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Need A "flat" Roof Guru...

 
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Old 09-27-2009, 01:07 PM   #1
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Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Ok, this is my own home. I've asked two commercial roofing companies to come look at my roof and neither showed. Not many flat roof companies close to us.

Top photo shows most of the three level roof, both lower sections look better than the center. Photos of corner show the wavy areas of concern.

This roof is about 15 years old. Roof does not leak and looks pretty decent.
My questions are about the small gaps around the copper flashing at the edges of the roof, and the two areas that the tar seems to be bubbled up a little and not even like the rest of the roof. I'll post some additional pictures in the next post.

I'm not opposed to a new roof if needed, but I'm in no hurry if a little prevention will keep this one going. Do not intend to wait until it leaks to replace it, want it done before it's raining inside.

Any suggestions on small things I can do, or do I need a pro?

Thanks,
Bill
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Old 09-27-2009, 01:11 PM   #2
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Two top pictures show the small gaps at the copper flashing.

Last photo shows where lower roof meets upper roof, there is some alligatoring of the asphalt/tar in those areas.
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Old 09-27-2009, 01:41 PM   #3
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Just from the photos it does not look like you need to do a new roof right now. I would address the openings with flashing grade cement, any larger gaps you may add mesh as well. There are also full roof coatings that are available, do some research, a full coat job will add a couple of years under ideal conditions. Good luck G
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:18 PM   #4
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Ive had a few so..... looks ok but Id stay off it. If its just what your showing in the pics your concerned on then heres what id do (from a ladder)

sweep the rock back n hose or powerwash the tar good
Get a bucket of non fibred tar and leave in sun for the afternoon
use a weedburner and heat said tar and the curb
apply tar , mesh,and smooth (without burning yourself)
after it cools a day then pull rock back up

fixing leaks in the field is where the problem is......first being walking up there to try and find it and only gets worse from there esp on an older roof. I USED to have a flat roof , it had 3 layers i know of and i could fix 1 leak and make another just walking up there. 3 years of that and it's ptched and metal now
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Old 09-27-2009, 10:21 PM   #5
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Where are you in Indiana Bill?
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:43 AM   #6
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Roof cement wont work, mesj wont work, coating this roof wont work, non-fibered tar wont work, don't use the weedburner if you dont know how, stay off the blisters, and dont listen to remodelers about your roofing... most of those that do roofing end up calling a pro to do it right.
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:21 AM   #7
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Yeah, That picture seems familiar.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:29 AM   #8
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronB. View Post
Roof cement wont work, mesj wont work, coating this roof wont work, non-fibered tar wont work, don't use the weedburner if you dont know how, stay off the blisters, and dont listen to remodelers about your roofing... most of those that do roofing end up calling a pro to do it right.
If a flat roof like the TS needs to be ripped and redone, of coarse the smart $ is to go with a proffessional flat roof company, most guys dont understand the engineering or the application of a good flat. That being said currently the ts roof is not leaking, it does not look like he needs to rip this roof right now. The gaping and cracking that the photos shows are not good to ignore, the freezing and thawing process will undermine the life of the roof, to close those up with flashing grade and mesh, or non fibre certainly will help the cause and not hurt it. It has been my experiance over the last 30 years that flat roofs have a lifespan, that span goes from brand new-----to needing to be redone, as a flat nears the end of its life, there are maintenace things that can be done (such as closing cracks, and coating) that can extend the life. G

http://www.canamcoating.com/roof_coatings.htm
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:40 AM   #9
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Quote:
Originally Posted by AaronB. View Post
...dont listen to remodelers about your roofing...

Unless the remodeler has contacts with professionals who repair and replace flat roofs...
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Old 09-28-2009, 07:04 AM   #10
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


The gaps can be repaired, not permanently, but remedied QUITE well with NP1 or GEOCEL 2300.

The application process is PARAMOUNT to the longevity of the fix. You can use a bitumen primer to help in the adhesion (this is NOT a standard practice, but it has served well for me in the past)



http://www.amsisupply.com/graphics/s...-np1-large.gif


http://www.geocelusa.com/core/prdb/p...ll_image_7.jpg
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:13 AM   #11
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


I believe that this roofis beyond its' useful life and needs to be repalced. Can it be nursed? Sure but nirsing a tar and gravel roof in poor condition is most often a frustrating exercise in futility.

There's just so many problems and so many patches... it's time. If you called me out to estimate that and wanted a repair all you'd get is a price to do it right, a new roof. I am not opposed to do repairs. We do alot of repair work, it's lucrative fixing other peoples' mistakes. However I'm also not a theif and to repair that roof and take your money would be thievery. It might not be leaking now but does it make sense to replace a roof or replace a roof and ceiling?
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:46 AM   #12
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Z View Post
Ok, this is my own home. I've asked two commercial roofing companies to come look at my roof and neither showed. Not many flat roof companies close to us.

Top photo shows most of the three level roof, both lower sections look better than the center. Photos of corner show the wavy areas of concern.

This roof is about 15 years old. Roof does not leak and looks pretty decent.
My questions are about the small gaps around the copper flashing at the edges of the roof, and the two areas that the tar seems to be bubbled up a little and not even like the rest of the roof. I'll post some additional pictures in the next post.

I'm not opposed to a new roof if needed, but I'm in no hurry if a little prevention will keep this one going. Do not intend to wait until it leaks to replace it, want it done before it's raining inside.

Any suggestions on small things I can do, or do I need a pro?

Thanks,
Bill
I don't care how long a roofers been roofing, they can not make a professional Factual Determination for rather or not the roof is repairable based on photo's.

My professional, 30 yr educated guestimation, based on what I see in those photo's is to say you could repair the roof, would it last weeks, months or years, I can not say with out physically being on the roof to inspect it myself.
I can say, I have repaired flat roofs that looked worse and extended the life span by years.
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Old 09-28-2009, 10:27 AM   #13
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Where would someone adhere the mesh to cover the cracks at the outside edge of that flashing? Down onto the face?

I say remove the cover stripping . clean and prime the meatl, and re-strip it in.
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Old 09-28-2009, 12:58 PM   #14
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


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I have repaired flat roofs that looked worse and extended the life span by years.
Agreed, but on a gravel roof I wouldn't even bother. If that's the case I'll let some other poor schmuck have the inevitable head aches down the road. You know what they say, once you touch it you own it. You're married to it. The customer will either expect you to fix the roof for free in if you mis-diagnosed the repair, or be pissed when if/when you do not. If it were smooth bur or any other smooth membrane, I'd be all for patching and/or a restoration. Spudding the gravel to find a leak just makes it impossible to warrant IMO. The gravel hides alot of flaws and/or deficiencies that make it impossible to be sure you've got them all.

I've seen just far too many failed repair attempts on roofs like that, plus my own track record of repairing gravel surfaced roofs is a poor one to be honest. While on a smooth surfaced membrane I'd give myself an 8% success rate of diagnosing the problem, on a roof like shown in the photo I'd drop that diagnosis rate to 50% or below. Plus when you've got a roof with so many problems, it's hard to guess which ones are causing the actual symptoms/leaks (in this case it's not leaking yet). Unless you repair everything that's wrong with the roof... but then if you are going to go to that length, why not just replace it?

In addition to failed repair attempts on any roof. When I see globs of roof cement all over the roof I have little faith in its' repair potential. Either the roof cement was installed when the roof was new (which from those photos I doubt) which means that the roof is a poorly installed one IMO, or what ever the dope happy handy man put up there did not work and he either did it wrong or mis-diagnosed the problem. Water travels and seeing a leak inside doesn't mean it's coming from where the leak is seen (but any roofer already knows this). However how many times do we focus, or the customer focuses on the area because it was repaired there once before.

I dunno, I just think with so so many red flags, I am ultra cautious when it comes to my work, I say replace it. It's a win-win situation for myself and the customer IMO.
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Old 09-28-2009, 01:26 PM   #15
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grumpy View Post
Agreed, but on a gravel roof I wouldn't even bother. If that's the case I'll let some other poor schmuck have the inevitable head aches down the road. You know what they say, once you touch it you own it. You're married to it. The customer will either expect you to fix the roof for free in if you mis-diagnosed the repair, or be pissed when if/when you do not. If it were smooth bur or any other smooth membrane, I'd be all for patching and/or a restoration. Spudding the gravel to find a leak just makes it impossible to warrant IMO. The gravel hides alot of flaws and/or deficiencies that make it impossible to be sure you've got them all.

I've seen just far too many failed repair attempts on roofs like that, plus my own track record of repairing gravel surfaced roofs is a poor one to be honest. While on a smooth surfaced membrane I'd give myself an 8% success rate of diagnosing the problem, on a roof like shown in the photo I'd drop that diagnosis rate to 50% or below. Plus when you've got a roof with so many problems, it's hard to guess which ones are causing the actual symptoms/leaks (in this case it's not leaking yet). Unless you repair everything that's wrong with the roof... but then if you are going to go to that length, why not just replace it?

In addition to failed repair attempts on any roof. When I see globs of roof cement all over the roof I have little faith in its' repair potential. Either the roof cement was installed when the roof was new (which from those photos I doubt) which means that the roof is a poorly installed one IMO, or what ever the dope happy handy man put up there did not work and he either did it wrong or mis-diagnosed the problem. Water travels and seeing a leak inside doesn't mean it's coming from where the leak is seen (but any roofer already knows this). However how many times do we focus, or the customer focuses on the area because it was repaired there once before.

I dunno, I just think with so so many red flags, I am ultra cautious when it comes to my work, I say replace it. It's a win-win situation for myself and the customer IMO.

Wow, this thread has gotten alot of attention, and has gotten a bit off track at the same time, first off lets remember, this guys roof is NOT LEAKING. As far as "if you touch it , you own it" only if you are an idiot new to the game, I have, many times over the years been brought in to fix flat roofs. Sometimes they are large and expensive to replace, if i identify problem areas i will offer the customer the option. The Ho assumes the risk, i give no gaurantee for the obvious reasons, 60 to 70 % of the time i will repair the problem enough to buy the HO a little more time. As soon as a thread loses the focus of the original post, it becomes nothing more than confusing mess. G
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Old 09-28-2009, 02:18 PM   #16
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


In the customer's mind it's always the last guy to touch it's fault. "it didn't leak before." and I agree "only if you are an idiot" which is why I wouldn't touch it... because I've been there done that and not looking to be married to a 20 year old failing roof. Yes it hasn't failed yet, but it's right around the corner based on those pics.

I offer no guarantee on repairs either, however that doesn't stop the customr from calling you, guilt tripping you, threatening you. It's a hassel that I do not need. Sure I need work just like the other guy but I need less problems more than I need more work. If I'm gona do it, I'm gonna do it right and replace it. If they can not afford it, I can't afford to let them make their problems mine. Win some, lose some, but why would I intentionally go into a project knowing there is a high risk of problems on the back end?
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Old 09-28-2009, 03:46 PM   #17
 
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


What a great thread.. Even if nothing is solved, you definitely get a feel for how contractors would approach this job.

Lots of assumptions here being made off of photos without actually stepping on the roof as some have said.

You can tell who has been around the block though.

Personally, I am with Grumpy based on the photos.
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Old 09-28-2009, 03:55 PM   #18
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


Roof Gurus,
Thanks for all the responses. I tend to agree with both points of view, the roof is on the way to failure and I want to catch it before that happens. Considering the state of the economy, I may be better off to bite the bullet now and get the roof done before prices rise due to increases in materials as the economy heats up.

I did have a guy out 5 years ago, who said it didn't need replaced, just a few tweaks that I preformed. Until I looked for the papers he gave me, I was thinking that was 2-3 years ago, but it was five. It is time now.

I'm sure this roof is at least 15 years old. I've been very pleased with it since I bought the house 10 years ago. I clean the roof 2-3 times per year of fallen limbs, leaves, etc. Clean out the downspouts and all is well.

To take the conversation a little sideways, now that we know it should be replaced, another built up or some of the new fangled stuff?

Is there a tax credit for changing to white?

If so, max $1500 or 30% of everything?

Might as well get the low-down from you roof gurus while I have your attention!

Thanks,
Bill

Added a couple more photos. I'll probably replace the skylights while I'm at it.
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Old 09-28-2009, 04:28 PM   #19
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


I'm sure this roof is at least 15 years old. I've been very pleased with it since I bought the house 10 years ago. I clean the roof 2-3 times per year of fallen limbs, leaves, etc. Clean out the downspouts and all is well.

That's why I have been pushing my Preventative Maintenance program the past 6/7 years, really have gotten into it the past two years.
To many roofs being replaced to soon simply because so many roofers out there do not know how to revive a roof and give it years of extended life or simply do not care to because there is more money in re-roofing them.
(That comment is not directed toward any one person, speaking of roofers in general)

You for sure have done more than the average home owner, but, keeping it cleaned is only one of several steps a roof system needs to make it to and in many cases even exceed it's expected life span.
Under my care that roof would be replaced when it's 25 plus years old, not when it's less than 20.

I personally have steered away from built up roofs over the past 10 years or so because the single ply systems have really evolved quality wise and normally involve less labor and equipment use than in a bur.

ABC Supply has links to several manufacturers sites so you can read up on both installation specifications and expected life spans.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:06 PM   #20
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Re: Need A "flat" Roof Guru...


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I'm sure this roof is at least 15 years old. I've been very pleased with it since I bought the house 10 years ago. I clean the roof 2-3 times per year of fallen limbs, leaves, etc. Clean out the downspouts and all is well.

That's why I have been pushing my Preventative Maintenance program the past 6/7 years, really have gotten into it the past two years.
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