Flat roof update

by Nick 22. February 2012 22:45

Flat roof update

It was inevitable after our column about flat roofs in the Heswall Magazine that a leak would appear in the flat roof of an extension we completed in 2008.

We had specified a built up felt roof system to be installed by an approved contractor. A 15-year guarantee was obtained and passed to the client.

On discovering the leak we contacted the roofing manufacturer and the installers visited site that day. The following day the leak was repaired.

This is the first instance in ten years of architects-direct.com projects that we have been made aware of a leak to a flat roof on a project we designed. This proves that the quality of flat roofs has improved and when things do go wrong they can be resolved.

Remember: -

·        Specify a product that offers a minimum 15-year guarantee.

·        Use an approved installer.

·        Ensure that the guarantee is for both workmanship and materials.

Keep the guarantee in a safe place; you will need it if you have a problem.  


Central Vacuum Systems

by Nick 20. February 2012 20:34


The principle is simple: -


  • Vacuum tubes are installed within the walls of the house with sockets in convenient locations, ideally fitted during construction.
  • A hose and attachment is plugged into the socket and you can vacuum in the usual way without having to carry around a vacuum cleaner.
  • The central vacuum, located in a discrete area of the house then sucks the dust away. As a result vacuuming is quiet.
  • Particularly interesting is the possibility of installing special sockets in the plinths of kitchen units. Dust can be brushed directly into these and taken away instantly. Presumably the same principle could apply to any skirtings. This would be especially useful given the popularity of hard floor finishes.   

Further information can be found on the following website for the Electrolux system. This describes the system in simple terms. http://www.beamvac.co.uk/index.asp


We cannot verify the efficiency of any of these products, as we have never used them, however it seems like an idea worth further investigation.


Flat roofs

by Nick 15. February 2012 22:39

Flat roofs

Q. We live in Heswall, Wirral. Our master bedroom looks out onto a flat roof extension. We are aware that the roof is nearing the end of its useful life. Are there any options to improve the appearance of the flat roof and / or prolong its life?

A. We receive many queries regarding the appearance and life span of flat roofs. The same principles apply to new builds, extensions and refurbishments.


In the past flat roofs have received a bad reputation due to poor detailing, construction and the use of unsuitable products.


With advances in the technology and construction the life expectancy of a flat roof has increased and insurance backed warranties of 15, 20 and even 25 years are now available, provided an approved installer is used.


The use of flat roofs on extensions and new builds should not be dismissed based on past reputations. They can offer the most appropriate aesthetic design solution, particularly for single storey buildings. The detailing and construction is key to their success.


We usually provide a parapet wall to the roof edge. This gives a clean line avoiding unsightly views of the gutters and roof membranes from outside the property.


If the roof is to be viewed from windows above it is possible to make a new or existing flat roof ascetically pleasing in a number of ways:-


1.      Green roofs come in various forms, the simplest of which is a sedum blanket rolled over the roof.

This provides an attractive finish. Sedum plants do not grow too high, the roof does not become overgrown and maintenance is minimal. A green roof system also improves the insulating properties of the roof and protects the roof from damage. This increases the predicted life expectancy of the membrane. I have heard manufacturers predict a life expectancy of 60 years although they are unable to prove this at this stage.

www.bauder.co.uk and www.protan.co.uk are useful sources on information on flat and green roofs.


2.      Convert the roof into a terrace. Deck or pave over the roof to provide and interesting outdoor space. Access and edge protection will need to be provided.


3.      Installing a roof lantern will transform a room. When viewed from above it also reduces the expanse of roof finish and allows interesting views into other parts of the property.


4.      Changing the roof to a pitched roof may, in some circumstances be more visually appropriate. The chosen finish (tile, slate, sheet metal) will dictate the required pitch and consideration must be given to any first floor windows.


When changes are made to an existing roof consideration will need to be given to the details and any structural implications. There may also be Planning / Building Regulations requirements.

Always use a reputable installer and obtain a warrantee.


 green roof with roof lanterns


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