Need some advice on Widows Walk...

Old 03-18-04, 07:31 AM
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Question Need some advice on Widows Walk...

For those who don't know, a widows walk is a flat area on the roof, usually with a railing and accessible by a hatch.

Ok, on to the problem...

I have a 13'x13' widows walk on the top of my 100yr old home in Downtown Jacksonville. This widows walk is in dire need of some "tough love".

First, I want to replace the entire roof. The current roof looks like this (in order from top to bottom, as installed on the roof):
- Rolled roofing material
- 3/4" plywood
- original 1x6 planks, spaced approx. 1/4" apart

What I would like to do is this:
- Tile (no-slip, of course...maybe slate?)
- 1/4" or 1/2" backer board (hardi-backer, wonderboard, or something similar) with flashing around the edges for a drip edge
- CPVC material (the same stuff you use in the shower to build custom shower pans)
- replace/repare any of the 1x6 planks

We will also be replacing the railing up there (was taken down sometime in the 90's), so it will be usable as a sorta observation deck. Also, I need to replace the hatch system with something a little more watertight. Currenlt, the hatch is built on a 2x4 curb, and is just a frame with some plexiglass in it.

So, my question(s) are:
1) Is the roofing idea sound? Any problems seen doing it this way?
2) Is tiling the roof totally nutz? Should I just give this idea up and put regular rolled roofing down?
3) Where can I get a new hatch? I have tried several skylight companies, but none offer a product that can open up enough to allow a person to climb out.

Thanks for any help!

Mike Bauer
Old 03-18-04, 12:40 PM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Mountain Williams Missouri
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Out of the box here . The bottom 1X6 if ok , Id put a 3/4 P/T T/G down over them. Build a frame out of 2X6 for the hatch. A 30 lb felt then mop 1/2 lap on the whole thing. Mop P/T 2X4 sleepers down 24"on center on top of this for the deck. Deck out of the new plastic boards or the P/T 5/8 X 6".The hatch build my own to fit the opening that you made in the roof. cover it with sheet metal so it hangs down all around to work as a counter flashing. Drip edge all around the roof for sure.

just my .02 cents ED
Old 03-19-04, 06:23 AM
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Park City, UT
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The waterproof membrane should be able to seal around fasteners, like Grace Ice & Water Shield. Make sure the wood deck is strong, with no deflection or "bounce".....or tiles may pop.
All else, I agree w/Ed.

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