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torch down nails pulling out

14773 Views 22 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  MALCO.New.York
I'm looking at a house to by that has a 12/2 torch down roof that is only two years old. The nails holding the membrane down are raising and creating bumps in the torch down material. One nail has come up so far that it's cracked the surface. This can't be normal for only two years old. by the way is isn't only one or two nails. you can see rows and rows of nails like this.

What would cause this?
Can it be fixed?
Is the only remedy a re-roof?
What is the proper way to nail down the torch membrane?

thanks for your help.
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You do not nail down torch modified materials, if it is a torch down than the nails must be from the underlayment and I would assume they used to small/short of a fastener and there pulling up because they did not catch the decking properly.
Best solution, tear all off and start new.
Save a buck, cut out pieces of the mod over the bad nails, remove and replace nails properly and do a layover with new mod.
Poke -n- hope, pound the bad nails back down before they rip through the mod and plan on doing it again a few times a year.
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Post pics. Sounds like a 90# mineral roll, not modified bitumen . Is it granulated or smooth?

Either way the roof needs to be repalced from what you are describing. If it were my home, I'd replace it. I wouldn't want to deal with the constant hassel of fixing. Infact I did repalce my roof this year on a house I bought last year because I was up on the roof fixing several small leaks, and ever time I fixed one another one popped up. Very Very aggravating.

What Sly said is true regarding the nails. We use a large metal buttom cap simplex nails, but we nail down the base sheet(s), not the actual mid ply or cap sheet. The mid ply and cap sheet are strictly heat applied. The nail length must be long enough to be the same thickness of the substrate (wood deck) plus 1/4". Meaning each simplex nail should penetrate through the wood and leave 1/4" exposed beneath. We would also always install a fiber board for fire retardation purposes, but I didn't want to confuse things, oops just did! Alternatively screws and plates can also be used. Screws have a much higher holding capacity, but I've never had a problem with the simplex nails. We do use screws and plates for single ply.

I most commonly see ridging like you described when one layer is torched over another layer. I've seen modified bitumen torched over just about everything including shingles and <gasp!> bare plywood. It doesn't stick well to either since I have am there to fix someone elses mistake. And torching directly to wood is a great way to burn a building down. The ridging in this case is a seperation of the layers. Or in other words the top layer of modified bitumen is no longer adhered to the layer beneath. This can be because not enough heat was used, some guys don't heat the entire sheet of modified bitumen to save time and propane. Or it could mean that water is getting under the midified bitumen, and from freeze thaw cycles the ice that is created will seperate the layers.

if you are considering buying this house, have a licensed roofing contractor inspect your property. Feel free to pay him for his time as I personally charge an inspection fee for houses involved in a real estate transaction. He can give you a formal written estimate, then ask the seller to compensate you since you don't want to buy a bad roof. That's just silly, buying a bad roof. OR if it's only two years old and an actual roofing company (which is unlikely) did the roof, there may be a warranty.

The 3rd possible cause is complete rotten wood, but that's also unlikely since you'd probably see some kinds of dips and/or deflection.
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Thank you

You have confirmed what I'm thinking about the roof. I'm having a roofer look at it today and we'll see what he says.

The home owner really got ripped off (new information tells me that the job cost was reasonable and average for the market we live in). the job cost was $26,500, for about 32 squares of torch down. Seems high to me. This was a tear off and they did some minor wood repair too. The building inspector thought it should cost around $13,000 (not true) or so.

Great forum. Thanks for all the advice.:thumbsup:
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Question - How did the homeowner get ripped off when he signed the contract that he agreed with the price?

I never understood how someone can get ripped off when they agree to a price beforehand. Its not like the price started at $10,000 and extras increased it to $26,500
I see your point

I guess I should have said "ripped off", I should have said paid much more than average market rate for this job (roof is bigger than it looks, $26k is average for our area on a job this big. My mistake).

You're right the home owner signed the deal and got a roof.
Update on Torch down nails.

I was out of line earlier with my comment about pricing. This roof is larger than it looks.

I had a roofer look at the torch down roof today. He said the roof looks good and they did many things that showed him they know what they're doing. He said that you can often see the nail lines under the torch down, since the roof is melted onto and over the nails.

A few items did catch his eye. The product is a APP 160, smooth and black. The roofer said that it really should be coated with a reflective material and that roofing manufactures changed their warranty specs, so this is now manditory on smooth torch down. He also said you can't wrap the vents anymore and that he would have double layered the valleys. There has been some condensation dripping down in the living space and the roofer stated this is most likely due to the chimney stone and morter not being sealed, so it wicks water into the home and lack of venting. The vents on the home are the standard one foot style.

Questions -

The house has vaulted ceilings that follow the roof line. Can you put a ridge vent on this to improve ventalation? The roof is a 2/12, or 2.5/12.

Has anyone heard about this reflective coating warranty issue?

How can I get the chimney sealed to prevent wicking? and how long does that last?

Thanks for the help. Again.:thumbsup:
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Paying more than the average is OK if you get more than the average. Our pricing is always above average. IMO "average" is minimum code. Who wants minimum code on their house? In addition average is the going rate, and if you search this forum for those keywords, you will find alot of information about the going rate and how it's really the "going out of business rate". In most cases a legitiamte company simply can not work for the going rate. The average, or going rate is set by those who underchanrge and don't understand business or cheat to accomplish such a low price.

From what you described 32 squares at a cost of $828 per square, I only consider it to be slightly above average. Then again what did the customer get for the money? How tough was the tear off? How tall is the building? How much insulation was installed? What about flashings and details? How many ply's is that modified bitumen 2, 3 4?

APP 160 is Firestone, I do also think that GAF may use the ame descriptor. The roof defiently should be coated to accomplisha few things, primarily longevity of the roofing membrane. The sun will dry up the natural oils in the bitumen and then the membrane and flashings begin to crack, and you know what comes next. In addition to the enviromental benefits.

I'd be lying if I said I never left a roof black like that, but yes it is not a mistake I make anymore. However when doing a cost cmoparison, it doesn;t make sense to have a smooth coated modified bitumen IMO. A granulated modified bitumen is actually cheaper to install upfront and maintain, and the manufacturers rate granulated to last longer than smooth black or smooth coated.

You probably don't need or want ventilation. This is something that is very very specific to the roof design. What I mean is most likely the roof deck is insulated. Do you havea ceiling or is the ceiling the exposed roof deck? Was insulation installed as part of the last roofing job or was the modified bitumen installed without insulation? If there is a ceiling and no insulation ON the roof deck, but is insulation between the roof deck and ceiling... ventilation might not hurt. However I would recommend against a ridge vent on a 2/12 pitch. I guarantee back up problems (especially of snow and ice, if you get snow where you are). BUT you say you have mushroom, can, turtle vents on a modified bitumen roof?! And this roofer of yours says he thinks these guys know what they were doing?! If they knew what they were doing they would not have installed these mushroom vents on a modified bitumen roof.

Post pics of the chimney. First off you may need brick repairs. If so get that done first. Second a mason can coat it for you or check out thompsons masonry seal. The thompsons is cheap though and you'll have to redo it every few years. My mason has another product and I forget what it's called but it seems to last a very very long time.
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Thanks for all the great advice.

I'm posted a few photos that show the chimney that might need sealing. The home owner complained to the roofing company about leaks and they said it was most likely condensation, so they put in a few more vents. They still have a few very minor leaks ( a few drops of water).

The roofer that looked at it, said they should have used "high hat" style vents, or a ridge vent (if possible).

- Alex:thumbsup:


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Well at least those vents are the tall profile cedar/tile style vents. I guess that's a small consolation. I'd much rather they have used these...

The chimney flashing looks like manure.
couldn.t agree with ya more^^^. those ain't supposed to be used on flat work, esp T/A. hit that thin aluminum with the torch and watch it buckle. watcha wanna bet thay ain't primed?

and to the OP, where abouts are they have these "condensation" problems? near the chimney? if so, and you reflash it, i'd use lead for the counter. take your time, work it slow, and make it look gooood.
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update on torch down roof

I had a chimney guy come out and he said the water is being absorbed by the cement chimney cap and then channeling down the chimney and into the air space beneath the roofing. Looking at it today I actually saw that water was under the flashing and not on top of it. He recommended using a pressure washer to clean all the cement on the chimney and then using a high quality sealer (sold by your local cement supplier, not the bid box stores) to repel the water. He stated that the cement will absorb a lot of the sealer, so a few coats will be needed. I asked him to do it, but he said it's a small job and should only take one five gallon bucket at $100. This would be great, if this fixed the problem.

Thanks again,:notworthy
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Keep in mind there are two chimney caps and I'd seal both.
Hey guys, I have a question for y,all. What is the average price per sqft of a torch down roof. It is new construction. with labor and materials. If you all can give me a break down of both I would really appericate it. I am trying to bid this job, and really do need it. as all of you know, times have been very rough, and this would help me out so much. Thank you very much

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If you don`t know the cost you probably don`t know much about torching either.Meaning you probably shouldn`t be torching.Don`t get me wrong,but if you had experience you would know aprox cost of labor(at least what its worth to you) and its not hard to find out cost of materials...
:laughing: Good one....Thanks for the support johnk :thumbsup: :censored:hole.....just remember what goes around comes around......also, your from canada :laughing:
:laughing: Good one....Thanks for the support johnk :thumbsup: :censored:hole.....just remember what goes around comes around......also, your from canada :laughing:
heh no problem,call em like I see them.Canadian and proud of it,EH!!LOL
:laughing: Good one....Thanks for the support johnk :thumbsup: :censored:hole.....just remember what goes around comes around......also, your from canada :laughing:

Yeah, you posted your question on the World Wide Web, thus you'll get replies from around the world, EH.

John was not being a smart ass he was giving good advice.

You know what you and your guys want/need to earn, you can call a roofing material supply store for material cost.
We can not give you an average price for your area being that we do not know where your area is and that cost of both materials and labor varie from one area to another.

P.S. John is not a :censored: he's a :thumbup: guy, EH!.
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Thanks Sly:thumbsup:
I don't disagree with John's price one little bit. I'm suprised you didn't get the "three fiddy" answer LOL Seriously though even if we were inclined to give you an answer, you didn't give us anywhere near enough information to give you an answer. let me ask you this how much does a car cost? Wait a honda or a rolls? A 2 door or 4 door? I mean c'mon...

The best answer I can give is no less than $300 a square and no more than $3000 a square. How much do you pay your guys? How tall is the building? What is being torn off? How is the access for dumpsters? What kind of insulation are you putting back? What roofing system spec are you installing? 2 ply? 3 ply? 4 ply? granulated? smooth black? smooth coated? What type of walls or perimiter? What type of details and accessories?

Seriously if you've ever torched before then you should know what materials you need. if you know what materials you need then you can find out what they cost. If you've ever torched before then you should know how long it takes. if you know how long it takes multiply by your hourly rate. Add on for overhead and profit and you have your answer.

However if you've never torched before, hire a professional roofing contractor to do it for you, or make sure your insurance is paid and covers roofing fires up because there is a strong risk of burning down the building!
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