Open Flames = Danger
We learn growing up not to play with fire for obvious reasons. This logic can be applied to roofing as well, as every time we deal with an open flame there is an increased chance of something getting destroyed. That being said, there are many roofers that swear by the system and will not use anything else when it comes to flat roofs. Typically, we agree that it up to the contractors discretion in which system to use, but in this instance the potential for burning down the entire property adds a whole new dimension to the decision.
The Material Itself
Beyond the installation process, we always like to seriously analyze the materials used. The most commonly used torch roof material is called a modified bitumen, which is basically asphalt mixed with a stabilizing additive. It is a very good waterproofing material, capable of preventing leaks in areas where there will continually be standing water or ice. The products typically don’t last as long as a standard asphalt shingle, you can expect to replace it every 10-12 years as opposed to 30+. Annual inspections are recommended as well as maintenance, there are multiple top coatings that you can apply to extend the life cycle. Keep an eye out for any punctures or cracking, and try to avoid walking on the surface if at all possible. Even small branches or gravel can cause some serious damage.
Burn Baby, Burn
If you are looking to get your adrenaline pumping a little today, go ahead and search roof torch and read a few of the horror stories that pop up. Yes, people have literally lost everything that they own to an issue they had when getting a flat roof installed using this method. If you read between the lines though, you will notice that over 95% of the time they had amateur technicians working on their house and even worse they were uninsured! Even the pros will have bad luck once in a while, the wind can catch and ember and it can then fly in through a vent causing insulation in the attic to catch fire. On the other hand, during a typical residential steep slope roof installation inclement weather can catch you off guard and the entire house can get soaked. These are the everyday dangers that go hand in hand with construction work. Bottom Line here, make sure your fully covered by both workman’s comp insurance and liability, the latter being enough to cover a full replacement cost of your property.