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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone,

I need to have a new roof put on, the old one was done on the cheap & dirty by the previous owner just before I moved in.

My house is a contemporary with no attic and a 2/12 slope. As with the roof, the HVAC was also very poorly installed and it gets really hot on the third floor (where the bedrooms are) during the summer months.

Existing roof is rolled asphalt and I'm considering switching to a white EPDM roof in the hopes that that will help with the heat issue. HVAC issue can't be addressed because it would mean tearing down walls/ceilings to fix ducting problems. I've had a two HVAC contractors out and they've both told me the units (2 zone) are over sized (they spoke in terms of tons, I'd have to try and find the figures if it matters) for the house so its not a question of lack of capacity.

My questions are:

1) Will a white EPDM roof actually help ? From what I was told, they rip up the old roof, install some sort of foam board insulation and then the EPDM goes over that. So the added insulation plus reflective white vs existing black should help, no?

2) Can this foam insulation/roof be walked on?

3) If the white roof will actually help, does it make sense to add skylights in all the bedrooms? They're a good brand (Velux) but adding them would really blow the budget. I'll suck it up and add them if the white roof alone wont reduce the heat problem as I feel opening them will help with getting the hot air out, at least at night.

I can't install window units as the windows crank out, not up/down. I've made an adapter of sorts that allows me to connect one of those in-room units but its not ideal.

Also - what would cause the current drip edge to pull away ? Was it badly installed?

Thank you to everyone in advance.
 

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A 2/12 pitch roof is fairly flat. Was it a torch down asphalt roof?

Yes, a white roof will reflect heat in the summer, as well as in the winter. So keep that in mind. Any insulation added to the roof deck will also help.

Any time you walk on a roof, especially a flat EPDM roof, you run the risk of creating a puncture. Even though that type of roof is very durable.

As for skylights, Velux is a great brand. I have used them in several of my prior houses and I plan on installing them in my current house. With that being said, anytime you break through the exterior of a structure, you run the risk of creating a pathway for water to enter. No matter how carefully you are with flashing, caulking and so on. Even more so with a flatter roof.
 

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Hammered Thumb
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Any reflective color will help a bit with the heat. But EPDM will not look as nice, assuming you can still see the roof from ground level. You can walk on the insulation board. It will be a much higher initial cost and ongoing replacement/repair if/when needed. Skylights are not the answer to solve a hot vaulted ceiling.

You need to look at HVAC, and sometimes its better to attack this problem from the inside where you might have more room, and you have more options than just focusing on the roof membrane whose purpose is just to keep you dry.

Maybe pics would help and also see the drip edge failure.
 

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A lot of skylights can’t last as flat as 2/12 pitch. They offer a tapered curb to put the glass at a steeper angle. If heat gain is an issue, putting glass in the roof will not help.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dunno about your roof, but can you do any register balancing to get the HVAC working better on the third floor?
Thanks for the suggestion. Problem is I don't think any of the duct seams were taped. I recently gutted a bathroom and all the duct work hadn't been taped and I could feel the hot air leaking from each one. I'm thinking (and that was also the opinion of the last HVAC guy) that none of them were.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
A 2/12 pitch roof is fairly flat. Was it a torch down asphalt roof?

Yes, a white roof will reflect heat in the summer, as well as in the winter. So keep that in mind. Any insulation added to the roof deck will also help.

Any time you walk on a roof, especially a flat EPDM roof, you run the risk of creating a puncture. Even though that type of roof is very durable.

As for skylights, Velux is a great brand. I have used them in several of my prior houses and I plan on installing them in my current house. With that being said, anytime you break through the exterior of a structure, you run the risk of creating a pathway for water to enter. No matter how carefully you are with flashing, caulking and so on. Even more so with a flatter roof.
yes, a torch down rolled asphalt roof. They were even nice enough to leave the torch in the bushes back when they did it years ago.

Agree re: Velux. Good stuff. Agree re: openings in roof but thought the possible hot air venting might be worth the risk.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
A lot of skylights can’t last as flat as 2/12 pitch. They offer a tapered curb to put the glass at a steeper angle. If heat gain is an issue, putting glass in the roof will not help.
That's exactly what the roofer I am thinking about hiring said. He called out the previous roofers skylight install as being done incorrectly. They would build up a curb and pitch them steeper than the roof. Heat gain via the skylight is a good point and one for me to think about further. I was really just looking at getting the temp down any ways possible (it gets to the high 80s in the house some times). Insane.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Any reflective color will help a bit with the heat. But EPDM will not look as nice, assuming you can still see the roof from ground level. You can walk on the insulation board. It will be a much higher initial cost and ongoing replacement/repair if/when needed. Skylights are not the answer to solve a hot vaulted ceiling.

You need to look at HVAC, and sometimes its better to attack this problem from the inside where you might have more room, and you have more options than just focusing on the roof membrane whose purpose is just to keep you dry.

Maybe pics would help and also see the drip edge failure.
3onthetree - nice user name! :thumbsup: I like my four on the floor :smile:

Unfortunately, my roof is pitched towards the street so it will be very visible. Helping just 'a bit' with the heat is what I am concerned about - was hoping it would be more than just a bit. None of the roofers here seem to talk about anything less than EPMD, though one did talk about a rolled product that had granules (I guessing) glued down. The contractor that build the garage addition used a peel n stick (which blew my mind when I figured out it was that) version.

Regardless, The house needs a new roof. I agree with looking at the HVAC problems but that's a can of worms I'm afraid to open and/or pay for. Opening walls and ceilings seems crazy expensive, esp. when added to the cost of a new roof. I was just hoping that "upgrading" the roof would help, somewhat, with the heat. If we stay in this house for more than a few more years, the roof will probably come off again and an addition will go on to remedy all the ills but that's a few years off and besides, we might not decide to stay.

To give you an idea of how badly the work was done, one of the units didn't even have a space to put a filter, so for years the previous owner just ran it without one. My genius inspector also missed that and it was my father that caught it after I'd moved in. So that's at least been fixed but it gives you an idea of the "quality" work that was done.
 

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Unfortunately, my roof is pitched towards the street so it will be very visible. Helping just 'a bit' with the heat is what I am concerned about - was hoping it would be more than just a bit.
Regardless, The house needs a new roof. I agree with looking at the HVAC problems but that's a can of worms I'm afraid to open and/or pay for. Opening walls and ceilings seems crazy expensive, esp. when added to the cost of a new roof. I was just hoping that "upgrading" the roof would help, somewhat, with the heat.
If we stay in this house for more than a few more years, the roof will probably come off again
I read it was a recent modified bit roof right before you just moved in, so I interpreted you wanted a new roof just to get reflectivity. I guess you've been there a few years though.

If you have a small enough roof plane to have no seams that would definitely look better. You can still see them through any acrylic paint. White will definitely reduce heat gain by a lot, but I'm just saying I don't think that will solve your problem in and of itself. Also, if you are going to redo the roof in a few years, don't spend $$ now on 60mil EPDM that will last you 30-some years.

You might need more insulation and probably air space, so you have two choices, insulate on top side of sheathing or on bottom side. Usually residential won't put it all above, especially retrofit, because that changes the fascias and look of the roof. For interior insulation and HVAC, there are many pros here that can help you with good practices - to borrow Neal's advice, talking about it doesn't cost anything, so you can weigh options.

PS the lack of taped duct seams isn't the cause of the problem either
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I read it was a recent modified bit roof right before you just moved in, so I interpreted you wanted a new roof just to get reflectivity. I guess you've been there a few years though.

If you have a small enough roof plane to have no seams that would definitely look better. You can still see them through any acrylic paint. White will definitely reduce heat gain by a lot, but I'm just saying I don't think that will solve your problem in and of itself. Also, if you are going to redo the roof in a few years, don't spend $$ now on 60mil EPDM that will last you 30-some years.

You might need more insulation and probably air space, so you have two choices, insulate on top side of sheathing or on bottom side. Usually residential won't put it all above, especially retrofit, because that changes the fascias and look of the roof. For interior insulation and HVAC, there are many pros here that can help you with good practices - to borrow Neal's advice, talking about it doesn't cost anything, so you can weigh options.

PS the lack of taped duct seams isn't the cause of the problem either
Yes, sorry, I guess I should have been clearer in my posts. I bought the house about 8 years ago. 100% agree with you about not spending the money on epdm but that's all the roofers (or at least the 3 I met with) want to install, and at a cost ranging from $30k-$35k!? Off the top of my head, I don't remember how many squares the roof is but damn, that was and still is sticker shock.

We're not yet at a point where we can afford to put addition onto the house that would fix the hvac and roof problems so really are just looking for a good compromise that ins't going to necessarily shaft the next owner (if we move) nor break us if we stay/want to add an addition.

As far as the epdm, the warranty here (NJ) only seems to be 10 years?

The last guy I met with said the insulation would go over the plywood and I'd never thought/realized it would change the fascia. Good point.

Totally that there are great people here offering up free advice and really appreciate their time and this community. I guess I'm just really frustrated with this house and the really substandard work that was done by the previous owner. I'm far from anything resembling a professional but the things that were done are, sometimes, beyond words.

Good to know about the lack of taped seams not being 100% of the problem.

As huesmann suggested, I'll look into register balancing. Its a valid point and worth a shot.

Appreciate everyone's expertise and input - I've saved a ton of money and learned a lot by being able to repair things I thought were beyond my capabilities (my hvac, for instance).

This house just frustrates me to no end. And when I finally think the worst problems are behind, another one seems to pop up. It's a whack a mole house ...

thanks,

wkd.
 

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I'm here for the cheap talk.

If you think white would help the roof spend $500 on white paint on coating and prove it.

You don't have to replace the roofing to add a curb and sky light.

So let's talk about that.
How much do they cost, you want an electric one that closes when it rains automatically and it will have to have a shade or that daytime sun will heat the room.
https://www.velux.ca/en/products/skylights
Then you have to cut a hole in the ceiling and roof, build a curb, box in the hole thru the roof , then you need the roofer, the installer for the skylight, run what eve wiring is needed then insulate the box and finishing that with drywall or wood work.

Just a wild guess but $3000 to $5000 each if you hire it all out.



Or re and re the drywall ceiling and add more insulation.
 

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The roofers probably were doing 1/2", or Dens Board or something. You can have issues with insulation on both sides of the wood sheathing - condensation could occur there and rot the wood. So putting all of it on top (like 6" polyiso) allows air space below for drying to the inside. Or putting all insulation underneath can allow venting and a typical vapor barrier situation.

But you might want to figure out some other things before roofing. Heat gain is a bear to live with and sometimes radiant barrier, venting, and/or insulation can solve it. So if you want talk about your existing insulation, what you have to work with in rafters, your HVAC layout, ceiling heights, etc. It is a DIY site, and demo and drywall is cheap even if messy.
 
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