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home and detached garage needs new roofs-advice?


jimtmcdaniels
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Hi, I'm a homeowner and my insurance company has given me a starter check ($10,000 will be given for the complete job) for new roofs for my home and detached garage that's downtown, hail damage and old age. I'm doing research on roofing and roofer options.

I'm looking for any tips or advice and have some questions below that come to mind.

My insurance agent said they may have underestimated the size of the house roof because she couldn't walk it all, too step and also said code may require more expensive roofing (modified bitumen) on the garage than what she estimated. My insurance allows me 1 year to reroof.

My neighbor knows a roofer that she says did her roof and she highly recommends them.

I guess I'll check with the BBB and also get a few estimates before I choose a roofer.

I know to require the old roof to come off as there are spots where an old roof is under the existing one and the current house roof was a poor installation where some of the shingles were stapled, not nailed etc.

I know to require nails instead of staples. I've been to consumer reports and they found roof price does not dictate quality in their tests. They highly recommend laminated shingles Owens Corning Oakridge or CertainTeed Landmark for their low price and long wear and strength.

They did not discuss flat roofs though.

I'm guessing the insurance company probably underestimated the costs and hopefully the roofer can work with them to get more money. I guess I may have to pay some of it myself for the level of roofing job I want.

General Q's

1. How should I choose/what should I look for in selecting a roofer and what precautions should be followed?

My home:

Is circa 1900, 2 story, the upstairs has some dormer windows, it's the 3 tab asphalt shingles, about 2500 square feet size home. The roof is very steep.

The chimneys need repointing and are missing some bricks that I have. There is a evaporative cooler. The gutters are garbage, need replacing. I believe the roof under decking is all good, it's 3/4 inch solid wood and the gapping is 1/4 inch and less.

Home Q's

1. Insulation on the roof, is there a radiant heat barrier that should be installed under the roofing?

2. Is there a better way to channel the roof valleys and ridges I should insist on?

3. What's the best roof color, I suppose a light color or silver or white, to reflect the sun and for longevity or does it matter much?

4. Is there a better way of flashing the chimneys I should insist on?

5. Is the roof underlayment gap of 1/4" and under a problem-too wide?

6. Is there a roof coating that should be applied to the new roof to extend it's life?

7. Is there any underlayment sheeting I should insist on?

8. Is there flashing on the roof edges I should insist on?

9. Odd question. since the roof is so steep is there a product that can be installed inexpensively for safety at the roof edge that helps keep someone from sliding off the roof?

The garage:

The detached garage is a flat roof, with a slight pitch to the center so the water runs down the center out the back in the alley, there is no gutter. It's basically the size of a 2 car garage, but it's a single garage with a work shop area.

The roof is rolled asphalt and the walls are stucco, the ceiling joists are 8 inch, 16 inch on center and there is a large center beam. The exterior walls are taller than the flat roof, in an art deco fashion where the corners are the tallest (maybe 15" inches taller). The interior walls are unfinished.

Some of the roof sheet decking is bad and the exterior walls top may be too.

Garage Q's

1. Insulation, I really think thick insulation sheeting should be applied under the roofing, I've seen this done on a flat business roof, any tips?

2. I want to be able to talk on the roof as a patio with the addition of stairs on the outside of the garage, what type of roofing is best considering price and longevity?

3. Should I install a wood deck maybe with perimeter hand rails over the new roofing if using as a patio?

4. Is there an exterior edge flashing I should insist on?

5. Is there a roof coating that should be applied to the new roof to extend it's life?

6. Is there a better way to channel the roof valley I should insist on?

7. Is there any underlayment sheeting I should insist on?

Thank-you for any advice.

Jim in Colorado Springs Colorado

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Hi, I'm a homeowner and my insurance company has given me a starter check ($10,000 will be given for the complete job) for new roofs for my home and detached garage that's downtown, hail damage and old age. I'm doing research on roofing and roofer options.

They're giving you money to replace your roof because of old age? I'm switching to them.

I'm looking for any tips or advice and have some questions below that come to mind.

My insurance agent said they may have underestimated the size of the house roof because she couldn't walk it all, too step and also said code may require more expensive roofing (modified bitumen) on the garage than what she estimated.

OK, right off the bat, whoever she is, she's not qualified to give advice about roofing. Just take whatever she told you about the roof and throw it out. Insist that they get an adjuster who know what she's talking about to look at it again and do a proper job this time. Working through this claim will be a lot like building a house. You have to have a good foundation and "she", whoever she is, just gave you a crappy foundation. Do not go one step further until a competent adjuster looks at the roof. You might consider hiring your own adjuster and pay him or her with your own money to ensure that the job is evaluated properly.

My insurance allows me 1 year to reroof.

My neighbor knows a roofer that she says did her roof and she highly recommends them.

I guess I'll check with the BBB and also get a few estimates before I choose a roofer.

Forget about the BBB. They're a bunch of crooks. Use personal references. Along with your neighbor, talk to other friends and acquaintances. Try Angie's list. One other caveat: if you're a church-going sort of person, don't hire a roofer who goes to your church. It's as bad as hiring a family member. Never let someone from your church work on your house.

I know to require the old roof to come off as there are spots where an old roof is under the existing one and the current house roof was a poor installation where some of the shingles were stapled, not nailed etc.

I know to require nails instead of staples.

Good. When you get bids, just tell them to bid on a total tear off, repair of the decks as necessary, new flashings all around, and, of course, nails, not staples. Expect the bid to include a provision for T&M on the carpentry because they have no way of knowing how extensive it will be.

I've been to consumer reports and they found roof price does not dictate quality in their tests. They highly recommend laminated shingles Owens Corning Oakridge or CertainTeed Landmark for their low price and long wear and strength.

They did not discuss flat roofs though.

I like Consumer Reports, but for certain products, their opinions are way, way off base. They often fail to take regional concerns into consideration. Roofing manufacturers, for instance, formulate their products differently for different parts of the country. Colo Springs has a very, shall we say, peculiar climate. Stuff that works well at CR's White Plains lab might not do so well in your area where you've got killer UV levels, dry, dry air, and wild temperature swings. (BTW, I put Oakridge shingles on my own kitchen & bunkhouse roofs, but only because I got them as part of a barter arrangement. They're working fine, but they wouldn't have been my first choice.)

When you find a roofer who you trust, ask him which shingles, in his experience, are the best value in your area.

I'm guessing the insurance company probably underestimated the costs and hopefully the roofer can work with them to get more money. I guess I may have to pay some of it myself for the level of roofing job I want.

Probably true on both accounts. I don't know what roofing costs are like in CS these days, but around here, they've become remarkably cheap. I've seen really good roofers come in with bargain basement bids lately. One of them confided in me, "It is better to work than to not work."

General Q's

1. How should I choose/what should I look for in selecting a roofer and what precautions should be followed?

Get excellent recommendations from past satisfied customers. Don't choose anyone who hasn't been roofing for at least 10 years. 20 is better. Here, we have a construction contractors board where you can go online and view any complaints and actions that have been taken against any contractor. Maybe CO has something similar? Ultimately, go with your gut. You should feel like you "click" with the person and that you can trust him.

My home:

Is circa 1900, 2 story, the upstairs has some dormer windows, it's the 3 tab asphalt shingles, about 2500 square feet size home. The roof is very steep.

The chimneys need repointing and are missing some bricks that I have. There is a evaporative cooler. The gutters are garbage, need replacing. I believe the roof under decking is all good, it's 3/4 inch solid wood and the gapping is 1/4 inch and less.

Home Q's

1. Insulation on the roof, is there a radiant heat barrier that should be installed under the roofing?

I'd avoid it in the case of a 1900 house. If you want to get fancy, consider foam-in-place insulation between the rafters. You'll get lots of conflicting opinions on this one.

2. Is there a better way to channel the roof valleys and ridges I should insist on?

If you hire a roofer who you trust, then trust the roofer. He'll know which valley configuration works best in your climate. My guess is that you'd want ice & water shield under an open metal valley, but a closed-cut valley might work just fine. I don't know any pro roofer who uses woven valleys.

Use whatever he wants to use on the ridges. They're the least important part of the roof.

3. What's the best roof color, I suppose a light color or silver or white, to reflect the sun and for longevity or does it matter much?

White is cooler and lasts longer. But it would look really stupid on your house. Personally, I like black or charcoal on that style of house.

4. Is there a better way of flashing the chimneys I should insist on?

Trust your roofer. The correct method of flashing a chimney hasn't changed in the last 100 years. Do it the way that every book, manual, & guide say, and it'll be fine.

5. Is the roof underlayment gap of 1/4" and under a problem-too wide?

Nah. It's fine.

6. Is there a roof coating that should be applied to the new roof to extend it's life?

Not if you're using asphalt composition shingles. Don't put anything on them. If you go with wood shingles, then they'll need regular applications of preservative. BTW, wood shingles would look nice and work well on that house. But they'd cost about 4 times your present budget.

7. Is there any underlayment sheeting I should insist on?

I'd hope that your bids all include ice & water shield at the valleys and the eave overhangs. Some bold roofers might put it over the whole roof deck, but that honestly shouldn't be necessary. Eaves & valleys should be fine.

8. Is there flashing on the roof edges I should insist on?

Yes, insist on drip-edge flashing at the drip edges. If you have any rake edges, insist on rake metal there as well. If you've chosen a good roofer, you won't have to insist, he'll just do it automatically.

9. Odd question. since the roof is so steep is there a product that can be installed inexpensively for safety at the roof edge that helps keep someone from sliding off the roof?

No, they should install super anchors or something similar at the ridges and they should wear fall protection harnesses and clip to the super anchors. Ask them to leave the anchors there when they're done so that future maintenance and repair work can be done more safely.

The garage:

The detached garage is a flat roof, with a slight pitch to the center so the water runs down the center out the back in the alley, there is no gutter. It's basically the size of a 2 car garage, but it's a single garage with a work shop area.

The roof is rolled asphalt and the walls are stucco, the ceiling joists are 8 inch, 16 inch on center and there is a large center beam. The exterior walls are taller than the flat roof, in an art deco fashion where the corners are the tallest (maybe 15" inches taller). The interior walls are unfinished.

Some of the roof sheet decking is bad and the exterior walls top may be too.

Garage Q's

1. Insulation, I really think thick insulation sheeting should be applied under the roofing, I've seen this done on a flat business roof, any tips?

No need to use insulation unless you're trying to correct a poor pitch. If the existing garage roof deck pitches properly and doesn't allow water to pond, there's no reason to add insulation. (Unless you're planning to heat the garage?)

2. I want to be able to talk on the roof as a patio with the addition of stairs on the outside of the garage, what type of roofing is best considering price and longevity?

You can view a presentation that I did for the Oregon Association of Home Inspectors on Waterproof Decks here: http://www.oahi.org/waterproofdecks.pdf

3. Should I install a wood deck maybe with perimeter hand rails over the new roofing if using as a patio?

If you're going to use the garage roof as a deck, you'll probably need to beef up the joists and you'll certainly need to install guardrails. I'd also encourage you to get a permit. To do this properly will be expensive.

4. Is there an exterior edge flashing I should insist on?

The parapet should really be capped by metal coping with either standing seams or flatlock seams. Don't let them just overlap the metal. The coping shouldn't have any screws driven through its top edge, only through the sides. For a really nice job, they should use cleats on the outside and screws only on the inside vertical edges.

I normally don't like to see roofing run up the interior side of the parapets, but it might be the best way on these little bitty ones.

5. Is there a roof coating that should be applied to the new roof to extend it's life?

Depends on what you choose. If you go with mod bit, either torch down or cold process, I'd encourage you to use a granule-coated product. That will work better than any field-applied coating. If you do a traditional built-up roof, use gravel ballast. If you go with EPDM, I have no idea. I see very little of that. PVC or TPO are other choices. They don't need any coating.

6. Is there a better way to channel the roof valley I should insist on?

What roof valley? Does the garage have a valley?

7. Is there any underlayment sheeting I should insist on?

Depends on what you use. The product will dictate the installation.

Oh, and get all that crap off the roof. Don't use your rooftop as a storage shed.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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One thing I have been recommending to my clients when having a roof installed is to not only specify that the roofer comply with the manufacturers installation instructions, but also with either NRCA's or ARMA's instructions as well. In reality, I don't think it will happen, but I believe it will scare a minimalist roofer into doing a much better job. Also, I'd tell any roofer you use that you are going to have the roof inspected prior to paying them for their work. This is due to the fact that I probably write up issues with 95%+ of all roofs I inspect.

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One other thing is to ask that the roofing materials be from a single manufacturer and/or include approved products that do not adversely affect the warranty. It is important to know that typically the warranty is not for the shingles, it is for a roofing "System" and that requires specific installation methods and materials.

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No, they should install super anchors or something similar at the ridges and they should wear fall protection harnesses and clip to the super anchors. Ask them to leave the anchors there when they're done so that future maintenance and repair work can be done more safely.

I would also insist on the use of fall protection but, I'd shy away from suggesting a man trust his life to an anchor in a 100 year old piece of wood and away from leaving them for future repairs.

There's a substantial amount of force generated during a fall even when a soft stop lanyard is used as part of the arrest system.

Let the contractor deal with that can of worms. He's supposed to know.

Leaving them for future repairs could prove to be a liability for you if someone tied off and they failed.

http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp ... &p_id=9730

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Thank-you Jim Katten and others for your valuable time and info:

Jim I've said it wrong, she was not an agent, she was a Farmer's Insurance adjuster and she did spend it seemed like a quarter of the day here taking pictures and walking the roofs and inspecting and then in her vehicle writing up the claim. She seemed very generous.

The roofs are I'd say around 20 years old put in by the previous owner. Both were cheap jobs and the house is missing shingles, some are only stapled and the garage rolled roof is disintegrating.

I had called Farmers Insurance to send out an adjuster, saying that there was hail damage hoping I would get some kind of coverage for the garage. I thought I would just continue replacing missing shingles on the house. (I've replaced some of the shingles before, some of them just fall off when walking on them..)

She-adjuster insisted on looking at the house too.

I was very happy the insurance is covering new roofs for both...

I was raised Catholic but am a caring athiest so no worry about going with a fellow church member for the job. LOL

I'm suprised you don't believe in the BBB. Ok I'll take your word on it.

I've joined Angieslist.com, great tip, and found the roofer my neighbor recommended and many others, all with A ratings. I'll have to get some estimates now.

Here's my list of what I'll make sure the reroofing quotes include:

1. Use of nails only, no staples.

2. I think I'll try to use the Federal Tax credit rebate qualified reflective shingles. I'll have to look into that more.

3. Install and leave super anchors of some style at roof ridges (say at least 3) - house only.

4. Total Tear off.

5. New flashing all round.

6. Ice and Water shields at valleys & eave overhangs at least.

7. Drip-edge flashing at the drip edges and Rake rake edge flashing at the rake edges-like the dormers.

8. Garage parapet walls capped by metal coping with either standing seams or flatlock seams.

9. I'll expect they'll include a provision for T & M and carpentry which alows for them increasing the cost for unseen items. (Don't know exactly what the T & M stands for.. tear and replace unexpected damage is my gist).

10. Comply with the manufacturers installation instructions, and also with either NRCA's or ARMA's instructions.

11. Roofing materials be from a single manufacturer and/or include approved products that do not adversely affect the roofing materials warranty.

This is one big speed bump for me I have to bark about:

You sure I shouldn't rely much on Consumer Reports (I've attached their rating info below)?

I was mesmurized at how some of the cheaper shingles outperformed ones four times the price.

I'm generally surprised how fragile shingles are and how they don't last longer than they do for all the work involved in reroofing. I guess they want us to keep paying for roofs milking us like cows. It really seems rediculous to me.

~

Will a roofer really know which shingles will last for many decades? I mean my imagination says that for the most part, without testing shingles like in a lab, the only other good test is time...and by then the shingle company no longer offers the same shingles. The manufacturers are just throwing together concoctions of material and coatings and layers, and maybe moreso much marketing and incentives.

I really don't know what I'm getting for by paying extra dollars per bundle from one company to another. I don't know where the sweet spot is and wonder if my roofer will being under the same influences.

~

Consumer Reports shows a good sweet spot with the Certainteed Landmark or Owens-Corning Oakridge. I make less than 40K a year and I'd like to retire instead of working all my life. I'm not one to skimp where it makes a difference but I don't want to throw money away where the difference is not worth it. From consumer reports it looks like Owens-Berkshire Collection $220 and Certainteed's-Grand Manor $215 - top shingles are very over priced for a bit more performance although their warranty goes to life instead of 30 years (not sure if many people will really benefit from the difference in warranty length).

Looking at their ratings (it shows there is not a very good correlation between price and quality), do you think there is any value to the ratings?

Ok I did go to Owens website and I see their Berkshire Collection looks like slate which is a reason why they are more expensive.

Did too much barking...

The current house roof is black and it's hot upstairs in the summer. I think I'll be going with a lighter-medium natural color this time maybe that looks like wood but I don't think I'll go with actual wood shingles, cost and I'd also be worried about the fire danger and I think insurance companies are discouraging wood shingles these days.

I've researched the radiant heat barrier. For the house I will need to install it in the attic. It won't work between the roof decking and the shingles because 3/4 inch min air space is needed on one side of the aluminum barrier.

The 2 house chimneys need repointing badly. They didn't rediscover the egyptian "portland cement" till I think the 1920's, so the mortar is like a limestone that is very soft. I'll have to see if the roofer knows of someone to repoint first or maybe I'll check angieslist.com for a masonist.

Garage

I think I do need to have the roofers put insulation boards down on the garage flat roof because in my area the government recommends R50 in the attic and if I insulate the 8 inch roof joists too, I'll still be short the R50.

And I'm always so amazed at how just a thin styrofoam cup keeps coffee's heat contained.

I see for instance Home Depot has 2 inch R13 aluminum sided insulation boards. I wonder if another more ridged board may be needed on top of that to make sure walking on the roof does not dent the underlying R13 insulation boards..

I do plan on finishing and heating the garage in the future and it's hot in the summer too so this is the opportunity to insulate, I'll take it.

I did watch your waterproof decks presentation, very good, a bit over my head but I get the picture that a full time walkable roof is expensive, and complicated for waterproofing.

The garage has 2 x 8 inch roof beams 12' long on 16" center. I thought they'd be strong enough for a deck.

I guess it'll probably be either the mod bit or built-up roof on the garage. I don't know the cost difference and other pros and cons. I do and don't like the idea of loose gravel ballast on top. I imagine it keeps the sun off therefore many times extending the roof's life...hmm couldn't it go on top of either roof types?

Yes the garage has a center valley I guess you'd call it. It's where the outside of the roof slopes down to the center and also towards the alley-back of the garage. The water then drains off the center backside of the garage and into the alley. The garage's center beam is lower than the walls. Old design I guess.

Sorry for using the garage for a storage shed. I'm working towards not having anything up there as I finish projects, but storage is short.

What's with the zombies Bill...? LOL

Damn, I wrote a book again. Sorry. I'll appreciate any reply and this should wrap up my roofing project.

I hope this discussion will help others in simular situations.

I'll donate $40 to your favorite charity if you let me know.

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Jim,

You are comparing apples to oranges with some of those shingle choices, 30 year archetectural shingles and high end high style shingles will have very different price tags. Personally I would go with Certainteed over Owens Corning for just about any product. That said, the Landmark shingle is available in 30, 40 and 50 year versions. Choose either the 30 or the 50 as the 40 year product is only pennies cheaper than the 50.

Tom

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I was raised Catholic but am a caring athiest so no worry about going with a fellow church member for the job. LOL

In that case, you might find a local nun, giver here a good, stout ruler, and hire her to oversee the job. If you could find old Sister Mary Rose, (from my hometown when I was a kid) I'm sure that none of the roofers would dare to step out of line. She'd scare the crap out of anyone.

I'm suprised you don't believe in the BBB. Ok I'll take your word on it.

Visit http://www.ripoffreport.com/Better-Busi ... -eq4fb.htm

This is one big speed bump for me I have to bark about:

You sure I shouldn't rely much on Consumer Reports (I've attached their rating info below)?

I was mesmurized at how some of the cheaper shingles outperformed ones four times the price.

As I said, I like Consumer Reports and I find their articles helpful about a lot of things. (BTW, I'm quoted on page 33 of that issue.) But I was disappointed in their shingle testing. They didn't mention the fact that nearly every manufacturer varies their product formulations by region. The stuff that they bought for their east coast testing facility is probably not the same stuff that you're going to buy in the high elevations of the Rockies, even if it carries the same brand name designation. I've also never been impressed by accelerated ageing tests. I simply don't believe that they bear very much relevance to actual ageing in the field. Also, where's Pabco in the lineup? They're a popular manufacturer and their products do very well in the west.

Finally, they don't mention what is and isn't statistically significant in their "overall score" column. For instance, I'm very familiar with CertainTeed’s Presidentials and with Owens Corning's Oakridges. Both are great shingles, but they're each in a different class, they're simply not comparable. Presidentials will still be performing well when Oakridges are landfill. Yet CR rates them "69" and "67" respectively. Something's not right with that.

I'm generally surprised how fragile shingles are and how they don't last longer than they do for all the work involved in reroofing. I guess they want us to keep paying for roofs milking us like cows. It really seems rediculous to me.

Well then install Presidentials or Grand Manors. You'll never have to install another roof again.

Will a roofer really know which shingles will last for many decades? I mean my imagination says that for the most part, without testing shingles like in a lab, the only other good test is time...and by then the shingle company no longer offers the same shingles.

Not really. Some companies have been making the same shingles for decades. Also, as a general rule, asphalt roofing shingles are getting better as the manufacturers learn what does and doesn't work. There were some real rough spots in the late '70s and '80s, when some radical changes in formulations had some disastrous consequences, but everyone learned from those times.

The manufacturers are just throwing together concoctions of material and coatings and layers, and maybe moreso much marketing and incentives.

I really don't know what I'm getting for by paying extra dollars per bundle from one company to another. I don't know where the sweet spot is and wonder if my roofer will being under the same influences.

~

Consumer Reports shows a good sweet spot with the Certainteed Landmark or Owens-Corning Oakridge.

Well, yes. But that's a sweet spot with regard to their tests, whatever those were. That's certainly a good beginning, but it doesn't necessarily translate to a sweet spot in the real world.

I make less than 40K a year and I'd like to retire instead of working all my life. I'm not one to skimp where it makes a difference but I don't want to throw money away where the difference is not worth it. From consumer reports it looks like Owens-Berkshire Collection $220 and Certainteed's-Grand Manor $215 - top shingles are very over priced for a bit more performance although their warranty goes to life instead of 30 years (not sure if many people will really benefit from the difference in warranty length).

Looking at their ratings (it shows there is not a very good correlation between price and quality), do you think there is any value to the ratings?

Ok I did go to Owens website and I see their Berkshire Collection looks like slate which is a reason why they are more expensive.

Did too much barking...

I don't have any personal experience with the Berkshires, but in terms of ultimate value (cost per year of performance), I think it would be hard to beat Presidentials or Grand Manors. On the other hand, it might not be wise to buy more life than you need. The other factor to consider when finding the sweet spot is your budget. There's no sense in buying the best shingle on earth if you're going to have to take out a second mortgage to pay for it.

. . . I've researched the radiant heat barrier. For the house I will need to install it in the attic. It won't work between the roof decking and the shingles because 3/4 inch min air space is needed on one side of the aluminum barrier.

Everything I've learned about radiant barriers tells me that they aren't particularly useful in the long run. Others here might have more informed opinions.

The 2 house chimneys need repointing badly. They didn't rediscover the egyptian "portland cement" till I think the 1920's, so the mortar is like a limestone that is very soft. I'll have to see if the roofer knows of someone to repoint first or maybe I'll check angieslist.com for a masonist.

Please be careful with that. The last thing you want to do is stick modern portland cement mortar in between old soft bricks. Those bricks want soft mortar. Ask Kurt Mitenbuler or Bill Kibbel for advice about your chimneys.

Garage

I think I do need to have the roofers put insulation boards down on the garage flat roof because in my area the government recommends R50 in the attic and if I insulate the 8 inch roof joists too, I'll still be short the R50.

And I'm always so amazed at how just a thin styrofoam cup keeps coffee's heat contained.

I see for instance Home Depot has 2 inch R13 aluminum sided insulation boards. I wonder if another more ridged board may be needed on top of that to make sure walking on the roof does not dent the underlying R13 insulation boards..

Don't use the stuff from HD. Your roofer will know where to get insulation boards made for roofs. Depending on what you use for a final roofing surface, you might need to use fiberglass panels over the foam boards. Also, if the pitch of the flat roof is questionable, tapered insulation boards can be a big help.

The garage has 2 x 8 inch roof beams 12' long on 16" center. I thought they'd be strong enough for a deck.

Borderline, depending on the species & grade. In reality, as long as you don't have a bunch of linebackers dancing the Macarena up there, it'll probably be fine.

I guess it'll probably be either the mod bit or built-up roof on the garage. I don't know the cost difference and other pros and cons. I do and don't like the idea of loose gravel ballast on top. I imagine it keeps the sun off therefore many times extending the roof's life...hmm couldn't it go on top of either roof types?

Gravel works great, but it's heavy and it's not particularly well suited to walking on. If you go with a built-up roof, consider a granule-coated cap sheet. There are lots of other choices. Talk with your roofer. He'll have distinct preferences.

Damn, I wrote a book again. Sorry. I'll appreciate any reply and this should wrap up my roofing project.

Yes, one other thing. Some roofing manufacturers will work with some installers to offer special warranties that cover both the materials & the workmanship. The manufacturers' regular warranties are really pretty useless because of the way that they're pro-rated. Read them very carefully. I suspect that you'll be shocked at how limited they are. If you use an "approved" installer, though, you could get a much better warranty. Look into it carefully.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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One of the most important things, and the least discussed.......

Roofing performs as well as it drains. You indicated your roof was very steep.

You might be able to use inexpensive shingles and do just fine. When you say steep, how steep?

Yes, there are better and more desirable ways to install flashing (#4 under Home Q's..........step and counter, with the counter cut into the masonry 1/2" minimum.

Use WR Grace IWS under valleys, along the eaves, and at any penetrations. Read the instructions for how it should be installed; none of the roofers do.

Consumer Reports "testing" on shingles was one of the stupidest and most misleading articles I've ever read in their publication. Yes, I read it and pay attention on some stuff, but when a company is charged with "testing" products and commodifying the information, context and usefulness gets lost. And, modern roofing design, materials, and methods need to be looked at as systems, not single components. One can take a cheap shingle on the right roof, detail the installation with specific other materials and components (IWS primarily), and have it outperform any of the mfg's. top brands. Consumer reports is only addressing a single aspect of the job.

So, a lot of this stuff goes to the bane of us all, marketing.

Honestly, I wouldn't pay any attention to about 90% of what they had to say in that article. Their world is not the real world; it's an artificially accelerated world, which means very little in my/our world.

Oh, and use granulated modified bitumen. Just do it. It's the stuff for small residential flats with all their little details.

Most masons understand next to nothing about mortar. Without getting into a long discussion, understand you want a high lime content mortar for the chimney pointing. I'd have to see what you have before I could guesstimate where you'd like to be, but just make sure they don't use straight Type N or Type S. It'll ruin your chimney.

Get yourself a bag of masons hydrated lime, some clean sand, and a little Type N, and experiment. Follow the rough directions on the bag; it's not complicated, it's a chimney. When you get it right, you get this smooth buttery spread that just feels like it's going to work. It's kinda white, not grey. These directions do not make one competent to do historic restoration..........it's for fixing a cheap chimney.

Final note......Portland wasn't discovered in the 20's; it had been around for quite some time, primarily as a drier for lime based mortars. When it became cheap, it supplanted lime mortars as the go to material for construction because it was cheap and fast.

Edison's fortune was not made on the light bulb; in fact, he lost money on most stuff. Where he made his fortune was in the invention of the rolling clinker mill, thereby making the (previously very expensive) process of portland manufacture quite cheap. Right around that time, Yankee stadium was being built, and he was able to get the contract for the concrete, and he did right nicely after that.

I think I got most of that history right.....didn't check my reference material, all from my dim memory.......

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