Looking at buying a flat roof house

I am looking at a house for sale that has a flat top roof. I don't know anything about these types so that is my biggest hesitation for this purchase. I haven't been up there yet so I don't know what it looks like or where the water goes or anything like that. I can't even tell if this kind of house has an attic? It looks like if it did, it wouldn't be large enough to even move around. Can you tell anything by these pictures? Is the roof even with the top of the shingle line or is it recessed a couple feet or what. I will have the hosue inspected before buying, but should I have a roofer look at it too? Anything else I should look at for these types of roofs?
Thanks
http://images2d.snapfish.com/232323232%7Ffp53689%3Evq%3D3847%3E%3A55%3E254%3EWSNRCG%3D3249%3B4%3B948345vq0mrj
http://images2c.snapfish.com/232323232%7Ffp5364%3A%3Evq%3D3847%3E%3A55%3E254%3EWSNRCG%3D3249%3B4%3B949345vq0mrj
------------------------------------- james hudson
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On 18 May 2009 18:40:30 GMT, jameshudson45

where are you located? It's a different matter to have a flat room in arizona than it is in vermont. The latter will collapse as snow collects.
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Your inspector should include going up on and looking at the roof as part of the house inspection - ask about this when hiring one, and if he says "I don't inspect roofs" ... don't hire him.
An inspector will also evaluate the plumbing and electrical systems, and you and your agent, or attorney handling the sale will insist that the seller bring them up to code, per the inspector's findings, as part of the condition of sale. The inspector will also look for signs of termite damage, with the seller being responsible for any remedial repairs, as well as termite protection application.
Go with the advice of the inspector, regarding the roof - asking a roofer to inspect your roof is like going to a doctor with a sniffle - you'll get a script for medicine - and will almost guarantee that he will want to do some kind of roofing repairs, touch-up, hot asphalt recoat, or even a complete build-up ... that's what roofers do ... roofing. If the inspector finds that the roof needs work, that too, will be incumbent on the seller, as a condition of sale.
Although the house looks very nice, It's hard to tell from the pictures whether the roof is 'even with the top of the shingle line or is it recessed' - it may include both, depending on the design, but most certainly will have a 'lip' of at least 3 inches at it's lowest point. Mine tapers with the appropriate pitch for drainage, from 2 feet at the front of the house, down to a few inches at the rear.
Built-up asphalt coated flat roofs should be recoated with cold fibre reinforced asphalt roof coating every three years to assure maximum protection against leaks developing - this is a job you can do yourself, although, over the years, I've seen the price of roof coatings increase substantially. I just bought 3, five gallon cans to do mine, and it cost 50 dollars a can - still cheap, if you can apply it yourself with a roofing applicator brush.
Flat roofs are constructed to conform to local building codes - a flat roof in Georgia may be supported with 2 x 4 trusses ... mine, located in Southeast Pennsylvania, is made from 2 x 10's, to support any snow load that can be expected in my area of the U.S.
Joe
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"J O E" wrote .bay.webtv.net...

Negative. Many subcontract that out to a good roof man.

Like above, you are in a dream world. The house owner can sell 'as is' and if you want them to upgrade to code they will often tell you to pack sand if the item is grandfathered code.
WEB TV eh?
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Yes, they CAN sell it as is - but most insurance companies will not cover things like: a)Houses with galvanized water pipe (and in some cases even cast iron sewer pipes) b) houses with knob and tube wiring, aluminum wiring without CoAlr devices or approved copper "pig-tails" c) housed with non-approved solid fuel heating devices (wood stoves/fireplaces) d)Houses with less than 100 amp electrical services e) houses with "insul brick" siding
ETC. ETC.
Without insurance you cannot get a mortgage, and many mortgage companies won't give you a mortgage for a house with those conditions even IF you can get insurance for it.
In many cases it is cheaper to bulldoze the house and start over than to make it saleable.
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Then you get an inspection and decide. BTW, 'non-approved solid fuel heating' means non-code spec ones, not that you can't have a fireplace etc.

Sure, then the seller cant sell it. They are not however *required* to upgrade it.
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On Mon, 18 May 2009 16:31:01 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (J O E) wrote:

I would not own a house with a flat roof. Every one I've ever been aquainted with leaked, and finding/repairing the leak is not a simple job. If I got one cheap enough that it was worth putting a truss roof on, I'd consider it. Neighbour has a flat roofed fake mansard and it seems there is a roofing crew on it at least once a year. My sloped shingle roof lasts 17 years between repairs - and costs less than half as much to replace.
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snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

The biggest problem with older flat roofs is that the water pools and eventually finds a way into the house. Code around here requires new "flat" roofs to actually have a fairly healthy pitch, preventing pooling . The roof itself is usually hidden from view by a parapet or mansard style raised exterior wall. I wouldn't have a problem with a newer design.
A good inspector should be able to tell you what you are dealing with, especially if you make it clear up front that it's a concern.
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On 5/18/2009 5:49 PM Robert Neville spake thus:

So what would you say would be a good pitch for a flat roof? 1 in 12? More?
--
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism

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My guess is that 1/12 would be great if you used an EPDM material (looks like rolled rubber sheeting, glued at the seams. More important is to create gables at the corners and intersections to keep water from pooling there.
But I'm not a builder and would talk to a good roofer or inspector...
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I've lived in flat roofed houses for years when I lived in Philly. No worse than any other roof and never had an ice dam problem as many shingled roofs have. Our buildings at work have about 80,000 feet of flat roof and no problems. We did have part replaced, but it was 30 years old. Newer membrane roofs are far superior to the old asphalt jobs.
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wrote:

The office where I spend my mornings has a flat roof and we've had more than one leak per year since I've been there. Roof was replaced 7 years ago, and there is a repair crew there at least twice a year for something or another. A bit more severe weather than Philly though - South-western Ontario snow-belt.
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On May 18, 7:53pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

I agree. I've been through 4 hurrincanes in s. fla in the since 2004 and I've yet to any benefit to them. A flat roof would be a major reason to 'sell' , not buy..
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J O E wrote:

Hi, Where can you find a master of all, inspector? Some I ran into does not know any better than myself about house. How much insulation 2x10 trusses can accomodate?
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Or the seller may just tell you to screw off. There is no obligation on the part of a seller to bring anything up to code or to do any repairs. The mortgage company will probably want the termite inspection.
Everything is negotiable and a fair price is one that both the buyer and sell agree upon.
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On 18 May 2009 18:40:30 GMT, jameshudson45_at_gmail_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (jameshudson45) wrote:

When I was looking for a house, every flat top one I looked at had evidence of leaks (stains on the ceiling) and usually in more then one room. I would NEVER buy a flat roof house. I would be surprised if you could get a roof on one to last more then 10 years without it needing significant repairs. This was in AZ.
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