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Roof Opinions


Brandon Whitmore
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I am in the middle of specifying roof repairs / replacement of a 1.3 million dollar home built in 1890 right now.

The upper level roof with about a 10/ 12 slope is to have a 40 year comp. shingle roof installed. I recommended they upgrade to a 40 year roof because of the complexity of the roof system.

I recommended they install ice and water shield at all dormers, rake/ eave dripedges, and in all valley areas.

I recommended they upgrade to 1/2" CDX plywood vs. OSB.

I recommended the use of nails instead of staples (they actually complained about this one)

I recommended they remove the corroded galvanized built- in gutter system with a standard system to save the soffits from further damage.

I recommended they comply with all current ventilation standards with 50% ventilation at eave/ soffit areas and 50% at the ridge.

They offered to upgrade to a 30 lb. felt paper instead of 15 lb. I am pretty sure that is money wasted-- anyone?

Now for the flat roofs areas.

There are numerous shed roof and roof deck areas on the home.

They are wanting to replace the current torch down comp. roof with the same (properly installed this time). It has a very limited/ minimal slope with evidence of slight pooling in areas. I am not a big fan of torch down. For the Pacific NW, what do you guys recommend be used (I would like to see a PVC type membrane that warrants against standing water on the roof areas).

It is in writing that the roofer comply with current building code, all manufacturers installation instructions, and with either the ARMA or NRCA standards (their choice on that one). The roofer is being required to comply with the most stringent of the requirements when there are conflicting requirements.

The reason I am now involved in this is that I inspected the roof during the home inspection. The roof installation was a complete hack job with improper lay- outs, missing flashing, etc. There were a min of 4 layers of roofing material, ventilation standards were not met, etc. The roofer has agreed to re- roof the home and deduct his labor from the price, since he improperly installed the roof to begin with.

I tried to specify that the roof not be re- roofed by the same roofing contractor, but that one would not work in this case.

Any input would be appreciated as I don't usally get involved in actually specifying materials, etc.

By the way, the purchaser is more than willing to pay for any upgrades.

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1) 30# felt is as important as the "40 year" shingle, imho. And, which "40 year" roof? What brand and product?

2) Specify the mfg. brand name and product. I like WR Grace. There's better and worse.

3) What's wrong w/the gutter system? Why not replace the inlaid gutters w/copper by a competent tradesman? Built-ins work great if they're installed properly. Would they work w/competent sheet metal craftsmanship? Where's the drip edge?

4) Mod bit is wonderful, but not for ponding conditions. If they insist on mod bit, insist on tapered foam panels to provide drainage. Mod bit likes silver roof sealant, or better yet, granulated. What sort of vents for the flats? One way breather?

Everything should have the mfg's. name, product, and material description. I don't ever use terms like torchdown.

There's probably more, but that's the stuff that comes to mind first.

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Thanks for replying Kurt.

1) 30# felt is as important as the "40 year" shingle, imho. And, which "40 year" roof? What brand and product?

Why 30# I never even thought to specify the brand. I am actually not even being paid for the work I am putting into this right now. They are going to hire me to do phase/ quality of workmanship inspections when the time is right.

2) Specify the mfg. brand name and product. I like WR Grace. There's better and worse.

Thanks, I don't have much experience with ice and water shield in this area, but do have some experience with WR Grace.

3) What's wrong w/the gutter system? Why not replace the inlaid gutters w/copper by a competent tradesman? Built-ins work great if they're installed properly. Would they work w/competent sheet metal craftsmanship? Where's the drip edge?

Competent tradesman for built in gutters in this area? [:-slaphap

I haven't seen another built in gutter system in over 2 years

I just think built in gutter systems are more problematic and would prefer not to see one. That may be due to the fact I have never seen a "competent tradesman" install a system yet.

Where's the dripedge (I specified dripedge metal at rake and eave areas). I don't think that is what you are referring to though. I have pictures of the current system if that would help?

4) Mod bit is wonderful, but not for ponding conditions. If they insist on mod bit, insist on tapered foam panels to provide drainage. Mod bit likes silver roof sealant, or better yet, granulated. What sort of vents for the flats? One way breather?

Everything should have the mfg's. name, product, and material description. I don't ever use terms like torchdown.

I have very little expertise when it comes to flat roofs. On residential systems they are really uncommon out here. I pretty much have to re- educate myself on a given system during/ after an inspection. I just use common sense on an inspection of these roofs and almost always find so many flaws I can punt to a roofer. The roofer specified that they were going to use " torch down", and tell you the truth that is what I was trained to call it.

I will have to do more research on ventilation systems/ requirements for a flat roof area, because I can't answer your question. There is zero ventilation at these locations at this time.

Man, I am going to have to start charging for this with the amount of time I put into it.

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Yes on 30#. Some "40 year" roof products may require it.

I'm not clear on built in gutters. If it's what I'm thinking, they're risky because of the amount of rain, and I often find where they've leaked or are prone to leaking.

It's hard to beat continuous aluminum systems installed to a solid fascia (not just nailed in to the rafter tails). Unless there's something architecturally signifant, these gutters are very affordable and work great.

Check out the GAF site. They've got tons of helpful information, specs, and detailed drawings. You might be able to put together a best practice manual that the roofer would be required to follow. Lots of extra work, though.

Too bad about the same roofer doing the work.

About the PVC: its more of a commercial grade product but I'm seeing it more frequently on residential. If the roofer couldn't get the other stuff right, I wouldn't be confident he would have the skillset needed to work the PVC (not that I've ever worked it before).

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

Anyone have any experience with the Certainteed Flintlastic SA System with the Nailable Base,interply Base,and Granulated Cap Sheet. It is supposed to carry a better warranty Than most torch down(10 Yr) Systems,with A 15 Year System When All 3 Plys Are used.

Funny you should mention that. I'm working on a job that's installing that system right now. It's a very good system. If it's properly installed, it should last at least 30 years in our climate, possibly much more.

Be sure to specify tapered insulation board as Kurt mentioned to achieve a 1/2" per foot slope. Also specify that standing water on the roof will not be acceptable.

For the steep roof, I like Presidential TL shingles by Certainteed but any of the other tri-laminate Certainteed products are equally good. Depending on the architectural style of the house, the owners might prefer Grand Manor, Centennial or Carriage House shingles. The shingle installation instructions will specify the underlayment by ASTM number. I believe that all of the tri-laminate shingles require 30# felt.

The shingle installation instructions will allow closed cut valleys, however I'd specify open metal valleys. Trying to bend those thick shingles across a valley is asking for trouble. Under no circumstances should they try to weave the valleys.

Nails are an Oregon State requirement. Staples haven't been allowed here for about two code cycles.

With all this ice & water shield, 30# felt and thick shingles, ventilation will be very important. I've seen roofs that developed ventilation problems where there were none before after the fancy shingles went on. Even with plywood decks, there's a certain amount of air that just naturally works its way through the roof deck. By the time they get done with this new roof, that portion of the ventilation will dissappear.

Every time I see Yankee gutters they're leaking. They're one of those things that sounds like a good idea but that never quite works out in practice.

-Jim Katen, Oregon

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Nails are an Oregon State requirement. Staples haven't been allowed here for about two code cycles.

Crap, I'd better look that one up-- I see them used all the time and can't stand them, but did not realize I could cite code.

Randy and Jim-- thanks for letting me know 30# felt is required on 40 year roofs-- anyone know why?

Tapered insulation board... gotcha.

Yankee gutters= built in gutters. Learned something new again.

Once again, thanks to all of you for the help/ education. I would have referred them to a roof expert to specify materials and repairs, but who is an expert these days? That is of course, besides my panel of experts on TIJ.

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Originally posted by Brandon Whitmore

Nails are an Oregon State requirement. Staples haven't been allowed here for about two code cycles.

Crap, I'd better look that one up-- I see them used all the time and can't stand them, but did not realize I could cite code.

R905.2.5

Randy and Jim-- thanks for letting me know 30# felt is required on 40 year roofs-- anyone know why?

I don't know.

Tapered insulation board... gotcha.

Yankee gutters= built in gutters. Learned something new again.

Once again, thanks to all of you for the help/ education. I would have referred them to a roof expert to specify materials and repairs, but who is an expert these days?

Any good architect can spec a roof. There are also people called "roofing consultants" who do this for a living. They're generally pretty good at it.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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I see built in (inlaid) gutters enough to know they work great if the sheetmetal guy knows what they're doing. If the sheetmetal guy is NOT good, they leak. Sounds like you don't have the sheetmetal guy to handle it. I love they way they look when inlaid w/copper and nice lead work.

Certainteed Flintastic is good stuff.

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I'd scrap the inlaid gutters and go conventional. They can spend some of the savings on 30# felt. While we're talking about a 40 year roof, I'd also suggest copper valley flashings.

I'd bury my foot in the shirt-tails of any roofer who wanted to use staples on a roof like that.

I love PVC roofs. But I'd join the chorus of people who tell you to make sure the roofer knows it still needs to be pitched to drain properly. Still, those things are bulletproof when installed properly.

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Originally posted by kurt

I see built in (inlaid) gutters enough to know they work great if the sheetmetal guy knows what they're doing. If the sheetmetal guy is NOT good, they leak. Sounds like you don't have the sheetmetal guy to handle it. I love they way they look when inlaid w/copper and nice lead work.

Certainteed Flintastic is good stuff.

Kurt,

I think there is some confusion going on about these gutters. The left coast guys are thinking yankee gutters which definately don't work, while those of us to right of the Mississippi seem to be thinking of inlaid gutters. Perhaps some pictures could help those who haven't seen inlaids. This is a historic property we're talking about, those details should be preserved.

BTW, anybody got a guess what the hack pulled off the flat roofs before he botched the "torch down"? Betcha it was copper or coated steal that was working perfectly.

Tom

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Hi Kurt,

I think the left coast guys are picturing in their mind a 2 by 8 or 2 by 10 nailed to the end of the rafter tails as a fascia with the top projecting above the surface of the roof. A cant strip is nailed at the inside corner where the roof meets the two-by and then a layer of torchdown is applied against the backside to form the gutter. Then a comp roof is laid in conventional fashion from just above this "gutter" area to the ridge. You're right, there's no such abomination on the east coast, but their as common as fleas on a rat out here.

I think the gutters you are talking about are actual gutters that are inset below the surface of the roof such as you'd see on the Gamble House or on many historic properties. I had them on that 14,000 sf $4.3M house I inspected a few weeks ago. I agree with you, when properly made and soldered they'll last practically forever; however, it's the "properly made and soldered" part that's the rub. When the left coast firm that built that house tried to emulate those, they simply overlapped the copper sheathing in the troughs, used sheetmetal screws to secure the overlaps, and then used narrow strips of peel 'n seal to seal the joints. Guess what happened?

I referred the buyer to a good custom sheetmetal company that I know that does custom copper gutterwork and doesn't know what sheetmetal screws are.

If I ever get around to building my dream home I'll have custom made/soldered eaves troughs inset into the roof like on the Gamble house so that there won't be any ugly sheetmetal hanging off the perimeter of the roof.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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BTW, anybody got a guess what the hack pulled off the flat roofs before he botched the "torch down"? Betcha it was copper or coated steal that was working perfectly.

What's a copper/ coated steel roof?[:-slaphap I can't tell you the last time I saw one on a larger flat roof area.

I just got final permission to upload part of the report with the roof/ gutter system-- the link will be in the next post.

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Link to roof/ gutter pictures:

http://www.HomeGauge.com/report/605303

I didn't get many pictures of the flat roof, by the time I got to the flat roof, I had a Realtor call a qualified roofer who happened to be in the area-- he finished the inspection...... I'd seen enough. There is probably about 500-- 800 sq. ft. of flat roof not shown.

I just received word that the original roofer does sheet metal work as well, and plans on repairing the current gutter system while replacing the roof. Oh Great

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Looking at your pictures and hearing about the built-in gutters (some call them Yankee Gutters) and the age of the home, it would be a shame to cut them out and hang everyday gutters.

Have the owners checked with the local preservation society? There could be some money available for preservation and restoration. Also a good source for craftsmen that know the what and how of old houses. The school that I am attending (Building Preservation & Restoration, Belmont Technical College) has a project house that was built in 1843 with built-in gutters. They were rebuilt using a membrane type material and have held up well over the last 15 years. Yours are terne coated steel that would have required painting every few years. If it had been copper, only the joints would have needed re-soldered about every 50 years.

If your going with a 40 year roof, why not consider a Guaranteed for Life asphalt shingle. Proper flashing, venting, and insulation can add years to the system.

That old lady has been around for over 100 years, in another 100, when it is inspected again, it could be said that those folks back in 08 sure knew how to preserve a piece of history that can never be built again. Looks like some great leaded windows.

Ezra Malernee

Canton, Ohio (weekends)

St. Clairsville, Ohio (weekdays)

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I finally looked at the pics after Ezra's comments.

Good God, if you hang aluminum seamless on that house, it'd ruin it. It'd be horrible. Travesty and tragedy. I'd throw myself in front of the bulldozer and chain myself to the eaves if it was my call. I wouldn't let 'em do it.

Those gutters would work wonderfully w/a decent sheet metal inlay.

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Originally posted by kurt

I finally looked at the pics after Ezra's comments.

Good God, if you hang aluminum seamless on that house, it'd ruin it. It'd be horrible. Travesty and tragedy. I'd throw myself in front of the bulldozer and chain myself to the eaves if it was my call. I wouldn't let 'em do it.

Those gutters would work wonderfully w/a decent sheet metal inlay.

OK, I agree with Kurt. If you want to find someone to install new yankee gutters in that house, call Harold Washington at Washington roofing in McMinnville. If anyone would know someone, it'd be him.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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For historical value they have decided to keep the built in gutter system. -- -Kurt.... no need to protest on site.

I wish I could choose the contractor doing the work, but they are using the roofer who jacked things up to replace the roof and repair / replace the gutter system at the same time (large roofing company who does in- house sheet metal work.).

Thanks for all the advice/ input. If they follow through and have me inspect everything, I'll take pictures and post them for your enjoyment.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just thought you guy's might like to hear this. The purchaser of the home lives on the East coast and has made me his agent. I now have full authority to sign change orders, etc, during replacement of the roof and gutter system. I have been hired to perform daily inspections until all work is complete. If I think anything needs to be done above and beyond what I am seeing, I have the authority to stop the work, require specific work be one, etc.

This may not be new for some of you, but this is a first for me. I usually just get called back to re- inspect after everything is complete.... at least now I can catch installation defects earlier rather than later, make sure nothing is covered up, etc.

I wish I was hired to do this more often.

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  • 1 month later...

The original roofer's on this job told me that they were finished, but never counter flashed the chimney's. They told me a chimney company would have to do the work, and that their insurance would not cover them for installing the counter flashing.

I called another roofing company who told me they would counter flash the chimney. This morning they called and let me know that they were not going to cut into the chimney. They are planning on fastening the counter flashing to the chimney, and then sealing the top edges of the flashing.

My concern: The sealant will fail over time.

Their concern: Cutting into the chimney will weaken the chimney.

Question: Is their installation an allowable practice backed up by the NRCA/ ARMA or other industry standards?

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