From the Forum – Repair or Replace Porch Roof – Contractor Recommendation and Exposed HVAC Ductwork


Repair or Replace Porch Roof – Contractor Recommendation:

“I have a small front porch (64″ x 187″) with an old roof that has no gutter. Instead, it has an ineffective little trench scooped into it, attached to a tiny, always-clogged little pipe. The roof itself is old and most likely leaking, so there’s a good possibility that there’s some structural water damage.

I would like to repair the roof, recover it, and attach a gutter and downspout to a rain barrel (which I already have). I’m not sure who I should hire to do this, though. Is this a job that a handyman can do, or do I need a roofing company. Will a roofing company even do a job this small?

I have attached a photo of the gutter and some of the damage that makes me think I shouldn’t just slap some rolled asphalt on and call it a day.”

Exposed HVAC Ductwork:

“My wife and I own a small rowhouse in the Shaw neighborhood. It was more-or-less a gut job when we purchased it. After gutting it, we’ve decided to keep an open floor plan on the main floor and to leave the joists exposed, rather than hanging a sheetrock ceiling. We’re ready now to install a new HVAC system and plan to install exposed spiral ductwork. We’ve had a hard time finding HVAC companies that do exposed ductwork. We have an estimate from one company, but would love to have at least two or three estimates in hand before hiring someone. Given that we’ve seen exposed ductwork in commercial spaces all over DC, we’ve begun contacting commercial HVAC companies. But we’d love some recommendations from PoPville. Anyone have an exposed duct installer recommendation for us? Thanks!”

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8 Comment

  • RE: the porch roof. You very likely could slap a new membrane on there, but as you noted the real concern is that there is already moisture underneath of that rotting the structure away from the inside. And it sounds like you don’t have adequate drainage anyway, might as well get that fixed (our roof of similar size is connected to a full downspout); make sure you have a good place to for the overflow to go (a flat porch like this can fill our barrel 2/3 full from a single decent rain). We had this done a couple years ago and it was around $10K, but that included tearing off the old roof, replacing any rotten joists and most of the soffit box that runs the perimeter and was all rotted out, replacing the underside of the porch roof that was water damaged, priming and repainting everything.. I would definitely get a contractor, doesn’t have to be a big outfit. A lot of smaller guys could do this job well for less and would probably be more hands on. Get references.

    • Oh, also, that “trench” for the drainage on the roof is totally fine, it’s standard. As long at the roof is sloped correctly and there is a good place for the water to go it will drain fine. What usually happens is the roof starts to sag and ruins the slope, and then you get places where the water collects making things worse.

    • Our experience was similar – we thought the porch roof membrane just needed replacing, but it turned out that the membrane was the only thing holding a whole mess of rotted wood together. It would have been $8K to replace it, per two reasonable contractor estimates (the third was $22K from a fancy company for a complete historical reproduction).
      We ended up just having it demo-ed while we save to have it redone. Once the membrane was pulled up it was at imminent risk of falling away from the house. Especially disconcerting as we had walked on it only a few weeks earlier.
      You never know what you can’t see in old houses!

    • Thanks for the helpful advice. I was hoping it would be closer to $5K. Maybe they’ll be able to salvage more of mine, but I’ll prepare myself for a big bill.

  • For HVAC, I had an excellent job done by Steve Varvounis (240-671-9745). A friend recommended him as he gets all of his business entirely from word-of-mouth. He did an amazing retrofit job at my 1913 row home, allowing for minimal bulkhead, but I know he also mentioned that he does commercial installations as well. He’s got a 10yr warranty on his labor and only works with quality (Carrier, Lenox) equipment. Definitely give him a call to have him come give you a free quote, tell him Zach sent you.

  • I just had a similar thing done last fall. They replace the membrane and some rotted wood underneath and put a bit of a bypass drain pipe from the corner where all the water was collecting into the main down spout. I used Cole Roof Systems
    They ran a little over 3k – including replacing the rotted wood pieces. I was quite happy with their work.

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