New flat roof...wetsuit, ib, sarnafil, or?

i am currently in the process of buying a home with a flat roof(rubber, tar and gravel)… it is approx. 3500 square feet divided into two teirs with a 4 foot height difference… it has 3 sky lights and 1 chimney on each roof… the existing roof is not leaking but inspector found some pooling, excessive alligatoring and stated it was at the end of its useful life… i was leaning towards an ib or sarnafil roof but i just saw pics of a wetsuit roof by neptune… which roof would be best for my situation… id appreciate any advice or reccomendations… the house is just outside chicago in orland park… it is a moderately wooded lot…thanks for your help…

.060" TPO

Sarnifil or IB.

the house was built around 1960 and as far as i know its the original roof… should we do a tear off or can these systems be put over the existing roof?

The first true rubber EPDM was done at O’Hare Airport in the early 60’s.

I doubt you have an original rubber roof.

It sounds like a Built Up Roof, (BUR), with gravel, which very well may be from the 60’s.

Never heard of Neptune or Wetsuit, except when I got certified for diving in the early 70’s.

IB is reported to be a very good membrane and has a quality certification process for contractors. Sarnafil is probably more limited as to who is certified, so there will be less competition.

Both, under the “Right” Conditions can be done as a re-roof over the existing, but if your roof and deck are truly 48 years old, the decking should be inspected by doing a complete tear-off.


thanks for the info…

i would like to start from scratch as well… but im not sure the sellers will

fork over the 30,000+ credit for a complete tear off and a new roof…

there are pics of the “wetsuit” on this site…

this is a pic i saw of the wetsuit over an alligatoring surface… … m=57&pos=8

Okay, thats why I never heard of Wetsuit before.

It is not a roof, but a coating.

If the roof is too far gone, no coating will be the long term solution.

How heavy were the rains in Orland Park today?

I was supposed to attend a Contractor Get Together in Palos Park, near the Plush Horse Ice Cream place, but had to cancel out due to my wife having an asthma attack.


its been raining all day long… not really pouring but steady all day… can you tell me the differences between ib and sarnafil… if you had a flat roof which system would you choose… are you still installing roofs… do you do business in the orland area…thanks for your help and insight

Both are very good systems sarnafil has been around much longer but IB is very compareable in its 80 mil product.Ib you will have more luck finding a cert contractor for.Another very good roof is fibertite along the same lines and same longevite.I could go into a number of systems but that gets confuseing.


the difference between the 2 is $

The system you use is not as important as how you install it.

The seller is probably not going to come off the price for the amount of this roofs actual cost. You say you already know this.

I would tell you to call multiple roofing contractors and use the product from the contractor you like the best but since you are not the owner you would be wasting their time unless you paid them for there time and info.

If you do buy the house, i do have some info to share.

You say you have 6 skylights on the house. These areas and where the lower roof meets the wall of the higher roof are your problem areas.

Others will tell you that velox and other
pre-made are the best skylights available. then tell you about their great warrantys. :roll:
These skylights are crap on flat roofing. velox and other pre-made are ok on a good pitched roof but are not on a flatish roof.

Most of the time, the roofing material are butted to the sides of the skylights. On a flatish roof, the material needs to go “up” the sides of the skylights. I frame my own skylight boxes and use “cant strip” around the 2x4 box.
This is a triangular peice of material that pushes the material away from the corners.
I then use the plastic bubble on top.

“Cant strip” also needs to be installed at the wall where the two roofs meet which means you will have to remove the siding in that area .
Cant strip, then underlayment up the wall, roofing material up the wall, then the siding comes over it.

I never use “flashing” or “5x5” when it comes to flat roofing. Always use “cant strip”.

If using any single ply like IB or Sarnafil no cant strip is used. Cant strip is for asphalt systems only.

thanks guys… i went on the roof with the inspector… the skylights were raised 12 to 18 inches above roof level… i believe they are original and they didn’t appear to have ever leaked… there was minimal moisture between the plastic cap and the glass that can be seen by pressing down on the edge of the plastic… the house is brick and dryvit… where the lower roof meets the upper it is dryvit… some of the gutters were holding water and need to be re pitched… one estimate was for 20k which included tear off(they claimed 3 dumpsters worth of material) repitching the roof and a new bitumen roof… a second estimate was for 25k with the same procedure and materials but they added for around 4k more i can use an ib system… both said they would need a core sample for a more accurate estimate… i am meeting with Trela(the oldest company around here…50+ yrs and highly recomended) on tuesday and will try to take a few pics of the roof to post…

You are right. I should have made that distinction when i made that comment. The material still needs to go up the wall on the skylights and wall.

The sellers of houses always want to put the cheapest roof possible. He is going to completly freak-out just over the cost of an asphalt system.
IB and sarnifil are for custumers that have BIG bucks.

True, but they are also for the customer that understands the value of longevity.
They are cheaper in the long run.

its been raining all day long… not really pouring but steady all day… can you tell me the differences between ib and sarnafil… if you had a flat roof which system would you choose… are you still installing roofs… do you do business in the orland area…thanks for your help and insight[/quote]

Probably more contractors have the availability to be certified with IB, therefor lowering the competitive pricing due to non-exclusvity.

Both are well known and respected membranes. You want a contractor that has a crew that installs either one full time and not once or twice per year.

IB will still be a warranted roof system under ponded water, but it Always makes sense to create positive drainage.


…other than being pricey what disadvantages does an ib or sarnafil system have…also what is the average life of a tar and gravel roof…thanks…

so the seller got back to us today saying that they found a company that would remove the gravel reseal the roof and re gravel it for $2200.00 and provide a 7 yr warranty… does the seem like a viable option…

I really don’t think they are as pricey as everyone thinks. If you get a cheap mod-bit roof…yes…Sarnafil will be more expensive…If you get a good quality Mod-Bit prices are comparable.
You don’t get a Sarnafil Roof by accident.

I don’t remember who made the comment about long term cost. Sarnafil has the lowest “Life Cycle Cost” among Standing Seam Metal, BUR, Mod-Bit, EPDM…
It also has the lowest maintanence cost

White single-ply membranes are extremely energy efficient when compared to Tar/Mod-Bit/EPDM. Sarnafil reflects 86% of UV rays. The membrane combined with ISO (insulation) will give you better R-value…all of that equals energy savings from energy reflectivity and it also lowers the burden on your HVAC units prolonging their lives.

Sarnafil and I assume also IB use heat welds and not hot tar. You won’t have any fire hazards on the roof as well as no toxic odors.
Check out the Fire Tests between SBSMod VS PVC(Sarnafil)vs FireRetardantEPDM vs TPO

Also Sarnafil recycles 100% at the end of its life expectancy (25+) if you are enviormentally conscious.

Axiom is right 100%

IB is a premium product, and carries a premium price tag - but it is the last roof you will have to install! No more leaks and headaches. Again, this is assuming you have a quality installation - this is the most important thing together with a quality product.

To axiom: Do you install IB? If so, PM me - we are creating a database / directory of IB installers in the US, and i would add your company to that directory.