For any flat roofing project, adhesive and sealant products are an important part of ensuring a successful installation. Permaroof MD Adrian Buttress and John McMullan, General Manager at Firestone Building Products UK & Ireland, discuss the importance of merchants recommending good quality adhesives to their customers — and how it is critical to pair the right adhesive with the right membrane to ensure durability.
Developed to be long-term solutions due to the “optimal balancing of key ingredients” to give extended durability, EPDM roofing membranes can be expected to withstand the elements for more than 50 years. So, it follows that the adhesive used to adhere the roof to the deck is of equally high performance — ensuring a robust, durable and resilient system that requires minimal maintenance and adapts to current and future building needs.
Adrian Buttress, MD of Permaroof, explained: “Rubber roofs can be applied using cold, water-based adhesives, which has resulted in a safer, faster application method — and this is why the single-ply roofing system has become increasingly popular in recent years.
“As buying habits continue to change with new products coming to market all the time, it’s vital that builders’ merchants become more than just stockists and sellers; instead continuing to develop their knowledge to become a trusted source of information.”
He continued: “Knowing exactly how a product and its subsequent system performs, as well as the individual benefits it can provide both during installation and to the end-user, will ensure merchants are properly assisting contractors and ultimately helping them choose the right product to give the best possible installation.
“If a contractor has visited the branch to buy roofing material, having this background knowledge and being able to recommend a good quality adhesive and explain the long-term benefits of doing so also provides merchants with the perfect opportunity to upsell.”
Recommending that specifiers and contractors invest in a quality adhesive to properly adhere the roof to its deck will bear many long-term benefits, from protecting the building from various weather conditions and keeping it safe and secure to making the system more cost effective in the long run.
“Exposure to various difficulties such as heavy rains and strong winds will lead to wear and tear, reducing the longevity of the roof, which undoubtedly means spending more money on maintenance or even replacement costs,” added Adrian. “However, if an installer is using a quality and genuine adhesive during the installation process, this will work to guarantee the long-term performance of the water proofing. I’ve seen isolated cases where an adhesive has failed, and it’s turned out that the product a contractor was using wasn’t authentic.”
A ‘full system’ approach
Adrian argues that the best way for contractors to avoid problems and failures down the line is to ensure they are using a full water-proofing system which consists of a membrane, adhesive, tape and primer — all from the same brand.
He said: “The single system solution is hardly a revelation considering that the problem of unreliable results clearly stems from overly using a mix of products. But it’s important that it’s reiterated and heard clearly by the industry. It also helps to aid traceability, which is more important than ever before on commercial projects and helps to keep a high standard of roofing in the UK.”
Firestone’s John McMullan takes up the point: “Using a rubber membrane and its matching adhesive purchased from one source offers a reliable long-life solution. This industry-proven system has been designed to work together in harmony and it’s critical that the adhesive is matched because it has been tested in a lab under various controlled conditions to prove its durability.
“Furthermore, choosing a full system from a reputable brand will usually mean the inclusion of a warranty. For example, Firestone offers a membrane warranty up to 20 years with every installation by a licensed or authorised installer. Things are designed and made to go together and this is no different for a roofing system.”
A further point is related to temperature fluctuations, as Adrian explains: “The world’s temperature isn’t static, and a good adhesive will be able to cope with this weather cycling and withstand climate fluctuations — something that is becoming increasingly important as a result of global warming.
“It’s not just about how a product lasts in its natural state. Roof covering surface temperatures change over a 24-hour period, meaning it’ll get warm during the day when it’s exposed to direct sunlight and cold at night.”
As adhesives are unseen and hidden beneath the surface of the roofing membrane, it is easy to understand why some may choose to save on their cost. But ignoring the critical role adhesives play in a good quality roofing installation means the system may end up failing to a catastrophic — and expensive — effect.
Permaroof is a leading importer and distributor of Firestone RubberCover roofing products. For further information for merchants on EPDM rubber roofing systems, go to https://www.permaroof.co.uk/epdm-suppliers.