Adding a pitched roof. worth it or not

I have two properties I am looking at that appear to be old gas stations or some type of commercial property that have been rezoned and converted to SFH.

My questions are: Is it worth adding a pitched roof over the flat roof to make it look more like a home? Does anyone know how to estimate this?

If I went with trusts I might need a crain to lift them in place or would framing on site be cheaper. This would be on a building approximately 25’ X 30’.

There are no leaks in the roofs but they don’t seem to fit into the neighborhoods either. I think it is worth it to make it look more like a home, but I would like some other opinions and how to estimate something like this.

I’d have a phase 2 environmental site assessment (ESA) before I worried about adding a cosmetic roof.

To figure out if it’s worth it to add a pitch roof, figure out the value with and without. If you can profit from putting a pitched roof on, then you know the answer.

Typically your better off having trusses delivered prebuilt. If you have them built onsite, usually they will be constructed on the ground and hoisted up anyway. I’d go to a lumber yard to get a very accurate quote. If you tell them the properties dimensions and the slope you want, they’ll tell you exactly what it will cost, how many nails you’ll need, and will recommend a few good contractors. Getting a small crane is probably not as expensive as you think.


I am not familiar with this assessment you are speaking of. If it is an environmental thing because it was a gas station I don’t think there is a need the building has already been converted and the owners say they have the report for the removal of all hazardous material.


If it’s in cold weather with ice and sbow, it’s not a question of “Is the fat roof going to leak”, but more the question, “When is the flat roof going to leak”!

Take that into consideration…

What kind of shape is the current roof in? What is it made of? What are you going to do with the building if you changed the roof? Etc., etc…

Personally, I wouldn’t put a new roof on for asthetics…

If the storage tanks have been removed and the surrounding soil has been tested, you might be in the clear. I’d definitely get a copy of the report and might still get a phase 1 or 2 ESA.

3 Phases of an ESA:

Phase 1 assessments will tell you if there is anything you should be worried about from the observations by the assessor. They will try to identify things like lead paint, asbestos, mold, chemical spills, contaminated ground water, etc. and in this case might probe the ground to make sure the storage tanks have been removed. They also check into the properties history with the court house/ city hall and other pertain government departments to if there were problems in the past.

Phase 2 assessments entail all of the above with the addition of taking samples to send to a lab.

Phase 3 assessments include all of the above but include fixing whatever problems exist. Removal of underground petroleum tanks would be here. If the tank was leaking (a lot of the older ones do) then it would also include scraping out the surrounding dirt. This is the reason why I would want to get atleast a phase 2 done. Often times the contaiminated soil isn’t all removed and not well monitored after remediation to make sure.

depending on the labor rate in your area this (the new roof job) could easily be $15k

Cheaper than a lawsuit…

As an inspector all flat roofs leak at some point, an important question is where the houses are and what is the weather like most of the time. I think pitched roofs look and will sell better. Just depends on the numbers you ran.

Thanks for everyones insight here. As always I was given a lot of information and good practices from the people on this site.


The seller does have all the paperwork from the removal of the tanks and all ground tests. The homes were converted 8 and 7 years ago respectively and there has been at least two tests on each property. One when first completed and one when the current owners took over.


I agree that weather (snow load) is a big factor and that all flat roofs will leak at some point. I am in York, PA where the snow does not seem to be too bad. Well, at least for the 7 years I have been living here. And being someone from New England I know snow.

I think astetically a pithced roof will look and perform better.

Thanks for all the input.

I’d still be curious as to what you’re going to do with the place if you buy it…is is a buy and rent? Or are you flipping it?


If I go for this deal I will rehab and retail about 2 to 3% below market.

I think the cost of the roof is going to make or break the deal that is why I was asking if it would be worth it in others eyes and what an estimated cost would be.

The property ahs not been a gas station for some time now so a surrounding community has grown around it. Adjacent houses are less than 100" from this property now. If you did not look into this property and rode by it you would think it was just a home that someone built with a flat roof. There are some tell tail signs that it was commercial; big plate glass window in front where an office would have been and not the greatest job on blending the old garage door fill-ins with the rest of the place.

Hi - I just read your initial post - not the others concerning if you actually can rehab the “gas stations” or not.

BUT - keep the flat roofs if they are good and solid and no leaks - add what is called a decorative parapit which will give architectural eye appeal to the building. A parapit is a kind of false wall extended above the actual roof all around the exterial walls. This is all done with 2x6’s and sheathing. Then re-stucco the building. The style is sante fe or territorial. The cost would not be a lot.

Here is an image of a sante fe/territorial style roofline - notice the flat roof areas and the up and downs on the roof line:

Truer words were never spoken…

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