Tar & Gravel Roof Tri-Level

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Colonel Flagg
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Tar & Gravel Roof Tri-Level

Postby Colonel Flagg » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:20 am

Need some advice...

I have never had to deal with a tar & gravel roof - This house needs a new roof badly. The house has no yard, literally plunked down in the middle of the woods. Roof is so covered with moss that you can barely see the white gravel. Leaky areas are currently tarped.

I understand this is a complex question:

Is tar & gravel cheaper, or more expensive than the shingles and wood that I'm used to using? Do you think it's a 5K, 10K, or 20K job? The house is about 1700 square feet. I'll try to post pics of the moss damaged roof later. My realtor quipped that it's "the very first GREEN roof" HaHaHa

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:44 am

tar and gravel is the cheapest form of roofing. talk to you local tar and gravel roofer for an estimate (they most likely will not be residential, rather commercial). find someone who's been in business for many years. maybe someone with residential experience.

when maintained properly, and sounds like yours has not been, a tar & gravel roof can last longer than other roofs. maintenance is usually an annual raking of the gravel, cover bare spots with gravel, and keep leaves, twigs, branches off. you must cover the tar with the gravel to protect it from the sun. if exposed, the tar cracks and leaks are formed. usually once/year will do it.

I would be surprised if you had white gravel in Michigan. if your pitch of the roof is under 1.5ft/12ft, shingles won't be an option. you'll need to consider rolled roofing or a membrane. a proper roof will tell you that. a dumb ass roofer, and there are plenty, won't.

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home_boy
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Postby home_boy » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:16 pm

Hey Joe, I know that tar and gravel roofs are not original to Cliff May modern ranch houses, but I've always thought houses like ours really lend themselves to it. I'm thinking that next time I have to re-roof I'd like to go with tar and gravel. Does it go against the authenticity of the house? What is your opinion?

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Postby egads » Sat Aug 07, 2010 5:59 pm

The Long Beach tract did have T&G originally. Not too many left. They had wide facia boards and built in gutters. Lack of maintenance caused many to
fail along the eves. Mine probably had the original roof from 1954 until the previous owners replaced it (with new T&G) in about 2000. All the roof decking under the eves was replaced at that time. Most of the houses here have had the wide facia cut down and have asphalt shingles. I think the loss of the wide facia is a shame. One of the best tactics I have seen here when one does not want to redo T&G is to add thick insulation board to the roof with fresh plywood over that for a shingle surface. But our houses all have the underside of the roof deck showing inside. The first phase is 2X6 tongue & groove, second phase Homasote* roof decking. No insulation, no drywall on the ceilings.

*this is what you can currently buy, I think the original material was called celotex or something. In any case it's like acoustical ceiling material only about 3" thick. Also with a V groove where the 2' wide panels meet.

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Postby home_boy » Sat Aug 07, 2010 7:32 pm

egads wrote:The Long Beach tract did have T&G originally. Not too many left. They had wide facia boards and built in gutters.


I didn't know that about the Long Beach Ranchos. That's cool about the built-in gutters. The Pomona tract houses don't have the T&G (tongue and groove), so there's about 4-5 inches of space between the roof and the ceiling for rigid insulation which I will definitely install when I do the T&G (tar and gravel) roof. Thanks for the info.

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:06 pm

home boy, actually, I think most were tar & gravel. some were not. may have been a builder's choice. other roofs were rolled roofing. when my membrane expires, I may consider tar & gravel.

only Cupertino and Long Beach had open beam ceilings everyone else got closed drywall ceilings. YES, I did stick R36 rigid in there. big difference.

built in gutter were standard design for Cliff May homes.

here's my roof 13 years after it was built. looks like rolled roofing.

Image

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classic form
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Postby classic form » Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:59 am

Colonel...Tar and Gravel will be more expensive than shingles. You will probably have to have the old t&g removed before re-roofing as well. Our re-roof will begin in 4-5 weeks, we are removing two layers of t&g and replacing with a couple layers of polyiso and membrane by IB. Our last house had t&g on a lightly pitched roof that was visible from the drive, we never re-roofed it but if we would have it would have stayed t&g for aesthetics. Our current homes roof is not visible save for the small entrance area where we will put gravel over the membrane. We are also sitting in a wooded lot and have allot of debris that needs to be cleaned every fall, moss has grown but that doesn't worry me as it doesn't hurt the roof...just makes it more difficult/impossible to find leaks if and when they occur. I think that the membrane will work just fine in this siting and will be easier to keep clean of debris, it is also thick enough to withstand punctures from all but the biggest dead limbs falling on it. Our roof is 2300 sq ft or so and will cost in the 35-45 range with four new skylights, wiring and wood decking replacement. Hope this helps.

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Postby jakabedy » Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:49 am

Our roof is not flat, but low pitch. We have what I believe is the original membrane roof, ca. 1978. The membrane has been fine. We are also in a wooded area, and the hubby gets up there a couple times a year to blow off the roof. While Alabama doesn't have the snow that you would have in Michigan, I would think the tree issues are similar.

What leaks we have are associated with the skylights and not the membrane itself.
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Postby merritt » Sun Aug 08, 2010 1:47 pm

Here's a pic pf my Cliff May original tar and gravel roof:
Image
You can see the old gutter in there too. The roof is still tar and gravel, but the gutters are gone. This thread reminds me that I need to go source some more gravel and toss it around on the roof. Tar and gravel works well here in Southern California, but I can't imagine it would be easy to deal with somewhere that gets a lot of stormy weather.

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Colonel Flagg
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Postby Colonel Flagg » Sun Aug 08, 2010 5:57 pm

Thanks to all who answered, especially Classic Form.

The house is actually in Chicagoland. Perfectly FLAT roof, no pitch. This picture is from the top of the backyard steps, looking across the roof over the bedrooms, where most of the leaks are. The 2 skylights are above the 2 bathrooms, which are back to back. Looks like the owner smeared tar everywhere before the moss had a chance to grow. There's a tarp over the roof just beyond the skylights.

Image

(Sorry for the size of the picture, I was a great CIA agent, but not a computer whiz.... HA HA)

Surprised a bit by the 35K to 45K price tag for the roof, considering that this is not a large house.
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classic form
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Postby classic form » Mon Aug 09, 2010 3:22 am

If your house is 1700 square feet and it looks like a two story then your roof isn't as large as the one I am doing. How many sq ft is your roof? 4k of my roof is in skylights with another 3-4 in re-decking, then there is the custom drip edge, electrical work...so on.

It looks like you have lights over your skylights, we had a very interesting discussion regarding lit skylights a while back here on LL, all four of mine have lights over them...talk was about Aaltos house in finland and lights over them to melt snow.

Get a couple of roofers over there to get a better idea of what you are looking at...most offer many different options.

Sure would like more pics of your place...unless they are up here somewhere and I missed them.

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Joe
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Postby Joe » Mon Aug 09, 2010 8:19 am

flat, can't be seen, go with a vinyl membrane, like Duro-last or IB

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Postby Panton-ite » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:19 am

We just had our completely flat roof redone in July. We had the original tar and gravel, and then multiple layers of rolled roofing over that. We tore everything off down to the decking (which was in surprisingly good shape), installed a one inch thick poly-iso board, and then a 60 mil white TPO membrane. Our roofers used all products from DOW and did a great job. We can already feel a difference in temperature in our house. It's staying a lot cooler inside, and Atlanta has been going through a bit of a heatwave! It's been in the mid-90's with crazy humidity every day, and yet it's nice and cool inside our house. Do your research and find a really reliable roofing company. We got estimates and did research for almost 6 months before pulling the trigger.

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Postby casiep » Fri Aug 13, 2010 10:07 am

Panton-ite wrote:We just had our completely flat roof redone in July. We had the original tar and gravel, and then multiple layers of rolled roofing over that. We tore everything off down to the decking (which was in surprisingly good shape), installed a one inch thick poly-iso board, and then a 60 mil white TPO membrane. Our roofers used all products from DOW and did a great job. We can already feel a difference in temperature in our house. It's staying a lot cooler inside, and Atlanta has been going through a bit of a heatwave! It's been in the mid-90's with crazy humidity every day, and yet it's nice and cool inside our house. Do your research and find a really reliable roofing company. We got estimates and did research for almost 6 months before pulling the trigger.


Seconding the white TPO or TPO-like membrane...especially on a roof that you won't see. I work in commercial real estate and manage roof replacements on A LOT of flat roofs. Plus, I have the added bonus of being in California where we have to deal with the State's Title 24 energy requirements - including the requirements for installation of cool roof systems. TPO membranes are HOT right now (no pun intended : ) ). The technology has improved tremendously since they first came out. They are perfect for installation in occupied buildings because you don't have that noxious asphalt smell. We installed some a few years ago at some building that were occupied by Google and I'm doing another one right now. We've been using a membrane manufactured by Fibertite - www.fibertite.com and we've been very pleased with the results.
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classic form
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Postby classic form » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:16 pm

A distinction needs to be made between TPO and engineered PVC type products. They are not the same and do Not have the same track records. Make sure you do your own research.

lars4mf
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TPO Roofers in Atlanta

Postby lars4mf » Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:46 am

Hey Pantonite or any other Atlanta Modernists. Can anyone make a Roofer Recommendation. I'm looking to replace leaky EPDM roof that's about 10 years old with TPO and getting high quotes. Any help in Atlanta Metro area would be great.


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