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LottaLiving.com • flat roof/old house smell HELP!
Page 1 of 1

flat roof/old house smell HELP!

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 12:58 pm
by Panton-ite
We have been in our 1956 mod for a year renovating, but the 'old musty house' smell still isn't going away. There is no visible mold in the basement. All the carpet has been removed and pretty much the whole place has been painted. We've even had the hvac ducts cleaned.

We know we need to replace our flat roof. It has some ponding in a few areas after a heavy rain. Currently it's made up of 3 layers; 1st layer is the original tar and gravel, 2nd and 3rd layers are cheap rolled roofing with fiberboard in-between. After a core sample by a roofer we learned that the fiberboard is wet in several areas. Could the old, damp roof be causing our 'old house' smell?

Does anybody have any experience with this?

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:08 pm
by egads
Yes the smell is most likely the result of wet materials staying wet. The sad and expensive thing is, you need to remove all the old layers of roofing. In Atlanta, I'd consider a foam roof.

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:11 pm
by Panton-ite
Egads,

We've been told by several commercial roofers that white TPO is the way to go. Thoughts? What kind of foam roofing are you talking about?

Thanks!

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:34 pm
by egads
I had to look up TPO roofing, but that does seem like a good choice. It depends on whether or not you have some existing insulation or if it will be installed like the illustration in this link:

http://www.specjm.com/commercial/roofing/tposingle.asp

That would work about the same as a foam roof. Foam is very popular for redoing flat open beam houses out here in California. It really helps in hot climates and can be built up to facilitate run off in low spots without adding weight. In any case, neither will be a cheap roof. For that you have my sympathy.

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 2:43 pm
by egads
The main advantage of foam roofing is the ability to go over all existing layers. In your case I would definitely remove all old layers.

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:12 pm
by jakabedy
I know foam is the go-to solution in CA, but has anyone in a rainy, wooded area had a foam roof? Does it hold up to limbs, branches, etc. and would it tolerate my husband walking across it several times a year to blow it off?

Of course, this whole question is moot, as I'd have to truck in a crew 150 miles from Atlanta (if I could even find one there). But, inquiring minds . . .

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:31 pm
by Panton-ite
egads,
I found a couple companies in Atlanta that do foam roofs. I'm going to start calling tomorrow and see what i can find out. I don't know what it's like in CA right now, but here every roofer and his brother are now doing TPO and EPDM membranes which makes me a bit nervous. Foam would also save me the expense of an elaborate tapered poly-iso board under the TPO to get proper drainage.

I can't believe I'm just now hearing about this. NOBODY is talking about foam roofing out here. Then again, there are very few flat-roof moderns in Atlanta.

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2010 6:38 pm
by jesgord
On our flat roof in New York, we used a rubber membrane roof. So far, so good through snow, hail, ice storms, a nor-easter and 100 degree heat. We painted the black rubber gray.

Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:04 am
by Planner Dude
Interesting stuff:

We moved in to our house this past year and have a musty smell too.

We ripped out he Berber carpeting in the bedrooms upstairs (yuck!), but haven't tackled the basement yet.


No visible mold or the like.

This past weekend I noticed it was strongest near our natural fire places, which have built ups soot, even thought we have yet to use them.

I am wondering if this is our culprit--we have a fireplace upstairs and in the basement. We need a new roof too (3:12 pitch or so) and caps on the chimneys.

any ideas?

Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:59 am
by Slim and Gabby

Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:31 pm
by reverb2000
I have TPO roofing and it should last longer than I will (60yrs). Its very durable and really cant leak.

Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 3:24 pm
by Panton-ite

Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:22 pm
by egads

Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:55 pm
by Slim and Gabby

Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 6:05 pm
by Panton-ite

Posted: Tue Jun 22, 2010 7:40 pm
by jakabedy
This is a bit off topic, but do any of you flat roof folks also have skylights you're working with? Are the roofers able to work with the existing skylights and keep the transition waterproof?

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 5:26 am
by Panton-ite
We have skylights but most of them will be replaced when we re-roof. Most are original from the 50's and in bad shape.

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:09 am
by redneckmodern
looks like you've had most of your questions answered, but in regards to a foam roof. for eichlers -- with such a low profile and little/no insulation to speak of otherwise (and drainage issues due to settling, etc), foam is indeed a good choice. you have the ability to "shape" it after it's sprayed, so drainage is often improved if you have a good installer. it's also nice as it "covers" everything: in our case, new wiring and runs for the minisplit AC. remember, too, it's sort of a 2-part process: foam (and shaping), then an elastomeric topcoat (which needs to be renewed every half-dozen years or so).

you can walk on it with care (at well over 200#, i do it all the time) and like other roofs get a bit dingy over time (which is fine for me -- it's a roof). however, you can damage it. we had some tree guys up there and he let hit trimming pole hit the surface and it punctured the elastomeric membrane sprayed on top of the foam. the good news is that sikaflex-1A (generally available at most better contractor supply houses -- but not big-orange) is the patch/repair process which is an easy homeowner fix. i plan on going up there every now and again with caulk-gun in hand for an inspection.

Posted: Wed Jun 23, 2010 11:53 am
by Slim and Gabby

Posted: Thu Jul 08, 2010 4:03 am
by Panton-ite
Slim,

Did you guys do a tapered poly-iso or flat?

Thanks!

Posted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:24 pm
by Slim and Gabby
Oh, sorry, um, our house has a pitched roof!
Our house will warm up after three days of heat, but not like other houses. It was 93 outside, and our house never got above 73, NO AC involved, we only use it when we have company. The other day our house was, are you ready...63 at noon, and warmed up to, 68 at 5:00pm! I chuckle to myself when the neighbors have their AC going when it's 85, SNORT!!!!!!
This transmission is coming to you via Mars, which accounts for the delay, um you're not buying that are you?
Slim

Posted: Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:28 am
by deanna b
Just to get a ballpark idea, how much does a foam or TPO roof for a standard-sized house usually cost?

Posted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 4:41 pm
by Slim and Gabby
Just as a heads up: today we had 105 degrees today, and with no AC it's 77 inside. Passive solar and good insulation rocks, I gotta tel ya!
Slim

Posted: Tue Sep 28, 2010 9:28 pm
by redneckmodern
our foam room (1800sf) was $16K. this seems to be the going rate in NorCal.