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Exploring the Different Types of Roof Waterproofing: A Comprehensive Guide



Water damage can be one of the most costly and frustrating issues a property owner can experience. Ensuring your roof is suitably waterproof is essential in maintaining the integrity of your building. As a regular company committed to professionalism, we at some businesses, have put together a comprehensive guide on roof waterproofing.This blog post will explore the different types of roof waterproofing available for various roofing systems, their benefits, and how to implement them effectively. With the information provided in this guide, you can confidently protect your property and extend the life of your roof.

But first, let’s start by understanding the need for roof waterproofing and the importance of choosing the right method for your specific roofing structure. Read on to save time, effort, and money by getting your roof waterproofing done immediately.

Types of Roof Waterproofing Materials: A Brief Overview

Types of Roof Waterproofing: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Roof

Roof waterproofing is critical to protecting your building from the damaging effects of water leaks, moisture, and mold. Several types of waterproofing materials are available in the market, each with unique properties and applications. In this section, we will provide a brief overview of the most common roof waterproofing materials.

Bituminous Membrane Waterproofing: This material consists of a bitumen-based compound that is waterproof and durable. It is typically applied as a thick coating or in the form of modified bitumen membranes.

Liquid Waterproofing Membranes: These are available in various compositions such as acrylic, silicone, and polyurethane. They are brushed or rolled onto the roof surface, forming a seamless and flexible watertight barrier.

PVC and TPO Roofing Membranes: These single-ply synthetic membranes are known for their excellent resistance to UV radiation, chemicals, and punctures. They are typically attached to the roof using adhesive, heat welding, or mechanical fasteners.

Rubberized Asphalt: This waterproofing material combines asphalt with rubber polymers, making it highly adhesive and elastic. It is generally applied on the roof surface in the form of a self-adhesive membrane.

Bituminous Waterproofing: Economical and Long-lasting

Types of Roof Waterproofing: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Roof

Bituminous waterproofing, also known as asphalt waterproofing, is an economical yet long-lasting solution for protecting your roof. This method involves applying a layer of bitumen, which is a sticky, viscous, and waterproof material that is derived from crude oil. There are two types of bituminous waterproofing: roll roofing and torch-on membranes. Roll roofing consists of applying adhesive sheets, often made of fiberglass or polyester, saturated with bitumen to the types of roofs. These sheets create a barrier against water infiltration and provide extra durability.

On the other hand, torch-on membranes are applied using heat to fuse the bitumen with the roofing surface, ensuring a watertight seal. This method is commonly used on flat roofs, where water can accumulate and cause damage. Bituminous waterproofing is an affordable and efficient way to safeguard your roofing investment. Its flexibility makes it an ideal choice for various roof shapes and sizes including types of roof shingles, and with proper maintenance, it can effectively protect your roof for over 20 years.

Liquid Waterproofing Membrane: Flexible and Durable

Liquid Waterproofing Membrane is a popular solution for roof waterproofing due to its unique combination of properties. This type of waterproofing is characterized by its flexibility and durability, ensuring long-lasting protection for your roof. The application process typically involves a roller or brush to apply the liquid membrane directly onto the roof surface. As it dries, the liquid forms a seamless, rubber-like barrier that adheres strongly to the substrate, preventing any water penetration.

One of the key advantages of a Liquid Waterproofing Membrane is its ability to expand and contract with the building’s movement. This elasticity is crucial in preventing the formation of cracks and prolonging the life of your roof. Moreover, this waterproofing method can be easily applied to complex shapes and details, such as roof penetrations, making it a versatile option for various roofing structuresKeep in mind that professional installation is required to ensure optimal performance, longevity, and warranty benefits. When correctly applied, Liquid Waterproofing Membrane can greatly reduce the likelihood of roof damage, saving you time and money in the long run.

Cementitious Waterproofing: Simple and Low Maintenance

Types of Roof Waterproofing: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Roof

Cementitious waterproofing is one of the most accessible and user-friendly methods for safeguarding your roof against water damage. Building and construction experts prefer this approach for its simple application and impressive effectiveness at a relatively low cost. This method involves mixing cement products with water-resistant additives, then applying them directly to the roof’s surface. This creates a water-impenetrable barrier that keeps your building protected from leakage and water-related damages, even in harsh weather conditions.

Moreover, cementitious waterproofing requires very little maintenance after installation. Once it dries, the cement-based mixture forms a durable, long-lasting layer that can withstand regular wear and tear. Overall, cementitious waterproofing offers a practical and low-maintenance solution for protecting your roof from water damage.

Polyurethane Liquid Membrane: High-Performing and UV Resistant

Types of Roof Waterproofing: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Roof

Polyurethane Liquid Membrane is a high-performance waterproofing solution that provides excellent protection and resistance. It boasts impressive long-lasting durability and flexibility, making it a perfect choice for flat and low-pitched roofs. This type of waterproofing method involves the application of a seamless liquid coating that is UV resistant, ensuring your roof remains protected from developing issues, like leaks or damage, over time. Its key advantage lies in its ability to cover complex shapes, corners, and details with ease. Not to mention, it comes in a variety of colors to suit your design preferences.

Additionally, Polyurethane Liquid Membrane requires minimal maintenance and fares well against various external factors, such as weather changes, chemicals, and abrasion. In conclusion, this versatile and durable solution offers an excellent option for those seeking a top-notch waterproofing method for their roofs.

EPDM Rubber Membrane: Versatile, Sustainable, and Easy to Install

Types of Roof Waterproofing: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Roof

EPDM rubber membrane is a popular and versatile option for roof waterproofing. It has been increasingly chosen by property owners due to its many attributes, such as durability, flexibility, and sustainable properties. This synthetic rubber material can withstand harsh weather conditions, including fluctuating temperatures and UV radiation, making it ideal for roofs that are exposed to changing climates. Its elasticity allows EPDM to adapt and move with building structures, preventing leaks and reducing the risk of damage.

One of the most appealing aspects of this material is its eco-friendly nature. Made from recycled materials, EPDM has a low environmental impact and can even contribute to better stormwater management, reducing runoff and pollution. Furthermore, the EPDM rubber membrane is relatively simple to install. With options for both fully adhered and mechanically fastened systems, it can be tailored to suit the unique needs of each property. This ease of installation often results in reduced labor costs and less disruption during the construction process.

TPO and PVC Roofing Membranes: Energy-Efficient and Strong

Types of Roof Waterproofing: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Roof

TPO and PVC Roofing Membranes are two of the modern, energy-efficient, and strong options available for roof waterproofing. Both types guarantee to protect your roof from leakage, ensuring its durability and longevity. The Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) membrane is made of a blend of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber, making it resistant to ultraviolet radiation and harsh weather conditions. Moreover, its white reflective surface has energy-saving properties that can reduce building cooling expenses.

On the other hand, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) roofing membranes are known for their strength and flexibility, capable of withstanding the elements, along with ponding water and chemical exposure. With a lifespan of over 2 decades, PVC roofing provides excellent value for money. Both TPO and PVC are lightweight, making them relatively easy to install, environmentally friendly, and perfect for low-sloped roofs. It’s important to consider these modern and energy-efficient options when investing in roof waterproofing.

Green Roof Waterproofing: A Sustainable and Eco-friendly Option

Types of Roof Waterproofing: A Comprehensive Guide to Protecting Your Roof

Green Roof Waterproofing is a sustainable and eco-friendly solution for protecting your roof from water damage. This method involves installing a green roof system, comprised of a waterproof membrane, a drainage layer, and a layer of soil and vegetation.

Not only does this option offer excellent waterproofing capabilities, but it also presents a host of environmental benefits. Green roofs help to reduce urban heat island effects, engage in stormwater management, and promote biodiversity by providing habitat for local plant and animal species. Additionally, green roofs have been proven to improve air quality and can even improve energy efficiency by insulating your building, thus reducing heating and cooling costs. This sustainable roofing option is ideal for those who are environmentally conscious and are looking for a long-term, low-maintenance roofing solution.


In conclusion, this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights into the different types of roof waterproofing available. By understanding the common types of waterproofing materials, such as liquid-applied membranes, bituminous coatings, and elastomeric coatings, property owners can make informed decisions regarding the right type of waterproofing for their specific needs. Moreover, the durability of the waterproofing coating plays a crucial role in ensuring long-term protection against water damage and leaks. While each waterproofing system has its own advantages and considerations, it is worth noting that liquid-applied membranes often stand out as the easiest to install and maintain. Whether it’s for residential, commercial, or industrial applications, investing in a reliable and effective waterproofing system is essential to safeguarding the integrity and longevity of any structure.

Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning in Des Moines Iowa
Cedar Shake Roof before & after cleaning

Meet Bruce

50 Years of Experience &
Over 2,000 Shake Roofs Cleaned

Bruce Sullivan has over 50 years of experience in maintaining, cleaning, and restoring cedar shake roofs. Making him one of the top authorities on cedar shake roofs in the US.

Watch the Cedar Shakes Cleaning Process in Action in this video

Play Video about Roof Cleaning How to Remove Moss, Lichen, Fungi from a Cedar Roof Sullivan Roof


What can I say? Bruce and Keith provided an exceptional service, and they are really nice guys too. Found out at the last minute they were in Minneapolis, and they fit me in for a cedar shake roof cleaning the next evening after their regular job was done. Even cleaned up my gutters, small fence, and small deck at no charge. The place looks outstanding! Highly recommended.

Mike Richards

I highly recommend this business. Due to the work performed we are going to get another 10-14 years out of our cedar shake roof. We were told by some roofing companies that the roof should be replaced in 2 years. I lucked out and found Sullivan Roof Cleaning while researching companies that perform this service, and was pleased to learn that the company does work outside of Iowa. If you need your cedar shakes cleaned, go with Sullivan Roof Cleaning.

Eric Oelrich, 
St Cloud, MN

Bruce did a great job cleaning the whole exterior of my house. The roof has new life! It looks practically brand new. All the mold and moss on the roof, on the gutters, under the eaves, completely gone. He exceeded all our expectations. When he tells you what he can do for your house, you can believe and trust him. Great guy, great service.

Stuart Malone
Kansas City, MO


Cedar shakes are organic. Though a resilient material. Being organic they need to be maintained. Over time, like any organic material that are subjected to weather elements, they reach a stage of deterioration. Like UV exposure, moisture and seasonal changes. Which results in moss, mold, mildew, lichen and brown rot fungi. These infestations need to be removed to further preserve the integrity of the cedar shake.
The proper way to clean a cedar shake roof is from a ladder. By spraying a special formulated solution onto the shakes and then rinsed with a garden hose pressure. Best done by a professional cedar shake roof cleaner. Not DIY recommended.
No. Pressure washer will require walking on the shakes, which will harm them, and even at its lowest setting will also damage the shakes.
On average, cedar shakes should be cleaned every 10 ten years. Subjective to the grade of the shakes and the amount of surrounding tree cover.
Avoiding walking on a cedar shake roof, other than for repairs.
Never seal a cedar shake roof. Cedar shakes need to breathe. They expand and contract in rain conditions. Seal will shorten the lifespan, to the point of premature replacement.
Staining has no real preserve value and can also harm the integrity of shakes, as stated, they need to be able to breathe. Also, if the shakes are not properly cleaned staining can seal the deteriorating infestation within the shakes.
Depending on the grade of the shakes and installation, and if maintained properly, 40 to 60 years.


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