FiberTite Compatibility with Asphalt

Asphalt Compatability using Fibertite

Periodically we get questioned on FiberTite’s compatibility with asphalt.  I assume these questions are in response to our general specifications where a Special Design Consideration for direct contact is emphasized in Section 1. C.3. The following statement is listed as a consideration:

Coal tar recovers and/or direct contact with bituminous materials

I believe this has been in our specifications for at least 30-years and stems from early observations of the effects of asphalt and pitch on the surface of the membrane.  When asphalt and / or asphalt cement in particular comes in contact with the surface of the roof area, it can be cleaned off but will leave a stain on the membrane that cannot be removed.  In fact, if the asphaltic materials are allowed to remain on the membrane, they will eventually dry out and release from the FiberTite.  But the stain remains. I have seen similar staining effects from coal tar pitch and asphaltic cements and mastics beneath the membrane as well.  However, I am not aware of any circumstance where direct contact with these materials has had a detrimental or degrading effect on the integrity of the FiberTite membrane.  This is a caution for aesthetics only.

It is pretty much a black and white issue.  The asphalt is not necessarily evil but if the applicators are not careful, the pretty white FiberTite roof can end up with contaminated seams, stains that cannot be cleaned and a general aesthetic quality that the building owner is bound to question.

I do not believe it is the asphalt or pitch directly that causes the staining but rather the distillates that exist within the bituminous materials.  I’ve never observed staining when the membrane is in direct contact with bituminous membranes whether it was an existing smooth built up roof, granulated cap sheets or some version of a modified bitumen sheet. And, we’ve been successfully installing our fleece back membranes in hot asphalt since 1995 without any reports of degradation.  Our KEE technology doesn’t depend on low molecular weight plasticizers for flexibility and performance like many conventional vinyl membranes.  Hence, plasticizer migration due to direct contact is not a performance issue for FiberTite.

Now that we’ve introduced our Hybrid assemblies, we are encountering challenges for vertical flashings.  Originally, the Hybrid assemblies did not assume that designers would want to run the base plies up the vertical walls and we could bond our flashings without issue.  We can use our FTR 190e bonding adhesive over SBS or bituminous flashing but the adhesive dissolves the distillates in the sheets and acts like a conduit for the distillates and will cause staining through the membrane creating future aesthetic issues.  To address this we have researched and will be introducing an aluminum primer for bituminous membranes that creates a barrier coat to prevent the solvents in the FTR 190e from interacting with the distillates and subsequently staining the flashing.

In summary, FiberTite does not have a compatibility issue with asphaltic materials but in today’s market, aesthetics are the owner’s primary consideration for evaluating the quality of the installation.  You don’t have to be concerned but you do need to be prudent.  Black materials and white membranes do require special considerations.




You need to insert a drum roll next to the "Black & White" issue text...perfect!

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About Mr FiberTite

After 10-years in Local 88 out of Canton Ohio, the opportunity to drink the FiberTite Kool Aid came in 1984.  Since then I've been a student as well as a teacher in all manner of roofing with a focus on the engineering, design and installation of thermoplastic single ply roofing systems.  The industry is growing in complexity so there's plenty of opportunity to learn and sharpen your skills no matter who you are.  Hence, one of the most important things I've learned is that "to sharpen the blade, you have to rub steel with steel".


FiberTite® is a Registered Trademark of Seaman Corporation.  The views and opinions expressed on this site are not necessarily those of Seaman Corporation.

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