Have been extremely satisfied with our now 35 year old roof. Friends and
neighbours have re-shingled at least once! One neighbour, same age of house
as ours, is preparing to 'asphalt' re-shingle for a second time.
Our roof is a very simple tarred felt, gravel topped, often referred to as a
"pitch and gravel". Dimensions are 62 by 37 feet with an almost central
ridge with low, 3 in 17 forward and rear slopes. (When originally built it
was recommended as too low a slope for any form of shingling!) We have kept
apertures through the roof to a minimum and the caulking around the three is
Overall roof is in good shape; no leaks. In recent 5 years two minor cases
of slight water seepage into the soffit area, were both successfully
repaired. Both were due to slight shrinkage of tar away from the edge
flashing, evidenced by paint peeling/bubbling on the edge soffit board.
Following that we keep an eye on all edges to avoid anything further. The
painted Al. edge flashing is in good shape with no corrosion despite
proximity to the high winds and corrosive sea air of the North Atlantic. The
fact that nothing is sealed up behind vinyl siding and soffit trim also
helps to keep an eye on the condition of the edging of the roof.
Roof structure is sound due to adequate venting of attic. Over the years
some loss of gravel due to snow and high winds; now a few small areas where
the top layer of felt seems bare but those are not abraded or cracked.
Called several roofing companies, all of whom were very busy with new
construction. Only one came to look at the roof. All, even those sight
unseen, recommended tearing off and using 'Hot roll roofing' which is
No doubt that's a good modern method of roofing.
But as time goes by others, than roofers, in the residential housing
industry, whose opinion I respect have said "If it's not broke don't fix
it". Also pointing out there are 100+ year (1892) old wooden homes no better
constructed than our 1970s wood frame house with 'tarred roofs' that have
been continually repaired; usually by owners, do-it-your-selfers and/or home
So my question for anyone with an opinion or experience with this type of
roof is; should I contract with one of the several companies here who seem
to spend a lot of time repairing the flat tarred roofs of commercial
buildings such as schools and s.markets etc. Have them sweep the remaining
gravel into piles, add a dressing (or two) of hot tar or one of those
commercial 'brush on' roofing products similar to that used for sealing
driveways and reapply the gravel adding more as necessary.
For the last fifteen years or so I've been thinking 'Have to replace that
roof some year/decade'! But with care and attention it never seems to get
any worse (except for some wind loss of gravel). And it's only been
necessary to (carefully) shovel snow off it twice during the 35 years;
normally snow blows away or just melts!
Any comments/advice would be most appreciated.