LESLIE: Alice in Arizona is on the line with a leaky roof. How can we help you today?
ALICE: I need to know what kind of product to put on my roof if I have a do-it-yourself prepare.
TOM: OK. Is it a flat roof, a pitched roof, low-slope? What do you got?
ALICE: Well, I have a little bit of both.
ALICE: In my – the front and the back are flat but the living-room area is kind of at an angle. It’s an old house. It’s a very old house, in the 60s.
ALICE: Previous ownership sprayed a foam on the entire thing as insulation and a sealer, I guess.
TOM: And then they roofed over that?
ALICE: They just paint rubber stuff on it or a silicone or something on top of it.
TOM: Oh, OK.
ALICE: And what’s happening now is that’s starting to break apart.
ALICE: So I went to the hardware store and they said if somebody applied a product that was petroleum, that may be my problem, so …
TOM: OK. So, here’s the thing: the type of roof that you install depends on the pitch. If it’s a flat roof, that’s one type of roof. It’s a pitched roof, it’s a different type of roof. It sounds to me like you really kind of need to start from scratch here because, unfortunately, once you have a flat roof that starts to break down like that, you can keep throwing sealers at it and you may stop the leak now and again but you’re going to have to do it over and over and over again. It’s just not going to be a permanent fix.
The best way to fix this would be to pull up what’s there and then you’re going to put down not a spray foam but you put, actually, down a stiff insulation board. They have different types of material: blue Styrofoam board that DOW makes; it comes in different thicknesses. That goes down first. Then the roof actually gets kind of assembled.
And assemble is a good term for a flat roof. It’s not a spray thing. It actually kind of is assembled between putting different layers of roofing material. Or if it’s a rubber roof, it’s a different way to do it or if it’s a ballasted roof, it’s another way to do it. But it’s assembled on top of that foam. So you have the insulation, you have the waterproof membrane.
Then for the pitched roofs, usually the trouble spot, Alice, is where they come together with the flat section. That flashing point is what’s most critical. You know, a lot of folks call us and they want the solution to a leaky roof. It’s rarely, in a situation like this, something that you can just spray on or brush on or trowel on. It’s really a matter of either replacing the entire roof or remaking the joints that pull it together, because that’s where they often also break down.
So, sorry I can’t really make this much easier for you but that’s kind of what you’re up against, OK?
ALICE: OK. Well, it’s been a – for sure, I’ve had a couple of estimates and I didn’t like the numbers. That’s why I thought, “Well, maybe there is a fix-it.” But nope, it doesn’t sound like it.
TOM: Well, I tell you what I would do. I would go to HomeAdvisor.com. That’s a great website for finding pros because you can read reviews. And maybe find one or two guys there. It’s free. And this way, you can get a couple of other opinions.
And then make sure you’re comparing apples to apples because sometimes, every contractor has their own solution and I get that. But you want to make sure that you start to see some consistency across these bids. And when you do, you’ll know you’re probably talking to people that are following sort of the most accepted typical procedures for your area. Alright, Alice?
ALICE: OK. Well, thank you for your time. I so appreciate it.