flat roof - to walk on?


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Old 07-12-05, 01:49 PM
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flat roof - to walk on?

I have a problematic flat roof above one room of my house. It has leaked in the past, but survived last winter due to a thin coat of lap cement on the cracks last summer. The room below it "bumps out" from the house, and is not otherwise connected to the main high-pitch shake roof. This "roof" is also the "deck" of a patio area off an upstairs bedroom. The deck area forms a "bowl" - in that it has raised edges of about 6" on the 3 sides away from house, and a compound slope down to a gutter opening in one of the outside corners. Railing is attached on the top of these raised edges and roofing material.

So, not only does this roof need to be repaired, but to do so would seem to suggest that the railing needs to be removed as well to gain adequate access to the raised edges to flash them correctly and whatnot. Plus I'm sure that the plywood underneath has been damaged by prior leaks, so deck is also in need of repair.

Main question is: what flat roof material would be suitable for an area that expects foot traffic? Is there any?

The area is only about 10'x12' and I can't even find a local roofing contractor who will even come out just to look at a job that small!! What to do, what to do...

What would a roofing pro do if this were THEIR house? Tear it all out and sub out to someone to lay tile instead?

Big thanks in advance for any advice.
 
  #2  
Old 07-12-05, 04:04 PM
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To answer your question about flat roofing products and foot traffic is that there is none, at least none that is meant for it to be walked on over a continuos basis. Your best bet is to get a vinyl deck product installed. So instead of calling a roofing contractor call a deck contractor. Just make sure that what ever is installed that they run the material well up and under the sloped roof to prevent any ice creaping or water damming from getting under the sloped roof and leaking into the house.

Good Luck
 
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Old 07-13-05, 08:56 AM
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There are many products for this application.

Here is one idea

Do a search for "Commercial Plaza Deck" or something similar.
Membranes to look at are:

PVC
EPDM
TPO

Once the main membrane is installed you loose lay a protection membrane or a drainage mat (looks like kitchen scrubbie pad material) and pavers on blocks which elevate the pavers for drainage below, and have a sweeeeet pavered patio with a protected waterproofing membrane below.

Concrete pavers would be too heavy, so look for a synthetic material.

Good Luck!
 
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Old 07-13-05, 12:39 PM
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Thank you both for your replies. Shinstr - that approach gives me hope. As per RBReno's suggestion, if I went looking for someone to install something like an EPDM membrane should I look for a "roofing contractor that knows decking" or a "decking contractor that knows roofing"? In other words, whose trade does that fall under?

If I found a roofer who could apply the EPDM, are the remaining steps (drainage pad, rubber pavers) just "lay 'em on top" applications that I could do myself?

Would the drainage pad be necessary if the pavers have "legs" built into them? A quick google search seemed to indicate that some do, some don't. Is one approach better than the other? (pad+no leg pavers vs. no pad+legged pavers)

Thanks again!!
 
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Old 07-13-05, 01:48 PM
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You got the right idea, drainage material not necessary, just need to raise the pavers for drainage. Legs or small pads the pavers sit on to raise them.
Some of the "Paver Pedestals" are adjustable in height (screw), so even though your roof has slope your pavers will be flat.

A roofing/waterproofing contractor should install the membrane, then put up the pavers and railing yourself. Try to devise a way to NOT to attach the railing through the roofing membrane. Possibly bolt it (so it can be removed if needed) to the outside edge.

Tell the roofer you want..

1st choice, a large enough EPDM sheet where there will not be any field seams, they come up to 50' X 200' rolls
2nd...or if there must be one have it doubled (stripped-in again once normal seaming is done) for insurance that you won't have to pull up the pavers to chase a failed seam in 10 years.
The EPDM membrane itself in a protected ***embly will last indefinitely..its any seams that could fail later.

Check out who the large scale "Waterproofing Contractors" in your area are.
They deal with these systems daily..and maybe the forman and one of the guys wants a weekend side job?! They would be the best qualified.
 
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Old 07-13-05, 01:57 PM
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Thats Funny...
It auto edits
a double s
 
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Old 07-13-05, 03:16 PM
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"Waterproofing Contractors"
Great tip - that's a whole new unexplored heading of my yellow pages!
 
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Old 07-13-05, 03:28 PM
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Sorry, one last question, if I may...

Railing: What if it isn't possible (as suggested) to attach railing to an unroofed surface? They pretty much have to be mounted on the top of the short parapet walls. What then would be the proper installation sequence?

Are posts attached first, then EPDM is cut during install and somehow flashed around them? Or is EPDM laid first intact, then punctured and somehow sealed where post brackets are installed?

Thanks
 
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Old 07-13-05, 05:53 PM
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Didn't read what others had to say....but a good product that could hold up to feet and/or decking would be one of the self-adhering granulated modified membrane roof systems.
It's also something that COULD be installed by a handy-person, without the need to have experience using a roof torch, or other specialized tools. Instructions are available as well anywhere you'd purchase this product.

The key to a successful small/tiny flat roof...deck area or otherwise, is the same as any large flat roof: thoroughness of attention to details...such as the seams and all the flashing work, abutting areas, etc.

Rubber might work for you. Whatever you use, the end result will only be as good and trouble-free as the effort put into the details.

By the way, most roofers around here also scoff at the smaller jobs.
 
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Old 07-14-05, 07:41 AM
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I would have to see it to detail it...My billable rate is $115 hr

I would suggest not trying to flash them in, the more penetrations..the more chances of a failure.
I would prefer to see them set on top and fastened through with some type of bracket, something that can be sealed to and independent from the roof(belt and suspenders)
Is the parapet high enough (at least 8" or so) to put a metal cap on it?
Rubber would wrap over the top of the wall first, then apply the cap, then bolt through and seal to cap......

100% subjective...without knowing the type of posts and configuration of the wall/deck.
 
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Old 07-14-05, 08:00 AM
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Hi E.Dodge, thanks for the info. Are you talking about something like this?: http://64.207.52.204/prod/jmr/cleanbond/index.php

Or if not, what are some of the brands/products or other keywords I might use to search for such a product?

Are there really flat roof systems that diy'ers can install? I'm pretty handy, but normally I'd draw the line at roofing anything other than tabbed shingles. I thought flat roofs were generally the trickiest of all roofs to install? I'd be entirely willing to spend the money to have it done "right", if anyone were actually willing to do it!!!

Thanks!
 
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Old 07-14-05, 08:14 AM
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Shinstr - the parapet walls height varies due to the slope, it's maybe 9" at the lowest point in the drain corner, but maybe only 4" at the opposite diagonal corner at the house. It's a bit hard to measure height for sure due to the radius at the bottom edge built up from an unknown number of reroofs, so I'm sort of guessing a bit as to where the real deck surface will be.

So having a taller wall would allow a metal cap and a better mounting for the posts? I suppose once I get this all torn out though, there's probably no reason that the wall couldn't be framed up another foot or so. The railing needs to be replaced to code anyway, so matching existing height wouldn't be a concern.

I really appreciate the time and info you all have shared with me!

P.S. - Shinstr, next time you're in central CA, stop by, and I'll gladly pay you your $115 to look at it.
 
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Old 07-14-05, 09:22 AM
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The down turn on a coping cap is about 3" so it sounds like you have enough room. If you need a little more a 2 X 8 or 10 or 12 whichever is the right width...added to the top of wall will provide the needed room. And give a sturdy substrate to bolt the railing to.

Here is a link to a VERY generic coping detail...it should give you an idea.
your wall only needs to be high enough to receive the cap. 6" off the deck or so.

http://www.sandia.gov/engstds/StdDwg.../AE3002STD.pdf
 
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Old 07-14-05, 02:44 PM
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That's good news re: caps. I'm now starting to feel much better about this nightmare project. And the more I read about EPDM, the more it sounds feasible as a diy project, true? But who to get supplies through?

Has anyone ever dealt with these guys as a supplier?: http://frs.flatroofsolutions.com/

What about EPDM as a liquid? Is that for real? What about these guys?: http://www.liquid-roof.com/?source=o...OVMTC=standard

So EPDM is the most flexible roofing material around, and it's also available in a form that diy'ers can just "mop on"? Sounds too good to be true. If it were so, what's keeping all the pro roofers still in business?!?!

Thanks.
 
 

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