Whats best for a very low slope roof?

Have had Mulehide, torch down, & SAP mentioned by the three roofers and now don’t know which may be best.
Have architectural shingles right now but also have been told that the slope is not enough for shingles. Thank You for your time

  1. What’s the pitch?

  2. Why do they now not know what is best? What has changed their mind?

  3. Photos… we like photos. We’re a visual bunch here (well, I am anyhow). Can you take a photo of the house from about 30 ft. or more away & then one or two from an angle? Back of house, too.

Each one is mentioning a different product. That is my confusion. I will take a photo & post. I think it is 2 in 12. None of the three has said and I’m not sure myself.

Thanks so much

Most any low slope system is good. Its the quality of the installation thats most important. Mulehide is an EPDM or rubber system. Very water and sun resistant but easily damaged by branches and traffic. The torch down is thicker and more damage resistant but is suseptable to water and sun damage if water sits on it. The self adhering products im not real familiar with. Torch down comes in different colors and epdm can be painted if aesthetics are an issue. Either way any of these systems can last along time but need to be installed properly.

Personally i dont think torch down is the way to go since they can burn the house down while doing it. I would go with a peel and stick for the simple reason is there is a resiential warranty that it will have where the others might not. 2/12 is too shallow for shingles thats for sure.

Debra, i do not think you’ve been offered the best choice so far. A flat roof should meet at least 3 requirements - it obviously should not leak, it should las a long time and a more recent - it should be energy efficient. Non of the aforementioned roofing systems meet those 100%
There is however a system that does meet all 3 and goes beyond those - IB Pvc/Cpa single ply membrane. Go to their site - http://www.ibroof.com.

IB uses only certified/factory trained installers, so you are more or less guaranteed that it is not a fly by night roofer and not some hack. There is a section on their website, where you leave your contact info, and company rep. in your area (Arkansas) will contact you, and put you in touch with local certified installers.

P.S. - We are an IB certified installed, but we are too far from you, so the best i can do for you is give you an advice.
Good Luck

I believe that an epdm roof with a acrylic coating will be as energy efficient(reflective) as any pvc roof and will stay whiter longer.And no single ply should be installed without some kind of insulation board which also impacts heat transfer. Plus its not toxic like pvc and has no plasticizers in it. Which over the years leach out and cause the membrane to shrink and crack. Im not a fan of pvc. In my opinion if theres not grease or oil on the roof than pvc is not for you.(pvc is oil resistant)
Although it does look like the IB systems offers a lifetime res. warranty the question is is it cost effective.

“I would go with a peel and stick for the simple reason is there is a resiential warranty that it will have where the others might not. 2/12 is too shallow for shingles thats for sure.”

True that 2/12 should not have shingles. Keep in mind that peel and stick doesn’t warranty things less than 3/12. Kind of stupid considering it is a low slope material but I guess they don’t trust their own product. So while you could use it on your roof, you wouldn’t be covered as far as the manufacturer is concerned.

Touch applied mod bit is a very durable system and you should have no problems with fire hazard if you get a competent installer that has common sense. I also like EPDM fully adhered but it depends on roof location, traffic, etc. I don’t know much about PVC except how to repair them. Normally they are not used on residential jobs here, only commercial applications.

I don’t like it when people say no to torch because of a fire hazard. To me its like saying don’t walk on sidewalks, only drive a car to places. Someone could hop the curb and run you over.

Everything is dangerous in its own way. There is a safe way to do everything.

Accidents do happen everyday, but some people are a little more prone than others I guess.

To BornaRoofer:

Now, why would you coat a new flat roof that is “supposed” to work by it self, without any coating… oh right, because epdm usually does not work too well by it self.
You claim that epdm with acrylic coating will stay whiter longer, is NONSENSE, because IB has a white acrylic coating on the top ply. In the end, it all depends an the amount of dirt accumulation on the roof top.
About insulation - it wont make much difference when your epdm roof is 170 degrees on a 85 degree day. Inside it will feel like a hot oven regardless of insulation. In fact, you will need at least 3 inches or ISO to reduce inside temp sufficiently. And we both know how expensive ISO is.
On the other hand Epdm hacks usually use “el cheapo” wood fiber board that has no insulating value, so your insulation argument is invalid. It is better to solve the problem at the source - that is to go with Energy-Efficient roofing to begin with.

About toxic. I do not know what you are sniffing - maybe epdm :slight_smile: (not trying to offend you) but IB is used in Green Roofs - that is Roof-Top vegetation. So it is definitely non-toxic. If you need so, i’ll provide a link to the study of IB’s environmental proporties.

IB’s 28 years old installation was tested for elasticity, elongation and welding, and performed like new. So i guess you are confusing PVC and TPO when saying “Which over the years leach out and cause the membrane to shrink and crack.”… Also bear in mind that when i say PVC, i imply IB which is actually a CPA/PVC membrane ( a close relative of PVC - i’m not sure of formulation details and differences as that is IB’s trade secret). Also not all PVCs are the same. So I’m not speaking for all PVCs. I know first reincarnations of PVC were not reinforced and would crack in extreme cold temps - But that was 25 years ago, and that was not IB…

Any way, personal preferences is not the topic at hand. You will never convince me that epdm or torch down (tar/asphalt BUR, modified bit., etc) and the likes are better than IB’s PVC. I personally will NEVER install a flat roof that i know for a FACT will leak with in a few years, if not sooner. that is the bottom line.

For Debra, almost anything will work as it is a porch roof with a slope, so water will run down and not pose any standing water problems. There is no flashing detail like sky-lights, chimneys, etc. (I read in her other thread that it is a porch roof, and I assume the roof is very simple.) So for her it all comes down to price and quality of installation. Peal and stick is probably the choice since it is inexpensive and simple to install. I’m against any torch-down for obvious reasons - weight and danger of fire. I’d still go with IB, as price difference will be minimal due to simplicity and relatively small size of the roof.

To TarMonkey: I actually “love” doing PVC on residential roofs more than commercial as there is usually no huge HVAC units and other nice commercial-only things on flat roof homes. IB is perfect for residential and in fact the have a Lifetime residential warranty for ANY of their roofing membranes.

Sorry I should have figured that post would upset you.
I have put on and inspected millions of square feet of epdm, pvc and tpo. Pvc has a lot of plasticizers in it check the msds sheets. epdm and tpo have none. I personally have removed uncountable roofs with shrunken pvc roofs on them. Shattered like glass pulling the parapets right off the building. It has its place and can be a good roof if put on correctly. The thing is I don’t believe most homeowners will hire a commercial roofer that has the experience or equipment to put on a thermoplastic roof. pvc or tpo. A coated epdm or modbit roof will reflect almost as well as a thermoplastic and is more available and cost effective for a home owner. In the north black is fine in the south it needs a coating to reflect the sun.Hard board should only be used as a top layer or cover board for layovers. And I believe that insulation is just as important if not more than how reflective the membrane is. Toxic, Pvc is toxic to manufacture, toxic to breath the smoke from welding and toxic in the landfill. Will it kill the homeowner no. Is it good for the environment no.

[quote=“debra”]Have had Mulehide, torch down, & SAP mentioned by the three roofers and now don’t know which may be best.
Have architectural shingles right now but also have been told that the slope is not enough for shingles. Thank You for your time

The truth of the matter is, you have asked a question to which there is no one correct answer. You see that LAMetalRoofs talking about IB, but that is because it is what he does and feels most comfortable doing. Roofboss will come in here and tell you coal-tar pitch is the way to go. I like modified bitumens, and have lately started specifying some TPO roof systems; which by the way will eventually lead to the demise of the EPDM roof. There are still others that will tell you that spray polyurethane is the way to go, and on and on…

So, to be honest with you, it always depends on the particular project. What works well on one low-sloped application, may not work so well on another. In other words, there is no “best” low-slope roofing membrane. Personally, here are the things I would look for in my own personal roof:

  1. First and foremost, I want a competent applicator. This does not necessarily mean a manufacturer approved applicator, as the company can be approved but do you have their best or worst foreman?

  2. A redundant roofing membrane. Generally, this means a multi-ply roof membrane that can withstand some abuse. Choices would generally be asphalt or coal-tar built-up roofs, built-up roofs with a modified bitumen cap sheet, or a multi-ply modified bitumen roof system. There are also some fleece-backed PVC and TPO membranes that can be mopped down, but those would certainly be to costly for your application.

  3. If cost is a major factor, and you have to go with a single-ply membrane. I would look for something with heat-welded laps instead of glued laps, and a reflective surface. PVC and TPO membranes are both white, and TPO will get you more roof for the dollar.

  4. Make sure your roofing contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. You also want to make sure they have workman’s comp on their employees, and that the roofers aren’t subcontracting the job.

I could go on and on, but I have to get back to work. Anyway, I also suggest you follow Ranch’s advice and provide photographs.

Good luck.

Proper adherance to any flat roofing material manufacturers specifications and the quality conscientiousness of the installation crew will inevitably out-weight the positive or negative merits of any system installed.

All roof systems have their place in this world, but the actual experience and craftsmanship of the installer will determine the end result, whether it will last for the intended time and purpose, or not.


Rubbbaa emmm EPDM fully adheard rules the roast in the Boston area by far with PVC and TPO a bit behind.
Nobody does modified anymore

Low slope smack… gotta love it.

Where’s dem photos?!?!?!?


Trocal was the pvc that failed extensively,when you did repairs if you dropped a tool it would shatter.There is current literature on the subject that the plasticisers still will not hold up well to uv rays(#1roof killer of all) after about 5-8 yrs hail will tear it up.
Peel and stick modified certainteed makes a good fire rated system 2 ply base with granulated cap (class A system without dens deck).
Wood fiber board (high density) has the highest adhesion rating not used for r value.
Torch down nothing wrong with it stands up to hail fairly well.
E.P.D.M fully adhered is not bad but don’t really like it.
Coal tar pitch on a 2/12 slide into the gutter even if back nailed.1/4-1/2 slope with asbestos felts would last a long time but can’t get asbestos felts anymore.
I still like 3-ply and gravel the best if properly installed.
Could do modified in cold if worried about fire hazard.
With 2/12 pitch low slope products should hold up well that’s very positive drainage.