2020 Fagon Guide to Capitol Hill

Page 96

Roo fing On Your Mind “Last night I lay in bed looking at the stars,

the beautiful sky and the endless horizon and suddenly I thought where the heck is my roof?” So, maybe you were camping? Your roof may be out of sight and out of mind if you’re camping, but when you are home and have a roof problem or a leak you immediately want to know the source of the problem and how to correct it. To do that effectively you will ideally want to know BEFORE problems occur what type of roof you have structurally, what appurtenances exist and what type of materials are on your roof. Dormer, gable, steeple, turret, finial, mansard, sloped, flat, scupper, skylight, parapet, roof hatch, downspout, gutter, soffit, fascia, flashing, shingles, slate, metal, membrane, rubber, slag…what is on your roof? Generally, on any given block in Capitol Hill you will find homes with a variety of the following: main roof that is flat or low slope, a mansard roof above a porch with or without dormer windows with separate roofs, a steeple or turret roof New slate mansard and slate dormer roofs 5th St NE


and a parapet wall on each side. If you have a turret or steeple you will also generally have a built-in-gutter (also called a water table orYankee gutter) directly below to catch the water running down the structure. For brevity and space constraints of the article I will focus on these types of roofs and structures and the types of roofing materials generally used. Originally, most Capitol Hill houses had a main flat roof that was constructed of standing-seam tin (also known as a terne roof). Standing-seam is a hidden fastener metal roofing system where panels overlay in side-by-side fashion with each overlapping panel hiding the fastener that holds the previous panel in place. Tin was one of the most common metal roofing materials used throughout the 19th century when most Capitol Hill homes were built. These roofs were high quality and longlasting roofs of 50 + years. When it was eventually time for replacement the new roof was also probably tin or perhaps a slag (tar and gravel) roof. Fast forward to the 21st century and tin roofs are no longer used for a replacement roof. As in most other industries, roofing materials have advanced through innovation and new technology. Many homeowners now choose to replace their flat roof with one of a variety of new generation roofing materials. While roof framing, preparation for a new roof and proper installation are always important, the materials you choose for your new roof can bring the exterior of your home to the next level.

New Types of Roofing The newer types of flat roof systems we see on the Hill are membrane or rubber roofing such as TPO (thermoplastic membrane similar to synthetic rubber), modified bitumen, either torch-down or cold-applied (consisting of asphalt and rubber modifiers) and EPDM (ethylene

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