Installing a Walkable Vinyl Membrane Roof System

Do you have a flat or low slope roof you would like to cook out on? People used to build wood decks on top of built-up roofs, E.P.D.M. (rubber) roofs, TPO membrane roofs, modified bitumen roofs, and even shingle roofs. These methods do work but are expensive and are difficult to deal with in cases where leaks pop up after installation.

To find and repair a leak, one must remove parts of the wood deck. This takes time and money. Also, puddles, moisture, and ponding water under the deck on top of the roof can cause fungus and vegetation growth which can damage the roof and deck. Never trap moisture!

An alternative to this old method is to install a walkable vinyl membrane roof system. The brand I recommend and have used for many years is Dec-k-ing. It serves as a waterproofing system, a roof, and a roof top patio. It is designed to handle regular abuse of people and pet traffic, furniture, grills, etc. It looks good too – coming in a variety of colors with a slip resistant textured surface.

Because of hot air welded seams, I have never seen one leak. If a vinyl membrane roof is damaged or cut, it is easy to repair by installing a patch which blends in pretty nicely for aesthetics. It can be installed on plywood or concrete smooth surfaces. This Dec-k-ing traffic roof membrane system should last 20 years. After that, a new membrane can be fully adhered right on top of it – no new disposal of old roofing will be necessary.

Make sure you hire a qualified roofer to install it. The technicians must be very skilled and able to not only put on a roof, but to install a vinyl floor as well. It must go down on a properly prepared surface so that characteristics of the substrate don’t telegraph through it, giving it a rough appearance. Substrate must have a slope to run water off. A one in twelve inch fall is fine. It comes in 40 and 60 mil thicknesses and is considered a fully adhered  single – ply membrane roof system.

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I like this stuff. I really do.

Robert Andrews II, President/Andrews Roofing                                                    

Roofing Work Safety

Most work related deaths are caused by falls or being run over or hit by heavy equipment, as per an O.S.H.A. inspector I talked to last month. The rule is that when working six feet or above the ground one must have fall protection. So, this would include pretty much all roofers all the time. The most common type used is a full body harness. Any good roofing contracting company will have a written safety program which thoroughly covers fall protection. Think about it, even a 1 story residential shingle roof has a 12-14 feet high eave. At the ridge it may be 25 feet or more. A fall from these heights would do some serious damage to the body. There are times when fall protection is not required. One could work on a flat or low slope roof even 50 feet high without it if the parapet wall is 42 inches tall for example.

Bottom line is this: whether a contractor is going to do shingles, metal, flat, single-ply membrane, built-up, commercial, residential,  industrial, roofing replacement or roof repairs for you, make sure they have a written safety program and they have workers’ compensation insurance in case something does happen.

Just about every other year I hear of a local roofer falling to his death. It happens. Be sure it doesn’t happen on your property.

Robert Andrews ll, President