What roof covering material is this?

I inspected a 120 year old house yesterday. The majority of the roof was covered in new asphalt shingles, there was a flat roof covered in rolled roofing, and at the top of the house was a flat roof that I need help identifying. I’m not sure if this flat roof was done a few years ago with the rest of the house or if its older. Thanks for the help.

Just a guess, It looks like a soldered tin or copper roof?
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I assume that you didn’t get up on it to feel the surface. Just from the pics, though I’ve never seen one, I tend to agree with Scott. The only other idea I have would be some kind of torch down but that doesn’t usually get applied in chunks like that.

" roof covering end of service life.
Caulking, fading, etc. observed.
Recommend qualified contractor evaluate and repair."

No James, I couldn’t get anywhere near the roof. All pics are from drone.

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Scott, that’s seems like a possibility!

And that’s the number one fault with drones. They can’t perform the one critical function often necessary to properly identify a material… TOUCH… especially when painted!


Maybe so but I would go on that roof on a bet.

I agree…couldn’t get to this one though.


How’d the roofer get to it? :thinking:


@sbridges2 Thanks for posting that Scott! I was not familiar with that roof style.

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Good article, but that’s not what that is.

Google “Widows Walk”.

Although originally found only on the coast, the “Style” is also used inland, not just on the coast. Very common on Century Homes, and as time passes and leaks occur and constantly need repair, the original hatch with ladder access (or small staircase) are closed off and typically covered over with EPDM or now PVC. If closed off decades ago, you may see the tin (sometimes painted) or even copper panels.

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Fading and caulking = end of service life on a material you can’t identify? Hmmm

And if it’s at the end of it’s service life what is there to “repair”? Wouldn’t replace be the recommendation?

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Amazing how “FOLLOW THE SOP!” Goes out the window when it comes to roof’s, huh?

I care exactly ZERO about touching roofs that are too dangerous to physically reach. I care exactly ZERO about deficiencies I “missed” because I couldn’t safely reach the roof. I’m not a fireman. Mr.Bob’s investment property profitability is absolutely trivial when compared to my and my fellow inspectors’ safety. Don’t be silly, JJ.

I can’t imagine having the nerve to tell another person that they should be going on a roof they aren’t comfortable getting on. The hubris is impressive.

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Show me exactly where I stated such a thing? I was simply commenting on one of the downsides to using drones for inspecting. In this particular situation, it would have helped immensely if the drone had taken a better close up photo of the surface and the edge with it’s method of attachment.

If you’re not going to use a drone to it’s full potential… “You’re just flying around”!


You asked “how do roofers get up there”? This implies that he could also. Of course it’s not just you, though. Many people have this macho man attitude about being flippant with roof safety.

Every inspector has to choose what they feel comfortable with when it comes to inspecting roofs. I personally do everything I can to make access to the roof.

I have quite a bit of experience on working on roofs during my previous career so I usually am able to make access to a valley and get to the ridge. If this is not an option, I usually can access the roof from a dormer window (if applicable). As stated in another thread, I was fortunate to already have a truck and ladders (10’ step ladder, Little Giant 16’ ladder, 24’ extension ladder, 32’ extension ladder and 40’ extension ladder). I personally choose to not have a drone and/or extendapole. The reason is because if my name and reputation is on the line I want to at least touch the roof.

The way I do it is when a customer calls to set up an appointment I pull up the MLS listing. I can tell by the elevation pictures whether I’m going to be able to perform a thorough roof inspection. If I can’t, I tell the client that I won’t be able to access the roof due to the following reasons: too high to reach, pitch too steep etc. I tell them I will discount them $50.00 and recommend they schedule a roofing contractor to inspect it. Most roofing contractors in my area do not charge for a roof inspection.

If I do the roof inspection on a difficult to access roof I make sure to take lots of pictures and try to include them in my report just so the client thinks that I went over and beyond to give them a thorough inspection.

It seems to make everyone happy in the end. Oh yeah, I left one important thing out about the “discount” but I’ll let everyone read between the lines.

Agreed. As do I. But one can only call drone use a “weakness” once you pass judgment on an inspectors decision to not get on a roof. It’s not a weakness, it’s a strength because you get to see a roof you otherwise wouldn’t have.

Remember, OP never asked if he should have gotten on this roof. But other forum members elected to pass judgment on them. Fucking rude.

Sorta like you are doing right now? I agree… RUDE!!

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