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new roof and wiring questions

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Joined: Jan 6 2004

Our old tar and gravel roof is badly in need of replacement -- we have not just leaks but entire waterfalls with every rain. I have read some of the old archived posts comparing various types of roof, but wanted to ask again what type of roof people have been most happy with. At the moment I'm leaning towards tar and gravel with some sort of insulating boards underneath. Our priorities are (not necessarily in this order): cost, long term leak-proofness, and hopefully some amount of insulation.

For any type of roof you recommend, but particularly for tar and gravel, are there any installers that you would highly recommend (or warn against)? We live in Palo Alto. You can email me names if you prefer at licenselaw@mindspring.com

Also, I read a post about other wiring issues that might be considered before putting a new roof on, since access to these things is easier before the new roof is installed. Can anyone recommend an electrician/plumber who can help with these things? And is doing these things now, as opposed to later, as important if we end up going with tar and gravel or are these things always pretty easy to do through tar and gravel?

Thanks in advance. Elizabeth

Tod
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Joined: Mar 21 2003

Any roof top electrical work will require patching the roof. Upgrading or fixing the electrical is a very good thing to do before the new roof goes on. That should also include the addition of any entertainment system or computer networking system wiring you might wish.

The problem you face is that you need a roof now in the middle of the rainy season. Any electrician I can think of will need some time to do the work and it will have to be coordinated with the roofer. That is a lot easier to do if you don't have to have everything water tight in just a couple of days. Is is possible for you to stave of the new roof until the end of the rainy season? That would allow you time to coordinate roofing and electrical work.

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Joined: Jan 6 2004

Thanks for the reply. Even though our leaks are horrendous, we've been living with them for a few rainy seasons (although they are getting progressively worse). Although annoying, none of them are in the bedrooms, and none of them are leaking onto carpeting. so we can manage to wait awhile while we sort all of this out. Thanks.

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Joined: Oct 10 2003

we had our roof redone just before the rain started in earnest this season. definitely consider upgrading any electrical (like grounded lines for computers) at the same time since you will get the necessary holes in your roof for free -at least without having to pay to patch them. and any patch is a leak waiting to happen.

we ended up getting a sprayfoam roof from durafoam -advertisers on this site- and used their electrician recommendation to add several grounded lines in the house. email me if you need his name.

we chose foam because of the insulation, and the longer lifespan compared to tar & gravel. we also looked at modified bitumen and it was more expensive up front.

costwise for our 2200 sqft roof it was about T&G:10-12K every 5-7 years, Foam 15K now + 5K every 5-10 years, ModBit 20K every 15? yrs or so. Also durafoam had a good handle on the related repairs to get the roof ready (flashing to replace, you may have rotted wood to replace as well if you have leaks, etc etc) and had good customer service.

finally we called Christopher Electric to quote on the electrical-they advertise here- and although they had some good ideas about how to hide the new electrical lines inside the walls, they wanted me to basically draw and measure out the wiring paths before they would do a quote, and then were slow to respond (maybe they were very busy?).

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Like a previous poster, I would recommend leaving the re-roofing to the spring (non-rainy season). Perhaps you can tarp critical roof areas until then? The cost of a new roof is non-trivial and you want to make your decisions without a time constraint.

Things to consider (some already mentioned):
- upgrading existing wiring (so grounded, for instance)
- adding wiring (such as ceiling fixtures for bedrooms)
- adding skylights (such as multipurpose rooms or long hallways)
- adding roof fans (for bathrooms)
- adding exterior lighting (over side doors, such as extrior hall bath doors on atrium models).

Good luck.

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Jan 4 2004

First, depending on how much work is needed is really going to determine how long the roof has to be open (we are working on a major remodel/addition..YES, A SINGLE STORY.. where the plumbing and electrical infrastructure has been relocated to the roof, in addition we installed 24 surface mounted fixtures, and 76 recessed lights and exhaust fans in the bathrooms that has no impact on the exterior roof- that is it appears to be a normal tar and gravel roof, plus we installed a tapered foam system on top of the insulation to eliminate ponding; it took us 3 weeks with the roof open to complete the work and the roof was finished on Dec 07). A Foam roof should last 10-15 years and needs to be re-coated every 5 years, a tar and gravel 4 ply roof will last about 12-17 years, Duro-Last claims 25 years, which may be the case, but certainly the maintenence is simpler, and modfied bitumen should be ok for 10-15 years if properly installed and maintained. With the exception of foam, all roofs should have insulation installed (3" insulation should add about $3k-5$ to the base price of the roof). If you do plan to add lighting or repair failed circuits while the roof is open, whomever runs the job needs to be really on top of things because scheduling is very linear on this type of project (inspections, managing contractors, etc.), but with a few minor changes it is very do-able for the repair-savvy Eichler owner. I am a veteran of manging all types of roofing in these Eichler roof retrofits; if you need more info or help don't hestitate to email me; as a Network participant I am happy to advise or steer people to quaified subs. One more thing, do remember that interior walls do often need to be opened to terminate the electrial feeds (switches, outlets etc.) but coax, phone lines cat 5 alarms, termostat, and other low voltage can be "fished" in the walls. If you have paneling on your interior walls, it is really simple to remove and re-install, where as drywall requires minor patching (also easy). Good Luck!
Jon; Renmancon@rcn.com

renman

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Does anyone know wether or not a foam roof re-coating is also a good opportunity to add wiring. Or does it take a complete re-foaming ?

thanks

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Joined: Jan 4 2004

I would ask the roofer if he is willing to patch any penetrations made by the conduit, unfortunately the electrical repair will require surface-mounting the conduit on blocks (it will be visible until you tear of the roof again, then it can be placed on the roof decking below the roof membrane). Furthermore, the holes inside the walls should be drilled from below in this application. The upside is that it is relatively easy to do
(my apprentices can handle this type of repair) and it only requires 2 days of clear weather to complete (1 day for the installation, one day for inspections-if required, and to seal it up. Post again or email me if you have any questions about this.

renman

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I asked this because I somehow had the idea that one could cut trenches into the foam, put the wires in, cover the trenches with some foam, and then do the re-coating. But maybe that is just my own simplified view of how this works.

Thanks anyway.

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Joined: Jan 4 2004

Yes that can be done, but the removed piece of foam has to be re-bonded with the remaining roof (then re-coated); you would have to ask your roofing contractor if he will warranty that type of repair (stranger things have happened around my projects....) and again a conduit would run from the circuit termination (through the roof, into the wall etc.) to the service panel.

Also, whomever cuts the foam channel should be aware that there is a fair amount of conduit and sometimes plumbing (If any previous owners have re-worked the water or gas lines) and it should not be cut with power tools, rather carefully use a roofing shovel for the removal (or a keyhole or large drywall saw). Best of luck.

renman

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Joined: Jan 6 2004

Thanks for all the helpful replies to my original questions. Does anyone know if re-roofing prices vary seasonally -- in other words would it cost less if we did it in the summer when there is (presumably) less demand? Thanks. Elizabeth

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