Find out whether leaks in a fifteen-year-old flat asphalt roof are worth fixing, or if the best bet is to replace it altogether- and with what?
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Steve in North Carolina on the line who’s having a roofing issue. Tell us what’s going on.
STEVE: It’s probably been 15 years ago I built an addition onto a cabin that I have in the woods on my property and built a bathroom. But I built a flat roof  and used an asphalt roofing material to do it. It was more of a tar than an asphalt. Not shingles. But it is – the problem is it’s a flat roof and I’ve got a lot of pines – a lot of tall pines – that leave a lot of debris. And I try to get them off and obviously, the roof is 15 years old.
We’ve got a serious leak, which I assume is somewhere in the seam because the actual interior – let’s say the main body – seems to be all intact. I guess my question is: is a flat roof a good idea at all? Should I go ahead and – is it cost-effective to just go ahead and build up a pitch and …?
TOM: So you’re telling me that that flat roof is 15 years old?
STEVE: And has lasted that long, yeah.
TOM: And congratulations, first, on your flat roof lasting 15 years.
TOM: And may we be the first to tell you that it’s at the end – well past the end of a normal life for a flat roof. You’re lucky if you get five to seven out of there. So, you must have done a really good job putting that roof together, Steve.
What happens is over time, it loses – the asphalt dries out and the material can become more porous. You can develop very small cracks in it where water can leak through. So, I would just r eplace that roof and I would do it exactly the same way you did it the first time or you can use an upgraded material. But I think the roof is just worn. At 15 years old, you’re lucky it lasted that long.
STEVE: OK. Well, thank you so much, yeah.