Duval Roofing

Modified Bitumen for a Flat Roof in North Andover

Many homes have different sections of roof that require different treatments. A recent roof installation in North Andover is a good example. Here our crew is tearing off old shingles in preparation for re-shingling on a high-pitched section of their roof.

Another, low-slope section of roof required different materials. Shingles are designed (and warrantied) for roofs with a pitch of 4 or higher since they require mechanical drainage for their best performance.

For low-slope or flat roofs, we use different products: usually either rubber (EPDM) roofing or modified bitumen. For many residential roofs, we prefer modified bitumen for several reasons:

  • it is more resistant to scratches and punctures (which is important if there are trees overhead or nearby)
  • it can be walked on and shoveled (EPDM is slippery and shouldn’t be shoveled)
  • it’s available in almost every shingle color and has the same granular surface so it can match the shingle color on other sections of the house (EPDM is only available in a dull grey, which they call black, or a pricey white)
  • it self-seals around nails the same way traditional ice and water underlayment does (EPDM does not self–seal, and its seams have to be caulked, which may not provide a completely reliable seal over time)

EPDM can be very useful on larger flat roofs above or away from the tree line where looks and maintenance aren’t so much of an issue. Also, it can be less expensive and easier to install in such cases because it comes in 10′ rolls as opposed to the 3′ rolls of bitumen.

For this house in Andover we first removed the old 3-tab shingles that had been installed on the low slope roof. 3-tab shingles can no longer be used on the North Shore due to building code that requires higher wind resistance. Also, the homeowner had reported instances of ice-damming, so a flat roof application was clearly the best choice in this case.

We added the ice and water underlayment first, which is also fireproof. The bitumen comes in rolls, which you can see in the photo below, and is applied with a torch as the material is unrolled. The combination makes for a thick and watertight covering; nothing is going to get through this roof! As with all our installations, we took extra care with the flashings around the skylight, stovepipe and chimney to prevent future leaks.

Choosing the right materials is only part of a successful roofing job. The quality of the installation is key to the durability of your new roof. Our roofers are experts not only in shingling, but also at installing low slope materials like torch down bitumen and EPDM. When you want the job done right, contact Duval Roofing.

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