Above picture is from 1938.

P and I have taken on a project that many have labeled as crazy. This c. 1920's Spanish Revival was a foreclosure that had been vacant for about 2 years. This blog is my attempt to document our renovations of what was once a grand old house. Maybe someday it will be again. Someday.

12 March 2011

Flat Roof? Seriously?

When we first saw her back in the Summer of 2010, one of the first things I noticed was that much of the roof was flat.  I have often wondered why in the world a flat roof was ever considered a good idea.  After this experience, I have concluded that it isn't.  The flat portion is about 20' x 20' and appeared to be in marginal shape.  I hoped that we could limp it along for a few years before replacement.  After observing during the first rain, that was clearly not an option.  So we waited for a extended dry (and warm) spell so we could remove and reroof.  Thankfully, February arrived with an extended warm and dry period.  Dad and I came up with a plan to add slope to the formerly flat roof.  Our plan required a complete removal of the old roof and decking.  That seemed easy.  We began removal on Monday morning.  We quickly found out that there were 6-7 layers of roofing!  We spent the next two days (planned for a couple of hours) removing the layers and the decking.  The decking, strangely, was made of cedar boards of various shapes and sizes.  It appeared to be made out of scrap wood from other projects.  The house does have three cedar closets, so perhaps they had some leftovers.  We then split the 20' length in half and installed a 2"x6" ridge board.  We then ripped 10' 2x6's at a taper, with the 51/2" (for those who may not know, a 2"x6" board is actually 11/2"x51/2") end at the ridge board and the tapered end at the roof edge.  This is to add some slope to the roof and prevent water from standing (standing water + old 7 layer roof = leaks).  We then decked the roof with plywood decking (not cedar), #30 tar paper, rolled asphalt roofing and lots of sticky black tar.  We chose to use white rolled asphalt roofing to help keep the attic cooler.  You can't see the flat part of the roof from anywhere on the ground, so the color didn't matter.  Six days after starting and 5,000 lbs of debris later, we have a new roof!  Two days after finishing we had some strong storms with 60+ mph winds.  I was a little concerned going back the next morning to see how the roof survived, but I was excited to see that the roof was still there and there were no signs of leaks!  Now we can move toward drywall...

Old roof
Old roof from hatch

Roof removal

Dad adding decking over new tapered roof rafters

Mom ripping out old decking

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