We’ve done quite a few of these row house flat roof replacement, this job was a little different because of the new cornice at the front wall. The existing roof in Alexandria, VA wasn’t leaking but the owner knew it was getting to the end of its useful service life, the wall coping (metal cap around the outside walls) was probably original to the 70 year old house and was pretty rusted out. While discussing the job the owners mentioned that they were looking for ways to add some curb appeal to the front of the house; I came up with the idea of a new cornice to add some mass to the upper front face of the house.
This project started with a leaking flat roof at the skylight; the Owner called us to report that she was seeing stains. We first went out intending to repair the roof (not replace) because it was only six years old; a roof like this should have a service life of 15-20 years if properly installed. When we got up on the roof it felt soggy- in some areas it felt like we were walking in mud as we could feel the roof sinking beneath our feet; when fiberboard insulation gets wet it turns into mush. We alerted the Owner and told her that this might not be a quick fix; since there was no attic space to inspect the underside of the roof the only way to truly asses the roof was to perform a few test cuts to see what was really going on. The testing was done with no further obligation than the small service charge for our time and materials. [Read more…]
Flat roof ponding water: This roof of this row house is holding between 1.5″- 2.5″ of water across much of its surface. Ponding water on a flat roof can be a huge liability; when the roof develops a leak (it will) there will be a ready supply of a hundred gallons or more of fetid stagnant water waiting to pour in through the breach. [Read more…]
We just finished these row houses. I’m writing about them because unlike the hundreds we have already done these are more like bathtubs than roofs. [Read more…]