Flat roof - yea or nay?

tyred

Legendary Member
Location
Ireland
Having saved a decent deposit and got mortgage approval a few months ago, I have been looking at houses (and flats). It's awkward as I can't do physical viewing due to the Covid restrictions but it seems people are buying houses without viewing them first.

There is a house that would suit me as it's in the right area, has outdoor space and what the estate agent describes as a garage (it might hold an original Fiat 500 or an original Mini. Would hold a few bikes though!).

It's been on the market for quite a while really, I'm tempted to make enquiries. My concern is that it has a flat roof (I assume felt). It just makes me wary of it as they don't have a great reputation.

Is a flat roof really something to be concerned about? Walking around the outside, it looks like the fascia board is newish so maybe it was replaced or worked on in the not to distant past.
 

Slick

Guru
Nay.

Nightmare, don't do it to yourself.
 

Chris S

Legendary Member
Location
Sparkhill
I lived in a flat for 9 years and the flat roof above it needed constant attention. I'd avoid them.

By the way, insurers ask if any part of your property has a flat roof on proposal forms. Presumably they have a higher risk of leaking and increase your premium.
 
OP
tyred

tyred

Legendary Member
Location
Ireland
My only experience of a flat roof would have been an extension to my grandparent's house. I helped my uncle replace it c1996. I believe it was built in the late 1960s and that was the first time it it had given problems which doesn't seem too bad.
 
OP
tyred

tyred

Legendary Member
Location
Ireland
If they're so bad, why would anyone build a house with one?

I can understand a small extension or whatever as it would probably be a lot cheaper but what reason would there be to build an entire house with one? In this case, the house I'm thinking about is mid terrace with a house on either side, all with a flat roof.
 

bikingdad90

Veteran
Probably planning height restrictions or to cut costs as felt is a lot cheaper than tiles.

Normal pitch roofs are not maintenance free either. Our house is 20years old and the ridge work needed renewing with the gable ends strapped/covered over/repointing.
The slightly newer kitchen extension needs a full new breathable felt underlay as it has perished with age. Both are massive jobs!
 

ebikeerwidnes

Über Member
If they have a proper slope and are well made they are not a problem for many years

and by many years I mean a low less than normal roofs.

so - get a survey - actually get a survey anyway

and of you buy it and there are ANY doubts then get a proper specialist to replace it - and preferably when doing so increase the slope
modern materials are much better than those use 20 years ago

just factor this into your offer
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
Poshshire
Depends what materials are used and the level of workmanship. One piece membranes, properly fitted, are lifetime products, but even the hest felt has a finite service life. A top drawer survey will tell you if its sound or not.
 

Profpointy

Legendary Member
My experience of so called surveys is the will never tell you it's OK but say things like "may cause trouble" "unable to check for <x>", so doubt you'd be any the wiser. One thought is that even if the roof is fine, when you come to sell, potential buyers will be being told not to touch it with a barge pole. It all comes down to price in the end - if a house with a proper roof is £100k more maybe it is worth the downside, if it's £10k more then it probably isn't

Regarding surveys: On my flat I had gems like "a random sample of windows were sticking" FFS there are only 5 windows in the flat - and it turned out none were sticking when I checked for myself. "crack in ceiling maybe be expensive to fix, unable to examine as I couldn't be arsed bringing my ladder" (it was peeling paint). And so on. My solicitor told me more about thr construction of my flat than the surveyor, and to my knowledge he'd never been in it - that said, I'm not wholly convinced the surveyor had either. £500 I paid for half a page of drivel. I was very cross to say the least, but had to suck it up as we needed it for the mortgage. Just went for a valuation when we bought the house we're in now.
 

slowmotion

Quite dreadful
Location
lost somewhere
We have a very small rear extension with a flat roof, about 1600 by 2400 mm on plan. It was built in the mid 70's. We have been here for the last 30 years and we have had to have it re-covered three times. The workmanship and material specification to do a good flat roof is way, way beyond the ability (and will) of the average builder.
 
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