Shared Roof Problem

Greetings,

I own a part of a building in an older downtown area. The original building was divided into three properties many years ago, and my piece is a 20’ X 40’ section that is located at the lower end of the building. The entire roof (a low slope roof) slopes to my end and drains off the side of the building. The entire building is 110’ X 40’. The existing roof system consists of multiple layers of asphalt felt material in poor condition. I’m experiencing leaking problems, and there is significant moisture in the roofing layers. Indications are that at least part of the problem is coming from leaks on my neighbors roofs, and the water is simply migrating down to mine.

I’m convinced that my roof needs to be stripped down to the deck and re-built, but since I’m at the low end, I’m not sure how (or if) this can be done without doing anything to the uphill roof sections. A roofing contractor that I’ve talked to has told me that he could strip and rebuild my roof, but that at the very least (for it to be an effective solution), he would have to overlay the entire roof.

My neighbors are not experiencing any leaking, and have zero incentive to spend any money on their roofs at this time. Anyone here ever run into a problem like this and/or have any ideas how to resolve it? Right now, the contractor is telling me that the work on my 800 SF will cost around $8,500, and that the work on the other 3,600 SF will be around $21,000. Obviously one option would be for me to pay the entire cost, but I can’t afford that, nor do I think it’s fair, but at the end of the day, I have to do something.

Thanks,

Kurt

This problem happens all the time. The good news is that you are on the downhill side of the roof. If you use single ply, the contractor simply slips and seals the membrane under the existing bur roof. If you go back with BUR, a similar tie in can be accomplished. Do you have ponding water at the drain or on the low side?
If your roof is shot it is a very safe bet that the rest of the roof is bad too.

[quote=“donl”]This problem happens all the time. The good news is that you are on the downhill side of the roof. If you use single ply, the contractor simply slips and seals the membrane under the existing bur roof. If you go back with BUR, a similar tie in can be accomplished. Do you have ponding water at the drain or on the low side?
If your roof is shot it is a very safe bet that the rest of the roof is bad too.[/quote]

I don’t see how being low end of the slope is a good thing for him at all. I he gets a new roof he is still going to risk a leak from his neighbor upper slope run off.

Since you are catching all of his run off you should have some legal options to persuade him to chip in and get the whole roof done. I am looking at a project similar to this. I told the customer I would not gauranty my work unless we can convince his neighbor to get the whole thing done.

Seems like a simple problem to solve. Have your contractor slope your section of the roof back to your neighbors so that they have to deal with the leaks. :smiley:

This situation is not a good one for the whole, but done properly, the tie in will help insure that the lower roof performs fairly well. If you stop the water from getting under the new roof, you win. If you don’t do that with the tie in, you loose. Definitely there should be no guarantees for the repair. Your only guarantee is to take the money and leave. If the other tenants/owners have no money and their roofs don’t leak…good luck getting them to chip in for a total re-roof. You do have the ability to walk away from the job.

Thanks for the replies. To be clear, I am the property owner, not the contractor. Walking away is not an option.

The contractor I’m dealing with has made it clear that there will be no guarantee unless the entire roof is repaired. I understand this. I’ve considered the legal options, but this is a small, tight-knit downtown community, and I really don’t want to go down that path unless I absolutely have to. The contractor has suggested tearing my roof off and going back with a TPO roof system. He has cored the old roof and the new roof surface will be lower than the old roof surface he will tie into. He plans to seal the connection with flashing to hopefully prevent any penetration of moisture from the upper roof system to my roof, then overly the seam.

I plan to meet with the two uphill property owners and explain to them what I’m planning to do. If our plan actually works, any moisture getting into the roof on their side will be trapped and back up onto their side. This will ultimately either create problems for them and the lower end of the building, or simply move my problem to the other (uphill) wall of my building. I’m hoping that after I explain all of this to them that they will see the need to have their roof repaired, but based on my past conversations with them, this is unlikely. Even though there are obvious signs of failure on their roof, they aren’t experiencing leaks, so they see no reason to repair their roof.

Kurt

I deal with this crap situation all the time in Boston with row houses. What you have to do is divorce your roof area from the others roof areas. Remove & replace your section & have your roofing conractor seperate your roof section atleast by a foot from theirs using a dutch gutter, parapit wall, expansion joint, or what ever your situation calls for. This way if your ajoining neighbors have a leak it most likely won’t travel into your area. Good Luck! : )

It is better that you ask your landlord to get it renovated/repaired/fixed! There is no point in thinking what could be done otherwise. I got my house renovated two months back by Roof Lines East Inc, the roofing company in Toronto and it looks perfect now!

Hannah Honey. : ) He is the landlord. Its a condo type situation, 3 owners. The other 2 dont have leaks so they dont want to spend the money.

Thanks Corry. This is what we’re trying to do (below the surface anyway - best we can). I have no problem with my neighbors’ surface drainage running across my roof. That’s the way it’s designed to work. It’s the moisture getting into the roof layers on their side an migrating down to my roof that’s the problem.

We’re going to go with a barrier between the roof sections, and cheat it up on their side of the roof a little. I’ve explained this to the other owners, and the potential consequences to them if the upper layer of their roof is leaking and if we are successful in damming the migration of the moisture from their roof to mine. They seem to understand and are okay with it.

Kurt

I’d tell them that leaks could start up against that closest neighbor when you seal everything off. If done properly it would only reveal their leaks, but their viewpoint might be that the roofer messed up their roof. And when they are ready to re-roof, whose nice new roof will be in danger?

I hope you seal the roof before the leak turns to disaster. And hope you can convince your neighbors to counterpart on your expenses.

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Champion Windows reviews have loads of recommendations about how great they are with their work. They have leak barrier and roof deck protection and you get warranties as well. I feel you should consider them for fixing your roof.

This problem need not be treated as a serious one. You have mentioned that “I’m convinced that my roof needs to be stripped down to the deck and re-built”.
There are many situation where the roof needs to be stripped down to the deck and re-built.But I think in your case there is no need for reconstruction. In thing you have to just alter the roofing with the help of a leading roofing installation company.