AAC Waterproofing can trace its roots back to the 1970s, when the then Anglesey Asphalt Company provided (clue in the name) mastic asphalt services for roofing, flooring and tanking, from their base on Anglesey. During the 1980s and early 90’s we diversified into bituminous felt roofing systems in order to cater to a wider range of clients.
However, the foresight of the Managing Director of the time led the business to diversify further, into single-ply roofing. EPDM synthetic rubber sheeting was the preferred system and is still a major part of our offering today, although it has now been supplemented with the provision of single-ply thermoplastic installation also.
Why the evolution into roofing single-ply systems? Heat. Or more specifically – Flame.
Fires and burn injuries have long been a problem associated with hot-works roofing. Bitumen boilers, where bitumen is heated to temperatures around 250°c before being poured by hand from a bucket or kettle into the path of a roll of bitumen felt being rolled into the liquid bitumen, were a common problem. Most roofing contractors (all?) have experienced pot fires at some time. While these were usually extinguished quite quickly by the use of powder fire extinguishers, or more commonly by simply placing the lid on top of the boiler, hot bitumen was the source of many burn injuries and much damage.
Flame torch application of bitumen felts have pretty much taken over form pour-and-roll applications, but torches have a much more direct fire impact on structures, and roofing history is littered with examples of building fires caused by flame torches. It is often said that proper management of the torching process will prevent fires, but they have continued to happen.
An additional issue for roofing contractors is hot-works insurance. Many policies only cover hot-works under very limiting conditions, and even if covered, the protracted process of settling an insurance claim for a flame-torch-caused roofing fire causes many contractors serious, and sometimes terminal, issues.
AAC Waterproofing has operated under a no-flame policy for many years now. We only offer flame-free roofing systems, such as our Prelasti EPDM prefabricated sheeting, Hot-air welded thermoplastic membranes and Liquid Applied Waterproofing.
Prelasti EPDM is prefabricated in our workshop into large sheets, sometimes sufficient to cover an entire roof in one piece. Where site jointing is required the process is cold, using unvulcanised tapes, adhesives, and specialised mastics.
Single-ply systems, such as Protan and Sika Sarnafil are thermoplastic membranes, are site welded using hot-air guns, which are accepted as ‘fire-safe’.
Liquid Applied Waterproofing is just that – applied as liquids, with a reinforcing fabric, which cures in situ to form a homogenous waterproof skin on the roof and around details.
Devils advocates will argue that all roofs need to be dry prior to the application of waterproofing and that it is common to dry-up using flame torches. While this may be true in principle, their use should be avoided wherever possible, using alternative methods of mopping or hot air blowers, and only using flame on non-combustible surfaces, and in accordance with strict controls.
Our adoption of a flame-free roofing policy means that we now have specialist teams of roofing installers whose expertise is predicated on cold-applied techniques. Our public liability insurance is reinforced due to the absence of hot-work considerations, but most important of all, the client can have the reassurance of knowing that their roofing project will be carried out with the risk of fire hazards being virtually eliminated. That’s good to know.