Contractor Talk - Professional Construction and Remodeling Forum banner
1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to ask one more question of you all. Flat roofs? Would you have one over your head? I live in central Arkansas, so, snow load isn't a big deal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
537 Posts
Flat roofs are common in AZ........that whole southwestern architectual thing.

Retrofitting mechanical is of course a PITA.

The only condition is that it HAS to be spray foamed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,379 Posts
I bought a 50 year old architecturally designed home in 1967 that had an older flat roof. I lived there for 10 years without a problem. Fifteen years later, in 1992 or so), I stopped and talked to the owner and he had no idea how old it was because he never could find a problem and never worried. I assume the roof was replaced, but you can never tell.

It was a unique home designed by a real architect in 1917 and obviously built under his direction, since that was the tradition at that time.

The home had many swing-out casement windows with screens and weather stripped storms on the inside (a room painting nightmare), 1-' ceilings. All ceiling trim (Greek dental pattern), casement and windows and other trim was solid birch that was painted and never stained. The roof was separated from the house ceilings by 1'-3' with all roof drains in the center and no troublesome parapets that only cause problems. Not one inch of stain or varnish! Every piece of millwork had a penciled note of the date and the house location on the back and the ugly wide wall paper (30-36") had the installers name and date on the back.

It even came complete with a built in safe (4" thick door) in the basement and a few bullet scars in the stucco over the clay tile from either the Capone or Dillinger era.

I would love the opportunity to buy it back now, but it is not available and the price would be too high.

A good flat roof if designed and built properly is very cheap in the end. If done wrong or cheaply, it could be a disaster.
 

·
APPLIED RIGHT
Joined
·
383 Posts
I hate flat roofs. But I've never lived where it didn't snow. Every one up here leaks. Whenever I get a call on a flat roof I bid to remove and install a pitch of some kind.
I love flat roofs,the only reason they leak is from improper installation.If every one leaks where you are from,I guess there isn't any good roofers there.Plain and simple;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,185 Posts
The layout and details of the roof needing to be covered would determine which system I would put on.

Like JohnK said, if done properly, they can and will last a long time. Some require more maintenance than others, but they all require some attention to keep them viable.

What kind of General Contractor are you, as in what type of work do you supervise?

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
810 Posts
My understanding is that ponding water will shorten the life of a flat roof. A flat roof needs some slope to shed water. With today's roofing materials a flat roof can last a long time. My first choice would be a hot mop rubberized roof rather than a torch down or cold process.
rj
 

·
Grand Rapids Remodeling
Joined
·
3,115 Posts
I love flat roofs,the only reason they leak is from improper installation.If every one leaks where you are from,I guess there isn't any good roofers there.Plain and simple;)
I think I should redo my response, it was too strong and poorly thought out.

I don't hate flat roofs, I just have seen over the years more problems with them then a pitched roof. Just had a bathroom remodel in a house that had a flat roof over the entryway. It was leaking.

Just seems like every flat roof I run across has issues. Of coarse any roof needs upkeep pitched or flat, perhaps poor upkeep is the real problem I'm seeing.

I'm not a roofer by trade but I do as I mention get a few calls on leaking flat roofs and always give a price on adding a standard pitched roof. Maybe if roofing was my sole trade I'd know more about them and have a positive opinion of them but for now my response to the post is a no vote on flat roofs up north.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,214 Posts
Yes they can be done right and do fine. My expirence is problems in larger spanned areas say a 13' or more if using lumber.....steel trusses no prob. Other common problems are buildups (dams) at scuffer drains. I do know that the formulation has changed in tar, now they say if it lasts 15 years your awfull lucky. I have chased many leaks on BUR roofs and wont do it anymore ( I just get too P.O'd with em )

Myself, I would never suggest building anything less then a 1:12 with open drainage slits in the parephet wall (or no parephet) . Ive done steel roofs at 1:12 and they have no problems here in the SW.

The foamed cool roof and most other flat roof materials have a higher maintnence that should be figured in the plan as well. In the sunny south the white epdm looks like it would be a good choice and easy to maintain. I havent done one myself , people call me for steel roofs and the material cost is the same and I dont have to do as much prep or mess with glues and seaming even tho it looks easy enuff.

Note: Most metal manufacturers won't warrenty less then 3:12 or some 4:12
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,425 Posts
Flat roofs are fine when i design/build/ and install from the begining. More often than not flat roofs are designed improperly and roofers spend years trying to repair and modify the original design flaws. G
 

·
Builder/Remodeler
Joined
·
3,818 Posts
Flat roofs aren't terribly common in my area and as such it's difficult to find qualified companies to install and maintain them. The commercial guys don't want to mess with them and the average residential roofer doesn't have the chops.

I've worked on a number of mid-century modern houses with flat roofs and I've found framing issues in nearly every one of them.

A few years ago, I was lucky to find a guy who'd worked for a commercial roofing company in Chicago to do maintenance and repairs on those that have leaked. He's fixed several for me that I had assumed needed replaced.

I agree that a properly installed AND maintained flat roof can last and last--even beyond a good quality pitched asphalt roof.

I'm curious if any of you have had any experience with green roofs. I have a client with a flat roof who may want one when it needs replaced.

http://www.greenroofs.org/
 

·
Grand Rapids Remodeling
Joined
·
3,115 Posts
Flat roofs are fine when i design/build/ and install from the begining. More often than not flat roofs are designed improperly and roofers spend years trying to repair and modify the original design flaws. G
Just had a meeting with a couple that have had there flat roof leaking for years. A architect build the house so the story goes but the home owners have drilled wholes in the celling to let the rain escape. Just another example of a flat roof that doesnt work. I'm not sure about this one because its supposably art decco and the gutters are wood. If it were me I'd hire a crane to plop down standard roof trusses and call it a day, but I know those artsy type of people would have a heart attack.

I should also mention the husband is a city attorney, better be on my toes on this one
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I had to touch base on this one, because some of you have the wrong opinion of Flat roofs.There is nothing wrong with a flat roof if it is designed and constructed correctly.

That along with improper installation is always the problem!I have been installing all types of epdm and pvc roofs for over 20 yrs now .

We have done all kinds of wal-marts,sam clubs ,Ect Ect.

I have gone to school for firestone,Carlisle,j.p.stevens and sarnafil!

If installed correctlly a 060 epdm will go a easy 35-40 and usually the only thing to start to go is the seams because of the adhesives but all you need do do is go up and strip them in again and good for 30 more.

I think part of the real reason you guys seam to find so many bad ones is because now everyone puts a set of ladder racks on there truck and there F-----g JOE ROOFER.

Just my 0.02$ I cant even begin to tell you how many poor and improperly
installs I've seen.
 

·
Thom
Joined
·
4,137 Posts
My house has a flat roof. Built the house in 1984, the indoor pool addition in 1985. Flat roofs are fine if properly installed and flashed.
 

·
Commercial Roofing
Joined
·
1,220 Posts
Yup! A good flat roof can easily outperform a steep pitched roof.

As far as foam roofs needing higher maintenance... yes, you will have to recoatthem every 10-15 years, but if installed properly you will never have to repalce.
 

·
Shingler extraordinaire
Sales Estimator/ Project Manager
Joined
·
9,901 Posts
I love flat roofs,the only reason they leak is from improper installation.If every one leaks where you are from,I guess there isn't any good roofers there.Plain and simple;)
Agreed:thumbsup:. Especially, TPO, or IB.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top