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Success with Roof Maintenance (RSI, 2005)

An important issue in the winter, especially in colder climates, is roof maintenance. A small leak that starts in the winter can become an even bigger problem in the spring if repair is delayed until the cold weather subsides.

A substantial portion of the country experiences winter woes, especially the northern states that surround the Great Lakes. Many times, the weather doesn't warm up as quickly as roofing contractors would hope and projects are delayed until the spring, even if the roof requires immediate attention.

To respond to this issue, manufacturers have produced and tested products to use during the coldest stretches of the year. A question that roofing contractors may ask is how many products actually work? Here's what two roofing contractors have to say about one product that has made roof maintenance a success, no matter what time of year it is.

Roof repair tapes Both contractors use EternaBond® roof repair tape for maintenance, avoiding winter delays, producing a higher yield of projects, and saving roof systems from severe damage due to prolonged disrepair.

"There have been times when I have used butyl backed tapes for projects and I have had to put the tape under the heater of my truck and then quickly apply it to the roof," said Charlie von Plato, owner of Metal Roof Specialty Coating in West Chester, PA. "There's no guarantee that the tape will stick with that method. About six years ago, I heard about EternaBond® roof tapes and have been using them since; they work great in cold climates."

Even in cold areas such as Chicago, IL, the Upper Michigan Peninsula, Duluth, MN and several northeastern states, EternaBond® tapes remain flexible even at temperatures as low as negative 70°F.

"You can use the tapes 12 months out of the year," said Charlie Hubbard of Hubbard Roofing in Evansville, IN. "We used to only be able to roof eight to nine months out of the year, but we can use EternaBond® throughout every season."

While the EternaBond® tapes resist thermal shock and excel in cold weather in one extreme, they can also withstand hot temperatures of 250°F on the other.

"It adheres under practically all temperatures," said von Plato, who has extensive hands-on experience with EternaBond® tapes.

Temperature fluctuations Though in many areas the temperature remains cold throughout at least two seasons, it can also drastically fluctuate, causing the roof temperature to change quickly and dramatically.

"A roof is a living system," said von Plato. "It moves independently in areas, and it expands and contracts. In the winter, if the heat in the building is 65°F and the outside temperature is 10°F, that's a lot of stress on the roof."

Depending on the roof system, each will move differently depending on the weather, the roof's composition and ability to withstand the elements, as well as other factors such as mechanical units on the roof.

EternaBond® tapes allow repair on nearly all roof types, including EPDM, Hypalon, TPO, most PVCs, Kynar coated metal, copper, granulated modified bitumen, tile, as well as gutters, flashings, skylights, ductwork and other rooftop accessories.

Supported by a 10-year warranty, EternaBond® tapes' unique chemistry known as a MicroSealant®, is environmentally stable, so it will not shrink, crack, peel or lose an integral grip. The tapes have an unusually long life expectancy and fuse to almost any substrate.

"The tape is flexible; it moves with the roof system," said von Plato, who has been in the roofing industry since 1986. "Acrylic coatings and butyl tapes do not work as well under cold weather conditions. Butyl does not shift with the roof's constant movements."

As appearing in Roofing/Siding/Insulation (RSI), Feb 1, 2005.