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Seeking a contractor in SF Bay Area for rigid foam above an open beam ceiling

severaltypesofnerd | Posted in GBA Pro Help on

I’m seeking a SF Bay Area contractor or energy firm able to soup to nuts a re-roofing job, on a 1940’s bungalow with hand-hewn open beam ceilings with end-of-life disposable shingles above.  The job should end up solar mount compatible. 

So far I’m not finding people who “get it”.  Some want to install insulation below the historic ceiling, then add sheetrock to meet fire code.  No, no, no.  It’s a historic ceiling, not going to happen.

But this could work:

Important details include the edge flashing, and how to ensure the screws hit the proper rafters not the thin decking. This is a shaded hillside property in the Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area, zip code 94563 Zone 3C.  The building is a bungalow or cottage style with thin framed walls and lots of owner-builder construction, single story.  There’s no insulation.  Heat is forced air gas at the moment, with gas tank water storage, and cold slab tile floors with throw rugs. About half the cottage has an attic, the other half is a 1.5 story open beam ceiling, with a lovely river rock chimney, interior plaster, and exterior stucco. ———– Who can help get a top insulated roof onto this place, with solar potential?

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  1. Expert Member
    Peter Yost | | #1

    Hi Bryce -

    start with the GBA Green Building Bulletin Board:

    And I have some contacts in the Bay Area and will check with them for you.


  2. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #2

    Unfortunately, we don't really have any green builders listed on our bulletin board for the bay area -- the closest is One Sky Homes in San Jose.

    If and GBA readers want to chime in with recommendations, we can improve the completeness of the bulletin board.

  3. severaltypesofnerd | | #3

    There are listings at and but not very focused advice.

    This is a pretty specific situation: historic open beam ceiling with uninsulated asphalt shingles. I keep getting recommendations that would end up with sheetrock covering all the historic details. The City representative even suggested sheetrock was needed to meet fire code.

  4. severaltypesofnerd | | #4

    Well, what do you know.
    It already HAS 2" of foam in the unvented cathedral section. Nobody knew, until I lifted up a suspiciously fat bit of flashing.

    When was solid foam sheet insulation even introduced? The DIY home owner (since deceased) was apparently an early energy genius: this roof has three generations of asphalt shingles on it, so the foam must be older than the lowest layer.

    So the question becomes: what contractor in the Orinda California area is willing to extend this 2" foam roofing system, to the rest of the house?

  5. severaltypesofnerd | | #5

    So in summary:

    How can I find a roofing contractor in Orinda California, able and willing to tear off, install a 2" foam roof with standing seam metal on top?

  6. brendanalbano | | #6

    You could check and see if any PHIUS certified builders are near you:

    Being PHIUS certified implies a certain degree of comfort with high-performance assemblies, so that might be a good place to start your search.

  7. severaltypesofnerd | | #7

    Well, I finally found one
    "Roof proofing" Phone number (707) 641-9628. See yelp site for a photo of a job they sent me.

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