Summer Roofing Projects
By Robert G. Wilkin, P.E.
While the replacement of a roofing membrane can technically be performed at any time of year, weather is a critical factor in planning for reroofing.
Most roofing work is done in the summer months in New England, if possible, to minimize the difficulties in dealing with the effects of the cold on the roofing materials and the substrates, not to mention snow, ice, and worker productivity.
Summer roofing is also weather dependent and the possibilities of showers popping up needs to be carefully monitored. Web based weather information can be an excellent aid for monitoring and predicting for showers and inclement weather conditions.
Roofers are usually aware of this possibility and the need to plan ahead. Tarps or extra roofing membrane sheets should be handy to protect the open roof area if an unexpected shower should occur. It is also important not to open more roof than can be protected and completed by the end of the same day. The roof should never be left open overnight.
Roofers generally leave the existing roofing flashing in place while installing the new roofing membrane and use it as a counter-flashing until the new roof flashing membrane can be installed and made weather-tight. On a recent school project, the roofer did not counter-flash one of the fan curbs sufficiently and a storm came that night and flooded several classrooms. In that case, all resulting repairs are the sole responsibility of the Contractor, which makes for a very costly mistake.
A current summer roof job that CBI is working on is the repair of the roof at the Greater Lawrence Technical School in Andover, Massachusetts. The EPDM roofing was damaged in several areas during snow removal two winters ago. The roofing was patched temporarily to stop the leaks but more permanent solutions were required to maintain the active warranty. Rather than replacing all of the damaged areas, an infrared roof survey was performed to identify the areas below the roofing that contained wet insulation to identify where the full roofing system needed to be replaced.
The damaged wet areas that were identified were removed to the deck and replaced with all new materials. At the dry areas, the damaged membrane was cleaned with an EPDM membrane cleaner and was covered with new EPDM membrane. During the project we arranged with the roofing manufacturer to have the same roofer perform repairs to the defective edge metal under the watertight warranty. We also replaced the EPDM covering on a gable wall, which had been blown loose in a storm and we added access ladders between roof levels to make it easier for the maintenance personnel to access the roofs.