what's my flat roof?

The home we purchased two years ago has a flat roof. Previous owner wasn't sure about the top coating. Now we have leaks, etc. Our only info is visual - silver color; lots of mountains and valleys (where rain water likes to pool) and a soft feel as you walk on it. Some one said it was a rubber roof; other said it wasn't; it's got many crack plus it doesn't run at a slant so that it drains out the several drain spouts --no roofer we've contacted has given a good idea -- like they are pulling "solutions" out of a hat.....what can we do?
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Look for an engineer. Your description sounds like the entire roof system needs repair at least. You may end up with sloped inslulation to encourage draining. Forensic engineers and architects may be able to help. They can at least suggest who in your area has experience. Please let us know what happens. TB
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Thanks - in my heart I know we need a pro. Roofs are too important to do otherwise. QJ
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that's not a rubber roof. rubber roofs are black and look like, well, rubber. it won't crack. they are definitely the way to go for flat roof. you'll want to find a roofer who is experienced with rubber roofs. in my area i would look for a roofer who does commercial work, cause that's where most of the flat roofs are.
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Thanks for your message. It helps QJ
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Can't see it from here, but it sounds like 1 or more layers of old hot-mop roof that some fool painted with 'trailer paint' to reduce heat load and/or stop minor leaks. Best course of action is probably a total tear-off and replacement with a modern membrane roof. (I've personally never seen an actual rubber roof- it is either asphalt+mopped tar+gravel, or some sort of plastic membrane painted with a sealant.)
Expensive, messy, a real PITA. But it does give an opportunity to inspect the deck surface and fix any mushy spots. You can usually also add several inches of stiff insulation to improve the R-factor, and as one of the other guys noted, they can add some slope where needed, to improve drainage. A common trick is to slightly slope the insulation toward and existing or new scupper hole and/or downspout on the side of the roof the neighbors see. Slope is created either by carved layers of the insulation board, or even via sprayed foam. Depending on climate, you then pick the surface color- light if you want to reduce A/C load, darker if you want snow to melt more quickly. Most flat roofs I have seen go on in last few years are pale gray or tan.
Yes, you do want somebody who does flat roofs on a regular basis, not some guy reading the manual while he does it. It is a specialty, and experience makes a big difference on speed and quality of the installation.
Hope your bank balance is in good shape. It will be painful, but better to do it the right way and get it over with, IMHO.
aem sends...
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ameijers wrote:

Excellent advice, every word of it. There are a number of replacement roof systems, here is a basic description of them and some of the advantages and disadvantages of each. One other poster suggested you contact a commercial roofer and I second that idea. Be sure you understand how the flashing and drain systems will work - many of the problems that I see with flat roofs could have been avoided with proper edge flashing and proper sloping for drainage.
http://www.urbanedge.org/green-housing.php?subcode=RoofingTypes
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I have worked around the rubber "Grace roofing system" Not many home owners can afford it. Authorized installers only. Comes with a 20 year guarntee.
The rest of this text is excellent.
Do not wait any longer. You may have waited to long now. You may be at risk of structural damage from the leaks.

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Thanks so much -- everyone has given great advice QJ
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Thanks - gotta do something and your reply helps QJ
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Q, a word of friendly advice- nobody outside Google Groups can tell what you are replying to, since most of us do not use Google Groups to get to Usenet. We don't see the messages in a nice tree, we see them in the order they were received by our news servers. Click the 'show options' hilight, and then click the 'include original message' link, so it is included in your posting. (Delete the parts that don't matter, of course.) Doing this will increase the odds that people respond to your followups, and keep them from yelling at you.
(and shame on Google for not making that the default, and not making it clear to new users that the Groups do NOT live on Google, and they are just a portal.)
aem sends....
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On Tue, 30 May 2006 02:04:23 GMT, "ameijers"

And some less friendly advice. Don't waste everyone's time and bandwidth with dumb-ass content-free "thankyou" replies to every freaking message you get on a topic. Wait a few days, and send ONE generic "thanks all" at the end, if you feel you have to. Preferably along with any resolution if there are open questions.
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EPDM with pebbles on top ("ballast") is another option. With a small rise near the edge, it might trap rainwater and make a cool roof. A large roof might drape 20' rubber over 6"-tall "standing seams" 16' apart.
Nick
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Thanks..great advice. Appreciate it. QJ
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