Our house has a 34 year old pitch and gravel roof. Not flat; it has a low
slope, of about 3/18, the peak is slightly off centre.
It is 62 by 37; approx 2300 sq. feet.
No gutters and roof is without gullies or dormers. The only apertures
through the roof are one 2.5 inch electrical mast, one 3 inch plumbing vent
and one 4 brick by 8 brick chimney. The flashing and caulking of all these
has been maintained and is in excellent shape.
The roof is in good shape not leaking or showing any problems; the attic is
well ventilated and there are no rot or humidity problems.
The only slight problem, over the years, promptly attended to each time, has
been that in a couple of places a crack developed between the roof tar and
the metal roof edging/flashing. So in a couple of places a small amount of
water seeped down causing paint blistering of the edge of the eave and/or
soffit. No rot occurred and as repaired these two spots are no longer a
problem. In other respects the need to repaint the eaves and soffits has
However because the roof is 34 years old I feel it wise to get some
proposals/opinions. I know these could include a complete tear off and start
again; using one of various products now available.
But apart from the loss of a certain amount pea gravel the roof is in
excellent shape and shows no signs of peeling or cracking even of a couple
of places where one can see some of the felt!
The original pitch and gravel roofing company now defunct, due to death of
the founder, has, through the years, retained a reputation for an excellent
So I'm wondering if a suitable solution for another five or so years? would
be to get a proposal for a) Sweeping the remaining gravel into piles b)
Applying an additional layer/s of hot pitch c) Respreading and adding
There are several companies that do work on pitch and gravel roofs in this
area; although mainly for flat roofed commercial and school buildings. Flat
roofed homes here are a rarity.
I've got a call in to the son of the founder of the original roofer who I
understand does some consulting/advising about roofs, but so far haven't
In the meantime any comments advice would be most appreciated.
I've also got in mind that for some old barns and fishing storage sheds etc.
approaching 100 years old in some cases, it never seemed necessary to tear
off the whole roof covering roof and start again, unless a barn was being
modified for use as something fancier (such as summer residence) and
appearance was also a consideration?
A coal tar pitch roof would be a bit unusual. Most roofs today
will be asphalt. The old coal tar roofs are self healing which
might explain why you have gotten so many years from it.
Get the advice of a local roofer. My suggestion would be: if it
ain't broke, don't fix it.
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
Roofs of tar and crushed rock in my neighborhood were generally replaced at
about twenty years. I maintained mine, refinishing exposed and weathered
asphalt and restoring lost rock (which limits the sun damage to the
Eventually, my enthusiasm for such maintenance waned. At 40 years of age, a
small leak developed at a blister in the substrate and I replaced with
30-year asphalt shingles.
So, I guess you can extend the roof's life with good maintenance, but it's a
chore and probably not economic (frugal I mean) if you have to hire the work
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