Usonian needs new roof

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What type of roof should I replace the current hot tar and gravel roof with?

Replace with the same type of roof, hot tar/white spar gravel
1
17%
EPDM
2
33%
Bitumen Torch Down
1
17%
Bitumen Cold Adhesive
0
No votes
Metal Roof
1
17%
Other, please comment.
1
17%
 
Total votes: 6

usoniany
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:05 pm

Usonian needs new roof

Post by usoniany »

Recently purchased a usonian home designed by a FLW disciple. The home currently has a hot tar and white spar gravel roof. There are large copper yankee gutters. The roof is 45 years old and I have been told by home inspector and roofers that it has reached its end of life.

What type of roof should I replace with? The roof is typical low pitch FLW usonian roof with 13 to 14 small skylights. The current choices are EPDM or modified bitumen (either torch down or adhesive). The roofers seem VERY reluctant to do a new hot tar and gravel roof.

Any advice or thoughts from the audience would be appreciated. Thank you very much.

usoniany
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:05 pm

Post by usoniany »

Some pictures:

Image


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peterm
Posts: 6293
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

Congratulations!

Do you have any idea what the roof was when it was built? If the architect specified tar and gravel, I would go with that.

Who was the architect? The house looks great! And such a lovely setting and landscaping...

egads
Posts: 892
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2009 11:42 am
Location: Long Beach CA

Post by egads »

I have the same type roof and find it amazing how long they can last. I guess if it's 45 years old it probably is the original. (the house looks to be a 1968 vintage) While I agree with Peter that using what was originally specified would be the best first choice (45 years!) if your local roofers are not comfortable working with it maybe using a more current tech is a better idea. I'd probably go with the torch down, as that is what gets used on Mike Holmes shows.

As an aside, it is very popular in my neighborhood of homes with similar roofs to use a foil faced insulation board over the original roof decking when re-roofing. I would only do this if you can hide the extra thickness behind the facia.

It looks like you will need to regularly clean the gutters. It's the price you pay for such a beautiful setting.

A man's home is his hassle.

Paul Ringstrom
Posts: 4419
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

Very nice home. Congratulations. Love your natural site.
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

outside in
Posts: 1273
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 9:02 pm
Location: chicago

Post by outside in »

congrats on the house - looks like a nice place to live.
One of the first "learned lessons" of usonian roofs is that there is usually much more involved when contemplating a project like this. Although the costs are sometimes high, a new roof represents a great opportunity to upgrade insulation and reconsider the roof ventilation (there appears to be a number of venting hoods on the lee side). The reroofing may also provide the opportunity to improve electrical wiring, ceiling fixtures, etc. Depending on the original construction, you may want to install insulation in the roof rafter cavity, or rigid board on top of the sheathing. Use tapered boards at the edges to keep the fascia size the same. You should try to get to R=50 if you can.

That being said, 4 ply BUR with a gravel topping are very durable. Recent studies advise against using gravel toppings on modified built up roofs. EPDM is a good choice, but may aesthetically not be the best choice if you can see the roof from the ground.

Don't forget the possible incorporation of solar panels either. Hot water panels are great for domestic water, and photovoltaics are much improved - and you get 30% back on your investment from the feds (this may be the last year) - good luck!

RA
Posts: 178
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 7:10 pm

Post by RA »

Great idea on the tapered boards.

usoniany
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Dec 25, 2013 5:05 pm

Post by usoniany »

Thank you for all of the replies. Very helpful. Some answers to questions:

Plans call for hot asphalt and gravel roof.

I will get more quotes and try to find a roofer in this area that is comfortable with built up roof with gravel as I like the look to stay as original.

The roof did undergo a core cut, I will post the picture shortly.

Thanks again.

classic form
Posts: 182
Joined: Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:44 pm
Location: Kalamazoo, Mich.

Post by classic form »

Beautiful home! Congratulations.


When I was investigating roof replacement for our home I was told by a roofer I trust that the tar used in a T&G roof back in the day was a completly different animal than what is currently used. I was told not to expect the same longevity as my original T&G (50 years with regular maintenance).

Because my roof was not seen from the ground we went with an IB single-ply PVC 80mil membrane.

On the small flat area over the single story entrance that is seen from the second floor windows we put gravel over the membrane. Because it's flat we didn't have to worry about it being loose gravel.

Replacing the roof has been the single biggest headache during our restoration (to date:-)

Good luck...

SDR
Posts: 20293
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Use of tapered rigid insulation panels atop the sheathing, on a roof other than hipped, would seem to involve a visible irregularity
at the fascia on the pitched ends of the roof plane . . . ?

SDR

pharding
Posts: 2253
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2005 5:19 pm
Location: River Forest, Illinois
Contact:

Post by pharding »

That is a very cool house. Typically architect designed houses are worth 20 percent more at resale time.

If you can make the numbers work, you may wish to do a Green Package with a standing seam metal roof, additional insulation, conduit for motorized shades with a central automation system, etc. In order to keep the same roof edge profile, stepping the insulation would be ideal. Venting of the interstitial space between the rafters is recommended. You could set up the roof for a future Solar City leased solar panel system to eliminate the heavy initial costs for a solar system.

Good luck !
Paul Harding FAIA Restoration Architect for FLW's 1901 E. Arthur Davenport House, 1941 Lloyd Lewis House, 1952 Glore House | www.harding.com | LinkedIn

peterm
Posts: 6293
Joined: Thu Mar 13, 2008 10:27 am
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

Post by peterm »

The metal roof idea creates new design challenges. Since this is a Wright influenced house, the typical seams running vertically would be inappropriate. Horizontal seams placed strategically on a strict module would work better aesethically, but few roofers would have experience with that approach.

I still feel that the final look of gravel (how that is achieved with today's energy standards and technology is another matter...) would be the best solution in terms of an historically accurate restoration. It's what the architect drew, what was built, and it's beautiful. Then why change that?

SDR
Posts: 20293
Joined: Sat Jun 17, 2006 11:33 pm
Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

There appears to be a curb formed by the fascia treatment, around the perimeter of the roof(s). This may have been intended to provide a containment for loose gravel; it would potentially allow for the added thickness of rigid insulation, particularly if the insulation were tapered at all edges (?). Standing seam roofing would presumably be laid with the seams perpendicular to the roof ridge, for drainage.

SDR

Paul Ringstrom
Posts: 4419
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 4:53 pm
Location: Mason City, IA

Post by Paul Ringstrom »

I agree with Peter. The only appropriate type of metal roof would have the "seams" running horizontally as he did at Auldbrass. I think this is called a Bermuda Roof. I know something similar is possible with current materials as I saw it on a new bank building in the Chicago suburbs awhile back.

This product presents a strong horizontal shadow line when viewed from the ground and comes in a number of appropriate colors: http://www.classicmetalroofingsystems.c ... c-shingle/
Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond

millewk
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 12:06 pm

Post by millewk »

For what it's worth I own several commercial buildings with flat or 1/12 pitches and I would run as fast as I could from another hot tar/gravel roof. Flat roof technology has come a long way and even if Wright originally designed tar and gravel roofs that was the best technology of the day. Even though Wright purists might take exception, there are three roofs I would consider. Because you have some roof pitch a modified bitumen torch down would work well and it comes in several colors. Also a PVC welded roof would be bullet proof but the downside is it only comes in white and light gray. Lastly an edm roof. Just a word of caution. Many roofers "say" they install flat roofs but unless you speak with their customers first run as fast as you can. Find a reputable commercial roofer in your area that specializes in the type of roof you select. It may cost more but you won't be sorry! Remember, don't worry if the roof isn't applied as Wright would have designed, or that you have de-franked the home. Wright embraced cutting edge design and materials and he would have been the first one to use new materials. Good luck

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