Planning for Your Spring Roofing Project

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Spring is just around the corner, which means it’s time to start thinking about your commercial roofing needs for the upcoming season. Whether you’re looking to repair a damaged roof or replace an outdated one, proper planning, and preparation are key to ensuring a successful project.

Here are some tips to help you plan for your spring commercial roofing project: 

  1. Assess your roof’s condition. Before you start any roofing project, it’s important to assess the current condition of your roof – especially after a long Michigan winter. This can include inspecting for any damage, leaks, or other issues that may need to be addressed before your project can begin.
  2. Set your budget. Work with the appropriate parties on your team to determine how much your business can spend on its upcoming roofing project. Costs to consider include the cost of materials, labor, permits, and any other expenses that may be associated with the project. During budget planning, consider consulting a certified tax specialist to learn about the number of ways to deduct your new roofing system from your taxes immediately.
  3. Contact a qualified commercial roofing company immediately. Once you know your facility needs and budget, contact a qualified commercial roofing company like Springfield to begin conversations about your project immediately. Qualified roofing companies, especially those with a long history of satisfied customers, typically begin booking jobs before the season begins. To ensure your project is completed safely, efficiently, and timely, start a dialogue with a qualified company as soon as possible.
  4. Choose the right materials. When it comes to commercial roofing, there are a variety of materials to choose from. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so choosing the one that best fits your needs and budget is important. Springfield offers a number of re-roof solutions that are designed to fit and serve your business.
  5. Plan for maintenance. Once your project is complete, the work isn’t over. It’s important to plan for ongoing maintenance to keep your roof in good condition. This includes regular inspections, cleaning, debris removal, and repairs as needed. Springfield can work with you to create a maintenance program that suits your business needs – and provides emergency response for urgent roofing problems.

By planning ahead, you can get the most out of your investment and keep your building safe and secure for years to come. At Springfield, we know every roof is different. Our team of experts is standing by to design a perfect, custom solution for your building – contact us today to get started.

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3 Tips to Prepare Your Commercial Roof for Spring

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It’s no secret that America’s beloved (and definitely qualified) groundhog meteorologist saw his shadow and winter is here for a bit longer than we all might enjoy. However, it’s time to start thinking warm thoughts and preparing your commercial roof for spring. Consider these three tips as you head into preparing your business for those warmer months. 

Springfield Tip #1: Conduct a Thorough Inspection

Before starting any work, it’s important to conduct a safe and thorough inspection of your commercial roof to identify any areas that may be prone to debris accumulation. Once you’ve identified these areas, you will need to determine if you can safely remove the debris and/or clear drainage systems to ensure proper water flow. 

Springfield Tip #2: Clearing Debris 

Damp leaves are putting your commercial flat roof and drainage system at risk. If you can safely remove debris that may have accumulated over the winter months, you should do so. Winter debris, such as leaves, branches, and other various items, can block your drainage systems and cause water to accumulate on your commercial roof. If left unchecked, this can often lead to leaks, water damage, and even structural damage. 

Springfield Tip #3: Address Any Damage

At Springfield, we always say, “A well-maintained roof lasts twice as long as those that do not.” It’s no secret that Northern Michigan winters are tough on your commercial roof between the elements and temperature fluctuation. Even the smallest moisture in just the tiniest place can cause severe damage if left unattended. Repair any leaks and address any issues with flashing or other roofing components – your roof (and wallet) will thank you. 

While these tips are a great way to spring into seasonal roof maintenance, nothing beats a professional inspection. Springfield understands the problems that can be caused by a Michigan winter, and more importantly, can identify potential issues that may have gone unnoticed. Call our team today to see how our roofing experts will ensure your roof is in good condition and ready to withstand the challenges of the upcoming season. 

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Trocal PVC roofing

Commercial Roofing Highlight: Trocal PVC

What is PVC Roofing?

PVC roofing (PolyVinyl Chloride) is a single-ply roofing system primarily found on flat or low-sloped commercial/industrial roofs. PVC membranes fall into a broader category of thermoplastic membranes. PVC roofing systems originated in 1966 from a German company called Trocal. While Trocal was the first to market, their systems were plagued with problems that modern formulas like those created by Duro-Last® don’t experience.

The Trocal Roofing System was extremely popular in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but proved costly when it began to fail prematurely due to plasticizer loss. Once PVC plasticizer evaporates, the membrane becomes brittle and shrinks, causing failure in multiple ways.

Trocal PVC Roofing Problems:

Shrinking (and Brittle)

As this obsolete PVC roofing material shrinks and becomes tighter, it pulls on the edge detail and either pulls itself off of the edge of the building, or fails under its own force and shatters. Many roofs exhibit this type of failure.

Outdated PVC membrane shrinkage often pulls the material away from the edges causing “tenting” along the walls. The force of the shrinking material can even cause the top course (row) of block to become broken and dislodged.

Discoloration and a distinct change in the texture of this PVC roof membrane provide evidence of complete plasticizer loss. When this occurs, the material pulls very tight on the fixed points of the roof and eventually results in a catastrophic failure.

Pressure Points

Roof penetration flashings, most notably the corners, are frequently made from a much weaker material that can be easily bent around a corner.

As the Trocal system shrinks, it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the fixed points, such as HVAC units, and easily pulls the corners apart. Many unit and pipe flashings fail in this way.

Ballast Problems

Some installations of a PVC roof membrane involve a ballast weight such as river rock. Suspected leaks on a ballasted roof can be difficult to locate. With ballasted PVC roof repairs, removing ballast to locate the leak runs a risk of causing additional leaks.

Over the years, freeze/thaw cycles frequently caused the once smooth river rock to break into jagged, sharp blades. The weight from snow and foot traffic can push these sharp rocks into the Trocal membranes and cause punctures.

For these reasons, roof ballast is best positioned as the method of last resort for membranes. When mechanical fasteners or adhesives are not possible, then it is best suited.

After a Trocal PVC failure

We’ve helped numerous customers that had painful experiences with Trocal PVC roofing that’s failed. We understand the frustrations and fears associated with the failures.

Some customers are apprehensive about trying a PVC roofing solution after having a painful experience with a failed Trocal PVC membrane. Plenty of customers felt this way. What they found was that Trocal didn’t have the technology and chemistry right to prevent plasticizer loss when their roof was installed.

Process and technology have changed in the 21st century. While Duro-Last® has best-in-class warranties starting at 15 years, we have roofs that are 25+ years old that are still performing well with regular maintenance.

Our Best Recommendation

For a permanent, warranted solution, we recommend installing a complete mechanically-fastened Springfield SmartRoof™ System. SmartRoof™ utilizes custom-fabricated Duro-Last® PVC roofing far superior to the problematic Trocal systems, and even other modern PVC systems. Duro-Last® PVC is formulated and tested to withstand harsh sunlight without losing its plasticizer.

The Springfield SmartRoof™ System is entirely maintenance free.* Certified Springfield technicians will install this system, and completed in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. It will be 100% inspected by the Springfield Team, and then by an inspector from the manufacturer. The manufacturer will then award a full 20-year warranty, which is the best on the market.

Springfield Smart Roof*Annual inspections and debris removal are recommended and included at no charge for the first two years of your roof’s life. These inspections help us track the performance of your roofing system and also keep abreast of any new developments that could occur over time. Please contact your Project Manager to schedule your inspections.

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Modified Bitumen (MOD) roofing

Commercial Roofing Highlight: Modified Bitumen (MOD) Roofing Systems

Modified Bitumen (MOD) roofing systems are a petroleum-based roofing system in which mastics are heated to a liquid state, applied to felt, and then bundled into rolls which are either mopped or torched onto the roof substrate.

Common Problems

Any petroleum based roofing system is constantly curing. The solvents that keep it pliable are continually evaporating. Exposure to ponding water and UV radiation accelerate this process. In a MOD, when the solvents evaporate, the layers begin to delaminate; the system shrinks, cracks, and blisters.

Standing Water

Standing water is a very adverse condition for a MOD as the presence of water dramatically accelerates the curing process, and also attacks the seams. If the existing roof deck is not sloped appropriately or if there is no tapered insulation system to promote positive drainage, the existence of standing water will shorten the lifespan of the roof.

One indication that water has penetrated the membrane of a modified bitumen roofing system is the appearance of “blisters” on the roof’s membrane.

Edges and Flashings

MOD is a very rigid roofing system, and installers need great care and skill to effectively waterproof a horizontal to vertical transition. Even in well-installed systems, the details are frequently compromised by building movement and seam failure.

With a MOD, penetration flashings are commonly problematic. This is primarily due to the use of rigid and dissimilar materials to make this critical transition. As the mastic used to seal the seams in the MOD ages, it loses its ability to absorb the building movement pulls it apart.

Our Best Recommendation

For a permanent, warranted solution, we recommend installing a complete mechanically-fastened Springfield SmartRoof™ System.

The Springfield SmartRoof™ System is entirely maintenance free.* Certified Springfield technicians will install this system, and completed in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. It will be 100% inspected by the Springfield Team, and then by an inspector from the manufacturer. The manufacturer will then award a full 20-year warranty, which is the best on the market.

Springfield Smart Roof*Annual inspections and debris removal are recommended and included at no charge for the first two years of your roof’s life. These inspections help us track the performance of your roofing system and also keep abreast of any new developments that could occur over time. Please contact your Project Manager to schedule your inspections.

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Exposed Fastener Metal Roof

Commercial Roofing Highlight: Exposed Fasteners Metal Roof

Pre-engineered metal buildings are often constructed with a fluted-steel roof deck which is a Metal roof with exposed fasteners. In this configuration, the metal acts as the waterproofing layer fastened to the purlins with exposed fasteners.

Exposed fasteners rely on the integrity of a gasket at every fastener to prevent water penetration. Many fastening points means many possible points of possible/eventual failure. Often, failure accelerates by UV degradation of this seal.

Maintenance is extraordinarily critical on this type of roof. Sometimes maintenance leads to removing/replacing all of the fasteners and gaskets.

The Problem of Movement

With metal buildings, the roof panels can expand and contract up to 3/8” with variations in temperature, putting a tremendous amount of pressure on the exposed fasteners. Also, metal buildings flex and move a great deal due to the wind. As the panels work back and forth, fasteners loosen and do not hold the metal panels firmly in place, creating an opportunity for leaks. A majority of these fasteners then lose their neoprene washer.

Aging and Leaking

When metal roofing systems age, penetration flashings are notoriously problematic. As the seams age, gaskets become brittle and shrink, eventually opening seams to the elements. Attempts to remedy this deficiency by applying different types of roofing mastic to the penetrations don’t prove successful for the long term. Each subsequent layer of mastic becomes increasingly less effective as it relies on the previous mastic application to adhere to the flashing.

Insulation and Ice

On these types of buildings, a great deal of heat escapes through the roof because of the building’s insufficient insulation. This leads to severe ice buildup in the winter. In addition to the ice problem, the inadequate insulation also causes the heating bills to be much higher than if the building was adequately insulated.

Damage and Hazard

As the heat escapes through the decking, it causes any accumulated snow to melt. The snowmelt runs down the roof to the eave, which is outside the exterior wall and below freezing. The water freezes and creates an ice dam which continues to grow as more water runs down the roof. As water builds up behind the ice dam, it begins to flow into the fastener holes and between panels that are missing mastic. This causes water to leak into the building and run down the inside of the wall. The ice, along with attempts to remove it, typically cause severe damage to the roof edge.

Under the Roof

Internal condensation is also a concern, as the metal deck is much colder than the air inside the building. As the warm moist air rises, it condenses on the underside of the roof deck (ceiling) and drips into the insulation and room below. Water damage and mold concerns are natural consequences.

Our Best Recommendation

For a permanent, warranted solution, we recommend installing a complete mechanically-fastened Springfield SmartRoof™ System.

The Springfield SmartRoof™ System is entirely maintenance free.* Certified Springfield technicians will install this system, and completed in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. It will be 100% inspected by the Springfield Team, and then by an inspector from the manufacturer. The manufacturer will then award a full 20-year warranty, which is the best on the market.

Springfield Smart Roof*Annual inspections and debris removal are recommended and included at no charge for the first two years of your roof’s life. These inspections help us track the performance of your roofing system and also keep abreast of any new developments that could occur over time. Please contact your Project Manager to schedule your inspections.

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Commercial Roofing Highlight: EPDM Roofing

What is EPDM Roofing?

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) is a petroleum-based “rubber” or ethylene, propylene, dione monomer.

EPDM Roofing System Problems:

Improper installation

EPDM is a popular choice in the industry because it can be purchased by a licensed installer with a warranty or it can be purchased by anyone at a big-box store.

The improper installation often leads to seam failure, adhesive failure, or both. Depending on how your EPDM roof was installed, the resulting leaks may be difficult to locate. EPDM systems are installed in one (or a combination) of three ways:

  • Ballasted system – smooth river rock or concrete pavers are installed to hold the roofing in place.
  • Mechanically attached – membranes are anchored using plates or strips to affix the roofing to the deck.
  • Fully adhered – the EPDM is bonded to the insulation, which itself is typically mechanically fastened.

Shrinking

Put simply; shrinking also leads to leaks. EPDM is a petroleum-based product that is continuously curing. Once all of the solvents are evaporated, the membrane becomes brittle, shrinks, weakens, and loses its elasticity. Additionally, EPDM seams are joined with either liquid adhesive or seam tape. Exposure to water will eventually erode the seams, so great care must be taken to keep them dry.

As the EPDM shrinks, it puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the fixed points and easily pulls the corners apart. Many unit and pipe penetration flashings have failed in this way.

Maintenance

While every roof should be inspected (ideally annually to catch problems early), old seams will need to be repaired/sealed in as little as 5-7 years to keep your service life. Due to the EPDM system’s reliance on adhesives, seam failure is an eventual maintenance item regardless of the quality of the original installation.

Heat

While EPDM is available in different colors, one of the most commonly installed is black. On hot, sunny summer days, the black, non-reflective EPDM roofing can be as much as 100 degrees hotter than the air temperature. As the heat increases, it is absorbed into the building making it more difficult and expensive to keep the inside at a comfortable temperature. It also increases the wear and tear on the HVAC equipment, reducing its useful life.

Other common factors

Early installations of EPDM commonly included utilizing a wood fiber insulation board. If leaks occur and allow water to enter the roof system, this leads to saturated wood fiberboard. This leads to adhesive failure and wood fiberboard degradation and compression, which in turn can lead to fasteners eventually puncturing the waterproofing layer.

Ballast Problems

About a third of all EPDM roofing installations use the ballast method. It features fast coverage at a relatively low cost. Over the years, freeze/thaw cycles have caused even smooth river rock to break into jagged, sharp blades. The weight from snow and foot traffic can push these sharp rocks into the EPDM and cause punctures. Ballast can also make leaks more difficult to detect and fix quickly.

Our Best Recommendation

For a permanent, warranted solution, we recommend installing a complete mechanically-fastened Springfield SmartRoof™ System.

The Springfield SmartRoof™ System is entirely maintenance free.* Certified Springfield technicians will install this system, and completed in strict accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. It will be 100% inspected by the Springfield Team, and then by an inspector from the manufacturer. The manufacturer will then award a full 20-year warranty, which is the best on the market.

Springfield Smart Roof*Annual inspections and debris removal are recommended and included at no charge for the first two years of your roof’s life. These inspections help us track the performance of your roofing system and also keep abreast of any new developments that could occur over time. Please contact your Project Manager to schedule your inspections.

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