Increasing life span of EPDM roof

 
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Old 09-25-2011, 09:20 AM   #1
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Increasing life span of EPDM roof


I am a property manager and I have a 170,000 +- sq ft building with an EPDM roof.

It is Omnova Genflex installed in 2002.

It is still in good shape but I fear that in the future it will dry out and start cracking like an old rubber tire. I would like that day to be as far as possible in the future.

I was wondering if there is a sure fire way to coat it with something that will preserve it and maybe make it a lighter color that will reduce the heat load in the summer.

I am skeptical of manufacturers claims. I would prefer advice from people familiar with EPDM roof maintenance.

There is an area in one corner that is low and has a puddle there most of the time. I haven't decided what to do about it but I was thinking of a roof drain.

Thanks to Google satellite images, here is the roof:



Any suggestions?


Last edited by workahallick; 09-26-2011 at 10:30 AM.
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:10 AM   #2
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Re: Increasing life span of EPDM roof


I am shocked I have not had to many property managers proactive about their roofs!

EPDM will not dry out and crack like a tire per say. It will weather away and become thinner over the life span.

How long of a warranty do you have? I ask this because using anything other then the manufactures coating will void the warranty so that limits your options.

The low spot will need to be taken care of in some way. I would not want any standing water on the coating. 24 hours max the less the better.

Now you have to find a company who will coat this building for you. As you will also get a warranty with the coating. The key here is preparation of the EPDM surface. There will be 9 years of the chalky build up that needs to be removed.

A coating should give you another 5-10 years of roof life and as you said will lower your heat load in the summer. I would search around to find the best contractor you can find. not the cheapest. If the prep is not done correctly then it will be a total waste of money no matter how good of a product you put on.
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Old 09-26-2011, 10:29 AM   #3
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Re: Increasing life span of EPDM roof


It had a 10 year guarantee but I can't find the installer.

I see the coating costs over $200 per bucket and each bucket coats about 200 sq ft so I am looking at at least $17000 for the coating alone unless a pro can buy it for less in bulk.

I don't trust the manufacturers claims. They are saying it can last 40 to 50 years.

I guess the best thing to do is wait until it shows signs of age. Right now I can still see some white powder [unlees that is the chalky buildup you mentioned] and markings on the surface like a new innertube.

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Old 09-27-2011, 09:31 AM   #4
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Re: Increasing life span of EPDM roof


FWIW I am a GenFlex certified roofing contractor and I have never seen a 50 year specification from any EPDM manufacturer. I beelive the longst EPDM spec from Genflex may be only 20 years, while others have 30 year specs. I don't think I've ever seen a 40 year EPDM spec.

The epdm material will sit in a land fill when our kids are being burried. Yes the membrane will weather away past a point of useful life, however that's goign to be 20-30 years after installation. The failure point of an EPDM roof is primarily the seams and penetrations.

We do a couple jobs each year where we "restore the seams and penetrations" on an EPDM roofing system. I will then issue a warranty of my own on the job. Many manufacturers will also issue a warranty on a seam restoration.

We have done out seam restorations with elastomeric, but also with EPDM cover tape and flashing membrane. Quite honestly I prefer epdm restorations with epdm material. However this does nothing to revitalize the field of the roof. One thing you must be aware of, once you coat the roof, the new roof is the coating, the EPDM is just the substrate. Any future repairs will have to be performed with material compatible with the elastomeric. As for the low spot, the water will destroy an acrylic elastomeric, when ever there is a puddle area and we are coating a roof, at least that area will be treated with urethane or SEBS elastomeric. I personally dislike acrylic elastomeric and almost always opt for the SEBS.


You say you were issued a 10 year warranty on the job. There are 3 basic warraties/guarantees on a commercial roof. 1) the material defect warranty. 2) the roofing contractors workmanship warranty/guarantee. 3) a manufacturer total system warranty sometimes called a No Dollar Limit (NDL).

I bring this up because you may have been issued a NDL, in which case the manufacturer is on the hook. Then again you may have been issued a material defect warranty in which case would have nothing to do with leaks.


My advice, contact the manufacturer and see what kind of warranty you have.
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Old 09-27-2011, 01:45 PM   #5
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Re: Increasing life span of EPDM roof


Yeah first step is to find out if you have a manufacture warranty or contractor warranty. If its a contractor warranty you can do what ever you please if the contractor is no longer around.

As far as a white build up I would assume you are talking about the talcum power that is on the 20' wide folded sheets. The caulk build up in talking about is black crawl around on your knee's in jeans, you will see what I mean. Im just kidding don't do this as it will never wash out of clothes. rub your fingers on it, if they turn black that is what im talking about.

40-50 years in never going to happen.

30 year max for EPDM
GAF TPO has a 35 year.

Some PVC's have "lifetime"

I would assume you have a 10 year total system warranty. What paper do you have that has the warranty on it? It will say what type of warranty it is and you can also call Genflex if your not sure.
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Old 09-28-2011, 07:09 AM   #6
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Re: Increasing life span of EPDM roof


The warranty is on a fancy printed card with Genflex in one corner and Omniflex in the other. It says 10 year membrane only for commercial buildings.

Then there is another workmanship guarantee but the contractor has moved and I can't find a company with that name. Any way, it don't leak.

The roof does have some dirt on it that washes off easily. It is not like smut that is hard to wash off. So I assume the white powdery look is from when it was new. You can still see some markings on it. If so, it has a long way to go before it wears out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1985gt View Post
Yeah first step is to find out if you have a manufacture warranty or contractor warranty. If its a contractor warranty you can do what ever you please if the contractor is no longer around.

As far as a white build up I would assume you are talking about the talcum power that is on the 20' wide folded sheets. The caulk build up in talking about is black crawl around on your knee's in jeans, you will see what I mean. Im just kidding don't do this as it will never wash out of clothes. rub your fingers on it, if they turn black that is what im talking about.

40-50 years in never going to happen.

30 year max for EPDM
GAF TPO has a 35 year.

Some PVC's have "lifetime"

I would assume you have a 10 year total system warranty. What paper do you have that has the warranty on it? It will say what type of warranty it is and you can also call Genflex if your not sure.
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:45 AM   #7
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Re: Increasing life span of EPDM roof


OK so they only cover the membrane its self. No details/seams anything else. This warranty wont cover much and basically is void for walking on the roof. So Coat it if you want. you have what a year left anyway?
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Old 09-28-2011, 11:57 AM   #8
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Re: Increasing life span of EPDM roof


Membrane only is membrane only. You do not have a "no leak" guarantee from genflex.

Realistically you should have all your roofs on some sort of maintenance program. The EPDM material will last up to 30 years, but the roof details should be inspected periodically. I usually recommend twice annually, if nothing else we ensure the drainage is open and not blocked. I have seen blocked drains and blocked gutters turn roofs into swimming pools.

Realistically speaking though, it becomes of more and more importance after the roof has aged 10 years. Any roof should never be considered maintenance free. Seams will begin to fail, penetrations will begin to fail, and there may be some non warranted damage as well. This can be animal damage, bullet holes (from people firing straight up into the air), hail damage, parts falling off air planes, rocks and satellites crashing into the atmosphere... Sounds odd? But all of this stuff can and does happen.

Although it is recommended you have a competant roofing contractor perform this inspection, it's not a must. You or your maintenance staff if properly trained can do it yourselves. Make sure to document each inspection and repair. This documentation is actually a requirement of some manufacturer extended NDL warranties, so it's a good habit to get into.
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:00 PM   #9
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Re: Increasing life span of EPDM roof


I am a warranty trained Conklin Roofing Systems applicator. I would recomend doing an adhesion test first. If it passes, most likely it will, we can move forward with the EPDM Coating System. We start out power washing with our special soap called WACII, then apply Tac Coat over the roof area, apply base coat and Spunflex, a stretchy reinforcing mesh, to all of the field applied seams, then apply Rapid Roof III top coat at 2 gallons per 100 sq/ft. Where are you located???
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Old 09-28-2011, 10:01 PM   #10
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Re: Increasing life span of EPDM roof


We would need to determine the proper action to take on the ponding areas.
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