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  1. #1
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    Default Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    I have a client/friend who has an older home of the Frank Lloyd Wright type of construction. It has a flat concrete deck as a roof. The roof was designed as a passive air conditioning system and sun deck. Parapet walls surround the deck with an overhang flat roof outside the walls that is tar and gravel.

    The deck was covered in pitch. Concrete disks were then placed at 5 per 4 square feet as standoffs. Then 2 foot squares of concrete (pavers) were placed onto the disks. Rain water would pool under the Concrete pavers and wick up through them, evaporation cooling the building. (great idea, a little early for material technology)

    For the last 30 years there has been a very small leak. The owner had the entirety of the system overplayed with a membrane and then installed AC. The AC is costing them a LOT of money to run. The roof leak did not stop.

    The roof leak was believed to be wicking through the concrete roof into the living room. It has required cosmetic repair every 2 years in the living room. Now it is a drip and soon after or during rains. Over 30 years they have had about 8 roofing contractors try and deal with this leak. I think all the drip edge is stainless steel, there are many other differences to "normal" roofs, including that the scuppers are rather high, as the roof was deigned to pool water, not to run it off.

    I need to find someone in the Clearwater/Tampa area who is a head above the rest and can think outside the box a little to investigate/spec the repair properly. This will all need to be done in winter when rains stop as I expect opening the deck and actually seeing it is best.

    Personally, I think that with the newer materials, it might be best to return the design to original? Then again I love old arch designs and especially innovative ones.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Since you want to return the roof back to a swimming pool, My best advice would be to call a swimming pool contractor for options on creating a waterproof gunnite or concrete layer.
    A roofer drains water,a pool ontractor contains it.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by wayne soper View Post
    Since you want to return the roof back to a swimming pool, My best advice would be to call a swimming pool contractor for options on creating a waterproof gunnite or concrete layer.
    A roofer drains water,a pool ontractor contains it.
    This isn't really a swimming pool, it is a strange condition due to an advanced idea from eh 30's.

    Possibly you are correct, but I think a specialist engineer/arch may be best. As I said, probably 8 roofing contractors have tried.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    In Tampa/Clearwater area you need to contact Mark Cramer.. One of the best inspectors in the country lives and works in that area. Home Inspection Tampa FL | Home Inspector in Tampa Bay | Mark Cramer Inspection Services, Inc.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Sorry for the edits.

    In my early days of construction I worked with a very old and reputable roofing company. They were started back in 1897. Campbell and Gilday Bothers.
    A large commercial roofing company with almost 100 men, including tin smiths.
    We installed all types of roofing systems. Metal, slate, copper standing seam, up-side-down or inverted roofs, and roofs that held water.
    For repairs you would have to drain the roof and prep the surface prior any repairs taking place.
    Why inverted and water roofs? To reduce heat although-out the building.
    From what I remember, they were not part of the HVAC system.

    I suggest abandoning the idea of reinstalling the original roofing system. The current home owner, and I suspect past home owners, understand the consequences of leaks in that type of system. I bet they can be financially frustrating.

    Maybe a green roof might accomplish the same idea.

    Love to see the home.

    Best regards!

    Last edited by ROBERT YOUNG; 10-09-2015 at 09:13 AM.
    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    For the last 30 years there has been a very small leak. The owner had the entirety of the system overplayed with a membrane ...
    That indicates a couple of potential suspects:
    - The overlayed membrane is leaking or not applied over the entire roof and parapet walls.
    - The roof may not be the source of the leak.

    It is either of the above.

    If there is any electrical (or other conduits/pipes), I have seen leaks actually being inside the conduits.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Envelope deficiencies have also been known to allow water infiltration. Water can enter a point in the envelope through cracks, poor sealing and flashing, penetrations and protrusions and be 30 feet away from the entry point when moisture staining or bulk water appears.

    Realisticly speaking, roofers survey for roofing deficiencies and are not educated on exterior wall assemblies including the systems and components below.

    I am sure Jerry's referral is very competent.
    I just wish to add the right thermographer would be able to hep as well.

    Good luck!

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.

  8. #8
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    Thumbs up Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That indicates a couple of potential suspects:
    - The overlayed membrane is leaking or not applied over the entire roof and parapet walls.
    - The roof may not be the source of the leak.

    It is either of the above.

    If there is any electrical (or other conduits/pipes), I have seen leaks actually being inside the conduits.
    No break throughs of any kind in the entire area inside the parapet walls, is is truly a sun deck of 1600 sq ft mol. The tar and gravel outside the deck area looks to be in excellent shape. The overlay is over 10 years old now and is suspect as well, however, the overlay did not resolve the leak issues ever. Part of the problem is pooling in the sun deck area. As the roof was designed to hold water it is has no slope at all, and in fact is lower away from the parapet walls.

    Your thought of roofing over the parapet walls makes sense instead of flashings. It makes sense to roof all, including the tar and gravel areas outside the walls.

    I don't know, my thought is that with current materials it may be as good to go ahead and restore the cooling by water. It means putting down materials that are rated for pooling, under the pavers. If i remember there are plenty of materials rated for that. Especially if it reduces the 600 a month utility for such a small house (a large 3/4/2)

    If not restored, then I think that removing the pavers and placing rigid insulation and creating a pitch may be in order, then lowering the scuppers.

    I get the feeling that no matter what, this is going to get costly.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    The overlay is over 10 years old now and is suspect as well, however, the overlay did not resolve the leak issues ever. Part of the problem is pooling in the sun deck area. As the roof was designed to hold water it is has no slope at all, and in fact is lower away from the parapet walls.
    I suspect that the overlay material is not designed to serve as a pool liner. EPDM is suitable for use as a pond liner for ponds and artificial lakes, along with other pond/ponding uses.

    Your thought of roofing over the parapet walls makes sense instead of flashings. It makes sense to roof all, including the tar and gravel areas outside the walls.
    Any break (from one material to another, or from one material to no material) can lead to moisture and water penetration along the edges of the liner, gravity will do the rest.

    I get the feeling that no matter what, this is going to get costly.
    Yep.

    There are also systems which are used on elevated decks in highrise buildings which have pools and parking areas above living spaces.

    Your description was almost describing some which I have inspected: the waterproofing membrane is hot mopped down to a properly primered concrete deck, the material is side lapped and end lapped, then coated with a top cover material, which then has paver pedestals installed on the waterproof membrane, with pavers set on top of the pedestals. Those systems are quite common.

    Unfortunately, all the ones I have inspected were being applied incorrectly - not primered properly, hot mopping asphalt material heated too hot or not hot enough or the temperature gauge on the kettle broken and the temperature is unknown, to not being hot mopped properly, not being lapped properly, and the list goes on and on - each system has its own specific requirements for application and the installers seem to not know and understand that the specific requirements are there for a reason.

    In your case, I would recommend an inexpensive 'test' - buy a 10 mil thick piece of plastic sheeting which is large enough to cover the entire roof over the pavers and cover the parapet walls - like wrapping a dish with plastic wrap.

    Install a couple of vent fans to exhaust out the moisture trapped below (being careful not to allow moisture or water into the exhaust openings.

    Then see what happens when it rains. If the roof is leaking, the leaks will be stopped (given enough time to dry out the water already trapped in the concrete and roof materials). If something else is leaking, the leaks will still be there.

    If the leaks are still there, leave the temporary covering on until the source of the leaks are found and corrected. Then remove the temporary covering, the pavers, the pedestals, strip the concrete 'pond' roof down to concrete, and apply a warranted waterproofing system - the good waterproofing systems will not only warrant the replacement of materials, but also the labor to replace those materials, which includes removing the elevated pavers systems as necessary ... hard to beat those warranties as they cover all costs ... which means they try to do their best in applying the system correctly (and make repairs right away without arguments when it is pointed out that the systems are not being applied as required - they don't want to skimp on installation then pay twice as much for a repair).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Myself and a few other guys I know do 'water intrusion investigations' that are specifically designed to deal with your type of situation or similar.
    My recommendation is that you not wait for the rain to stop but find an inspector that does water intrusion work and schedule him for a rainy day or the day after. That's generally what we do.
    Between an IR camera, probes and moisture meters you should be able to follow the leak back to its source.
    Sometimes the work is fairly simple, other times we have to drill holes for probes or conduct flood tests of suspect areas. Another thing you can do is throw a level on the roof to see which direction any slope is coming from, there's always some amount of slope even on a 'flat' roof.
    Around here this type of work can run a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending.

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Don't know that I've done a roof of the type you are talking about. I have done a couple flat concrete roofs on post modern type houses. A bit of a PIA since they've had multiple layers of crap on top of the original surface because one contractor after another was too lazy or stupid to think 'hey this is some sort of architectural design type roof, maybe I should do some research on this so I can actually install a type of roof material that was most likely intended for this type of structure'
    Water intrusion work up here mostly revolves around CMU leaks and roof leaks. Obviously the errant plumbing leaks or ground leaks pop up. Easy enough to say 'duh its a CMU wall with no flashings or weeps and lousy terminations' of course it leaks. That doesn't help the Condo owner who has leaks coming into their unit. Helps to be able to provide a "defined problem and solution path".
    Roof leaks can happen for all kinds of reasons but the most typical are those stupid roof top decks on new construction Condo buildings. Why can't these moron developers put together a lunch date with the roofer and carpenter so they can discuss each others materials?
    A lot of these problems could easily never happen if it weren't all about the money for greedy flippers, morons who have no business doing rehabs and developers who don't deserve their GC license.
    Should I rant some more? No, time to go pick up the pizza

    www.aic-chicago.com
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Wood View Post
    I will check and see if I can find it the weekend.
    Kevin, Did you ever find anyone who really knows their stuff in the Tampa area? I am going to talk with my client soon.


    Thanks,
    Dirk


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Wood View Post
    THanks, will look into it. I appreciate it.

    D


  14. #14

    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Contact Gaco Western Waterproofing 800-331-0196 or Neogard Coatings 214-353-1600. They will have a list of waterproofing contractors in your area. I have used both companies in the commercial field for 20 yrs. Hope this helps.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Contact Gaco Western Waterproofing 800-331-0196 or Neogard Coatings 214-353-1600. They will have a list of waterproofing contractors in your area. I have used both companies in the commercial field for 20 yrs. Hope this helps.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    [QUOTE=
    Contact Gaco Western Waterproofing 800-331-0196 or Neogard Coatings 214-353-1600. They will have a list of waterproofing contractors in your area. I have used both companies in the commercial field for 20 yrs. Hope this helps.[/QUOTE]

    Thanks for the referral. Will keep this moving forward. I have found that the membrane manufacturers usually do NOT give good warranty to residential, only to commercial. Apparently home owners are considered too litigious??


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirk Jeanis View Post
    I have found that the membrane manufacturers usually do NOT give good warranty to residential, only to commercial. Apparently home owners are considered too litigious??
    I suspect it may be more because of size ... the area of a "repair" on a commercial roof (typically quite large) would be a "replacement" on a typical residential roof.

    They didn't get paid enough to start with (small roof) to make it practical to warrant a repair.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Need referral, specialist roofing ach eng.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I suspect it may be more because of size ... the area of a "repair" on a commercial roof (typically quite large) would be a "replacement" on a typical residential roof.

    They didn't get paid enough to start with (small roof) to make it practical to warrant a repair.

    I know that commercial roofs can run to any size....400 square to a job. However this house will not be a small roofing job. The parapet wall is about 15 square by itself! I think if it is a complete job on all roof areas (many are on separate levels) this job is close to 45 or 50 square. Same as standard strip mall!.

    I always think is strange that warranties vary by use rather than material design and function. I agree that they don't like to warrant a 300 Sq ft porch area, but if done properly, then there should be no issue with warranting it by the material design life.


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