Low slope residential roof - DIY


@Axiom good points all around. I know right now I’ve got a mod bit rolled roof, installed in 2012 (reportedly) and it’s complete garbage. Blisters all over, it’s loose in places with obvious ridges in the material. Based on that and the super shotty trim work, I had assumed the previous owner of this house just got royally swindled by a terrible roofer and that a well done SAMB roof would last a long longer.

I kind of directed this conversation to EPDM and SA Mod Bit but are there any other options I should consider? I have had a few roofers out for estimates and it’s really funny - every one of them says “you really only have one option with this low slope of a roof and it’s X”…and I have had an estimate for EPDM, SA mod bit, metal (standing seam), BUR, and full hydrostop. All from different roofers! Haha.



Do you have any recs for brands/systems for EPDM? Ideally I’d want color options or at least information on painting. Trying to keep utility bills low so don’t want a black rubber roof. Is that a thing? Or am I asking for the world here?


In North Carolina the color of your roof doesn’t matter one bit.

If you have more heating days than cooling days a dark roof is beneficial, if you have more cooling days than heating days a light colored roof is desirable, in your location it does not matter.

Insulation is usually installed under the EPDM, this helps keep heat/cool inside as well as out.

Get whatever brand EPDM your local roofing supplier carries and will sell to you, IMO Carlisle makes the best EPDM systems but at this point in time they are all pretty much the same given the same specs.

The old style APP modified is a very good roof, it’s torch applied and not something for a DIYer.

The mop down type modifieds are ok depending on how they are done, they are best when set in hot asphalt and the least desirable when cold applied.

Yes there are several type of low slope membranes to choose from if you want the best of the best go with a BUR or double locked standing seam.

PVC is a good alternative to EPDM but is much more expensive.
I wouldn’t put TPO on any building I own.

It really comes down to who is installing the roof as to how good it will be, many residential roofing companies don’t really do low slope very well, hence the need for a self adhered modified type product.


I mean seriously, look at this mess:


Doing it yourself I would say epdm or tpo. It is a large wide open field with primarily edge details, exactly what those products are designed for.

Normally on residential flat roofs, small, cut up and lots of details I never recommend epdm or tpo, but in your case I would say go for it.

I also never use self adhesive modified bitman, we are insured and experienced in torch down so do not have a reason to use an inferior product, and it defiantly is inferior.

Does your current roof leak? Honestly I have seen alot worse looking modified bitman roofs than yours, our shop in some of them, and they look like crap but don’t leak. Modified is a great product applied properly, but SA is not a DIY or inexperience alternative.


@axiom its a “roofers” responsibility to know manufacturers warranty and to install a roof accordingly. Yes I’m a “salesman”…for my company…and doing “quality” work that’s backed by the company that makes the product I install. I don’t care how long a roofer has been doing it…I would NEVER allow one of my guys to against mfgr recommendations based on " I know what I’m doing…I been doing this all my life"…I don’t care…read the package. Follow manufacturers or pay the consequences out of your own pocket.


Well, imo the sa modifieds are the most visually appealing (other than specialty pvc with fake patters and such) of the low slope options. And it comes in lots of different colors. Yes, I know that’s not why a pro should choose it over a far better product, but at least that’s something! :wink:


Not sure if I would go with an EPDM roof here. If you are a DIY’er I would consider a self adhering mod-bit/rolled roofing such as GAF Liberty or Polyglass. Self adhering will require less tools and experience. Also, at that transition where the elevation changes, you will need to put wall flashing there. You can bend the metal by hand or use a break, but that is essential. Good luck! www.steelerestoration.com


Yep!! It is true! Lol


Good sales guys explain to the customer what warranties actually mean in the roofing industry, and why they should pay the extra to have a top not outfit do the job.


Exactly @MPA…what company is in business without sales? Knowing the product is just as important as knowing how to slop glue or drive nails.


Yes, there are material warranties for EPDM done by a DIY’er.


Found that. Suggested questioner look at both for warranty and application to make decision.


@MPA I definitely have a leak in the garage. It’s a bad piece of plywood along the edge and during prolonged rains I have a fair amount coming in (bare concrete floor, think a 2-3ft puddle after a whole night rain). Unsure on the main body of the house but given it’s leaking in the garage, my mind is of course assuming the worst for the rest of the house!

I’ve got a note in with Carlisle about homeowner-install warranty coverage on their EPDM. Is it just me or do these manufacturers make it relatively difficult to figure out just exactly what/how long/and to whom the warranty coverage applies?

I think I am going to do my garage side (~500 sq ft, right side of the schematic in one of the early posts on this thread) first and get that dialed in. I’ll definitely learn a bit and hope I can apply that to the main body roof potentially this summer.


@donl off hand can you list any of the companies offering this?


IIrc Don is a Carlisle sales representitive, so if anybody would know it would be him.


But salesman sell…they aren’t roofers…:joy::joy::joy:


Salesmen like to talk way too much about warranties that have limited value, they misrepresent them so to speak.

I educate my customers about the warranties on the products I use, I explain to them the ways that they are limited and basically worthless.

I explain to them that the warranty that actually means something is the one I provide for them that covers any workmanship issues for a minimum of 10 yrs.

Did I clarify my earlier statement?


Yes. You believe you will live forever and the people who make the products know less than you do. Did I make my point clear? “Your” warranty means more than the manufacturers? I don’t think so @Axiom…the manufacturer has WAY more knowledge and data than any roofing contractor and if you passed away today its their problem. Not wanting to argue…just simply disagree with anyone who thinks they know more than the people who do the r&d for the makers. I have many certifications…but I still trust the makers before my own “opinion”.


I usually start with “well all the shingles have a lifetime warranty, what does that tell you”, that naturally leads to “you see the warranties aren’t actually worth anything”.

I then explain to them how even if there is a material failure that any warranty compensation will only cover a very small amount of the actual cost the rectify the issue.

Residential shingle warranties are extremely one sided in favor of the manufacturer, to the point of being almost worthless.

“You believe you will live forever and the people who make the products know less than you do.”

Well no that is not the case at all.

I firmly believe that the reason I don’t have any problems with any of my roofs is because I follow the manufacturer instructions, I actually exceed the manufacturer specs in most cases.

In contrast, there is a business model out there in that the least expensive materials are used in conjunction with the use of every short cut in existence to apply said roof as quickly as possible.

Am I to believe that a roof done in such a manner is just as good as a roof done with quality materials following the minimum manufacturer specs?

If I were to believe what salesmen push that would be the case.

I am speaking of “salesmen” in general as not all are unethical & deceptive, just the majority.

There is another business model out there in which the “salesman” is the only employee of a company, the labor is performed by the least expensive applicator(s) that can be found.

Am I to believe that roofs installed by such people is equivalent to one installed with quality materials following manufacturer specs?
It is a salesmans job to convince you that yes it is the same because of warranties.

You see Guru I have been in this business for close to 30 yrs also, I know how things work.

As far as what the manufacturers know, they just want to sell shingles in order to do this they condone high nailing and inferior techniques.

What is so great about residential roofing warranties?

Commercial warranties are an entirely different animal, they are actually worth it and a good thing to have.