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Old 08-05-2011, 10:12 PM  
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Default Mid Century Modern Low Sloping Roof


I'm totally new to these type of low sloping "rubber" roofs and wanted to know the best way to handle my problem. Our inspector suggested putting gutters all around and didn't seem to know much about it himself. But our roof already has a drainage system but seems to have been muddled by a previous owner. Now the water just runs over the edge of the roof instead of draining correctly. Is there supposed to be a channel where the water collects? (You can see a small drain hole in the bottom picture) If someone can give me an idea of how this is supposed look I would be thankful. Any pics you can point me to? Also, does this look like the EPDM type?

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Old 08-06-2011, 08:37 PM  
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Did the inspector give you an idea of life left on the roof? Were there any spongy or soft spots? Do you know if there is a different roof type under this one and lastly what year was the house built?

Regardless of that, living in Oregon myself I know we get 265 days of precipitation every year so our roofs do not last as long as some places and gutters are mandatory. It looks like your place had some sort of integrated drain system built into the roofing system, where water was routed to those (small) drain holes. One thing I do not like about that system is that it will have standing water in the integrated channels for the drains. Also if it rains a lot, or if you have any debris in your downspouts you will have overflow problems.

The other thing I do not like about that system is that the rain is run through the drains which are holes in your roof, through the overhang and hopefully down the downspout. The reason I do not like that is because you could have a small leak near the hole and the water will run inside the overhang rotting it out, even worse is that it could run into your house causing dry rot there.

So, I would suggest having a roofing contractor come out to determine useful life on the roof (unless you are comfortable with the one your inspector gave you). then if he says there is at least another 5+ years I would have the drain holes patched over, the low spots filled back in so all of the water will flow off the roof, and then have a new gutter installed, the standard type we have around here. I would have them replace the downspouts, it may be the photo but they appear to be small and can become more easily clogged. It looks like there is a stand of trees around your place so you are going to have plenty of gunk built up in the gutters and or downspouts.

Rubber roofs can last a long time if maintained properly and that is what is used most of the time on commercial buildings with flat roofs here in Oregon so if yours is in good shape you may have a good system in place. If the slope is too low you are better with a roof like yours than a composition shingle roof because they require enough slope to make the rain go down and not into your house. A metal roof may give you better performance and life span but they are more expensive, so if yours works why replace it.

I hope that helps,


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Old 08-07-2011, 10:38 PM  
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This style of house has what is called hidden gutter. The fasia boards around the outside are usually 3 or 4 inches above the roof and tappered wood peices are added along the bottom to direct the water toward the down spout. We see alot of this when a tile roof is to be installed.
What it looks like to me is some one has covered an old tile roof with plywood, without raising the facia to make it work.
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Old 08-08-2011, 04:50 AM  
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From my computer screen it looks more like a smooth back, torch down modified thats been coated, regardless, its time for a new roof and then install gutters and down pipes along the eaves. Do away with the internal drain and save yourself some aggravation.

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Old 08-08-2011, 11:05 PM  
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Thanks for the information. I think I'll have a contractor come look at it and go from there.

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