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JJ2001 10-13-2006 05:18 PM

Flat roof - Rolled? - leaks Advice?

We have an old cottage, that has 3 different roof pitches - It's been added on many times. The main (and
original) roof is asphalt shingles, on a fairly steep pitch (I surely can't climb it). There are additions on 3 sides, at a fairly shallow pitch (water / snow DOES run off for the most part, there is very little pooling of water.) These additions are "rolled roof" - the black stuff you buy at home depot. We had some very bad leaking a few years ago(3-5 years), and we (husband & I ) put a new layer down. We nailed them down, overlapped by 6
or so, and then put on some "black tar like stuff" . We did extra coats of the "tar" where the rolled roof meet the flashing where the slanted roof begins. We've got leaks again, no where near as much as last time, but it is leaking. We intend to add a new story to the house within the next 2-3 years when finances allow, so I don't want to spend
a lot
now. (Not to mention I can't.)

I believe that we need to pull off the old material. I think that some of the plywood under needs to be replaced (it feels very soft),about 25% of it, and that any insulation under that needs to be replaced. I think there is mold there, and I've asthma. There is only 4 inches of space between the ceiling drywall & the roofing plywood (what ever that layer is called). The joists are 2x4's placed an
12"-24" apart (depending on which addition roof I talking about.) Some of the joists are doubled (two 2x4's nailed together.)

1)One option we might do is to just add more "tar" on the flashing where the flat roof meets the slanted roof. This is where the 2 existing leaks seem to be coming from. (But I'm not sure how many, if any, other leaks are happening that we are not seeing.) And hope this covers it for another year or two.

2) The other is to tear off all the material on the flat parts, and try to replace it ourselves (with the help of a friend who has done DIY on his homes for many years.)

3) the third is to replace just the worst side of the flat roof.

I know you can't see the roof / problems yourself, but any thoughts?

If we go with replacing all (as in #2 or #3), do we use fiberglass insulation (as is current), the blown in stuff (as from home depot & a rented machine) - or the fiberboard stuff - I think it's called rigid insulation? I read on some thread the suggestion to use insulation between the plywood and the rolled roofing material. Do you suggest this? Can I use any type, or is there a specific brand? Any suggestions on the rolled material to use? Any brand you
/ don't recommend to use? If we use the insulation between the plywood & the rolled material, and we only do one of the additions roof, what about where it meets up with the other roof? Again, we have a traditional slanted roof with shingles, and on 3 sides a flat roof around it, (like a "U" enclosing the roof).

I've been told to use "ice & water shield" - where & how do I use this? Any comments on brands - or is
only one?

Again, I know the ideal thing is to have a professional do this, but we simply cannot afford that. And yes, we currently have a big blue tarp on the roof section that is leaking.

One last comment, we live in New England, so am faced with snow / ice. And I am not talking about a large roof here, the house is approx. 35' by 25'. (with the bottom of the "U" along the 35') and each addition is approx 10' wide. They appear to be porches that were later enclosed.

Thanks for any help / suggestion you have.


redline 10-13-2006 08:16 PM

What is the pitch of the roof?

JJ2001 10-13-2006 11:28 PM

I'll get up on the roof tomorrow to measure it. But I think it is approx 2-3 inches rise over 12 inches run. (How should I designate that?)

I'll also get some pictures.


ncor 11-18-2006 11:44 PM

soft sheathing on a roof tends to invite water for some reason get rid of it
peel and stick /ice and water do like it says peel the backing and lay it down very expensive stuff. works in vallies on low slopes at eves and rakes puncture it with a nail and it seals the puncture around the nail
try to stay away from roll roofing it dosent last

joasis 11-19-2006 06:17 AM

You are planning on a re-build / re-model / add a story in a few years, but you have leaks now, "soft" decking, and no real idea how to stop this on a budget?

As an experienced contractor, and I advocate DIY when possible, my advice is to replace the roof now, not chase leaks, and mortgage the house if you have to for a first class job, whther you do it, or you hire it done. No offense, but if you and your hubby did it once, and it still leaks, plus you think you have problems with the roof structure, get some qualified help or advice. Water leaks, insulation, and rotting decking lead to mold, continuing damage that will escalate where you can't see it, like inside of walls, and the next time you get up on the roof to look after a big rain, you could fall through. No joke.

A potenital "we are going to remodel / add on/ whatever in a few years is no excuse for a patch job..I have seen big bucks spent on patch jobs that went on too long....did I say I am a contractor?...guess who got the big bucks?

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