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earthtoned 01-21-2010 03:39 PM

Replacing peaked roof with a flat roof....?
Hello, and thanks for your time! New poster here, although I have long been a DIY enthusiast.

I am considering embarking on a major project over the next year that would involve the conversion of a peak roofed structure to a flat roof. The structure is an un-attached 2 car garage with a studio apartment above. It is built on a concrete slab approximately 25' by 20', built around 1976. The studio currently contains a small bathroom and kitchenette. The problem is the usable space is very minimal, since the peaked roof slants all the way to the floor, resulting in a space where there is only about a 10' by 25' section in the middle where you can walk without wacking your head on the slanted ceiling. By switching to a flat roof, we hope to gain much more usable space without increasing the footprint of the structure, while also gaining much flat wall space for windows, furniture etc. We also are considering installing a modern green roof and possibly solar panels which should substantially increase the load on the existing walls. Our plan is to approach a contractor with some basic drawings. we are in santa cruz county california.

I have the following questions:

1. is it (hopefully) possible to leave the existing first floor structure in place, perhaps adding reinforcements or load bearing structures to the existing first floor, or is it more likely and/or economical to tear the structure down and rebuild on the existing slab? it is standard 2x4 walls with plywood sheathing.

2. does anyone have experience with the typical permit process concerning the conversion of a structure such as this where the official square footage does not other words, could this project potentially be considered a re-roofing rather than an addition assuming the first floor is left intact? I imagine this could impact permit fees and possibly bypass red tape if it could be considered as such....?

any other considerations I am overlooking would be greatly appreciated. thanks in advance to anyone who contributes a moment of their time on this....

btw, I am also looking for a contractor and/or designer to help out with this so any leads in the sf bay area would also be greatly appreciated.



HooKooDooKu 01-21-2010 04:15 PM

You can't skip permits under the idea of "re-roofing". You're not replacing the roofing material (shingle), you are replacing the roofing structure.

Generally speaking, I would NOT recommend changing to a flat roof... that creates problems that are likely no worth the gaining of extra space.

I would suggest doubling up the studs downstairs, then removing the roof and starting pretty much over on the upstairs. Build a new set of walls and a new hip roof. This is a place where the permit process willl keep you safe as someone else who is more knowledgable that you will review the plans to make sure you're not doing something fundientally unsafe.

vsheetz 01-21-2010 04:28 PM

I have always avoided flat roofs whenever possible - seems they always cause issues and are a maintenance item to keep up with and spend money on. I would suggest to raise the walls and replace with hip roof.

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