Need help with deciding on flat roof options (Brooklyn, NY area)

Hi Everyone,

My first post and need help from professional community to make a decision on the flat roof options. We bought a place few years ago which is pretty much a lemon. One of the issues is a leaky roof. The roof doesn’t have insulation, was not done to code; basically the worst scenario imaginable (the original contractor lost the license from what we were told). So, we want to replace the roof as one of the roofers did sample tests and there is moisture everywhere (but now he is gone) :frowning:

I went through a dozen roofers (super frustrated at this point) and narrowed down 3 who provide enough detail in the quote to see if they know what they are talking about (at least I think). Below are the quotes for the first 2 (still waiting for 3rd) and their prices are in the ball-park the same.

Both of these guys are new - 5-6 years of experience according to records with NYS when they incorporated, have good reviews on Yelp, Google, etc. Nothing negative on BBB

I am comfortable with Roofer 1 but never heard of Polyglass brand…

Since the roof will have some sort of decking on it, am I going with the right option (something along the lines of Bison)? We currently have rubber pavers.

Thank you for your feedback.


Some of the terminology they use is different than around here.

First question is this on a residence or a business? It changes what warranties are available.

The first one. Polyglass is a pretty old brand and makes good products. There are several parts which worry me. First is they do not specify what is being torn off and just say up to 3 layers. This is actually good for you as long as you know there are not more than 3 layers on the roof.

Second is the plywood replacement. The grade is fine but not all wooden structures have plywood, they should know what the deck type is and replace like with like. On the same item most contractors give a unit price for this. Again if they run into a bunch more than they expect then it is good for you, but they may try to get you to agree to a change order for deck replacement after the fact without disclosing the price beforehand.

This contractor does not say how they will attach the insulation and the dens deck.

The cap sheet is typically torch applied when it comes to APP 180 products although not always. Most contractors insurance will not cover them for causing a fire unless they are part of the CERTA torch training thru the NRCA. Some insurance companies will not cover them on wood or tectum decks no matter what.

If this is a residence the only manufacturer warranty provided is for material only typically on flat roof products. You should get at least a 2 year guarantee on labor and workmanship.

The master protect sounds like it will be between a layer of stucco and the metal coping on your walls. No problem here.

Second Roofer is using firestone which is also a very good manufacturer.

This one also does not provide a unit cost for replacing rotten wood.

They say they are installing the membranes with Liquid Glue. That is not a product offered by Firestone. They have several products which can be used to cold apply SBS membranes but none are glues, they are asphalt based mastics and adhesives.

They say they will install on walls with a sheet of membrane which if you have stucco is worrisome, as it cannot be installed over stucco.

Liquid flashing is being used as termination which is unacceptable. There needs to be mechanical termination where wall flashings stop.

This one does not mention a warranty or guarantee of any kind.

Thank you so much for getting back to me and adding some comfort and concerns :wink:

This is a condo residence (6 units) and owners of the top floor have exclusive rights for the roof (we plan to install light decking, etc) and naturally - responsible for maintaining it. So this could be considered either a residential or commercial job. Ideally, we want 20 year warranty and can have the job be executed through the condo association. Do you see any issues with this approach?

How can all of them say that they can provide manufacturers 20 year warranty is scary…

Both companies will be tearing off the entire roof up to the plywood. Any damaged wooden sheets would be replaced at the cost of $90 each. First contractor did say that they mechanically fasten the insulation and the dens deck (I believe he showed me pictures how accurately they do the work, etc but I could have been overwhelmed with information).

I will find out how the cap sheet / App 180 will be applied and confirm about torching/insurance, etc.

The first roofer seemed knowledgeable, brought up a drone first and overall gave me a good vibe.

The second roofer, was a bit cocky and equally proud of his work (great reviews on Yelp). He explicitly said that he did many houses in the area but one he showed from our roof, did have ugly flashing which is worrisome to your previous point. He mentioned nothing about termination bar.

I will double check with him if by glue he meant asphalt based mastics and adhesives (this stuff is scary foreign to me…)

I am waiting for a 3rd roofer to give me a quote.

If I told you that I went through 7 roofers and these two are the best, would you believe me? :frowning:

Overall it’s a job with about 3k sq feet (including neighbors and us) and both of the contractors charge about 15k per roof (30k total). It’s a 3 story condo with no easy access to the roof.

Generally multi-unit housing counts as a commercial property. If you go thru the condo association you may be able to get a better warranty.

The way commercial roof warranties work is different than residential. Depending on the manufacturer they will offer a 20 year Material Only warranty for free or for a small fee. This warranty is basically useless since material defects are extremely rare.

The other type of warranty is a NDL (No Dollar Limit) Warranty. This is industry standard for commercial buildings but is not offered on single family residences. This is a warranty against any leaks caused by materials or workmanship for the warranty duration. A manufacturer’s inspection must be done and the installer must be pre-approved with the manufacturer.

I do believe you about going thru 7 roofers. Most companies that do residential are not good with flat roofs other than porches, and most commercial companies are outside most peoples radar or they might decline this kind of work.

If these contractors are not approved by Firestone or Polyglass then they cannot get the NDL warranty even if the manufacturer will offer it on the building. Which condos get kind of awkward with that. Honestly not sure if they will or not.

Be prepared to accept the 20 Year Material Only manufacturer’s warranty and ask for a 2 year guarantee from the contractor.

Thank you again. Can’t appreciate enough for thorough feedback here. Here is the 3rd quote which nails and summarize everything you outlined upfront. :slight_smile:

He does come up 25% more expensive but gives me the most comfort.

Will see if the first contractor will address the points you raised above.