In April 2011 I got a call from some Indianapolis homeowners who had a pocket deck that leaked heavily during rainstorms. (They'd placed seven buckets around the room below to catch all the water.) The roof had been installed only three years earlier, but the owners didn't want to call the original contractor back; instead, they contacted me, because they'd heard that my company had a history of successfully completing low-slope roofs.

The previous contractor had covered the roof with granulated modified torch-down roll roofing, then installed a walking deck over it. The roof pitched just 1 inch over a span of 11 feet - way too shallow for roll roofing. When we pulled the decking we found that the roof surface had cracked, letting water into the structure. At the wall, where...

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