Looking at buying a flat roof house
I am looking at a house for sale that has a flat top roof. I don't know anything about these types so that is my biggest hesitation for this purchase. I haven't been up there yet so I don't know what it looks like or where the water goes or anything like that. I can't even tell if this kind of house has an attic? It looks like if it did, it wouldn't be large enough to even move around.
Can you tell anything by these pictures? Is the roof even with the top of the shingle line or is it recessed a couple feet or what.
I will have the hosue inspected before buying, but should I have a roofer look at it too? Anything else I should look at for these types of roofs?
Hello Mike and Welcome to the Forum:
It is a beautiful house. A reliable inspector such as InspectorD (member of the forum) will look at the roof as well as the rest of the house, and advise you on the roof.
There have been new products introduced that will hold on a flat roof but back when the mansard roof was popular you couldn't expect more than 5 years out of a flat roof.
Let us know how it turns out and thanks for the pictures!
Even if there were an attic, I'm the paranoid type that would keep it empty just so I could see clearly to do an occasional inspection for damp areas.
A good home inspector would know what he's looking at, so a roofer would be unnecessary. Be careful when you get a contractor to look at things like this. If you end up with a hack that assumes you are not comfortable with something, you could end up with more problems than you started with.
These types of roofs are most pron to have issues if you have the old layered type of rolled roof with pea stone on top.Beware of these roofs due to the fact that no one can tell you the true condition without removing the stones first.
If you do have one of these I would consider changing it to a new rubberized roofing product.They are mostly the same material nowadays and will last for 25 or more years. They are also easily repaired when you get the every now and again meteor flying through it.:D
Going into the attic if there is one is a great way to tell if there are leaks or if it was even built correctly.Look for ANY signs of staining and check it with a moisture meter. I would recommend spraying the roof with a hose if it has not rained in a while. I know it sounds crazy in a realestate transaction, however better to know now. Or stop by when it rains....those are the best time to bring your inspector along.
Call your local www.ashi.org inspector with a background in roofs or one that has done many inspections.
Have fun on your inspection and remember.....small bites.:D
You will know what I mean once you are on the inspection.;)
Thanks guys. Someone is looking at my home tomorrow and if he makes an offer to buy, then I will make an offer on this one. Around here we have about a week to arange and inspection after a contract is agreed upon.
The flat roof just looks so weird to me and the attic so short, it would seem hardly room to do an army crawl in there. It would be hard to get a good look at it lying face down on insulation. I guess that is the inspectors job.
another thing to check
I have been on a few of these flat roofs and the most obvious thing always gets overlooked. Are the "roof" gutters and downspouts visible or integral, meaning, does the water actually run inside the structure and out at the runoff locations underground? Of course the downspouts that are seen in your pictures look fine, but the flat roof should have troughs around the perimeter, and when these types of roofs are new along with the house they are really neat to see. After years of use and weather the areas that attach to the roof and the integral downs get rusty and worn. I may be way off base here and you may be in a different part of the country that uses an entire different system, but it wouldnt hurt to check it because if it has integral downs you may have a mold issue inside the walls between your brick and your sheeting, depending on the materials used originally in the construction of the home.
very nice home btw and good luck!
I bet up they got a torch down rubber roof up there. We have alot of them around here. In the old days they used Galv. steel, and we have striped alot off and replaced with rubber these days. Your house looks new and bet aint no steel up there.
A torchdown rubber roof has a long life when its installed right and maintained. The one thing I would look for is if has a silver coat on it, This is an Aluminum coating that is rolled on like a paint and protect the rubber from UV rays.
flat roof speacialist
My name is Monty Gee. I have 40Years in the flat roof arena. My guess is you have 1 of 3 types of roof membrane on your flat roof;
1-Originally, I'd bet the roof is a mopped on tar roof with gravel. Then, I'm going to say there's been someone come in & take off the embedded in tar "stuck" gravel down to the felt membrane. They probably then mopped on another 2 or 3 plies of felt over that. Then, as a top coat, it could be either black, due to the final "surface" mop on coat. Or aluminized coating.
This type of roofis strong, easy to sell because,like a metal roof, most people think it'sover & handled for good. But what they dont "technically" see is the falure areas. These areas are usually caused by inadequate installation techniques. For example, you have around the perimeter of this roof a galvanized flashing. I'd say probaby 90% of Today's roofers dont introduce an asphalt primer to galvanized before attempting to "create" a marriage of a petroleum based product to metal where the roof terminates.
The 2nd thing on the flashing details are the metal joints along the edges. The metals are 10' length.But when close arttention is not paid to the proper fastening of these metals, then a freeze & heat extreme episode takes place-The joints of the metal will open up when the metals pull individually away from each piece. "Dont forget this counterpart is designed & installed to be in continuous form" for the roofmembrane to tie in to. But, when the joints leak, this will allow infiltration of the elements.Many times this is a non reported "seepage" type of loss area that's a big overlook. But, the true loss comes when the nailer board this metal is attached to be comes rotted.
I remember going to Hurricane Celia in Corpus Christi in 1970. I've been to a few more since then, and of all the roofson the ground, Ialwayssee the same thing-Loss observed had rust on bottomof edge metals. This is from the detail I'm pointing out. Another thing is when the past roofer does'nt primethe whaole top of his metal, the roof willseparate from the edges. You sometimes have to microscopically look to see it, or pick up on it. If it gives, then there's your ticket.
kEEP IN MIND THE 10' METAL JOINTS MAY LOOK ROOFED & SEALED ON THE FLAT ROOF SIDE, BUT SOMEWHERE IYT HAS TO TURN UPTHE WALL. THIS IS WHERE YOU'LL HAVE A LEAK THATS ANOTHER SEEPAGE TYPE & NON REPORTED.
AS FAR AS OPTIONSON REPAIR OR REPLACEMENTS, I GO OVER THESE RUBBER ROOFS ALL THE TIOME WITH WHAT I USE. RUBBER ROOFS ARE BAD ABOUT SEPARATING AT THE LAPS. ALSO, WHEN YOU HAVE MOISTURE IN YOURROOF NOW, THEN WHEN ONE ENCAPSULATES IT WITH A NON BREATHABLE SYSTEM, THE TRAPPED MOISTURE WANTS TO ESCAPE. THATS WHYT YOU SEE SO MANY BLISTERS ON SOME OF TODAYS ROOFS. ANYONE CAN CALCULATE A ROOF INSTALLATION FEE BASED OM TIME, TRIP & MATERIALS & PROFIT & OVERHEAD. THAT'S THE NEW SCHOOL BOYS THATS OUT THERE NOW, BUT IN THE OLD SCHOOL, WE FIGURE ON WHAT WILL WORK ON A TECHNICAL BASIS. THE PRODUCT I REALLY HAVE ALOT OF DYNAMIC RESULTS IN IS A BENTONITE CLAY EMULSION.
THIS WILL RETROFIT OR PIGGYBACK OVER WHAT YOU HAVE. ALSO, IT'S A TAXFRIENDLY TTPE OF RESTORATION OPTION. IN OTHER WORDS, WHEN YOU TEAR DOWN TO DECK & REPLACE NEW, THAT'S A TAXABLE SCOPE. TO RETROFIT,OR REMODEL WITH A MAINTENANCE SYSTEM IS TAX FRIENDLY UPGRADE. AS FAR AS A TOPCOAT TO PRESERVE SYSTEM, ID SUGGEST YOU USE A CERAMIC BASE COATING. THIS IS NOT SOLD AT HOME DEPOT.
GOOD LUCK TO YOU ON YOUR PURCHASE. I HOPE THIS HELPS.
MONTY GEE / 682-465-0023
flat roof contemporary house
we purchased a flat roof house contemporary ranch style.
the front of the house is four 57x57 windows facing the street from
the kitchen...i am trying to give the outside a slight face change.
it's painted all white....never liked this style.
although we would like to eventually build an second floor.
do you have any suggestions how i can soften the look a bit without doing
a major renovation..i also wanted to know if putting a new looking roof on the existed flat look can help...i was planning to put a pergala to start..
most of the home are shingled looking beach homes...
any suggestions to make a change including painting would be great.
someone once suggested a type of stucco they are using on many homes..
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