Flat roof in Western Scotland - your opinion please

Not exactly a DIY question (yet, at least), but I am sure the combined knowledge here will produce the answers that I am after...
I in the process of putting down an offer for a house in the (always wet) west of Scotland.
The house is quite "different" from your average detached house in the area, as it is the result of some design competition from the 1930's, and is of Art Deco style. The house looks very sound in general.
The only concern I have is that the roof of the entire house (4 bed) if flat. The owners assured me that the roof has been done up completely earlier this year, and the work carries a 10-year guarantee. So far, so good (my solicitor will put that as a condition to the offer).
However, during viewing I was looking down from the second floor window at the roof of the single-story extension at the back (also new roof), in a very rainy day may I add, showed that the whole extension roof was basically one big shallow paddle (at least 0.5 " deep I would estimate). I haven't had a chance to look at the roof of the rest of the building. Is this common/what one should expect with a flat roof? or is it just a matter of time before it will start leaking?
Also, what should I look for in a flat roof to put my mind at rest?
Whilst having a guarantee is reassuring, the thought of having to decorate after each leak appears is not particularly appealing...
Any thoughts/comments will be much appreciated.
TIA,
J.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A constant source of expense. Walk away from it!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
none none wrote:

northwest. I wouldn't be at all happy with a flat roof.
Sheila, in NorthWest Sutherland
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
none none wrote:

As the owner of a property with a main flat roof, don't walk away from it, run. Very quickly. :)
If you decide you really want this property, then at least contract someone who is an expert in flat roofs to examine its design and construction, and be prepared for ongoing maintenance and possible difficulty in obtaining *adequate* insurance cover.
Lee
--
To reply use lee.blaver and ntlworld.com


Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

It's not listed as well by any chance? If listing carries the same problems as down here in Southern England then be very careful - you might have to keep it as is .
Barley Twist (Please put out the cats to reply direct)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Oops! well spotted!
It is indeed a C-listed building, and as you already mentioned the exterior of the building cannot be changed (according to the vendor - a property lawyer...).
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
none none wrote:

Forget walking or running away, find a nice fast car...
--
Grunff

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

My house has has a partly flat roof, when this inevitably failed I used some high performance roofing felt which I managed to find, rather than the regular stuff. I also used block board rather than chipboard underneath.
My roof is covered with little stones, I think to stop the sun getting at the felt. If I find any stones in the gutter I always put them back

Luckily there is a small hole in my ceiling, when one day I found water coming through, I got the roof fixed pretty quickly. So there was no internal damage. Not a DIY job!
Michael Chare
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Exterior ply is the recommended stuff.
--
*60-year-old, one owner - needs parts, make offer

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
none none wrote:

I wouldn't have a flat roof even on my small extension in southern England because I saw so many people had problems with them.. It noticable that the local council has put pitched roofs on many of its older blocks of flats around here... They look so much better too. Flat roofs may be ok in e.g. Greece but not in northern europe.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

No roof lasts for ever. A well designed 'flat' roof can have an acceptable one.

I had no option with my attic room conversion since I wanted more usable floor space than a pitched roof could provide. The important thing with a felted flat roof is to make it so water doesn't lie. This requires skilled design and construction. And of course then it's not really a flat roof. ;-)
--
*If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
none none wrote:

So it's survived well with a flat roof for about 70 years. The only question seems therefore to be cost, which you can ascertain fairly easily.

This is quite normal for a flat roof - it should be absolutely waterproof, as this one seems to be.

You won't be able to tell without taking it apart, unless you saw it being put on.

They aren't normally that sudden - you get warning in the way of damp rather than a sudden deluge (unless someone does something daft).

There will be a maintenance overhead. The roof, if felt, should last at least 10 years, and 20-30 is easily possible. The property is listed - find out whether a replacement such as fibreglass (suitably coloured) would be acceptable.
J.B.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Well, we dont know that. It might have limped along truoblesomely and expensively for 70 years, with one owner after another pulling their hair out.

I would want to know what that gtee covers - youll probably find it doesnt cover what you'd like it to.

yes
yes
Nothing puts a flat roof buyers mind at rest. If you want the resting mind, leave it. If you want to cut a cheap deal, count on the fact that everyone else will leave it.

thats minor. In short your roof will probably need redoing every 10 to 20 years, with smaller leaks between times. You'll be busy and put it off, by which time it wont need refelting, but refelting and reboarding. And sometimes the beams rot too, and you need a new roof structure. Had that in one house.
Thats the downside. Oh and good luck selling it. The upside is you might be able to be aggressive on the bargaining front. In short, if youre looking for trouble, go for it.
Regards, NT
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Thanks for the useful advice.
One thing worth adding is that here in Scotland we are in a seller's market, and the system is somewhat different. I expect the sellers to receive at least 5 or 6 offers for the house (amount of your choice, in sealed envelopes). The going rate here at the moment is that unless you offer 20-30% ABOVE the valuation price you don't stand a chance. The upside is that when you come to sell (and the market is similar) it is you who benefit.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

have to pay as you say considerably more. Then you have paid a substantial sum for something for which you have a bit of paper saying it isn't worth that.
Can't last forever.
--
Niall

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Had a word with the people at Scottish Heritage today, and apparently there is no just of getting permission for making any changes to the roof, so based on the comments so far I am already getting a lot less enthusiastic about this house.
I don't mind paying a little every year to keep the roof in good order (something you really should do in this neck of the woods anyway, regardless of the type of roof you have), but I really don't want it to break the bank every year.
Just out of interest for those in the know: what should I budget for annual up keep (average)?

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Zero - other than the usual removal of leaves etc and checking guttering or any other drainage. If it's well constructed, budget for felt replacement about every 20 years. If it's done before it's needed it's cheaper than leaving it until it leaks.
--
*Virtual reality is its own reward *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
London SW 12

We live in what is probably an equally wet but at times colder? climate next to the North Atlantic. Everyone, including 'architected' commercial let alone residences buildings seem to have trouble here with flat roofs. As aresult there are hardly any houses with flat roofs. In fact there are at least two homes in this community where new owners have replaced with conventional sloped ones. Personally I would avoid. Terry.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.