Author Topic: To roof or not to roof, that is the question  (Read 778 times)

Sibley

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To roof or not to roof, that is the question
« on: August 13, 2019, 10:25:25 AM »
That title is my cleverness for the week probably. I'm trying to decide WHEN to do a new roof on my house, and if I should do one on my garage. Below is an information dump - please help me figure out what to do.

The current roof is ~12-13 years old. It was a DIY job by a previous owner and based on the rest of the DIY stuff I've seen, he cut corners sometimes. Biggest issues appear to have been the cheaper version of flashing. I'm not convinced there's decking under the current roof though. It's an old house, and probably would originally have had cedar shake, which has been removed, so the unfinished attic has the original horizontal planks and I see what looks like black paper in the gaps. Shingles are in good condition, 1 layer. Traditional asphalt on most of the roof, there's also a utility room addition (12x15 ft) that has a rubber roof. There are 2 dormers, one on each side of the house.

These dormers have been a source of trouble. About 2 years ago I had the sides of the dormers reflashed (new siding on the dormers, etc), which seems to have solved those water leaks. One dormer is showing new water damage in the bathroom, the top and around the dormer has been patched several times, but the leak has reoccurred several times. It is active again, but seems slow. At this point, it's clear that the water is travelling/the problem is more systemic. I have attempted to get a bucket under it to catch the water, but it's not working - it's inside the dormer and I can't get anything in there.

There is also a brick chimney which intersects with both the rubber roof and the main roof. Chimney is lined, and I know that there's some issues with the brick. Don't know how bad, but I picked up a piece of brick from the backyard last fall and I've been told the flashing is interesting (you don't want your knowledgeable friend to laugh when you ask about the condition/method of flashing). Something's going on. No known leaks at either roof intersection, but it'll need something in addition to new flashing.

The rubber roof seems fine, I'm not aware of any condition issues but also have no idea what to look for. There's no leaks that I can tell.

The garage is detached, was last roofed the same time as the house. I added drip edges to the garage 2 years ago. There is 1 known leak in the garage, but I don't know if I need to care. It's just hitting the already cracked slab.

So, thoughts? Do I need to reroof this year? Can it wait?

secondcor521

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Re: To roof or not to roof, that is the question
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2019, 10:53:49 AM »
I don't know much about anything about roofs.

I do, however, sort my own list of home projects by whether or not they will save me money or help me avoid spending more money later, then by whether the projects are on the outside of the house affecting the neighborhood beauty, and then in order by what's important to me.

In the case of your roof, I would be concerned that the water leaks are potentially creating additional work and cost the longer they are left unaddressed.  The leaks could expand to new areas, or possibly create mold problems depending on your climate and how bad they are.

Do you have any idea on how much the price of the repair/replace/reroof job is going up due to the water leaks?

Whether you do it this year or not, at the very least I would put it at the top of your list of house projects.

Sibley

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Re: To roof or not to roof, that is the question
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2019, 11:28:03 AM »
Ha, I'm in the middle of 4 projects right now. I do prioritize functional over aesthetics. Sometimes they overlap of course.

There's already water damage in the bathroom. It's plaster, so remarkably water tolerant, but there is some repair needed. Probably need to remove and replace some of the insulation in the attic, so that's a sunk cost at this point. I assume that I need to add decking throughout, so any decking that's in place and I don't have to replace is really a decrease in cost at this point.

I do need to get a quote. Is it cheaper to do roofs over winter (weather permitting)?

Jon Bon

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Re: To roof or not to roof, that is the question
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2019, 11:35:49 AM »
Yup I agree from what you described you probably are on the margins for spending the money on the new roof.


1. 3 tab (junk) or dimensional shingles. Obviously I prefer Dimensional they hold up better to wind and are less likely to flip up and allow water to be driven up underneath.

2. Dormers - dont have much to say, but yes these can be really tricky and yes he probably did a poor job. No way to know until a professional starts to poke at it. Could be something completely unrelated, but most likely you have an issue with your dormer somewhere, flashing, caulking, window, etc.

3. I HATE chimneys, HATE! They always friggin leak. Always. Sure you can have someone awesome flash it correctly but its gonna leak before the rest of the roof does. IF you dont have a furnace or HW tank venting into it have it taken down below the roof line if you reroof. Should not be terribly expensive unless its huge.

4. Flat roofs, I also hate those. Sure they say that a good flat rubber roof can last 20-30 years but ive never seen it.

5. Garage might be a simple nail hole or missing shingle.  Find the leak from inside and climb up there with some black roof sealant. should be an easy fix.


TLDR - Roofs should be SIMPLE, the more complexity you add the most likely you are to have leaks. Any hole in a roof is just asking for trouble. A ton of different roof elevations with transitions are also going to be trouble. Sure this can be done correctly but they are a very common failure point. Flat roofs are stupid.

I hope you enjoyed my scientific approach that I keep my personal feelings completely out of! :)

Sibley

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Re: To roof or not to roof, that is the question
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2019, 11:57:15 AM »
The chimney is used for venting, so probably have to keep it. If I did remove it, I'd have to replace the siding.

The flat roof isn't completely flat, but it's not steep enough for shingles apparently. over about 12 feet it rises maybe 2 ft? Water doesn't pool at all, which I'm sure helps. I should put a gutter on it, as currently there's a nice waterfall in rainstorms. That will happen whenever I replace that roof.

Good to know about the dimensional. What's architectural?

Jon Bon

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Re: To roof or not to roof, that is the question
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2019, 12:10:02 PM »
So it is a end chimney? It comes up the side/exterior of the house? That is slightly better.

So the "flat" roof does have regular shingles on it? Just not very pitched? like 4/12? You should be fine there, I just usually put ice guard under the whole roof in that case. "Flat roofs" are not totally flat, but they have different type of roofing material on them. Usually some kind of rubber membrane. If it has regular asphalt shingles its not "flat"

Different names for the same product. 
Shingles that are a single rectangle = good
Shingles that are a single rectangle with slits cut in it = bad




BDWW

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Re: To roof or not to roof, that is the question
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2019, 12:16:32 PM »
Ha, I'm in the middle of 4 projects right now. I do prioritize functional over aesthetics. Sometimes they overlap of course.

There's already water damage in the bathroom. It's plaster, so remarkably water tolerant, but there is some repair needed. Probably need to remove and replace some of the insulation in the attic, so that's a sunk cost at this point. I assume that I need to add decking throughout, so any decking that's in place and I don't have to replace is really a decrease in cost at this point.

I do need to get a quote. Is it cheaper to do roofs over winter (weather permitting)?

Generally not a great idea in cold winter areas if you're using asphalt shingles.  The tar that seals between the layers needs heat and sun to set up properly.

Sibley

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Re: To roof or not to roof, that is the question
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2019, 12:32:08 PM »
So it is a end chimney? It comes up the side/exterior of the house? That is slightly better.

So the "flat" roof does have regular shingles on it? Just not very pitched? like 4/12? You should be fine there, I just usually put ice guard under the whole roof in that case. "Flat roofs" are not totally flat, but they have different type of roofing material on them. Usually some kind of rubber membrane. If it has regular asphalt shingles its not "flat"

Different names for the same product. 
Shingles that are a single rectangle = good
Shingles that are a single rectangle with slits cut in it = bad

Yes, end chimney. It's on the end of the main house, then the bottom portion is inside the utility room.

And it's a rubber roof, one sheet of rubber. No shingles there. No idea if it has to be that kind, but it currently is. I might be off on the elevation, but there definitely is elevation. When it rains, 98% of the water goes straight off the lower end.

The main roof is probably close to 45 degrees. Tall skinny house with a very pointed roof.

You do realize that I'll be asking to see examples of shingles or something to figure out if there's slits? Maybe I'll ask my friend to help, cause he'll know without asking...

Sibley

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Re: To roof or not to roof, that is the question
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2019, 12:33:07 PM »
Ha, I'm in the middle of 4 projects right now. I do prioritize functional over aesthetics. Sometimes they overlap of course.

There's already water damage in the bathroom. It's plaster, so remarkably water tolerant, but there is some repair needed. Probably need to remove and replace some of the insulation in the attic, so that's a sunk cost at this point. I assume that I need to add decking throughout, so any decking that's in place and I don't have to replace is really a decrease in cost at this point.

I do need to get a quote. Is it cheaper to do roofs over winter (weather permitting)?

Generally not a great idea in cold winter areas if you're using asphalt shingles.  The tar that seals between the layers needs heat and sun to set up properly.

Noted. Definitely gets cold where I am. Winter is out.

Jon Bon

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Re: To roof or not to roof, that is the question
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2019, 01:33:46 PM »
Winter can be done. Just not ideal.

Your roof NEEDS to heat up to form a single sticky mass. And that cant happen in winter. It WILL happen in the spring though. So If you get a good offer in the winter Id go for it.

BDWW

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Re: To roof or not to roof, that is the question
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2019, 04:23:34 PM »
Winter can be done. Just not ideal.

Your roof NEEDS to heat up to form a single sticky mass. And that cant happen in winter. It WILL happen in the spring though. So If you get a good offer in the winter Id go for it.

Yep, but the big question is what shape they will be in come spring. Before they set, they will lift and get dirt and debris under them, which will create problems sealing in the spring.  something, something windy city.