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Roofing Question

How often should a rubber roof be coated?

My roofer called to say it's time for a 4-year coat, and quoted me $350 to do it. I got the roof in 2008, and to be honest, my roofer seems a little desperate for business. I have a rowhouse in Philadelphia with a flat roof. Do his timing and pricing seem accurate?

Philadelphia, PA

There are quite a few different types of flat roof covering systems that use a rubber membrane as a component. Some of the systems never require a coating and doing so could void the warranty. And even those that do need to be coated on a regular basis can vary on the recommended frequency and the type of coating.

My suggestion would be to contact the contractor who put on the current roof to determine who manufactured the product on your home. If you have any warranty information from the original installation, the name of the manufacturer should be mentioned in the documents. I would then contact the manufacturer to find out whether the roof should be coated, and if so, how often and with what type of material. Asking how the coating might affect the warranty may also be a good idea.

As to the cost of the coating, that's going to depend on the material or compound the manufacturer recommends. If you want a rough idea for budgeting purposes, the 2013 editions of R.S. Means Residential Cost Data estimates that a gallon of asphalt roof coating should cost about $10 and cover 50 to 75 square feet. There are other products for flat or low-pitched roofs that cost much more and some that cost less.

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Roofing vs. Reroofing

Roofing vs. Reroofing

If you come to find out that your roof has been damaged and needs to be fixed then there are two main approaches you can take. You can either decide to make a roof repair or replace the entire roof. Roof repairs will generally save you time and money, but in most cases a new roof is the best option. As a general rule of thumb, if the existing roof on is only one layer and there are no problems with the roof deck, a new roof is not necessary.

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