Roof drainage issue - water does flow downhill!

I have a unique roof drainage problem.
The house is a wrap around house with a center courtyard like this:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/IMG_0153.JPG
On three sides are gabled tiled roof, therefore half the water will flow into the direction of the courtyard, the top of the courtyard is enclosed in a screen, therefore in between there is a gutter. It is not a normal gutter but one that has a asphalt surface (like those of a flat roof) and in some spots it feels "spongy" when I walked on it, indicating moisture beneath it. Like this:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/IMG_0164.JPG
Due to this reason, the gutter does not have a smooth grade and hence when it rains it does not flow quickly to the drain. I think I need to fix this gutter, but in talking to several gutter companies they told me they do not service this type of gutters, they only install new aluminum gutters. I asked them who I should call, they don't know. Now is this a gutter problem or a roofing problem?
Now, on the front side the roof is not gabled. It is flat. There is a section connecting the two sides and below it looks like this:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/IMG_0152.JPG
Above however is asphalt roof like this:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/IMG_0165.JPG
and it has an overhanging section extending out to cover the car when parked:
http://img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-10/1090906/IMG_0166.JPG
This flat section has no gutter. So it drains at the edges, worse, when the other gutters at the bottom of the gabled roof are not draining quick enough, the water backs up into this flat section, and pours down the below like a bucket.
The courtyard is covered with bricks and have three drains on each side, except the front area where the problem is. So water ponds up and gets inside the sliding glass door and the floor gets wet...a big mess.
Now I am wondering if this is a grading problem of the courtyard, a lack of gutter in the flat section of the roof, a grading problem in the existing gutter, or a clogging problem of the courtyard drain inlets.
What kind of professional do I need to look at all these issues all together, and fix it? Is it a roofer or I need an engineer? Any other advise would be appreciated.
Thanks and sorry for the long lengthy post.
MC
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MiamiCuse wrote:

Given your home design you are going to get water in the courtyard, and elsewhere when it rains. There isn't any gutter design that can avoid that when you get more than just a light rain.
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What's your budget?
Sounds like you need a home inspector first and since most of your problems have to do with the roof design rather than a defect or something that can be easily fixed, I think you may need to consult an architect next.
Call and interview your home inspector before hiring. Make sure he has seen houses like yours and can form an intelligent opinion. Remember, you are not the run of the mill home buyer, you have specific concerns to address.
Engineers design structural components to satisfy the architectural design requirements. You may need one but first you need someone familiar with a broad range of materials and construction practices and had an eye for the aesthetic, that's the Architect. A roofer may do if you don't want to put down a few $k for a detailed design first.
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problems
seen
I am considering that. This is why I am now trying to find out as much as I can (knowing whoever I hire will need the same information)...layout of the underground pipes, whether the yard inlet drains and the sewer drains are interconnected, and if so, how, I am measuring the roof area too, so I can compute the storm runoff in a worse case scenerio and see if the two existing grade and the two downspouts are sufficient. The problem is because of the design the downspouts are on the inside of the courtyard and the bottom disappear into the courtyard, don't know where it comes out, and not sure if it connects to the other courtyard inlets.
Definitely an interesting mystery.
Thanks,
MC
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I would call a roofing company. You basically have a specialized flat roof system.
They might want to use a rubber membrane type product, but they will most likely have to rebuild under the "gutter"

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Thanks! I will check into this as well.
MC

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MiamiCuse wrote:

...snip long story of woe...
I basically agree w/ the recommendation that a good inspector may be of some help but an architect may be better choice. I was wondering how old the house is and whether there might not be opportunity to discuss the problem w/ the original designer/builder.
Basically, flat roofs are terrible for drainage and this one has no guttering at al near as I could see. That could be remedied to at least collect that and redirect it.
If the gutters aren't carrying the water away, there're only a few things basically to go wrong--either they were/are undersized or the downspouts are undersized or too few in number. The same thing with ground drains.
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I tried. Original plans that would have located underground drains and sewer are not available. The architect who built the house for himself has since retired and moved out of state, I did track him down using and called him but he is retired and was only able to spend a few minutes with me and did answer a few questions but for the most part he asked me to have someone look at it using today's standards and code. House was built in 1972 for himself and he left after 10 years and sold it to the last owner before I bought. Last owner was the one who sold after having a stroke and is now in a nursing home out of state with his family and I shouldn't be disturbing them, which leaves me with the city who told me all houses built prior to 1974 were transferred to microfilms and later those were "eaten up" by some parasites so nothing is available. A hard search through the permits yielded nothing since 1974 for any roofing or drainage related work, except in 1974 they replaced all the tiles. So I am back to square one and have to figure this puzzle out with limited history. Ain't this fun?
MC
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miamicuse wrote:

...
...
Sounds a lot like what you've heard here... :)
If it hasn't been 20 years since he retired and left the area I'd call him back and ask for a recommendation...would at least be a starting data point in the search
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wrote:

P&M
You're sure the sponginess indicates moisture? You mean underasphalt lakes or just soaked material? Maybe it's air, or bubbled material.
Maybe it will fail someday, but until it has holes, what I say below may mean yhou can ignore this sponginess for now.

Tbat would be true for the first layer of water, but after the gutter fills a little, why would the top part run other than fast. Think of a river that has shallow areas and deep areas. It runs faster in the shallow or narrow areas to make up for the fact that there is a greater cross-section of water in the deep or wide areas. (Although maybe the current is not so much a certain distance below the surface. That would be even more like what I['m suggesting, where the water in the valleys (as one moves from one end of the gutter to the other) might not move at all, but the water above the peaks will move fine.
It might be dangerous to go up there in the rain, but are there non-sloped areas and maybe you can find shoes that are not slippery when wet. Snorkeling slippers? Maybe no shoe will be slippery when wet if there is no plant life, scum etc.
At any rate, get on a ladder and look at the entrance to the downspouts when it is raining. Or just do something to make sure the downspout and the drain pipe it leads to is clean. (and adequate for the volume.)

Put in two more drains, left and right front, if you can't solve the front section backup problem.

Get a garden hose and pour water down each drain in turn, letting the water drain out between drains. I don't know how much water a drain should take, but if necessary, you can take the number of inches per hour and multiply etc to find out how much it is raining per minute.
You can calibrate yoru hosse by timing how long various settings take to fill a gallon bottle, or a bigger one.
You can calibrate the rain by relying on the weather report, or buy buying or making a rain gauge for your house. The rain gauge I got when I was 12 had a 1" diameter tube, but an alumininum inlet that was the square root of two in diameter. So it collected twice as much water. That allowed the markings on the gauge to be twice as far apart, so that it could be read from a distance, without going outside. You could do that, or you coudl use a transparent tube of any diameter, and mark real inches on the side.
I think it is easier to test drains first than to test gutters if you don't know the drains are good, etc.

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wrote:

The heat in Florida can warm up the old mopped-on tar and give a little when walked on...nothing serious..
Oren
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