How Long Does a Roof Repair take?

Roof Repair in the Los Angeles area is typically a simple job – which is rarely needed – due to the mellow weather in the area. In the past year there have been a few wind storms through Pasadena, ripping up roofs. But this is the exception, not the rule…

Repairing a typical roof leak can take as little as thirty minutes.  Roof maintenance usually takes at least an hour or so, and can include things such as: re-sealing all vent pipes, cleaning out gutters, removing any debris, clearing away tree branches and checking roof for random penetrations, cracks, damage, etc.

The first thing any homeowner should do is learn how to correctly identify the name for the roofing material they have.  This isn’t terribly difficult and can be done be searching the various terms on the internet and simply matching the photos.

The most common roof type is a composition shingle, known variously as dimensional shingle, 3-tab shingle, comp, shingle, and comp-shingle.  This is your typical, flat, asphalt shingle and the word “composition” refers to the fact that some time ago manufactures introduced fiberglass into the asphalt shingles to make them stiffer, more durable, and fire resistant and hence they are a asphalt-fiberglass composite.

Ordinarily comp shingle roofs need little maintenance and take care of themselves.  The most common problem we find is the need to reseal vent pipes.

If your roof has become damaged and needs repair, with a comp shingle roof it’s usually simple.  If a tree branch managed to work a few shingles loose, repairs can be done within an hour.  It’s good to have an extra bundle of your kind of shingles stored somewhere (in the garage or the shed) so that you always have the correct type and color on hand.  Sometimes shingles are discontinued and in any case, any roofer is going to give you a break if he doesn’t have to go to the supplier to buy material.

If you have a leak on a comp shingle roof and lack the confidence to chase it down, or don’t like going up on your roof, call your local roofing professional and get a quote.  Roofing is one of the few service industries that will still offer free quotes – even on a small repair.  Roofers are interested in building relationships. They want to be your roofer for a long time so even though they may make very little money coming out, doing an estimate, then coming back and doing a repair maybe a week later (all for maybe $250 – 300), they want you to call them every year or two to maintain your roof.

A few roofing companies avoid repairs and are primarily interested in re-roofing.  If you call a company and tell them you want to have a leak fixed and they are not eager to handle it for you, call someone else.  Also note that these companies are usually not too interested in building relationships and it’s best to have a roofer that will be willing to repair your roof.

 

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NEW FLAT ROOF TECHNOLOGY

All the Los Angeles cities have flat roofs, from Silverlake to Beverlywood and Malibu. Flat roofing is an often misunderstood area, perhaps because most people never see a flat roof and always see slanted roofs with tile or shingles.

The two most commonly used and least expensive flat roof types are known as torchdown and hot tar. At J&J Roofing, while we’re always looking for new technology, we do not make our clients guinea pigs.  However, GACO Roof Products, which has been around since the 50s, has a product that we’re warming up to.

The short story is that it’s a method for re-roofing a flat roof without removing it.  The product is silicone based, and they boast that it was used on the Saturn V rocket to shield for re-entry.  They offer a 50-year-warranty and it’s ultra-reflective to boot. Reflective roof coatings are often chosen for the ability to lower energy usage in the home or office building.

Flat Roofing Repair by J and J Roofing

Flat Roofing Repair by Los Angeles Roofer J and J Roofing

This product doesn’t work for every flat roof scenario but will for many and where access is difficult, or for whatever reason a tear off is undesirable (you have open ceilings and debris would fall in, it’s a production studio, noise or dust is a problem, and so on) it can be a good solution.  It is not a cheap product in fact, it’s very expensive however it tends to cost a little less than a traditional tear off and re-roof in some instances so it’s affordable.

Remember that it is essential to have your roof inspected regularly to verify when you will need to replace your roof. J and J Roofing can tell you what approach will be best for you. Call us at 877 7MY ROOF to set up a free estimate.

Matt Glass is one of the family owners of J and J Roofing who are known throughout Los Angeles as a high-quality yet affordable roofing company servicing all of LA including Beverlywood, Silverlake, Malibu and all places in between.

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How Do High Winds Affect Roofing in Los Angeles?

The recent winds may have affected your roofing in Los Angeles and here’s the skinny on checking it out…

If your roof is older, and you experience wind gusts in the 50+ mph range you can lose shingles and sometimes even tiles.  In addition to this, a surprising amount of debris can collect on flat roofs which can cause drains to clog or other problems.

Sometimes the damage is easy to spot but often there are sections of roof which are difficult to see, especially on a two-story home.

Damage is not limited to older composition shingle roofs.  Sometimes when wind gusts are just right, roof damage can occur where you wouldn’t expect it, even with a newer roof (though this is rare).

And of course the most common source of wind damage is from tree branches either rubbing or falling on a roof.

The trick is, to get your roof inspected and the damage reported before the one year statute of limitations imposed by most insurance companies.  But that’s assuming the damage is major; very often it’s just a shingle or two and is easily and cheaply fixed.

Be sure to check out your roof for any damage after heavy winds or if you want a Los Angeles Roofing Professional to do it, give us a call.  877 7MY-ROOF

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Roofing Value – How a new roof is a good investment, in certain cases

Where do you live? Homes in different parts of the city have different expectations, depending upon the area. One would expect a high end roof in the nicest neighborhoods of Encino,  Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Tarzana and Woodland Hills. Whereas, most roofs in Northridge or North Hollywood are not expected to look expensive.

There are certain circumstances where it’s relatively certain that you will be spending your money wisely if you replace your roof. For example, if you are certain you will sell your home, but not immediately, say, you intend to live there a few more years and your roof is leaking in several spots, worn out and you’re facing a substantial repair bill, you’re probably better off replacing it.

Roof Repair vs New Roof

Opting for a repair may stop the leaks, but if you go to sell in a few years, that money spent on repairs will be effectively lost when the buyer is told the roof needs replacement, which he will.  They will almost certainly get an inspection which states the roof needs replacement, and negotiate new roof costs into equity credit – a reduced price.

Of course, they may not succeed in getting all the credit, every real estate deal is unique, but it’s not going to help you either.  A worn roof does not usually look very nice and therefore it reduces curb appeal and selling a home. In this regard, is much the same as selling anything else – it’s a product in a market and if no one wants your product, if you have few buyers, you may end up with a lower price.

Every situation is unique and there can be circumstances where you can get away with just repairs even when replacement is obviously required.  If it’s a flat roof, it’s not visible, and you can just repair it relatively cheaply to stop the leaks until you sell then you might skip replacement.  You will probably lose something in the sale since this will come up, but perhaps not the entire cost of a new roof and even if you did, you’ve not lost much, especially if you were not in a position to afford it in the first place and were required to get a loan to cover the costs.

If you’re going to live in your home long term then of course it becomes a no brainer, but I am often asked “when to repair, when to replace?”  Not everyone can afford a new roof, which probably averages about $7500.00.  But if 2-3 reputable roofers tell you that your roof has only 3-4 years left, and the repair estimates are equal to roughly 10% or more of the replacement price then should probably just replace it.  There’s little sense in spending so much money to repair a roof that will only last 3 years.

You should just invest that money in the new roof.  You are guaranteed against leaks, you will not have wasted money on repairs and you will never have to spend money on your roof again (most roofs nowadays are guaranteed for 25 to 50 years – far longer than your average person lives in the same residence).  Even if you were required to get a loan to secure the funds for a new roof, it’s possible that over a 3-4 year period, the interest on the loan would roughly equal the repair costs and the advantage here is that you get to live with this new roof during that time period.

Also, it is important to understand that when your roof is in its’ final years of life, it is not uncommon to face repair bills every year and indeed, shingle roofs can be impossible to properly repair in their final years because the shingles become too brittle to fix.

Last but not least, if you’re going to sell your home immediately and you need a new roof, it may be a wash as to whether or not you should replace it.  However, if it leaks all over the place, these are things that you’ll have to disclose so you should consult your real estate agent on this as they are experts in this area.

Los Angeles roofer, Matt Glass, is co-owner of J and J Roofing. In this blog series he shares his years of roofing information he has from roofing homes in all Los Angeles areas including Altadena, Sherman Oaks, Burbank, Studio City, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Northridge, Pasadena, Encino, Los Feliz and Silverlake.

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Does a New Roof Affect the Value of My House?

Different areas of Los Angeles have different roofing standards – for example Burbank and Glendale, where in certain areas the entire neighborhood has Slate roofing or Spanish tile.

As a roofing contractor I do a great deal of inspections and reports for real estate agents and people who are making offers on homes. The function of the report is, of course, to determine the condition of the roof but the objective of this is usually for the buyer to negotiate funds for fixing items in the house which need replacement.

An example of a bad roofing tiles in Glendale.

If you’re not selling or buying a home (you’re just a normal homeowner intent on staying put) and want to replace your roof to increase your home’s value, it is doubtful you’d accomplish very much (say, versus an updated kitchen). But if your roof is leaking and visibly worn out, it’s a moot issue because a the investment in the purchase of a new roof will certainly keep your home from decreasing in value. Additionally, you will avoid further repair costs to your existing roof as well as any possible costs of repairing damage inside the home caused by your leaky roof.

New roof replacement with a premium roof?

If you replace your ordinary roof with a premium roof, such as a tile, you probably will increase the value of your home because if nothing else you’ve improved it’s curb appeal (unless you have odd tastes and install something that few people would like). But there are limits here and it’s hard to say if you’ll retrieve the additional cost you spent on this premium product. If you live in a slum and install a super expensive slate roof on your home that is out of accord with the rest of the neighborhood, it’s pretty certain that you will not increase the value of the home to the extent that you’d recover the additional costs incurred from that roof over say, an ordinary roof.

Conversely, you can devalue your home with your roof choice. If you currently have a nice Spanish tile on your home and you replace it with a composition shingle to save a few thousand, you will likely reduce the curb appeal and the value of your home. Especially if Spanish tile is the typical roof on your street.

There are certain areas of Glendale and Burbank, for example, where roofing with a nice Spanish tile or Slate roofing is the norm. That is not the neighborhood where you should conserve a few thousand dollars with a low-price shingle.

Los Angeles roofer, Matt Glass, is co-owner of J and J Roofing. In this blog series he shares his years of roofing information he has from roofing homes in all Los Angeles areas including Northridge, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Burbank, Studio City, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Encino, Los Feliz and Silverlake for all roofing needs.

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(More About) How Long Will My Slate or Tile Roof Last?

In my last blog I was discussing this prevalent question about the longevity of a new tile or slate roof. Below you will see a picture of a new Spanish tile roof such that is sold at Burbank Roofing Supply, where contractors buy our materials.

Slate is a natural product. Some manufacturer’s make a smooth surfaced “slate” look (versus a rougher shake look) but it is just concrete or sometimes other man-made materials. Slate is completely different in look and feel and cost to a man-made slate imitation product.

Slate will be similar to one piece tile. (See my last blog.)  Many people believe that slate will always remain leak free longer than interlocking one piece tile and this is not, strictly speaking, true.  In fact, I can argue it’s the other way around.

The reason slate roofs have been observed to last 100 years or more, probably has more to do with a combination of simple factors that aren’t immediately obvious: slate roofs are usually steep and steep roofs last longer.

 

New Slate Roof Burbank Roofing

New Slate Roof

If you’re putting slate on, which is extremely expensive, you’re more than likely going to select the superior underlayment system of the time, a high quality crew (if for no other reason than low-quality crews usually avoid slate or have no idea how to do it) and a good contractor.

But all things being equal, the interlocking one piece tile will usually prevent more water from entering a system, on its own, than slate will.  If you don’t believe me then get 10 pieces of one piece tile, and 10 pieces of slate, nail them properly on a piece of plywood and hit it with a hose.  Take them off and see which one let more water through.

I’ve taken apart plenty of circa 1920s one piece tile roofs that had no felt under them, but I’ve never taken apart a slate with no felt under it.  It can be done under the right conditions but I doubt anyone would try it!

Because slate is natural stone, the slate itself will outlast manmade concrete tiles without question but we’re talking about how long the system will remain watertight.

Using upgraded rubber-modified felts will increase the life of the roof, particularly with a double layer.  There are other felts, particularly new synthetics which are not time tested.  I use them sometimes, under the right circumstances and I think they will hold up but they are not for every situation.  I don’t use synthetics under two-piece tile, at least, not by themselves.

My go-to choice most often is a double layer of rubberized 35 lb. or a torch-down roofing membrane.  I stopped using the non-rubber modified felts ages ago.  Since a double 35 lb. would only cost about $1500 more than a single 30 lb. or even a double 30 lb., it seems a small price to pay to ensure a very long lasting roof that you may never have to redo again.

AltaDena roofer, Matt Glass, is co-owner of J and J Roofing, offering roofing contractor services in all areas including Burbank, Studio City, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Encino, Northridge, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Los Feliz and Silverlake for all roofing needs.

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How Long Will My New Slate Tile Roof Last?

While there are many homes throughout Southern California with tile and slate roofs, I was recently in Pasadena when a client asked me “How long will my roof last?”  I decided that I should answer this roofing question thoroughly. My home in Altadena has a tile roof, as well.

Slate tile roof underlayment

First, one must understand that in addition to slate or tile, a “felt” is installed on this type of new roof. A “felt” is a fiber mat impregnated with asphalt and is used beneath roofing materials to provide protection for the wood deck the roofing materials are placed on.  Tile or slate roofing is a watershed and a decorative roof covering. The actual waterproofing is provided by the underlayment, or felt installed underneath the tile.

I must say that there are so many variables with slate and tile roofing, that the answer is quite broad. I’ve seen a slate or tile roof last 23 years and would not be surprised if a few might last one hundred years. On the average I would say that what I’ve seen here in the SoCal area is maybe around 28 years.

This is largely due to the inferior felts available in the 80s to 90s as well as the low-quality roofer using a single felt, since that time.  A good tile roof can and should last longer than that.  Any tile roof I install should be expected to last 45 to 90 years.  I always use high-quality felts, and double them up. If you’re going to spend that much money on a roof, you should not have to buy a new roof again in your lifetime.

A tile is manufactured while slate is natural stone. There are many kinds of tile, but in principle, there really are just two types; one-piece, and two-piece. One piece tile is usually concrete, sometimes lightweight concrete, and they interlock.  They are called one-piece because it only takes one piece of tile connecting to the next to make the “system”.

Two-piece tile is your traditional Spanish tile, and it is called two-piece because in order for it to work as a system, two pieces must be involved (even though the pieces are fundamentally the same).  Each tile is shaped the same but some are flipped upside down and made as “pans” – the channels between the tile rows – down which the rain will flow to the gutter.

It’s important to understand that with tile the felt underneath should be thought of as the principle barrier against rain.  Whereas, for composite shingles and flat roofing, it is not, it serves a different purpose, either as a vapor barrier, or in the case of flat, a vapor barrier and a suitable surface to melt your tar to.

Back in the day, one piece tile was sometimes installed without felt and, it worked, if you knew what you were doing you could make a one piece interlocking tile system not leak without the use of any felt.  But with a two-piece system (Spanish tile), you must have the felt and it must be good felt and a double layer.  All tile and slate nowadays is installed with felt, normally one is used and better roofers use two layers.

Since the felt is perhaps the single most important factor, I will suggest some roof life expectancies based on the types of felts that are widely available and used.  This is a rough guideline and, naturally, will vary depending upon your situation:

•    30 lb. felt: 15 to 20 years
•    30 lb. felt x 2 layer: 20 to 30 years
•    35 lb. rubber modified felt: 20 to 25 years
•    35 lb. rubber modified felt x 2 layer: 35 to 75 years
•    105 lb. flame applied smooth torch (rubber): 50-plus years, under the right conditions, could last over 100 years.

You can expect the lower numbers with two-piece tile, as it won’t last as long.

The bottom line is that because we used a double felt on his new roof – that owner in Pasadena can expect to have his roof last well past his stay in his home.

AltaDena roofer, Matt Glass, is co-owner of J and J Roofing, also servicing all areas including Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Woodland Hills, Pasadena, Tarzana, Burbank, Encino, Northridge,  Los Feliz and Silverlake for all roofing needs.

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How long will a new roof last?

I recently visited a Silver Lake roofing client, who wanted to know how long a new roof will last. His sister had a new roof installed in her Los Feliz home and was wondering why she had to replace her roof and now it seemed he needed a new roof too.

I thought that it would be of interest here to offer an understanding to this question. A shingle roof generally lasts twenty to fifty years. This covers a number of types of material including composition shingle, asphalt shingle, dimensional shingle, 3-tab shingle and more.

Shingles come in four major varieties: 20, 30, 40 and 50-year. These are, as you can see, categorized by their life-expectancy.  The industry, in all its inimical genius, recently changed the way they label shingles.  It used to be simple, that was 20, 30, 40 and 50-year, based on the warranty.

Now, they say everything from a 30-year and up will last “a lifetime” when in fact that is just legal doublespeak.  It’s a limited lifetime warranty that is not transferrable and they are banking on the fact that almost no one stays in a home more than 30 years.  Once you move, the warranty is null and void to the new owner.  Nothing in the 30-year shingles has changed so they will not last a lifetime, you can take that to the bank.  They will last 30 years at best.

30-Year Shingle on a New Roof in Los Feliz

30-Year Shingle on a New Roof in Los Feliz

The 20-year shingles are the old school shingles you saw on your Grandma’s house back in the 50s.  They are called 3-tab shingles because they have 3 tabs for each shingle.

30, 40 and 50-year shingles are all called dimensional shingles, meaning they are two sheets of composition asphalt, laminated together.  The sheet on top has cut-outs so that the surface is uneven, producing the so-called “dimensional” effect.  They look the same but get thicker as the year rating increases.

There are a myriad other types of dimensional shingles, most notable among them the popular Presidential Shake line by CertainTeed.  These are referred to as luxury, designer, premium – the list goes on but generally they are made pretty thick and are comparable to at least a 50-year.

In some cases, the luxury type of shingle can be even thicker but note that in my experience, no matter how thick the shingle is, it will look like hell after 30 years because the mineral surface is more-or-less, the same for each product.  It may not leak after 45 years, but that mineral surface is going to be pretty rough.

For people in high-wind areas, (not Los Feliz or Silver Lake) I generally only recommended the 40 to 50-year shingles (meaning, the standard dimensional shingles, but the thicker variants). But the modern 30-year shingles are much more wind resistant than they were just 10 years ago – we’re talking wind gusts at 100+ MPH.  If you are under that, historically, for your area then a 30-year should be fine, provided they are installed correctly.

Everyone, high-wind or now, should insist that roofers use high performance starter shingles at all eves – these have a double glue strip for added wind protection.  Some manufacturers will give ultra-high wind ratings (130 MPH) with their ordinary 30-year shingles if you simply use their wind rated starter, and their proprietary ridge caps which cost scarcely more per job than regular stuff.

There are a few things that can extend, or reduce the life expectancy of your new roof. These include steepness, orientation to the sun, the color of the shingle, good ventilation, and so on, but shingles will, generally, last exactly how long they are rated for.  The trick is knowing the real rating so if you’re buying a “standard dimensional shingle” – you are buying a 30-year shingle.

Ask your roofing estimator to tell you in simple terms what the three categories are called for any given manufacturer.  Usually they will have a distinctive, but slightly different name for each lineup.  CertainTeed, for example calls their dimensional 30, 40 and 50-year shingles, Landmark, Landmark Pro, and Landmark Premium , respectively.  But they used to have different names and in fact have changed these names three times in the last eight years or so, which is not only confusing to the consumer, it’s confusing to us contractors as well but there’s little we can do about that.

You can see that a new roof tends to last longer, if you are able and willing to invest in a longer-lasting roof. My customer in Los Feliz actually decided to get a 50-year shingle. He loves his home, and hopes to live his lifetime there. His sister in Silver Lake dreams of a home in the desert for her later years, so she opted for a 20-year shingle on her new roof.

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How much does a Roof Repair cost?

How much does a Roof Repair cost? Is it more costly in Los Feliz than Silverlake or Sherman Oaks?
Roofers in the San Fernando Valley (such as Sherman Oaks) will charge the same as roofers in Los Feliz or Silverlake, and here’s why…  There are some guidelines to how much it costs to repair your roof. Let’s assume:

•    Roof is walkable – not very steep.
•    Roof is an everyday product, such as composition shingle.
•    Roof is not in terrible condition.
•    Roof access is normal (not 3 stories, up 3 flights, on a hill, 100 foot walk, and so on.)
•    Your house is average size, say, 2000 square feet, although this doesn’t always have a major bearing unless overall maintenance is a big part of the proposal.

For this type of roof you should pay about $400 for a localized repair (say, one leak or replacing a few shingles) and some routine maintenance like sealing up all the pipes and generally going over the roof more thoroughly and spot sealing random penetrations, sealing a crack here and there, etc.

When composition shingles get too old, say, over 20 years, they can be nearly impossible to repair properly.  It gets to a point where they are too brittle and cannot be manipulated and will just break when you try to work with them but apart from that, they should be repairable.

This is for a professional estimator who came to your door, analyzed it, sent you a bid and then dispatched a repairman with specific instructions.

J and J Roofing a home

Roof Repair in Los Feliz

Why so much? There are a few reasons and chief among them is the cost for a professional roofer in terms of insurance.  Roofers work rates are among the steepest in the industry since it is a hazardous job. However, the roofer gets paid the same rate for loading up his truck, going to the supplier, driving to your doorstep, driving back and unloading at the end of the day.  Roofers don’t do any of this for free. Between WorkComp, and liability insurance, you’re looking at a cost to the contractor – before markup for profit, etc., of $45 – 65 per hour for one man. This of course is before material costs, operating costs and then last but not least, profit.

You may be surprised (even annoyed) at the fact that a two man repair team shows up and spends less than an hour on your roof doing a repair that you paid $400 for.  But bear in mind that the professional estimator who showed up probably, all told, spent already 2 hours on this.  The repairmen who came to your house also spent time getting briefed on what to do, getting supplies, drove to where you live, and then cleaned up and probably went back to the shop as well, none of which is done for free.  On a repair such as this, the estimator will make about $51 for his time.

Also, if you live way up in the hills away from the city, most of the roofers you call are not going to live near you.  You will pay a premium for additional travel time to and fro. If you have a steep roof, a slate roof, etc., these costs can be 3 to 4 times a normal shingle repair.

Call around to the roofers in Los Feliz, Silverlake or Sherman Oaks and you should find this to be the case.

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What is Flat Roofing Made Of?

I’ve been a Los Angeles roofing contractor for well over a decade and in that time I think I’ve had more questions or confusions concerning flat roofing than any other roofing.  The two most commonly used and least expensive flat roof types are known as torchdown and hot tar.

Hot tar is just that, it is hot tar, or more correctly stated, hot asphalt.  It starts as a 100 lb keg (slightly larger than a 5 gal water bottle), gets chopped up and tossed into a large hot kettle to melt.  This is then literally mopped out onto a membrane to form a waterproof barrier.

Hot tar is also referred to technically as BUR, or Built Up Roofing.  We say “built up” because usually you apply a few membranes with the hot tar and build up a system.

Ordinarily the only common thing between torch and hot tar is the base sheet which is a grey, fiberglass, lightly sanded membrane that is nailed in place with nails that have a large metal washer built into them to prevent the membrane from tearing and helps hold it in place.  This membrane is called a fiberglass basesheet, or just “basesheet.”  Roofers refer to it as 28lb – its weight per 100 square foot, the standard in roofing materials.

Torchdown is the same principle, except that the hot tar is built into the membrane itself and it is melted with a flaming torch.  Torchdown is rubberized and in that sense, is a better product than hot tar but better is a relative term here.

Which is better?  It really depends on the application. With torchdown, you get just one shot to get it right since there is just the one membrane.  With hot tar, there are at least two membranes and therefore a modicum of redundancy.

There are two kinds of hot tar roofs. Capsheet (the smooth white membrane called capsheet – the most common sort) and gravel or “rock”.  If your roof is dead flat, then you really must use hot tar for its redundancy and in fact, it should be gravel (rock).  The reason is fairly simple.  A gravel roof is finished different than a smooth white hot tar roof, known as capsheet.  With gravel, the final process is to flood a layer of the hot tar with the rock, making a solid, seamless surface which is more impervious to pooling water.

In Los Feliz area of Los Angeles, flat roofs tend to last longer than cities with harsher weather, but it is important to have your roof inspected regularly to see if the time has come to replace your roof.

J and J Flat Tar Roofing

Flat Roofing in Los Feliz area of Los Angeles can be seen here.

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