National Roofing Legal Resource Center

Contract provision states reroofing contractor not responsible for removing existing water and ice-dam protection membrane

During tear-off—particularly during a residential roof replacement—it is not uncommon for a roofing contractor to get to the bottom of the roof and be faced with an existing water and ice-dam protection membrane that is so well-adhered, it is impossible to remove without damaging the plywood, oriented strand board, wood boards or plank deck below. Whether a roofing contractor should remove the membrane poses a difficult question.

The 2018 International Building Code's (IBC's) section regarding roof replacement expressly allows for an existing water and ice-dam protection membrane adhered to a roof deck to remain in place and be covered by an additional layer of the membrane. As a general rule, the IBC also provides that to be code compliant, all roof covering materials must be installed not only in accordance with the code but in accordance with the manufacturer's installation instructions; some manufacturers of water and ice-dam protection membranes state the existing roof system must be removed down to the deck before their membranes may be installed.

This creates a problem for a roofing contractor; having to replace a damaged deck caused by removing the membrane may be cost prohibitive to the customer—even unnecessary according to the building code—while failure to do so may leave the customer with a void manufacturer's warranty and the roofing contractor liable for breach of contract. Including a provision such as the one mentioned in any residential reroofing contract may reduce the likelihood a roofing contractor will be held liable for claims resulting from an existing water and ice-dam protection membrane that cannot be removed without causing damage to the deck.

Water and ice-dam protection membrane: Roofing Contractor's price for roof replacement includes removal of existing roof assembly down to roof deck, excepting removal of any existing water and ice-dam protection membrane adhered to the roof deck that cannot be removed without damaging the deck. In this situation, Roofing Contractor shall be permitted to leave existing water and ice-dam protection membrane in place and shall not be liable for any claims or damages arising from existing water and ice-dam protection membrane remaining on the deck. If Customer requires, Roofing Contractor shall remove existing water and ice-dam protection membrane and all repairs or replacement of the damaged deck shall be an extra or billed at unit prices to Customer.


10/30/2018



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