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Old 06-26-2011, 04:36 PM
 
31 posts, read 98,187 times
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Ok, I am sure this may seem random but...

We have been looking at houses online (just for ideas) and have seen several with flat roofs.

This surprises me with as much snow as Denver gets. I always thought flat roofs were for dry climates only? The snow has no place to run off when it melts and the weight of the snow is not properly distributed.

Can anyone fill me in? Is this just an anomoloy of the price range of homes we are looking at? Not assuming every roof should be an alpine style A frame, but would a flat roof be suitable given the climate there?
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:07 PM
 
11,715 posts, read 35,875,875 times
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1) Denver's snow tends to be light and fluffy and melts quickly rather than accumulating all winter.
2) A properly designed and built flat roof does have enough slope to drain water away.
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:27 PM
 
31 posts, read 98,187 times
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Thanks! I guess the dry snow does make sense with a dry climate. I am mostly from Seattle. The snow there is always wet and heavy.
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:28 PM
 
5,090 posts, read 13,511,574 times
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Many of these homes are called "mid-century modern", a style of homes, starting in the 1950s in Denver. They may be stylish but there are some problems that are not immediately apparent. The biggest issue is that these homes lack sufficient attic insulation that meets any modern standards The biggest energy loss is through the ceiling of a home. Unfortunately, you cannot add insulation because there is no room and there is no vented air space between insulation and the roof. Some owners have to resort to raising and slanting the roof which changes completely the style of these homes and is very expensive. There are many of these homes in Arvada and some have "raised the roof". Interestingly enough the City wants to use monies to preserve the architectual look but these homes are cheaper models and it is just a waste of energy.

Last year, I added a great deal of attic insulation to my home that was built in the mid 1980s to exceed the new standards of insulation. It has made a significant difference in that my house stays much cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. That with other energy saving features as new energy efficient windows, white roof, ranch home with full basement, has made my house very comfortable and that I do not need air conditioning.

The last few days has been very hot and I have remained cool during the day. I am working at my house, right now, and my outdoor thermometer in the shade reads 90, in the shade, and my house is at 78 degrees--it is 6.25 PM--I even used the oven during the day but I have a hood that vents outside. It is starting to cool down and in a few hours, I will vent the house with open windows. I will sleep with the windows closed and it will be very comfortable. I have not yet used the fans that I normally use during the summer.

I would avoid these homes.

Livecontent

Last edited by livecontent; 06-26-2011 at 06:39 PM..
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:34 PM
WiW
 
Location: Denver CO
167 posts, read 514,535 times
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I am renting one of those flat roof homes and agree with livecontent. Our upstairs gets very hot in the late afternoon & even after opening up the windows, does not cool down till late at night. Downstairs, it stays comfortable all day.
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Old 06-30-2011, 03:10 PM
 
1,461 posts, read 1,281,759 times
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On an older flat roof house, the roof may be truly flat. Denver building codes did not require positive drainage on flat roofs until after 1970.
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Old 06-30-2011, 07:38 PM
 
Location: Coos Bay, Oregon
7,142 posts, read 8,842,371 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeCalifornia View Post
1) Denver's snow tends to be light and fluffy and melts quickly rather than accumulating all winter.
Yes, but thats not really relevant. Because there are the exceptions where Denver gets extreme accumulations of snow. Anyone building a roof in Denver needs to take that into consideration. Otherwise the roof will collapse the first time Denver gets a really major snow storm. Roofs in Denver should be built to withstand at least 45 inches of accumulated snow. Which is the maximum recorded accumulation of snow for Denver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EscapeCalifornia View Post
2) A properly designed and built flat roof does have enough slope to drain water away.
I agree with this. Even though a roof may appear flat from the ground doesn't mean it doesn't have a slope to it. And yeah, the building codes pretty much dictate that the roof will be properly designed. One problem I can think of is that some roofs are designed with heating systems to melt the snow on the roof. This doesn't seem to me to be a particularly good idea. If you get a really big storm, that knocks out the power. Your heating system goes down, and you are going to have a problem.
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