My wife and I want to build a new home and the home design is quite contemporary and it features a flat roof design. The plan set calls for a membrane roof design that features about a 2% slope to direct water to the drains, the design does not call for any gutters…just the drains. The roof itself is hidden from street view with a 3" parapet, the parapet allows for the roof to have a max peak of 3" at its center points. The total surface area of roof for the house and garage is about 4100 square feet. The garage too is flat roofed with a 3" parapet.
I spoke to a couple of local area architects regarding the roof and one of the architects told me to go with a monolithic SPF roof instead of membrane and prior to meeting him I’d never heard of SPF. The second architect (a much older fellow) told me to “stay away from monolithic roofing systems”. However, he never would tell me why I should stay away…just kept saying “stay away”. The first architect said that SPF was excellent and well suited to our climate (E. Texas) and as a matter of fact his office which has a flat roof is SPF…he told me it was great and had never leaked. He also said that he could do a lot of the maintenance himself because it was easy to walk the roof look from minor damage and “patch” it with an opaque caulk. He told me that with membrane I would not want to try to do minor maintenance myself.
So now I’m pretty confused and concerned that we are making a bad choice if we build this home. Should I absolutely forget about a flat roof home and find a sloped design we love?
Of course this house would be new wood based construction. The roof design is basically 12" thick and is a combination of 2x12’s and various engineered LVL type beams. The roof design features striking overhangs and the drains run down along the exterior walls and puncture through the overhangs. Structurally the design is well engineered.
Our lot is rural and woody with beautiful mature long needle pine trees and miscellaneous leafy trees (oaks, etc). Will a flat roof whether SPF or membrane be too high maintenance and too expensive as compared to a standard pitched roof home with asphalt shingles?
The architect who is recommending the SPF told me that a well done low slope roof is no more likely to leak than a well done pitched roof with asphalt shingles. He said its the roofing job’s quality and execution that is the deciding factor in whether a roof leaks or not. He said “I can take you around town to plenty of homes with sloped roofs that have severe leaking problems”. He said a proper SPF roof will last me the rest of my life and only need to be recoated every 15 years or so. He also said that SPF has a very, very low failure rate.
Here in my area these conditions apply: Hot! Humid! Windy at times (tornado alley and all), fairly rainy most of the year, sometimes we get fairly large hail storms too.
I would really like to know that I have a relatively low maintenance roof no matter what house design I build.
Are there any expert opinions here that maybe able to help me understand my best choice? The SPF over new wood construction sounds appealing, seems to me that it would be quite wind resistant and provide good added insulation. But I doubt there is a perfect roof solution, every type of roofing material must have its positive and negative aspects. I guess at this point I’m stuck in choosing between membrane or spf.
So I’ve rambled on enough here…what would you roofing pros suggest? SPF, Membrane, Other, or all together different house design with sloped roof? I can answer any other questions you may have and could probably post images too if needed.