Roof replacement


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Roof replacement

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We are looking to replace our roof.  We have received about 5 bids for both foam and membrane.  I am looking for input to which is a better choice.  The property is located in in Hollywood. 

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  • Hello,

    Your post caught my interest.  I am a Marketing Coordinator at Tecta America, we have an office that performs roof replacement along with a variety of other roofing solutions near you.  Do you have a direct line that we could use to follow up with you?  If you'd like some more information on our company - Tecta America, feel free to visit us on the web:



  • By foam I assume you mean the spray on foam application.  If that is the case then I have the following to say:

    Birds love to eat the foam material.  Sounds crazy but that is what I have seen in the 3 spray foam roofs that I have experience with.  THe foam does not like foot traffic so you need to think about how much mechanical service is performed on your roof.  You also need to be sure the roof deck is in good shape as once you apply the foam you will have a tough time making any repairs to the deck material.  Foam does not seem to seal very well against another foam application, so you need to be sure what ever roof surface you are working on gets totally covered during the same application.  If water gets under the foam the foam can float just like a boat dock.  If you ever decided to replace the foam roof you will regret ever having installed it as it is such a pain to get off the deck material and to get rid of.  You will need a recycling firm that can handle the foam material as sending it to a landfill is not a good idea.  

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  • As the director of a large roofing / general contracting firm, I would highly recommend membrane. We love foam - repairs and damages to foam roofs account for 30% of our revenue. The history and tech advances of membranes are remarkable. Consider this: hazmat waste is placed in pits lined with membranes - best way to protect the environment. Mining companies spray cyanide on tailings that are placed on membranes to keep the chemicals out of the ground system. Foam cannot be used for any serious protection purposes. Price difference should be negligible. Find yor local IB Roof Systems installer, check out the latest in membranes.
  • A few years back I had a shrinkage/cracking/leaking experience with a urethane-silicone spray-on roof, but I'd guess the industry has fixed that curing problem by now. Trust but verify. When it doesn't behave badly, the spray-on is better for complex roof surfaces than membrane.

     Martin Harris

  • is that hollywood cal or fl? I've good good experience with both foam and membrane roofs. the one real problem with foam is that unless its applied exactly right (most importantly, applied under the right weather conditions), you'll have recurrant problems, i.e., blistering, cracks, etc. membrane roofs, eg. Hydro Stop are good alternatives to extend the life of the roof usually, without a tear off cost (and more stuff to the landfill)

  • Numerous factors to consider in your choice....generally most will say that foam installation is better suited for dry, less humid areas ie AZ or NM, suggesting use of a membrane.  Another consideration is the roof top activities - if alot of mechanical and roof top traffic, modified bitumen membrane product probably better suited to handle this type of treatment.

    The contractors and manufacturers will typically push their product regardless  because most will perform on some level, however as the owner you should expect the maximum opportunity for the roof to meet or exceed its service life expectations/promises.


    Good luck


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  • Stay away from the sprayed foam.  Membrane is the way to go.  IF you have any questions I would be happy to answer them.  We do not work in that area so it would be impartial information.  You can check out our website at

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  • I am currently residing overseas, with great waterproofing education and experience, teaching and learning from building envelope consultants worldwide. I assume it is a wood roof for a single-family residential dwelling, as my experience and studies in the world of waterproofing made me work more with metal and concrete towers and commercial and entertainment structures.

    1. My varied experience and studies all point to the need to consider the replacement efficiency of your system. As others have pointed out, replacing foam is a costly pain.

    2. The next thing you need is to be able to readily repair or maintain the system if needed (without a bonded cover).

    2. Depending on cost, of course, I would try to go for a 20 or 30-yr systems or better (the best value engineering = initial cost divided by number of years of service), for that you need some independent verification (or test) to verify the service life.

    That is truly the best advice I can give you.



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  • I concur with some of your other replies. Stay away from the sprayed foam.  Membrane is the way to go. Depending on the amount of equipment on the roof and it's required service intervals will determine the type of membrane and it's relative thickness. No rooftop equipment or foot traffic, 45mil to 60mil PVC membrane. Some rooftop equipment and minimal foot traffic, 80mil PVC membrane or two ply modified asphalt membrane. Many roof top units and heavy foot traffic, Protected membrane w/ 60 mil PVC or two ply modified membrane with "T-clear" light weight pavers or concrete pavers as overburden/ballast. A structure analysis may have to be done prior to specifying either of the protected membrane roof systems.

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  • There are a variety of options available today. It's easy for someone that has one product or another to make disparaging comments about what they do not have or have the capability to install. If you are a contractor or manufacturer, you recommend the product of system that you have and shoot down the competition.

    This becomes even more complex when you consider the variety of systems that are actually available. Built-up (asphalt or coal tar pitch, smoooth or gravel), Modified Bitument (APP or SBS, mineral or smooth surface), Single-ply (EPDM, TPO, KEE, PVC, Hypalon, Ballasted, Mechanically Attached, Fully Adhered), Foam (Density of foam and coatings that can be acrylic, silicone, urethane or polyurea). Which one's best?

    First, you need to answer the question; Why do I need to replace this roof?

    Second, is it repairable?

    Third, is it restorable?

    If the answer no, then you have retrofit and replacement options along with all of the choices mentioned above.

    Existing construction and various design considerations are required. You have many questions that need to be answered to make an intelligent decision. If there were one perfect system available, all of the other systems wouldn't be on the market.

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  • Built up roofing covered with membrane and ballast has been around for 50 years or so,  covering built up roofing with a membrane and no ballast is still an upgraded version of the old technology.   Reality is, if you get a leak (and eventually all roofing systems do) with this type of application, the water can enter and travel considerable distance laterally before making its appearance inside.  My experience is, these penetration points can be ellusive and expensive to find.  

    From what I've seen, I believe spray on roofing technology is here to stay and gaining ground against an industry reluctant to let go of the old way of doing things.   There are lots of stories out there about spray on roofing that has been problematic over the years, but the Spray on roofers have heard these stories too, and grown from these challenges.   Currently, we are applying a spray-on roof to one of our facilities, and it is firm enough to walk on, has a UV resistant and reflective spray-on coating on top of the Foam application,   As part of the contract, the supplier will be training our maintenance staff in it's application and repair should we have any issues in the future. This way we have the in-house expertise to address any concerns that arise.  

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  • Both systems will have their good and bad points.  It really depends on the building use as to which may be a better choice.  The coating on the foam roofs will need to be maintained.  I believe they recommended recoating every five years or so.  Have you considered using a roofing consultant?

  • We have tried both.  The foarm solved a lot of problems when first installed, but the edges began to deteriorate much quicker the main part and this caused leaks.  We have been exclusively (except for new construction dictated by architecual design that required metal) membrane.  Recently we have been investigating Garland products as a replacement to our "rubber" roofs.  I do not know what the weather of California would do to either product and maybe without the freeze/thaws the edges of the foarm would hold up better.  I have seen foam solve a lot of problems in our area.  I know of no instance where a foam roof was replace with another foam one.  The foam for us was a medium term "cheap" fix to a problem and when we used it membrane was brand new and untested.  Our roof decks were not construsted to hold ballasted roofs which were the "in" thing when we tried foam.

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  • Your question has no quick and easy answer. First you must answer more questions (I may have left out a few more that could be asked).

    • What kind of roof deck do you have and what kind of shape is it in?
    • Are there different roof elevations and roof to wall flashings? If yes, what is the wall material?
    • Do you have interior drains or an exterior gutter?
    • Have building additions created any roof issues that could be corrected as part of the new roof design?
    • What is the existing roof and will it be completely removed?
    • How long do you want the new roof or repairs to last?
    • What is your budget?

    Asking "what kind of roof should I use" is like asking what kind of car/truck should I buy. What are you going to use the car/truck for, how much do you want to spend, etc.?

    Before you spend any money on a roof or roof repairs, you should consult with a construction expert with a good background in roofing. If you can find a good, unbiased roof consultant it would be beneficial to have someone evaluate your existing building/roof conditions before you spend money on a system that may not work for you or provide the performace and longevity you expect.

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