Friday, March 31, 2017

Roof Repair in Miami – The “Return”

Metal roofs are on the rise but tile roofs still dominate, so it makes sense that the most common roof repair in Miami is the “return”. The return is the area at the bottom of a valley which terminates up-slope from the eave. Return problems arise more often on tile roofs than their metal roof and shingle roof cousins.

Due to the inherent characteristics of tile roofs the most common roof repair in Miami is the “return” rebuild. I attribute this partly to the fact most tile setters are not roofers and do not always facilitate the free flow of rainwater off the roof. One misplaced bed of mortar in the return area offers plenty of opportunity for mistakes because of all the detail packed into that small area.

Tile Roof Flashings Often the Problem

As can be seen in the photos the return is the junction of three different flashings: the wall flashing, drip-edge and valley metal. They must be installed in that order and done correctly. One nail in the wrong place and . . . Each piece must be set in roof cement, or “bull”, and not just any roof cement. I have noticed many of these returns failing after ten years, or so, which suggest the use of cheap bull. Over time it degrades, loses some of its oils and shrinks. We always use high-quality modified flashing cement. Each piece must also be primed to ensure good adhesion of the underlayment material. The primer must be allowed to dry as the underlayment will not adhere to wet primer.  The underlayment must also be installed in the proper sequence with the flashings. It is easy to see why there are so many problems in this area when you consider all the variables.

Tile Roof Repair in Miami

This Altusa Clay tile roof repair in Miami was not big on square footage but, as is typical of returns, was quite labor intensive. First, roof tiles must be removed to expose all potential problems and facilitate the replacement of flashings and rotten wood. Then the valley metal is peeled back and portions of the wall flashing and drip-edge removed. As usual the bottom of this valley was rotten and required some wood deck replacement – pretty straightforward stuff, so far. The repair area is then dried in with 30 lb. felt and fastened by Code. One by one, each flashing is then evaluated and dealt with – first the wall flashing, then the drip-edge. Sometimes they are simply too short. They should extend half way under the valley metal. Next, before nailing down the valley metal, a synthetic self-adhered tile roof underlayment is installed from the bottom up into the valley area.

Then the valley metal is set in roof cement at the nail lines and nailed down. The underlayment installation can now be finished, the patch perimeter reinforced with bull/membrane and roof tile re-installed.

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Roofing Coating Before And After

 After roof coating and cleaning applications Roofer Mike shares the transformation of a roof in Miami Springs. The improvement in appearance is startling - when viewed from space! This maintenance project got a little personal – it’s his house.

I’ve posted roof coating articles here on Blogger, RoofingMiami Style, Facebook – everywhere – and I wanted to do something different.  When we recently picked out our new house I looked at it in aerial view on Google. It was dirty - a tile roof over the original house with a flat roof over the carport and another low slope roof over the master suite addition in the back. The tile roof was moderately dirty but both flat roofs appeared to be black from algae stains. Determined to practice what I preach, I set out to remedy the situation over the winter months before we got busy. Winter is best for roof coatings in the Miami area as it is also the dry season.

Good News: GAF Ruberoid

Both roofs were non-insulated Ruberoid systems but that’s where the similarities end. The carport and porch had an old fiberglass BUR with a Ruberoid Torch Smooth roof-over. Whoever torched it had done a good job but the aluminum roof coating they applied was almost completely gone. What appeared to be badly stained from space was really a bare modified roof. The good news was it was in fair enough condition to support a roof coating.
The addition in back was a white Ruberoid Mop Granule system, probably with two fiberglass ply-sheets mopped underneath – a good residential flat roof. By the amount of algae stains and condition of the modified cap I guessed it at about ten years old which is also good enough for an elastomeric coating. 

Roof Maintenance 101

Now, to see what I have leftover in the way of roof coatings. I had almost a full 5 gal bucket of Sealoflex Pink, a bucket of Sealoflex Finish and a bucket of Somay. Great!  Sealoflex is an excellent 3-coat elastomeric so I decided that was good for the addition. Somay is a quality acrylic roof coating and was fine for the porch and carport. With what was lying around I only needed to buy a few buckets more!

I pressure-washed both flat roofs and, while I was at it, cleaned the clay tile roof and sprayed it with Simix. Now I really get to see how long it lasts firsthand! Then a coat of Sealoflex Pink and two coats of Sealoflex Finish on the addition and two coats of Somay Mastic on the carport . . . voila!!

 The “before” photo was produced from a Google satellite shot with a Snipping Tool. I “sat” on the photo and this article until the satellite updated. The “after” shot cost me $18 from my good friends at Eagle View Technologies. You roofers should check them out. 

For more on elastomeric roof coating

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Metal Roof & Flat Roof in N. Miami Beach

This little metal roof in Miami-Dade County presented its fair share of challenges, including the complete replacement of the fascia and designing a flat roof to solve a permanent ponding situation. All the while we were paying particular attention to the steep-slope/low-slope transition.

The owner of this little house in North Miami Beach wanted to replace her old tile roof with a standing-seam metal roof. She gets it. More folks down here are catching on to metal roofing’s growing popularity. She also was looking for solutions to a ponding issue – I’ll just go ahead and call it a lake – that affected about half of the addition’s flat roof which wrapped around the original house. This is a typical problem here where the structure was designed dead flat but proved inadequate, sagged in the middle over the years and caused the formation of a massive pond.

There was also the issue of a leak at the transition between the tile roof and flat roof. This problem is all too common and is often caused by the tile setters starting the tile install exactly where the two roof planes meet. This places additional stress at a point which is inherently problematic to begin with. Tile setters are not always roofers so I am vigilant in telling my crews where to start. I prefer anywhere from 6” to 18” above the break to start any steep-slope system as long as it can’t be seen from the ground.

The back side of the flat roof was a lake so we filled it in with 1” perlite insulation and tapered it with 4’ x 12” x 1”- 0” tapered edge. This flat roof now dries completely, well within Miami-Dade 48-hour rule for excessive ponding. The system consists of two hot-mopped Gafglas#75 base sheets with a Ruberoid Mop Granule cap. It is coated with Karnak No. 97 aluminum roof coating to achieve a Class A fire rating. I like this system because it gives the owner a head start on a maintenance regimen, crucial for residential flat roofs, but that is for another article.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Roof Cleaning & Painting - Miami Springs

Roof Cleaning and Painting in Miami Springs, FlBefore we performed our roof cleaning service on this home in Miami Springs it was so black from algae growth that the actual color of the concrete tile was difficult to determine. The inherent energy efficiency of the tile roof was negated as it now absorbed the sun's rays, heating and aging the underlayment and raising temperatures inside.
We were called to provide an estimate for a roof
cleaning but upon inspection discovered an attached
 flat roof, a white Ruberoid system, that was equally black with algae stains.
This condition is all too common in Miami where there are many flat roofs over additions which often go neglected for the roof's entire life cycle. One can hardly blame homeowners, really, it is human nature - "Out of sight, out of mind". Roof salesmen hardly ever discuss maintenance of flat roofs and sometimes tout them as maintenance-free! I suppose they are, until they fail . . . No roof system benefits more from maintenance than a flat roof, the life expectancy of which can easily be doubled with the timely application of a quality elastomeric coating.

After cleaning the flat roof and applying two coats of elastomeric coating it was now brilliant white. This will greatly reduce temperatures inside, cooling costs and the load on the air conditioning system while extending the life of the flat roof.
Ideally this roof cleaning and roof painting should have been done sooner but it is good to know homeowners in places like Miami Springs are more aware of energy
efficiency and the benefits of roof maintenance.

By Michael Slattery


Monday, March 17, 2014

Roof Coating Miami – Pinecrest, Fl

This “before” shot of a roof coating job near Miami in Pinecrest, Fl. was taken after an extensive roof cleaning, so you can imagine how dirty it was before the algae stains were removed.  Flat roofs benefit from maintenance more than any other residential system and should be inspected every year. We offer FREE yearly inspections to all residents in our service area.

Roof Coatings In Miami, Fl.
In general, the life cycle of a flat roof is proportionate to the degree it is maintained. Particular attention must be given to the buildup of debris which can eventually rot the roof membrane or clog roof drains, which can prove disastrous. Excessive standing water, or “ponding”, can also cause problems and shorten the roof’s life expectancy. Excessive ponding, as defined by Miami-Dade County, is any water that doesn’t evaporate after 48 hours. This criteria is flawed as a flat roof in Miami could be submerged for most of the summer, so we have adopted a 24 hour standard for our low-slope applications.

The application of elastomeric roof coatings is the most effective maintenance practice for low-slope roofs. These coatings slow the aging
process of flat roofs and increase a home’s
energy efficiency by blocking solar radiation.

Roofer Mike Inc has extensive experience in the application of acrylic, polyurethane, and silicone roof coatings in water based and solvent based formulas. Solvent-based coatings tend to be much more expensive and must be used where ponding conditions are present. Water based coatings are used on flat roofs with good drainage, metal roofs and even tile roofs but should not be applied to shingle roofs.

This flat roof in Pinecrest turned out great after we applied two generous coats of Somay Roof Mastic, a high-quality acrylic coating from a local manufacturer formulated for tropical climates. This application comes with our 5-year workmanship warranty.

The South Florida roofing market features many local and national manufacturers of elastomeric roof coatings. From economy coatings to pro-grade, there is a coating for almost any budget. Roofer Mike Inc is 
familiar with all of them and can recommend 
the best product for a customer’s needs.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Roof Repair On "Crickets" In Miami-Dade

 This roof repair involved two "crickets" in western Miami-Dade County in the middle of a concrete tile roof. Crickets are water diverters commonly found behind chimneys or, as in this case, structures designed to transfer water from one roof area to another.

These areas were created as part of the design of the front of the house to create an aesthetic and detail. The upper cricket is a flat area where two opposing roof planes meet and is an acceptable design. They are flashed using conventional methods. Often architects will terminate a roof plane at a vertical wall, a "dead valley", as in the lower area where the cricket itself was never built. This is simply a bad design but something roofers must deal with. In this case we tore out all roof materials to the wood deck and installed a cricket with a slight pitch to the next sloped roof area. We installed 5”x 7” metal base flashings and stucco-stop, GAF  #75 base sheet and torched a layer of GAF Ruberoid Torch Granule.
Ruberoid is an ideal material for addressing cricket areas.

Tile Roof Repair On Cricket In Miami, Fl.
We installed new metal flashings from the lower cricket, up-slope to the upper cricket and torched Ruberoid over that as well. Then we put the tile back and as an extra reinforcement applied two coats of GAF Topcoat Surface Seal to the lower cricket especially, in consideration of the volume of water it tolerates. 

by Michael Slattery

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Torching a Flat Roof With Roofer Mike in Miami

The infamous Miami-Dade tin-cap pattern

Flat roofing project in Miami Springs, FL.
Tear off, dry in & torch - one motion

I was all over this flat roof project in Miami Springs as it posed some serious problems and I wanted to make sure it was done right.

This flat roof had a huge ponding area in the middle of its L shape and also on each of three other connected additions as well. Because there were four separate ponding areas on one flat roof I advised the owner not to attempt correcting them with insulation as the previous roofers had attempted - what a mess. Building up one area only created a problem in another. This called for drastic measures. The additions caused the original flat roof to be the low spot into which they all drained. Therefore, a retrofit drain would be the only real solution. 

Drastic But Simple Roofing System

To achieve 100% positive drainage tapered insulation would have been built up at least 4-5 inches to drain this roof and would have cost the client a fortune. We installed two layers of Gafglas #75 base sheet and torched a ply of GAF Ruberoid torch granule for the cap - a simple, effective and moderately priced base roofing system.

When it quits raining in another couple months we'll install that retrofit drain at the deepest spot and apply a solvent-based Sealoflex application to the whole thing. It'll be fine . .

Update 7/8/2017
Roofer Mike on Flat Roof in Miami Springs
Roofer Mike Staying Sharp!
Sealoflex is a fine system for its price range but the new King of roof coatings is GACO ROOF since it became MDC approved for residential BURs over wood decks. It previously was approved for commercial applications on sprayed polyurethane systems. It is the only elastomeric roof coating to offer a warranty against permanent ponding water. Excessive ponding is defined by Miami-Dade County as any water still standing 48 hours after it rains. BTW, that is a 50-year warranty, people!

Ran into the client for this project and he is pleased. The only thing that made me nervous about this one was the drain. A retrofit in-roof drain requires plumbing to install the PVC pipe in the roof structure and run it out to the roof's edge. I highly suggest the hiring of a plumber for this critical part of an otherwise simple solution to a ponding problem.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Miami Roofers Tarp a Flat Roof

In Miami roofers face a daunting task whenever they must replace a flat roof in the middle of rainy season. Many of these are backyard residential low-slope roofs tied in to a sloped roof - usually a concrete or clay tile roof - creating problems when protecting the home. To avoid a catastrophic flooding of the house during a low-slope replacement we follow these basic steps. Two rules of thumb I’ve picked up over the years when dealing with flat roofs in Miami can be summed up like this: plan ahead and don’t be cheap!!

Pick the right day to tear off the roof. Give yourself the best possible chance to have a day free of the drama that comes with having a flat roof half torn off in the face of a fast-approaching thunderstorm. I simply will not open a roof when rain chances are 40% or more. This is all an exercise in patience not only for you but the customer who should be briefed on the importance of choosing the right day.

Tearing off , drying in & torching - be ready 
Remove roof tiles in advance of the tear-off at the tie-in. Usually we tear off two rows of tile to accommodate the tie-in. When the flat roof is complete we put one row back, ensuring we’ll have enough. This can be time-consuming so it is helpful to have it done in advance.

Make the cut at the tie-in right away. On the morning of the tear-off the cut should be made 18” – 24” above the break at the slope transition. Explore the tie-in area and find where the existing tin-caps are. They are typically installed in rows so if the cut is made immediately above a row there will be plenty of free space to slide in the base sheet for a head-lap of at least 4” or, when necessary, a tarp. Once a flat roof has been significantly torn off there is no choice but to tarp it when a thunderstorm pops up – be ready. Having a phone that will give you real-time animated radar shots is mandatory – you must to be able to see the storm coming.

Tarped flat roof - didn't spill a drop . . .
Use a good tarp – blue won’t do!! When buying a tarp there are basically two rules. RULE 1: DON’T BE CHEAP!! Tarps are color-coded, blue tarps are light duty (5-6 mil) and a too thin to trust here. They puncture easily and that is a disaster on a flat roof full of water. I like the silver tarps. At 12 mils they are heavy duty and UV resistant so you can get more use out of them. RULE 2: DON’T BE CHEAP!! Make sure you buy a tarp big enough to extend over the eaves. The roof shown here was L-shaped so we used two tarps with a 3 foot lap. Placing 2 x 4s under the lap and weighing the tarp down on each side has worked well for me.

I know, the big orange box and roof suppliers have mostly blue tarps and heavy duty tarps are hard to find with a limited selection. has all the tarps you can possibly imagine at great prices with fast and free shipping. With a little planning you can always have the right tarp for the job.

By Michael R. Slattery


<a href="">HyperSmash</a>

Monday, August 19, 2013

Clay Tile Roof Repair in Miami Springs

This clay tile roof repair we just finished in Miami Springs is typical of the roofing contractor services we provide at Roofer Mike Inc. Clay tile roofs are common in the Miami, Fl. area but present challenges when making repairs. They are dense and therefore brittle so care must be taken when removing and walking on them. Yes, there is a correct way to walk on a tile roof.

Clay Tile Roof In Miami Springs
Tile roof repair with new valley metal
This roof was only 12 years old and the leaks were originating from the valley, indicating workmanship defect. Three types of metal flashing converge at the bottom of this valley – typical – and they must be done correctly or will eventually leak. Flashings should be coated with asphalt primer to ensure adhesion of the underlayment .The flashings must also be set in flashing cement. If regular cement is used it will shrink, dry out, shrink and cause the flashings to fail over time, usually 10-15 years. We use top quality modified cement for all our roof repairs and replacements. Flashings must be nailed down and nails improperly driven or placed incorrectly will cause leaks.
When there are multiple leaks in one valley with so many things possibly gone wrong underneath we always advocate a complete rebuild – rotten wood replaced, new flashings, new valley metal and Tarco PS 200 tile underlayment which is superior to the centuries old hot-mop method. Roof tiles are attached with polyurethane foam which is foolproof compared to mortar.

Tile Roof Repair in Miami
Tile roof repair complete - almost

As with all our roof repairs this job comes with a 3-year warranty, triple the industry standard. How can we do that, you might ask? We don’t mind spending a little extra on quality materials and our repairs are designed to outlast the existing roof.

By Michael Slattery

<a href="">Hyper Smash</a> 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Typical Flat Roof in Miami, FL.

Flat roof rotten wood replacement
It seems everyone in Miami has a flat roof addition on the back of their home over a master suite, Florida Room or patio area. This flat roof we did in south Miami-Dade was over a back porch and tied into an old concrete tile roof which was done soon after Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida in 1992. I saw some problems with it, most notably exposed 90 lb. underlayment in the valleys. The 90 was crumbly and it’s just a matter of time before water rots out the valley metal and causes leaks – bad leaks. The client had done his own bull & membrane “fix” in two valleys on the front side and planned to do the same to the valley that tied into the flat after we finished. Okay . . .

Miami-Dade tin-cap pattern for flat roofs
There were several leaks near the tie-in and at the perimeter of the flat and it was apparent this roof was another example of the shoddy work that was going on after Andrew. No primed metal at the edges and the tie-in was such a joke that to describe it would risk losing the reader. So we removed two rows of tile at the tie-in so we could just cut that whole mess out of there.
There was plenty of rotten plywood, 3 sheets on a 460’ sq. deck, so much so that we flirted with Miami-Dade’s 25% rule which calls for complete re-sheathing when over 25% needs to be replaced – it was close. Then the entire deck was re-nailed to code. Two plies of GAF Gafglas base sheet were tin-capped to code, a 10” strip applied at the perimeter under 3”x3” 26ga. galvanized drip-edge nailed every 4”oc, which was then primed.                                                                         
Installing concrete roof tiles at the tie-in 
Then we installed a layer of GAF Ruberoid Torch Granule and painted it with Karnak 97 Aluminum Roof Coating (sorry, no pictures of that) to get our fire rating and we were done. Piece of cake, oh – and put back one row of tile at the tie-in. If you get the impression we do a lot of these back yard flat roofs – we do.

By Michael Slattery
Finished flat roof in Miami . . .almost . . .

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