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Should You Install a Foam Roof?

Flat Roof Installation

Flat Roofing Comparison

Usually, a polyurethane foam roof costs about equal to a Built Up Roof (BUR) with underlying insulation. But, foam roofs are unique because they’re the only roof type that both insulates and protects against leaks with a single monolithic barrier.

Different Materials

There are a lot of flat roofing materials, but all are not equal in quality. An EPDM (rubber roof) or single ply roof, sealed either by tars or adhesives are not as high quality as a typical BUR roof. The reason is they usually last less than 10 years, while a higher quality BUR roof may last a lot more than 10 years. Usually, a BUR roof is built with a few semi-flexible membrane layers, and then water-proofed with water resistant modified bitumen.

Flat Roof Installers

Remember, coal tars are a known carcinogen (not as severe as asbestos – otherwise, this would be more widely known). Modified bitumen, however, comes from oils, refined at much lower temperatures than coal tar, and is a much safer substance. The fluctuating prices in the cost of a barrel of oil gets passed on to the roofing industry. As the costs of asphalt roofing materials continue to increase, and the cost of a high quality polyurethane foam roof remains more steady, that makes SPF or foam roofing more affordable for consumers.

Comparing Costs

Cost, of course, can vary due to a lot of factors, like geographic location, and size and type of the project. Prices might be estimated anywhere between $3-$12 per square foot, and this can be effected by several other factors – the quality of the materials used, the labor costs to install these materials, and any associated warranty, contractor insurance, or bonding costs which will get passed on to the customer.

Flat Roof Installation Contractors

Initial Cost Factors:

  • Roof Size: for example, large projects are often cheaper per square foot due to installation efficiencies gained with economies of scale.
  • Roof Penetrations and obstructions: if your roof has a lot of obstructions – skylights, pipes, and AC equipment for example, you can expect higher installation costs due to increased labor requirements.
  • Materials Used: EPDM and Single ply roofs are cheaper materials that won’t last as long. Higher quality roofing such as polyurethane foam may cost a little more, but it will insulate more efficiently and could last the life of the building. In contrast, a roof, such as Tar & Gravel, with insulation will expense about the same as an SPF roof.
  • Location: Is your property in a convenient local location, or will your contractor’s crews have to drive a significant distance to reach your property?
  • Condition of Existing Substrate & Roof: Can the current roof membrane be re-used, or does it need to be torn off? Is asbestos or other harmful substances under your roof membrane that have to be dealt with? Is there dry-rot or other failing materials. Do drains, vents, skylights or other roof penetrations need to be replaced or repaired?
  • Are you thinking of installing solar power or replace your vents & drains, etc? It’s a lot more cost effective to do all of this at once. What if if your solar power installers caused a leak in your roof, and neither contractor (roofing or solar) wanted to fix the issue because they each blamed the other. If you’re thinking of installing solar, now would be a good time to coordinate the two installations simultaneously.

Long Term Considerations

If you’re going to install a roof, it’s good to think about the long term cost impact. If you have decided to install a foam roof, the insulation factor can pay off big in the long run. Also, think about adding cool roof coatings; just by changing the color of a roof to something reflective can lower summer cooling bills by 30% or more. Medium Density Sprayed Polyurethane Foam Roofing conforms to a roofs corners and angles and usually has an R-Value around 6 to 8 per inch of thickness. In layman’s terms, one inch of foam is as effective as 6 to 8 inches of solid wood.

In reality, due to things like vapor trapping (foam forms a barrier), and the density of foam (it is light, but heavier than air–of course), foam can be 4 times more effective than fiberglass. If you have lived in an older, poorly insulated home, you know that heating and cooling bills can really get out of control with a poor insulation. This is just one final cost factor which should be considered when you’re comparing an insulated roof like SPF with other roofing materials, like EPDM, Single Ply, or BUR, with no insulation.

Summary

Foam roofing is a great choice here in Arizona for covering a flat roof due to its great insulating factors and its great looks. If you need help deciding whether a foam roof is right for you, please give us, Mikku and Sons Roofing LLC, a call at 623-465-1068. We’re a foam roofing installation contractor and can lay out all your options, helping you choose the one that fits your budget and your property.

 

Tips for Foam Roofing Maintenance

Foam Roof Installation

If you have a foam roof, you have the best type of flat roof your property could have. They have a lot of great advantages:

1 – It has a tight waterproof seal
2 – It has superior Insulation qualities
3 – Its very durable
4 – Its environmentally friendly
5 – Its attractive

More than likely it was this list of advantages that convinced you to choose a foam roof originally. But, just like any other type of roof, foam roofs also need to be properly maintained. 

Foam Roof Installation Contractors

These tips for should make this an easier task for property owners:

Make Sure to Keep it Clean
Every roof needs to be kept clean, so this should go without saying. Every year, you should go up and take a look for yourself to see whether any obvious maintenance is needed. If you can, though, you should go up on your roof once every season just to be careful. It’s also a good idea to check the roof after any major monsoon storm, just to make sure nothing got blown on top of it or damaged anything. The good news is that the cleaning can probably be done by you yourself. Clearing bird’s nests, leaves, tree branches and other debris can easily be done by hand and will help protect your foam roof.

One thing a foam roof won’t attract is pests like rodents and insects, so you won’t have to worry that cleaning it also means you’ll have to deal with these little nuisances.

Foam Roof Repair Companies

Check for Color and Texture Issues
When you’re up on your roof, check to see if any areas look like they’re beginning to get discolored discolored. You should also check the texture. This is why you want to do more than just cleaning to properly maintain your foam roof. You should walk over the whole structure to make sure it still has a texture that looks something like an orange peel. Anything else should make you concerned. Typical problem signs are textures that might resemble popcorn of scrambled eggs, strangely enough. Either one is probably a sure indication that your foam roof has been damaged in some way.

Obviously, if you notice that the roof is being exposed in any way or its showing signs of deterioration beyond the texture issues we just spoke about, you definitely have a problem.

Remove Any Objects You Don’t Need
Some property owners put furniture and other such things on the surface of their foam roof. While this might be a good way to take in a view, keep in mind that these unnecessary items could also damage the very material you’re depending on to keep your property watertight. Putting it bluntly, the less you use the roof as a platform, the less the foam is likely to need expensive repairs or more than normal maintenance.

Don’t Re-coat the Roof Yourself
Foam roof maintenance is something that can be handled by the property owner, but re-coating the roof most definitely is not. The process may look simple and easy, but it involves a specific and critical form of cleaning using the correct materials in specified amounts. If you decide to try re-coating the roof on your own, you’’re going be inviting more expensive problems in the future. You should leave repairs and re-coating to qualified professional flat roofing contractors.

Far a certified, professional foam roofing contractor, call Mikku and Sons Roofing and Repair at (623) 465-1068 for a free estimate on any of your foam roofing needs.

 

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