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New roof and indoor air quality

D K | Posted in General Questions on

Hi there, I live in Florida. We will have a new roof in a few days if the rains in Florida stops.

For our sloped roof they will install “a Polyglass TU Plus Waterproofing Underlayment Fastened,” and for our flat roof they will install “an SAV Modified Bitumen Base Sheet, Direct Deck Application per Code and Install as SAP White Granular Cap Sheet, Torch Applied over Modified Base Sheet.”

Is this hot tar that they’ll use? My knowledge is limited and I plan to ask the contractor.

I am out of state with my 3-year-old. How long do you think I should remain away from the house after the work is completed?

I am really worried about indoor air quality and fumes/VOCs lingring in the house after they complete their work. Will the offgassing take long?

Any input is greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much.

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Replies

  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    D.K.,
    Q. "Is this hot tar that they'll use?"

    A. Tar is not the same as asphalt or bitumen. Tar is a byproduct of the destructive distillation of coal to form coke, while asphalt -- also called "bitumen" -- is a petroleum residue left over from the distillation of crude oil. It sounds like your roofer will install modified bitumen membrane roofing. Modified bitumen is asphalt that has had modifiers added to it to give it rubber-like properties.

    Q. "How long do you think I should remain away from the house after the work is completed?"

    A. In general, it is safe to occupy a house immediately after the house has been re-roofed.

    Q. "I am really worried about indoor air quality and fumes/VOCs lingring in the house after they complete their work. Will the offgassing take long?"

    A. The roofing is likely to smell on a hot day if you are standing on the roof, but in most cases, the smell should not be noticeable indoors. However, if you or your child has a medical condition (including sensitivity to VOCs), you should consult your doctor for medical advice.

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