Roofing and dry-in

Update August 3rd: The foam insulation showed up Friday.
The house is at the roofing stage where it’s been for the past week and half or so. We have two types of roofs on the house – a function of geometry. The two sloped sections of the roof are steel and have been installed; the flat sections of the roof which make up the majority of the 2,873 square feet of roof area are not done. To get the build moving we really need to be “dried-in” (that’s builder-speak for completing the roof) so that the other trades can start. The HVAC and electrical contractors are lined up ready to go. I’m also nearly ready to do the low voltage wiring (network, speakers, etc) that I decided to take on myself. None of these can proceed until the interior is protected from rain. So why is it taking so long?


Passing by the house now and then we saw the roofer’s truck, they completed the steel sections of roof, but then for days we didn’t see much activity. You can’t see the flat roof anywhere save for a vantage point actually on the roof so we hoped for the best that work was continuing and we simply couldn’t see it. Then I got the explanation from the builder this week at our regular meeting. The foreman had to stop work due to an issue that came down to a miscommunication with the roofer. The roofers were preparing to lay the roof without any slope; they assumed that the slope was framed-in rather than built-up with insulation. It seems obvious, but even flat roofs aren’t really flat, rain water has to go somewhere using that law of laws – gravity. To get gravity to do its job you typically lay down some foam insulation that’s cut at an angle. That insulation has to be custom ordered and manufactured which means delays.

*Update August 3rd
We stopped by Friday to check on things and found the garage filled with the foam insulation. This is a few days later than we expected, but we’re happy it’s here.
Insulation stacked up in the garage.

[![Insulation in the garage.](,w_300/v1456373009/wpid-imag4701_ervkcv.jpg)](
This stuff takes up a lot of space.
[![Tapered roof insulation.](,w_225/v1456373010/wpid-imag4703_tylofs.jpg)](
It’s supposedly custom manufactured. Here’s some tapered pieces.
On the bright side, we’re under budget on the roof. This was one of the situations where having an atypical design has worked in our favor. The subcontractors will typically pad their bids in the face of uncertainty and at the bid stage of the project when everything is just on paper a lot of these guys are really uncertain. Only once they come out and see the the house under construction can they provide an accurate estimate.

Speaking of budget, we were able to save $1,000 by switching from TPO to “torch-down modified bitumen” – basically asphalt sheets melted together with a giant torch. TPO seems to be what the cool kids are doing these days while torch-down is a little old school. My diligent googling revealed and the builder’s opinion confirmed that neither is necessarily better than the other. In these situations it’s best to let the contractor install what they’re most comfortable with. They have the same warranty so we’d be crazy not to save the money.