’t get worse.
- Inadequate insulation. Membrane seam failure can also be caused by mistakes made when installing the insulation. If the insulation isn’t attached to the roof properly, it will get bent under the membrane. As the material moves, it will pull on the seams and cause cracks and tears in different parts of the roof.
- Poor installation. Overlapping seams aren’t always an indication that the membrane roofing system is fully sealed. Unfortunately, this is one detail that many inexperienced contractors miss. They also commit such mistakes as not using enough pressure with a roller or not letting the melted membrane get hot enough.
The best way to prevent seam failure altogether is to make sure your membrane roof is installed properly by a reliable contractor. With over 25 years of industry experience, the team of roofers at Exterior Building Solutions has the skills and expertise to provide high-quality commercial roofing services. We are well-versed with all types of commercial roofing products, including single-ply, modified bitumen, and asphalt shingles.
Call us at (314) 729-7663, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free assessment. We serve clients in Missouri, including St. Louis, Chesterfield, Wildwood and the surrounding communities.