A great way to fix a flat roof The Hart of the matter

A great way to fix a flat roof

Repairs always require a certain amount of planning and execution. Its always something to consider if you can save money and get the same result as if you repaired it the “conventional” way.

Several years ago I was running a commercial building which had a leak on the flat roof. Upon inspection it was revealed that the leak emanated from a low spot which collected water in a pool and then eventually seeped down running along the inside of the bathroom wall below it, peeling away the paint. Aside from the paint peeling off ignoring the problem would have led to mold on the sheet rock below which must be fixed at all costs because plaster mold creates an extremely unhealthy environment.

There was no alternative. When discovered this was a repair that couldn’t wait.

As a short cut, and not a very good one I might add, many handyman just pull off the existing roofing and re roof it, applying new Henry’s roof cement to the new seems. This will probably do the trick as a temporary measure. It will stop the leak initially but it will not correct the problem of the water pooling on the roof. Sooner or later you are going to be revisiting the leak problem. As long as that water pools on the roof and sits there for several days while the sun evaporates it naturally, it will eventually seep through the roofing and the leak will begin again. Standard roofing technology is not a submarine. It will not keep the water out indefinitely.

As this is a common problem with flat roofs there is a very direct answer. Rip off the existing roofing, remove the sheathing down to the ceiling joists and then scab on new joists alongside the old ones, crowned in the proper direction and secured directly to the existing joists spanning the length of bearing wall to bearing wall. Many times this procedure requires removing much more of the roofing and sheathing than the actual size of the area to be fixed. For example, a dip in the roof causing a 3ft diameter pool might span 12 ft or more. So, the fix would require removing that entire area to be able to properly and safely correct the problem. I can also tell you from experience the interior ceiling many times suffers damage while doing this process and also requires repair and repainting. Add that to your cost and man hours used.

As a short cut I have heard of only cutting out maybe two or three feet beyond the low spot and cutting pitch strips to nail on top of the existing joists to make it level. I don’t recommend this method as it poses several problems. It is difficult to get the strips exactly right so that the pooled area will be entirely eliminated. I have seen guys go through this process spending a number of wasteful man hours only to find when they re-roofed that their fix created a pool in a different area.

I’ve discovered a better way, a sure fire way to get it perfect in a fraction of the time so that it will last for years and years. And, it’s so simple I don’t know why anybody ever thought of this before. Self leveling mortar is used for this purpose over concrete decks with the same problem. Self leveling mortar can be used on roofs also.

Here’s the process:

Don’t remove the old roofing or the sheathing. Leave everything as it is. With no demolition there is no mess, nothing to remove and throw in the trash. That entire step is eliminated. You don’t need any special skills either. Any handyman that has used the self-leveling product before can do the work.

Apply the self-leveling mix the same way you would on a concrete deck. Trowel it on, continually check it with a straight edge to make sure you are applying it properly. When it dries, subject the area to a water test to make sure that no pooling exists. If you missed a spot, allow the area to completely dry and make the necessary corrections. Repeat this process again to make sure everything is copacetic. When you are satisfied, apply new felt and roofing paper right over the corrected area. Be sure that all of the self-leveling product is completely covered. And, then you will have a fix that completes the correction, done in a fraction of the time, and will last for years to come.

Since my first experience with this type of fix I have repeated it several times over the years. It has worked great every single time. Of course, now that I am making it public in this forum some smart entrepreneur will come up with something similar and package it specifically for roofs. Maybe he or she will include me in on the profits. Yea, right! But, you don’t have to wait for that. Try it with what’s out there now, I’m sure you will be happy with the result.

A great way to fix a flat roof

Repairs always require a certain amount of planning and execution. Its always something to consider if you can save money and get the same result as if you repaired it the “conventional” way.

Several years ago I was running a commercial building which had a leak on the flat roof. Upon inspection it was revealed that the leak emanated from a low spot which collected water in a pool and then eventually seeped down running along the inside of the bathroom wall below it, peeling away the paint. Aside from the paint peeling off ignoring the problem would have led to mold on the sheet rock below which must be fixed at all costs because plaster mold creates an extremely unhealthy environment.

There was no alternative. When discovered this was a repair that couldn’t wait.

As a short cut, and not a very good one I might add, many handyman just pull off the existing roofing and re roof it, applying new Henry’s roof cement to the new seems. This will probably do the trick as a temporary measure. It will stop the leak initially but it will not correct the problem of the water pooling on the roof. Sooner or later you are going to be revisiting the leak problem. As long as that water pools on the roof and sits there for several days while the sun evaporates it naturally, it will eventually seep through the roofing and the leak will begin again. Standard roofing technology is not a submarine. It will not keep the water out indefinitely.

As this is a common problem with flat roofs there is a very direct answer. Rip off the existing roofing, remove the sheathing down to the ceiling joists and then scab on new joists alongside the old ones, crowned in the proper direction and secured directly to the existing joists spanning the length of bearing wall to bearing wall. Many times this procedure requires removing much more of the roofing and sheathing than the actual size of the area to be fixed. For example, a dip in the roof causing a 3ft diameter pool might span 12 ft or more. So, the fix would require removing that entire area to be able to properly and safely correct the problem. I can also tell you from experience the interior ceiling many times suffers damage while doing this process and also requires repair and repainting. Add that to your cost and man hours used.

As a short cut I have heard of only cutting out maybe two or three feet beyond the low spot and cutting pitch strips to nail on top of the existing joists to make it level. I don’t recommend this method as it poses several problems. It is difficult to get the strips exactly right so that the pooled area will be entirely eliminated. I have seen guys go through this process spending a number of wasteful man hours only to find when they re-roofed that their fix created a pool in a different area.

I’ve discovered a better way, a sure fire way to get it perfect in a fraction of the time so that it will last for years and years. And, it’s so simple I don’t know why anybody ever thought of this before. Self leveling mortar is used for this purpose over concrete decks with the same problem. Self leveling mortar can be used on roofs also.

Here’s the process:

Don’t remove the old roofing or the sheathing. Leave everything as it is. With no demolition there is no mess, nothing to remove and throw in the trash. That entire step is eliminated. You don’t need any special skills either. Any handyman that has used the self-leveling product before can do the work.

Apply the self-leveling mix the same way you would on a concrete deck. Trowel it on, continually check it with a straight edge to make sure you are applying it properly. When it dries, subject the area to a water test to make sure that no pooling exists. If you missed a spot, allow the area to completely dry and make the necessary corrections. Repeat this process again to make sure everything is copacetic. When you are satisfied, apply new felt and roofing paper right over the corrected area. Be sure that all of the self-leveling product is completely covered. And, then you will have a fix that completes the correction, done in a fraction of the time, and will last for years to come.

Since my first experience with this type of fix I have repeated it several times over the years. It has worked great every single time. Of course, now that I am making it public in this forum some smart entrepreneur will come up with something similar and package it specifically for roofs. Maybe he or she will include me in on the profits. Yea, right! But, you don’t have to wait for that. Try it with what’s out there now, I’m sure you will be happy with the result.


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