Lost in the Dark No More

Shedding light on shortcuts to evaluate systems and installers for home reroofing
The Eichler and Streng roofline takes different twists and turns, depending on each home's model type, but flatness almost always prevails. Flat roofs (like on the Eichler above) present unique needs and challenges when it comes to roof replacement, installation, and maintenance.

Though California winters may not rival the extremes of the Midwest or East Coast, West Coast storms, like those that tormented us during the winter of 2023, certainly take their toll on our flat-roof modern homes, which historically have had their own unique challenges.

From the first sign of a leak or weather-related damage, contemplating roof repairs can feel like a monumental pain. "Will we be able to stop the leak and repair the roof?" And, "Does this mean we'll need a new roof instead?"

Add to that budgeting and scheduling constraints, and what rises from the growing dilemma is a lot to ponder before even picking up the phone to seek out answers and available roofers.

Perplexed? You're not the only one. Confused by the magnitude of embarking on a reroofing project, homeowners have been known to contact the Eichler Network looking for an opinion in the know.

To help steer homeowners along the path to resolution, director Marty Arbunich developed a series of questions over the years for inquiring homeowners that we introduce here as cut-to-the-chase strategy for easing stress and getting you and your home covered.

"In most cases, by the time a homeowner reaches out to get input from us, they've done some research of their own on flat roofing systems, and have even talked with some installers, who commonly tout their own system, capabilities, and service over the competition," says Arbunich.

A new Abril Roofing foam roof installation.


This is where the confusion usually starts to set in, he says. "Too many roofing systems, too many installers, too many different opinions to consider. Heads are spinning, and information overload and indecision oftentimes bog down forward movement."

Arbunich prefers to bring the discussion back to a simple square one: "First of all, how do you know you need a new roof? Who told you that?" And then: "What kind of roof do you presently have installed, how old is it, what is your roof's repair history, and what's the state of your warranty?"

After all, conceivably your roof may not need to be replaced, just repaired. The next step will help to get to the bottom of things.

"Ultimately," Arbunich says, "we try to separate homeowners from the possible maze of information they've uncovered, at least for the time being. That can be done by focusing initially only on the roofing system, or systems, that are a match for each homeowner's present situation, needs, and budget."

For Eichlers and Strengs, flat-roof systems fall under three basic categories: spray-on polyurethane foam, single-ply thermoplastic membranes, and built-up systems (in particular modified bitumen, cap sheet, and tar-and-gravel).

Foam installer Rick Abril of Abril Roofing.

The next critical questions: "What kind of climate do you live in—especially in summer?" and "How much insulation, if any, do you presently have on your roof?"

If, for instance, your answers to those two questions are "hot summers" and "none," respectively, you may be an ideal candidate for a foam roof; and in the Bay Area, a call to Dura-Foam Roofing & Solar Center and Abril Roofing, two vetted vendors under the Eichler Network's 'preferred service company' umbrella, is apt to bring peace of mind.

A foam applicator in hazmat gear.

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