About 2 years ago (7/03), we got a new foam roof from a company that
is now out of business (they used to advertise extensively on this
site - I'm sure most of you can guess the name of the company...).
We've had no problems with the roof; however, today I noticed
something that concerned me.
I was on the roof cleaning up leaves that drop on to one corner of the
roof. I do this cleaning once a year. I noticed 3 "bubbles" in the
roof (for the lack of a beter term) all within an area of about 18
square inches. The largest bubble was about 5 incles in diameter.
I can easily push down on these bubbles. From my "lay-person"
perpective, I'm guessing these bubbles are in the outer protective
coating layer and not in the main foam layer?
I didn't inspect the entire roof, but from a quick walk-around, I only
saw these bubbles in the area where I was cleaning - i.e. where the
leaves accumulate. The company that installed the roof told me not to
worry about the leaves and that cleaning them up once a year was
So what should I do now? Get someone to inspect the whole roof? Not
worry about the bubbles? Clean up the leaves more than once a year?
Leaves will plug drains. This is the best reason to remove them. It is a good idea to remove branches and other debris also. The debris could stain the coating over time, but won't damage the coating or shorten its service life. Stepping on broken branches could possibly leave small breaks in the foam coating. This won't make a leak, but would need to be touched-up eventually.
The bubbles you describe can be cut off the roof and sealed back in place using exterior single-component urethane sealant from a building supply or hardware store. Be careful who you consult about your roof. Even a marginal roof application can protect your home for several years. Don't rush to replace a roof because someone wants to sell you a new one. Don't spend a lot of money trying to rescue a marginal roof. This will only make it look better while it's failing. Inspect your roof annually and see if anything else 'pops up'.
We had a bubble on our roof a couple years ago (and there's a new one forming near the old repair.) Chas, the owner of the non-gone Able Roofing, once told me that foam bubbles are sometimes caused when the foam got applied in two thin layers. The second layer wouldn't stick to the first, so the bubble forms when the two separate and air gets between them. In our cases, the bubbles occur in front of a portion of the roof with an overhanging roof raised two feet above the rest of the roof, so it's likely to have been a place they had trouble spraying the foam in one sweep.
It's good to hear from Randy that these can be fixed with urethane, and don't require respraying the area -- I was assuming the cost of repairing even a small bubble was going to be pricey.
'Outrageous' describes the situation more accurately. For example, say you hire a contractor to replace a termite eaten board 9 inches by 8 feet in your ceiling. He cuts the foam and underlying materials back from the board for access, then changes the board. You now have a 2 foot by 10 foot hole in your roof. You call us, and the first thing we ask is "Where is the piece of roof you had removed?". Well, the contractor chopped it into little pieces and threw it away. If he had removed the section in large pieces, we could have sealed it back in place for about $200 to $400. If the pieces are cut out neatly, it goes back so you can hardly tell anything was done. The pieces fit perfectly.
Even when it can cost over $2,000 to fix a small hole, we are not enthusiastic about it. It's kind of like getting the concrete truck out to your house to fill in the hole where a brick is missing.
Here is how we want this situation handled; Go to our website and click Contact Us near the top. Click Request Service. Describe your situation in the form. We will respond with appropriate information and maybe a link to a drawing...like this skylight retro-fit
Avoid calling us in this situation. We don't want to tell you something to tell your contractor. The work doesn't get done properly. If you send us the form from the website, you have the best chance of having the correct personnel give you the information you need to be happy with your roof.