Thanks to those who previously commented on this topic for me several months
ago. Since then.
I have contacted several roofing contractors about our built up pitch (tar)
and gravel house roof which is not giving us any trouble at all. House
single storey above ground bungalow, standing alone with 30 year old trees
Roof is a simple 'shed' style without dormers 37 feet by 62 feet. Very easy
to work on with eaves only eight feet above ground. Slope is about 3 feet in
17 feet. Not suitable for shingles. Weather can be rather severe, wet and
windy, although not extremely cold or hot by North American standards. It's
a salty maritime climate since we are about one kilometre from the North
Roof is 34 years old! The typical life for this type of roof is 25 years.
One contractor of unknown reputation did come and look at it and recommended
total replacement with "Hot Roll Roofing" which I understand is a good
system? for $8000.
I followed up on a second who apologised for not responding but has been
"Too busy"; in his defence there is a lot of building going on but I am not
hard to get hold of. haven't heard anything further! Probably cross them off
the list? This second contractor without seeing the roof also recommended
complete replacement, saying also that a cover-up job would only last a
three to seven years and would be money wasted because complete replacement
would then be needed.
I haven't heard back yet from the son of the original contractor. His late
father did a good job back then. I've had a minimum of problems with the
I also asked an ex colleague, now a leading local contractor of excellent
reputation and social involvement whose brief comment was "If it isn't broke
don't fix it"!
I can see a contractors viewpoint. They want to do a full and profitable
job, probably preferring 'new' work and not have any problems with a patch
up that may come back for further work and perhaps impair their reputation
for good work. Also I agree if/when a leak occurs and if insulation gets
wet it is/would be my real problem.
But I'm still not convinced that sweeping aside the pea gravel, applying
another layer of tar and respreading the existing gravel and adding some
more to compensate for what has been blown off over the 30+ years is not an
Because much older houses, often not as well built, some joined one to the
other etc. as exist in the downtown of this old maritime, 99% wood frame
residential construction city, with much flatter and with more complicated
dormer roofs seem to exist? Commercial flat roofs btw do seem to be a
problem here especially when snow is allowed to accumulate. and old barns
and sheds (not exactly the same thing as a residential house of course) have
been retarred in some cases for 100 years or until the barn rotted out and
At the indulgence of other posters I would welcome, again, any advice,
comments, encouragement or discouragement regarding the above. Not worried
about this coming winter but next year might be the time to make decision
and in the meantime do my homework on available systems. The tongue and
groove roof lumber on trusses is in good condition and well nailed. Attic
ventilation is very good.