Get Your Roofing Questions Answered

Slate Roofing

1Roofing with Slate :
For centuries, slate-roofing has proven to be one of the most efficient roofing systems. Slates are made from natural stone quarried from the Northeast United States, Virginia, Canada, Wales, Spain, China, South Africa, and other parts of the world. Commercial roof-slate quarrying began in the US around the mid-1800s. Slates are available in an array of different colors, textures, sizes, and thicknesses. The variety and versatility that slate roofing offers makes it a very attractive choice for private homes, churches, schools, or any other public buildings. Visually, slate roofs are aesthetically pleasing and can achieve stunning architectural results. The biggest advantage of slate however, is that it is among the most durable of all roofing materials. It is naturally water-repellent, fireproof, and highly resistant to wind and hail. Slate roofs are also very low maintenance, since they are resistant to algae and moss. With all the benefits of naturally quarried slate, slate roofs can last for more than a century! In fact, a few well-constructed slate roofs in Europe have been functioning for four hundred years! Although slate roofing is relatively expensive, it is very cost-effective when longevity is taken into account. Because of the wide variety of slate roofing materials, it is best to consult with a contractor before choosing the slate you want to use for your home. Not all slate is the same, and the large variety certainly does not make it easy for homeowners to choose the right kind of slate. Some roofs are also not designed for slate, and you might be better off using asphalt shingles. There are many nuances to consider, and since the process is quite expensive, a consultation with a professional is indispensable before making any final decisions or purchasing slate from a quarry or a slate supplier. Roofing Doctor has many years of experience in slate roofing, and would be happy to provide the necessary consultation. Slate roofs are also very environmentally friendly, since they can be discarded as clean land fill, as opposed to the toxic waste of petrochemical roofs. Slate is also much more difficult to install than other roofing materials, and should only be left to licensed professionals. At Roofing Doctor, we also repair slate roofs that are still functioning, but are simply in need of a little mending. Call (401)246-0711 or email us if you have any further questions.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are probably the most popular roofing material in North America and one of the most affordable. There are two basic types of asphalt shingles: fiberglass and organic. Fiberglass shingles are the most frequently selected type of shingles. They are made with fiberglass mats attached to the shape of the shingle, and coated with asphalt. The fiberglass is there for reinforcement, while the asphalt is the ingredient that makes the shingle waterproof. Organic shingles consist of an organic felt material saturated with asphalt. Again, the asphalt functions to make the shingle waterproof. However, fiberglass shingles have in recent years become much more popular than organic ones, and only a few companies still manufacture organic shingles. Because fiberglass shingles are more widely manufactured, they are cheaper and more popular with homeowners and contractors.
2What are the benefits of asphalt shingles?
Asphalt shingles are very economical and simple to install. They come in a variety of different colors and styles, giving homeowners a very wide range of options. Asphalt shingle options may include: being coated with a special laminate to provide an attractive texture, or equipped with zinc plating to protect against algae build up. These additional features bring up the cost, but are popular with some homeowners. Asphalt shingles are durable, easily repaired, and require little to no maintenance. They also work great on steep-sloped roofs. Overall, asphalt shingles are considered to be one of the most popular and cost-effective roofing options.
The lifespan of asphalt shingles depends heavily upon the grade of the shingle and the environment. They are available in grades that last for anywhere between 20-50 years and beyond. However, asphalt shingles can fail prematurely in hot climates. Thermal shock is very damaging to the life of your asphalt shingle roof. In climates where temperatures reach 100 during the daytime, and then drop to below 50 at night, asphalt shingles don’t have the time to properly expand and contract, and cracks begin to develop in the material. Also, during the cold months, water can get into the cracks and expand as it freezes, causing the already existing cracks to become even bigger. Asphalt shingles thus do best in climates that have fairly steady temperatures - not too cold in the winter and not too hot in the summer. Despite all the possible risks, asphalt shingles are the preferred roofing material by homeowners and contractors alike.
Not all fiberglass shingles are the same; they come with a variety of different warranties ranging from 20-50 years, to "Lifetime". When purchasing fiberglass shingles, you should pay special attention to the warranty because its an important factor in getting your moneys-worth. Most warrantees will usually cover defects such as thermal splitting, granule loss, cupping, and curling. Warranties will usually not cover natural occurrences such as hurricanes, hail storms, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc. They usually do not cover any damage resulting from the failure of materials, such as damage done to the interior of the house as the result of roof leaks. It's important to remember that proper roof ventilation is often required to validate the warranty on any shingles purchased. Please refer to the "Roof Ventilation" section for more information. Whether or not your roof lives up to its life expectancy also depends heavily upon proper installation. Roofing Doctor is a highly certified business that uses only the best materials and techniques during the installation process - making sure that your roof lasts as long as the warranty promises. Please call or email us if you have any further questions regarding asphalt shingles.


1The purpose of gutters:
Gutters are attached to roof edges and channel rainwater away from the sides of your house and its foundation. They also prevent the waterfalls that could potentially form above your entrance, driveway, and walkways. At Roofing Doctor, we want to make sure your gutters are working properly, since damaged gutters can be just as harmful to your home as a damaged roof.
2What is the main obstacle to properly functioning gutters?
Although gutters can get old or leak, the most common problem is clogging. Debris, such as leaves or twigs, often accumulates in gutters and obstructs water drainage. Perching birds, who make their nests or excrete waste around gutters, are another common culprit of gutter blockage.
3What happens when rain-gutters get clogged?
If the drainage of rainwater is obstructed, water can start spilling over the sides of the house. This will eventually cause damage to the siding, windows, and doors of the house. If the problem is not corrected quickly, you could find yourself having to deal with water leaks and other unsightly problems.
4What gutter maintenance is needed?
Gutters should be inspected and cleaned out to make sure they are functioning properly. When gutters are examined, it is important not only to clean them out, but to check for holes, rust, or bents. It is also important to check whether the gutters and the downspouts are still properly attached to the house. You can also install gutter guards which prevent much of the debris from entering into the gutters.
5How often should gutter maintenance be conducted?
Rain gutter maintenance frequency depends upon where you are in New England, and the number & type of trees around your house. If you don’t have any trees in sight, you are obviously at a small risk of gutter blockage, but grates & downspouts should still be inspected once in a while, to ensure clogs don't start. In general, it’s a good idea to do gutter maintenance once every year. If you have many trees around your house, or especially if you live in a forested area, you might have to clean your gutters twice a year – once in the spring, and once in the fall.

Rubber Roofing

1What is EPDM and what does it look like?
EPDM is an elastomeric compound that is manufactured from ethylene, propylene, and a small amount of diene monomer. The combination of these ingredients produces a product that is able to withstand ultraviolet light, weathering and abrasion, and extremely low temperatures. The ingredients used in EPDM are also resistant to acids, alkalis, and oxygenated solvents. In regards to appearance, black EPDM has a smooth surface similar to natural gray slate. It doesn’t contain the surface granules that can eventually be lost on other materials.
2What is the difference between black EPDM and white EPDM?
The black EPDM contains carbon black, an ingredient that is added to enhance UV resistance. Titanium dioxide is used for the white membranes to achieve the same results.
3What is the maximum size sheet for EPDM membrane?
Sheets as large as 50 feet in width are available but are mostly used in ballasted and mechanically fastened applications. The narrower widths are used for greater flexibility in membrane installation. Another benefit of narrower sheets is that they are produced without factory seams (seamless). This eliminates the T-joints that occur when seams intersect with field splices. The lack of T-joints obviously makes your roof significantly more water-tight and helps prevent leaks. Both narrow and wide sheets are manufactured in varying lengths from 50' to 200'.
4How has EPDM performed since its introduction into roofing in the 1960’s and what is its expected longevity?
Over 1 billion square feet of membrane have been installed worldwide, and various laboratory studies and actual field installations have proven that EPDM is durable and effective in all climates. EPDM’s excellent performance is attributed to its structure and ingredients mentioned in question 1. As a result, EPDM …
  • has superior resistance to UV (ultraviolet) radiation
  • has unmatched resistance to thermal shock
  • exhibits superior resistance to cyclic fatigue
  • has superior resistance to hail damage
  • will not become brittle or shatter due to low temperatures
Many EPDM installations have already exceeded 40 years of exposure in various climates and have not shown alarming signs of degradation. Although its difficult to say for certain, studies have shown that EPDM could have a life expectancy of 50 years.
5How long can an EPDM roofing system be warranted?
Generally speaking, system warranties that cover material and labor costs are available; and different manufacturers offer various assemblies with standard warranties that vary from 5 and 10 to 15 and 20 years. In addition, premium coverage up to 30 years is available and can include coverage for higher wind speeds, incidental puncture, and hail resistance.
6Does EPDM require maintenance to extend its life expectancy?
No. No special coating or other surface treatment is required. General maintenance however, is recommended, and debris and leaves should be regularly removed.
7Can EPDM be coated or painted?
Acrylic coatings are available that can be applied directly to a prepared EPDM surface. Preparation usually consists of cleaning the EPDM with a pressure washer and a detergent solution or wash. Latex-based paint products can also be used; however, the EPDM manufacturer should be contacted prior to application to ensure compatibility and continuation of warranty coverage.
8Can EPDM membrane be used in roof top garden applications?
EPDM has a proven track record in various waterproofing and pond lining applications which somewhat resemble roof top applications. However, there are certain rules that should be followed when designing a roof top garden regardless of the type of membrane used:
  • Select a membrane with high puncture resistance
  • Establish redundancy in the waterproofing assembly by overlaying splices
  • Design the assembly to provide slope and proper drainage at the membrane level
  • Incorporate protection above the membrane to aid against root growth and possible puncture
  • Incorporate a drainage layer and a root barrier to influence root growth away from membrane
  • Select proper growth media for the type of roof garden intended
9Is EPDM and its installation in any way limited by temperature?
In accordance with ASTM standard D 746, EPDM membrane has a brittleness temperature of -49ºF. While the membrane will remain flexible and pliable in extremely cold temperatures, adhesives, flashings and tapes should be kept at room temperature (hot boxes are usually used on the rooftop to rotate adhesive cans and rolls of flashing). Although roofing contractors may select not to work in sub-freezing temperatures due to safety concerns, many EPDM installations have taken place in temps below 20ºF.
10How is EPDM affected by weather extremes?
In laboratory testing EPDM withstood some of the most extreme temperatures. In some cases, samples were subjected to 240ºF for 4 weeks. Also, in several studies field samples were collected from various geographic locations after years of exposure and in both cases (laboratory and field), the physical properties of the samples exceeded the original ASTM specification. In recent years, EPDM has been installed in some of the coldest regions of the United States (i.e., Alaska, Minnesota) as well as in the hot and humid climates of southern Florida and Texas. The material will not shatter in extreme, cold temperatures and remains flexible under severe thermal shock such as in dessert areas where evenings are extremely cold and days extremely hot.
11Is EPDM beneficial to the environment?
EPDM is one of the most sustainable and environmental materials used today in the construction industry. Its excellent performance transfers to low life cycle costs and less impact on the environment. The initial production of the membrane has a low embodied energy number (the amount of energy required to produce and implement a product from material extraction, manufacture, and installation). In addition several other components (such as cleaners, primers and adhesives) were developed for use with the EPDM membrane to reduce VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) emissions during installation. Post-industrial products can be reincorporated (recycled) into the manufacturing of other roofing products and accessories (i.e., walkways and roofing tiles), thus minimizing the impact on landfills.
12Is EPDM cost effective?
Dollar-for-dollar, EPDM roofing systems are the greatest value in the low slope commercial roofing industry. While installation costs vary from system to system as well as from building to building, generally, ballasted roofing systems have the lowest installed cost per square foot followed by mechanically fastened and fully adhered systems.
13How popular is EPDM?
Within the United States , EPDM accounts for over 1 billion square feet of new roofing annually and represents approximately 35% of the entire roofing market. In Europe the market share is around 12% and growing. While it is difficult to predict percentages in other markets, accelerated growth is reported in the Middle East and China as well.
14Can EPDM be easily repaired?
Yes. One of the most unique attributes of EPDM is its ability to be easily repaired as well as its potential for restoration unparalleled in the roofing industry. The characteristics of the membrane are such that, even after years of field service and exposure to the elements, repairs and/or modifications, such as the installation of a new rooftop unit, repair can be accomplished with ease and with the expectation of long-term performance.
15What are some other uses of EPDM besides roofing?
EPDM has been used in various installations such as pond liners, tunnels, foundations, thru-wall flashings, terraces, garden roofs, and RV roofs.