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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Friday, August 2, 2013

Concrete Tile Roof in Miami

We recently finished this concrete tile roof in Miami and it looks great! The old roof was torn off to the deck, there was some rotten wood replaced and the deck was re-nailed to Code. We dried in with 30 lb. felt, tin-capped it to code and installed 16” 26ga galvanized valley metal and drip-edge flashings. As usual, we upgraded - free - the edge flashing to factory white. It costs us about $30 extra to provide this upgrade which gives the finished roof an immediate “pop” and spares the owner the chore of painting it or hiring a painter.

Back-nailing the underlayment 12"oc 

GAF UnderRoof 2 tile roof underlayment was then installed according to GAF specs which includes back-nailing 12"oc and rolling with a 120 lb. roller. We spend a little more on U2 compared to what is popularly used by other roofing companies and feel it is worth the expense – it is simply tougher.
Priming metal for better adhesion

I suggested Entegra Boosted Bella concrete tile in white and the client agreed. The old roof was a 9” flat tile and I thought a high profile barrel tile would give the home a classic look as well as some more dimension, texture. The choice of a white tile should shock no one who has been paying attention as I will always recommend its superior reflectivity which enhances energy efficiency. A white tile will also extend the life of the underlayment and, as a neutral color, goes with almost any home's color scheme.

This house had gutters all the way around and we managed to save them without taking them down. We also removed what seemed like a ton of wet, decomposed leaves which was a real chore in itself.  All in all this concrete tile roof job was fairly straight-forward, other than the gutter rescue, and the customer was well pleased. He was especially with his choice of the whitebarrel tile. Funny, I thought that was my idea. Oh, well . . . 

by "Roofer Mike"

Concrete Tile Roof in Miami, Florida
Concrete Tile Roof in Miami, FL - Entegra Boosted Bella

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

North Miami Premium Ruberoid Roof

This client in North Miami did not want to deal with this flat roof anymore in his lifetime so we installed this 1 ½” insulated GAF Ruberoid low-slope system featuring Ruberoid Smooth as a ply sheet with a Ruberoid Granule cap.

We don’t do hot tar because I hate it for reasons both personal and technical. In short, it’s dangerous and obsolete. We always mechanically fasten insulation with screws and 3” plates and when everyone gets on a drill it doesn’t take long. I’d rather carry a bunch of drills than lug a kettle around.

The screws and plates were simultaneously run through 2 plies of Gafglas #75 base sheet and 1½” insulation. If that looks like a lot of plates to you, “Welcome to Miami-Dade County”, which requires an engineer’s calculations to determine the fastening pattern. You can’t make this stuff up. . .

A ply of Ruberoid Smooth is then torched down before the drip-edge and wall flashings are nailed and primed. Then the Ruberoid Granule cap is torched with no granulating necessary for the seams. In its infinite wisdom Miami-Dade has determined that in order to achieve a Class A fire rating it must be coated with GAF Premium Aluminum Coating, one of the most flammable substances on the planet. Seriously though, I like this aspect as it gives the customer a head start on a maintenance regimen.

Flat roofs benefit from proper maintenance more than other systems. If this roof is kept free of debris and maintained with the use of elastomeric coatings periodically, it will not need replacement for a very long time.
Flat roof in North Miami

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Miami Roofing Contractor Shares Google SGS

Roofers fill Google+ with posts, chatter and network with one goal in mind – higher rankings on the search engines. More specifically, roofing contractors strive for the Holy Grail of search: Page One Google.

When I started a roofing company in Miami, Fl. in 2006 the world was booming and we had a great ‘07 with no capital and no advertising. The real estate melt-down changed all that and the next 3 years were an exercise in survival. Two years ago I decided the economy was not improving and that we had to do something to compete with the big companies. To do that I realized there was one potential equalizer – a great website. With the help of a computer repair friend with a Dreamweaver program, was born.

Goals were modest, then, as everything seemed to indicate that Page One Google for big keywords related to roofing in Miami was unattainable without paying big money to Google Ad Words or a good SEO company. Calls from marketers every day with Page One promises re-enforced that notion and Page 2 became the goalpost. So I wrote… and wrote; dozens of manually submitted directories and articles plus pages for the site and endless hours of analyzing searches and reading SEO articles.

Then it happened. I was doing a search for “metal roofs Miami” and there we were, in that mythical dream world – the Google 7-Box! To this day, I'm not sure how we got there as my article on metal roofing had been on-site for months. The notion that Page 1 Google was not possible imploded and I was buoyed by the possibility that we could attain that status organically, on our own.

So I wrote some more - Google wants content and, by George, I was going to give it to them. How? To accumulate content without cluttering up the site we created a News and Articles Page with an archive to stockpile articles. Each new article gave us a nice bump. By the time rainy season 2012 was over we were page 2-6 for numerous keywords, not enough to make the phone ring.

Over the winter I wrote page Page 12 which got us to Pg 1 for some secondary KWs. The phone, my favorite SEO tool, rang a little more often. When I wrote Page 13 and launched the on-site Wordpress blog we leaped to Page 1 Google for everything, even the big dog: “roofing miami”.

Roofers In Miami, Fl.
 The phone started ringing regularly and we had to hustle to keep up, great right? Yes, but there was one problem. It wasn’t even raining yet. “What the Hell am I going to do when it starts raining every day?! The phone is going to go ape-sh!t!!", I thought. Well, forget rainy season, April arrived with rain carried by the tails of unusual winter storms that hammered half the county. The phone is ringing like crazy and it’s impossible to keep up. I shrank our service area and am contemplating price increases.

I know, you’re thinking “Mike, what’s your point? You got what you wanted and now you’re swamped. That’s a great problem to have”. All true, my point is the concept of steady, consistent growth for a roofing company with an organic approach is not possible today. One day you are Page Two and your site produces almost zero leads. The next day you’re Page 1 and you don’t have time to poop. Back in the day you got a modest listing in the YPs, maybe an ad in the Miami Herald and you were in business. The next year maybe you sprang for a dollar sized YP ad and you grew. Your growth could be controlled and predicted by the amount you spent. With the Page 2-1 Google Upheaval you go from struggle to boom in a day.

 This is my first post of any kind in almost a month as I really do not want to rank any better right now. I’ve been itching to write something because, hey, I like it. The challenge of Page 1 Google is over, finally, and I can maintain that with an occasional article and weekly blog posts. My new challenge will be managing this growth explosion without catching a bunch of negative reviews - we just got our first one. It’s raining as I write this, at least another month from the true start of rainy season. Wish me luck, any suggestions and feedback will be appreciated. I’m sure there are many of you out there who have experienced Google Sudden Growth Syndrome (SGS).
 by Michael Slattery was created and company business was conducted for 6 years in that recliner.    After we made Page 1 Google I bought a desk and moved across the room - major move . . .
Roofing Company In Miami

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Great Shingle Roof, Wrong House in North Miami

When it comes to shingle roofing in the Miami, Fl. area I stick to a very basic philosophy: white is right and proper ventilation is a must. Browse Roofer Mike blog posts and you will see photos of white shingle roofs with turbine ventilators or ridge vents and there is a whole article addressing the subject on It is simply too hot in South Florida for a shingle roof to last without incorporating Cool Roof concepts like reflectivity and ventilation into the design.

3-tab Shingle Roof in Miami, Fl.
White 3-tab shingle roof with gable vents
A potential client emailed me with a request for an estimate using a new designer shingle with a “limited lifetime” warranty. He sent me a link to the manufacturer’s site and there were aerial photos of big, beautiful homes with these shingles that are supposed to emulate a barrel tile roof. Hmm, well – they looked good and on these steeper roofs I get what they’re going for. The colors available were generally quite dark and my client’s selection was a dark terra cotta.
When I went to the house for the estimate I was not surprised to find a typical “old Miami” type duplex with an “up-n-over” 2.5:12 gable roof. I practically begged the customer to reconsider his selection and went into my energy efficiency pitch but he explained that his Mom picked them out and liked the Latin flavor of these hyper-expensive shingles. “Oh well”, I thought to myself, “at least it has gable vents”.

GAF Monaco Shingle Roof in Miami, Fl.
Designer shingles on a roof in Miami, Fl.
We put the roof on that Mom wanted and as much as I hate the cliché “it is what it is”, it was appropriate here. They could have just put some white 3-tabs up there and spent a little putting a fan on one of those gable vents. They would have been cooler and had an extra grand.
What’s that? You can lead a horse to water . . . 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Miami Homeowners - New roof? Yes. Insurance? Maybe . . .

Homeowners Insurance in Miami
The roofing business in Miami seems to be recovering. Right now we are replacing a tile roof with a standing seam metal roof and replacing two other tile roofs; one is also in Miami Springs and the other in Biscayne Park. These three projects have one thing in common, and it has nothing to do with the roofs: None of the three owners carries homeowners insurance on their property. These people are by no means poor. One is a doctor, another a successful businessman and the third is comfortably retired. All of them have chosen to be self-insured.

In July 1, 2007 Florida passed a law allowing homeowners who own their homes outright and don't have mortgages to eliminate their homeowner’s policies. This included coverage to replace contents of their homes in the event they sustain damage or are destroyed by hurricane or fire.

Hurricane resistant metal roof
The legislature’s stated intent is to give homeowners flexibility in the face of ever-increasing premiums. Banks require homeowner’s coverage as a condition of a mortgage so only residents who own their homes outright can forego coverage.
I have deep suspicions here. The insurance companies can’t be happy with this trend so, considering their influence in Tallahassee, how did this law pass?  Could there have been yet another class action suit brewing over this? The industry may have read the tea leaves and decided to sit out a fight they could not win. After all, it seems only fair that homeowners should have this right.
Homeowners Insurance in Miami
Hurricane Andrew 1992 - Still stirring things up
Over the years I have heard homeowners express their anger over the rising cost of homeowners insurance and have made this half-joking suggestion: “Drop them. Drop ‘em! If your house is paid off, to heck with the insurance companies. Put a good roof on and shutter your windows, install smoke alarms and fireproof as much as possible. Then put your would-be premium payments into an account. Before you know it, you’ll have yourself covered and the rest is gravy.”
Not so surprisingly, many homeowners are doing just that.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Metal Roof Repair in Miami-Dade

We are known primarily as a residential roofing company in the Miami, Fl area but occasionally we will do some commercial repair work. This standing seam metal roof over a warehouse recently added four floodlights. The electrical contractor cut access holes in the metal roof's panels and attached the posts to the building's steel frame, then left it to us.

We had to add metal to a couple of them before installing the zipper-boots sealed to the deck with some Vulkem and self-tapping screws. Conduit ran up the side of each post so there were gaps which we filled with expanding poly-foam. Came back the next day, trimmed the excess foam and applied 2 coats of GAF Topcoat roof coating with some re-enforcing fabric. Piece of cake.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Clay Tile Roof Repair in Miami

That's my main man Mike, really, wrapping up a clay tile roof repair in Miami, Fl. Mike is a 20 yr roofer so when I met him it was a no-brainer to bring him aboard as experienced Miami roofers are hard to find - especially named Mike . . .
Also couldn't resist a shot of the truck; those ole' UHauls are great for a roofing company. Love that ramp !!

Roofer Mike's Truck in Miami, Fl.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Roof Problem? Call a Roofer First

A client of ours in Miami started out with a small area of damage to her bathroom ceiling the size of a bread stick. A "friend" referred her to a Public Adjuster (PA) who came out immediately and, once in the house, pronounced it "a goldmine". He proceeded to take notes on any perceived damage he could find, most of it unrelated to the roof leak such as a cracked floor tile.

The PA then called in a mold and water mitigation company (M&W) who also came right out and filled the house with fans and heaters. They also "installed" a big blue tarp on the roof. A few days later an adjuster from the homeowner's insurance company came out, surveyed inside, went on the roof for a few minutes and left. A couple days after that an engineer from the insurance company had M&W remove the tarp and spent three hours inside the house and on the roof. She left saying the cause of the damage was "inconclusive". M&W then put back the tarp and a week later it blew off during a typical South Florida thunderstorm. M&W promptly put back the tarp with some "enhancements".

Around this time is when I received a call from the homeowner. The roof consisted of three attached low slope BUR fiberglass systems in fair-good condition. It was 80% covered by a blue tarp fastened to the roof with intermittent firring strips and nails along two sides. Approximately sixty nails penetrated the roof membrane. The other two sides of the tarp were fastened to the fascia in the same manner. Holes were cut in the tarp around two vent stacks and no visible attempt was made to seal the tarp around the pipes. which straddled the leak area according to my measurements. The tarp should have been placed 10 feet further north to cover the upper roof completely and fasteners should never penetrate a roof membrane to secure a tarp unless the roof is to be replaced. Any combination of sandbags, rope, bungees, boards or other ballasts should be used.

I left and soon sent an estimate to the owner for $1,600 to remove the tarp, repair the nail holes and repair the leak which I determined, without removing the tarp, was routine as their was no weakness in the deck. Two weeks later she agreed.

We removed the tarp and torched Ruberoid strips over the 62 nail holes. It took 2 minutes to find the leak, a nail from the sheathing had penetrated the membrane. I torched a softball-sized piece of Rubberoid over it.

The homeowner told me two other roofers said she needed a new roof. Not surprisingly the insurance company refused her claim. I advised her to report the PA, sue M&W and volunteered to testify. I also gave her a price for an elastomeric roof coating application, which it really needed. Had I been the first responder the repair would have cost her $300+/- and I would have told her not to call her insurance company over such a small claim with a $1,000 deductible. Rogue Public Adjusters are a major reason for runaway home insurance rates.

When homeowners have a problem with their roof, they should first call a roofer. Better yet - call three.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Anatomy of a Flat Roof

We installed a GAF Ruberoid Torch System on the smallest stand-alone flat roof I've ever done, a giant TV cabinet at a Miami Springs, FL sports bar.

Application of FireOut to the plywood deck for a Class A fire rating.

Install 2 plies GAF GAFGLASS #75 base sheet tin-capped to Miami-Dade Code.

Install 1 ply GAF Ruberoid Torch Smooth

Install 2 scuppers w/back-up,1 ply GAF Ruberoid Torch Granule, stucco-stop & stucco. Done. www.roofermikeinc/re-roofs&repairs