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Old 10-12-2012, 11:39 PM   #1
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seeking skilled Roofer for Flat Roof House

Hoping someone can help here. My family home is a 75 yo flat roof house in Northeast. All houses in tiny town built out of cinder block w/flat roofs. Many have dampness issues, moist, mold. We have to get a new roof. Half the town went to Peaked roof, others replaced roofs with new flat ones.

I am trying to find a good roofer, not sure where to find one, not sure whether to go to a good new flat roof (rubber? PVC? EPDM? SBS modified or?) or to get a peaked. Estimates on peaked have been "tall, room for a room) at about 49, and a 6 ft. peaked at 35.

Estimates for new flat have been 9, 15, and 27. Found one roofer who seemed to know his stuff. Asked him which material would be best, what did he think of PVC or EPDM. He said they were too thin, & that because of all the trees out there, the branches etc. could puncture the new roof & cause leaks?

I heard that most of the good flat roof installers are the ones who do commercial roofing. Will a commercial roofer do a job on a house? How do I know who to believe? One guy shows me EPDM, another shows me SBS modified, another says cant use EPDM...or PVC?

We need a roof that will keep the house dry. we just have one leak right now in the garage, but roof pretty old. We want to rent the house out, but nobody will rent it with that funky moist smell it has. Can anyone advise?


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Old 10-13-2012, 06:52 AM   #2
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One thing you can count on with a flat roof is leaks. Far more then a peaked roof.
If it was mine I'd be pricing having a gabled roof built.


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Old 10-13-2012, 09:44 AM   #3
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You are likely going to need to remove some decking if there is rot and a musty smell.

That being the case, I would slope the roof as the expense of adding some framing will not be that bad with the decking cost being absorbed out of necessity.
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Old 10-14-2012, 09:56 PM   #4
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EDPM is probably the best approach. EDPM also certifies the installers, at least they used to. Just ask the roofer to show his credentials for EDPM installs.
Do you want it your way or the right way?
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Old 10-16-2012, 11:16 PM   #5
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A trustworthy roofing contractor who specializes in flat roofing can give you a long lasting reliable solution in EPDM or PVC.
You could add a tapered insulation system to add slope without adding framing which would also give you an added R-Value on your

What is the square footage of your roof?
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
One thing you can count on with a flat roof is leaks. Far more then a peaked roof.
If it was mine I'd be pricing having a gabled roof built.
This is SO false! You've been hiring the wrong sub contractors. What I do agree with is if you have a flat roof installed by someone who doesn't know what they are doing, then you will have leaks. Flat roofs are less forgiving, so must be installed by a professional. Shingle roofs have gravity on their side and most hacks think they can do it, plus a bucket of tar will fix most shingle roof mistakes (not that I am advocating the use of roof cement on a new shingle roof, I am not but most roofers who don't know what they are doing love the stuff.)

I once had a customer say to me that "we can put a man on the moon, but we can't make a roof last longer than 10 years." to which I replied, "remember putting a man on the roof costs billions of dollars. We can make a roof last longer than 10 years, infact there are system ratings up to 30 years on multiple types of flat roofs, but you just don't want to pay for the 20 or 30 year roof." I priced a roof today, 1,300 sq ft, the 15 year TPO price was $13k while the 20 year PVC price was $16k. Why would anyone buy a 15 year roof at that minimal price difference? A 20 year modified bitumen roof? Forget it, twice the labor for twice the layers.

There are numerous different types of flat roofing options If you want the most longevity and peace of mind my suggestion is PVC. EPDM is good too but the adhesive seams can sometimes fail. If you take a piece of pvc lay it flat on your dining room table and smack it with the tips of your keys I guarantee it will not puncture. I use this method to show customers often when they say "it's so thin it will puncture", then I lay a piece of modified bitumen next to it, do the same, and since modified is soooo soft you can easily drive your keys all the way through. Then I encourage the customer to try it. EPDM is another story it is much more soft and supple and often not reinforced, but to lump pvc into the same category with EPDM in terms of puncture resistance is just bad practice.

I can't see how hiring an engineer, carpenter, and roofer can be a better solution than just hiring a good roofer who knows what he is doing with flat roofs.


The information found in this post is not to be considered legal advice. The author of this post takes no responsibility for any losses that occur. Use at your own risk.
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