Help newbie w/Flat roof options & estimate - thanks in a

Newbie/homeowner/female - ok that should help - but I’m not totally clueless -
I have read/searched - & hung out here a little bit - So I’ll try to give as much info as I can - w/the proper terms -

I have a 1930 Dutch Col home in Fairfield Cty Ct (where everything seems to be 20% higher) - There are 2 Flat roofs (1deg pitch) on either side of the home 10’x 25’ w/modified probably “built up” mopped down - one side is original to the home other was add in 50’s - perhaps 2 layers on ea (difficult to determine) it has held remarkably well. I did repair about 4 yrs ago & it held -

it is alligatoring extensively and likely has some failed flashing as we experienced leaks where roof meets house (relatively minor & I repaired them in fall - they held the winter)
The decking is likely T&G & in good shape! No soft spots

I am now getting quotes from several reputable roofers & find this confusing in several aspects -
One company is rec to apply mod bit (SBS gan w/towel grade Karnak) OVER existing - & that a “built up” type roof is sometimes the best to have for flat roof & installing new drip edge flashing $5,600 for both

2nd proposal is to rip entire roofing - new copper flashings & chimney flashing, Flat modified bit-Certainteed flintalstic GTA (torch down) - galvinized button nails. new ice & water along sidewall, new alum perimeter edge flash, new glas base fiberglass base sheet

  • if any decking needs replacement CDX ply at $85/sheet 1/2", $105 3/4"
    per ft rotted roof boards $5/per foot, fascia $10/ft
    **installing 20 Cipper Pitch pockets for rail system
    material guarnteed 12 yrs Workmanship 2yrs
    Total $8,975 - if we sign by tomorrow 20% discount

*** additionally there is existing awful aluminum flimsy rail system which will be taken down & replaced w/4x PT post warped w/1x6 ceder- x24 rail (top/bottom) w/5/4 sub rail, 2x2 balusters on both sides ***

The rail system above is quoted by a GC I’ve used in the past $10K!

this whole thing is very pricey - I want to make sure we are doing it correctly. Money is a BIG concern & dh is currently balking at the entire job ( guess he thinks my repairs will hold another 10yrs!)

There are a couple of “tricky” parts of the roof as far as moldings cutting in - siding on one side of the house actually sits down on the roof - the other side has a single french door 30" - that is just a couple of inches above the roof -

I have a few images that may help - more if needed

Front of house

One side flat roof on rainy day

Other side - showing part of fieldstone chimney

Example of Rail system I’d like to apply - (hmm would love that roof too!)

Any advice is greatly appreciated

I like the second quote better.Complete tear ,but IMO I would go with an SF nail down base,a midply(which is not mentioned)and then the capsheet.And the other thing I don’t understand is why would they use ice and water along the sidewalls.I always strip my walls in with same product.Other than that the second quote is better,just for the fact they are tearing it off!

Don’t let the guys that want to go over your roof with cold app SBS back on your property. I hate people that try and low ball to steal jobs. See the thing is that your new roof will be attatched to your old roof…which is coming up, so…

Copper flat panels are out of your reach if you’re concerned about money.

The torch applied seems in line as far as application and price but I hate guys that say they will give you money off for a quick sign. I find it rude, pushy and unethical. One thing we never do is push a person to sign, ever. We sell jobs on reputation, not cheaper prices. I’d wait a week then tell them they need to take 30% off just to be a jerk. So many people are desperate for work right now they should go for it.

Also look into coating. It may get you another couple years depending on how bad your roof is. Something like 220 Fibrated from Karnak, maybe. Coating isn’t my first choice but if money is super tight it may be worth trying a fix for several hundred dollars first.

Thanks for your replies - this is a somewhat daunting process!

I forgot to mention the 2nd quote (tear) also had the option of updgrade to 2ply system using 1 layer of smooth “flintlastic” beneath the 2nd layer of mineral surfaced “flintlastic” $700 add on - work guarentee 5yrs
Other add was .032 gauge seamless ALcoa style OG back lip alum gutter secured w/hidden hangers (currently the gutters secured over roofing material) + install new whie baked alum 2x3 corrugated al cleat leaders $970.

Tar - If we did the coating - I’m assuming I would have to hold off on the rail system? in order to get it properly secured? You are in Westchester - do you work in Ct?

Thanks again

I like bid #2 the best also.
Ditto everything Tar Monkey said.

Thanks Axiom - glad to get the opinions from the pros here - I think tar had good pt. about the hard sell - Maybe we’ll lay low for a week & come back & say we are ready to sign at 30% discount rate -
All the contractors here have been spoiled, spoiled - due to booming economy and lots of disposable income - None of them are accustomed to having little to no backlog this time of yr -

Thanks again

Some know their true expenses and know how to bid, most don’t.
Insurance for roofing is very expensive, #1 probably is not properly insured.
People pay electricians, plumbers, mechanics upwards of $50/hr, why should an experienced roofer cost less?
Our expenses are higher…
If you tried to get me to knock 30% off my bid, I wouldn’t.
We need to make a living also.

axiom - You are right - sorry about the tone of my post - It wasn’t meant to offend -(perhaps more out of frustration) & I do know that about roofers re: insurance rates - the Co. that offered the rip qoute is quite reputable & been in biz since 1969 - they do a lot of work around here - You noted agreement w/Tar - who did rec. requesting a 30% discount

So hats off to you professionals - I apologize if i offended anyone

Well in the case of some guy telling you 20% off if you sign today…guess what…they figured their price and tacked on 20%. You’re getting nothing extra but a hard sell tactic. I’m just suggesting turn about is fair play and stick it to them for 10% more, lol. Your call though.

**Tar - If we did the coating - I’m assuming I would have to hold off on the rail system? in order to get it properly secured? You are in Westchester - do you work in Ct? **

Yes, the coating is just goop and not a permanent fix. It may get you a couple more years depending on your roof conditions. You said money was tight so maybe you could use another year or two to save? It’s not a new roof by any means so no, I wouldn’t bother doing anything else to the roof/railing at this point if you go that route.

Yes, we are licenced in the state of CT. but you’re a bit far out for us. Normally we don’t go much further than the Greenwich area.

Tar Monkey knows his business, he can be a bit ornery sometimes though…

Torch down is nice but around my area we are installing glue down rubber roofing. It holds very nicely with very little to maintain. Its not always cheaper but has been known to last much longer.

Either way you go, its always best to do a complete tear off. Also, anytime a roof is replaced the flashing should be as well.

considering the fact that you stated that you had french doors etc, makes me assume that you use this flat roof as a deck? That would make a big difference on the long term products that you install. Also, the roof/wall/rake trim detail as well as the railing installation are more detailed work than the actual roof application.

just saying

We would roof this with EPDM . Torch down was big about 15 years ago but is now mostly extinct.the rubber roof is a lot better.

i just did one a few weeks ago just like this with .060 EPDM with walk pads over it.

While I do like EPDM I avoid it where there is going to be steady foot traffic.

All I do is torch down. My father has roofs with it still not leaking some 30 years later.

We only do a few small roofs with it per year and have never had a call back. My father was taught the method in the union in the early 70’s.


I think a photo of the French Door sill and how close to the roof level it is would assist me in making a better assessment on what product to use.

I have actually had to entirely remove the full door and trim it up and shim it higher, so that it was not too close to the roof surface.

I first think that an EPDM Rubber roof would be more appropriate, especially a fully adhered one, but not if anyone ever uses that walk out to smoke cigarettes on.

Also, I would cover the entire roof surface with thick rubber walk way pads to reduce the potential of punctures in the membrane.


Well the thing to do would be to either use walkway pads or put down sleepers and install decking over the roof.

Complete removal and a new 60 mill dura-dec in a sand stone or a light white color protection plus safe for foot traffic even in the rain. I install about 20 of these a yr just a good product pvc or tpo will be slick now ib makes a sheet as well like dura.But if your trying to keep the look of the era the a hot or mod mite do it.IMHO