Dealing with debris

Debris produced by self-tapping screws during reroofing projects can be problematic

Building codes require a roof assembly to sufficiently resist uplift forces caused by wind events that may occur during the roof assembly's anticipated life. Mechanically attaching roof insulation and roof membranes is one method that provides enough uplift resistance to hold a roof system in place.

Using self-tapping screws to attach roof insulation and roof membranes to steel roof decks has become a common attachment method. However, problems can arise because of debris generated when screws are replaced during reroofing projects. Our company conducted a test using various screw types and sizes to examine the quantities of debris produced by different screws and address how debris can affect a building's interior, as well as whether screw debris poses potential problems for facilities that manufacture such items as food or electronics.


Before mechanical attachment, insulation commonly was secured to steel roof decks using hot asphalt. However, the hot asphalt method has flaws; when an interior fire occurs below a steel deck, the hot steel melts the asphalt, which drips through weld holes or laps in the deck and onto the fire below. The dripping asphalt acts as an accelerant, spreading the interior fire.