Roof upgrade for Flow Hive Classic

We have had an occupied Flow hive for well over 2.5 years now, and to be honest, the roof is beginning to show its’ age. Forumites probably remember my musings about fixing roof flashing under the existing panels and various other ideas. I still think those are valid, but I just came across something much easier. Here is my old roof:

There is now a replacement for the roof panels.

It is a composite aluminum (double sided) sandwich with an insulating polyethylene filler between the two metal sheets. One metal sheet side is coated shiny white, and the other is a metallic copper satin powder coat type finish. The panels can be installed either way up, so you get to decide the appearance on your hive. They are specially drilled to fit existing Flow hive roofs, as Langstroth roofing (even gabled) can be slightly larger than the Flow roof.

Here are my thoughts.

The panels arrived with eco-friendly shipping materials, and nice quality replacement screws. This was excellent, as the original roof screws partially stripped as I was removing them. It is amazing how much sticky, gritty pollution and junk accumulates in the screw heads in 2 years!

However, the 10 screws provided are 8 for the panels (perfect length) and 2 for the ridge cap (much too short). You must therefore make sure you have the right screws for the ridge cap if you will need a replacement. :blush: The screw on the right is the new one provided ( I don’t think it is long enough). The one on the left is the old one with an almost stripped head.

The instructions for replacing the panels are online – another ecologically-sensitive touch. Once the old roof panels were removed, the new panels installed in less than 5 minutes. I strongly recommend leaving the old ridge cap wood partly screwed in place, as this helps align the panels properly. You just need enough space under the ridge cap to advance the top of the panels to the center of the roof, and the fixing screws help position the panels accurately. The pre-drilled holes in the panels aligned perfectly with the A-frame. This is important, as the standard Langstroth gable roof panels (not Flow compatible) have different hole positions. Make sure you buy the correct version!

Here is the roof with the new panels. I removed the ridge cap to show you how to position the panels, then reinstalled it:

Here is the old cap back in place - ick! :blush:

I finally decided to sand the cap. This was a one hour project for me, as I am not an expert woodworker. I have an orbital sander, but I wasn’t sure which grade of sandpaper to use. It turned out that I needed 120 grit. Even then, it took quite a bit of time, and I could probably have benefitted from bleaching the wood too (not gonna happen! :smile:). However, I wiped it off with D-Limonene (citrus solvent) and then Tung Oiled it once again, and this is the final result:

The result is a stunningly attractive refurbished Flow roof. I chose the satin copper finish for the outside, as I thought it looked better with the cedar. Thanks to the composite layering of the roof, the bees should be insulated from the heat of the sun, but I have a hive temperature monitor, so I will keep an eye on this in the summer. In summary, if your Flow hive roof is degrading because of the wood panels, get these as an upgrade. They are very nicely made, and look great.

Just my humble opinion, in case you or your bees need ideas for a holiday gift. :heart_eyes:


Love your work Dawn, great report as usual


It does look great, but I like the flow shingles better still.
The flow hive 2 has just 2 pieces to assemble for each roof side. They come pre glued but still have that shingle look.
Practically, the one sheet on either roof side is a better option I admit.
I painted all my flow roofs with premium house paint, even the cedar. Since then they look great, no leaking or warping.


Pity they didn’t supply a nice matching ridge cap. :confused: Now I am not saying your refurbished one isn’t nice :thinking: Just saying a matching one would cap it off nicely.:wink::wink:



Woooo ! You look :eyes: great :+1:… Ooh :open_mouth: your new roof panels DO ! :laughing:… I’ve got my new set of panels out in the wood shop but still trying to determine just how do I disassemble a roof I’ve epoxied, glues n sealed without totally destroying it !

I’m thinking :thinking: it best to take part measurements n start from scratch ! Or order a new roof n use as a pattern.

Bummer thing is … I like both the old shingles look n the composite ! Decisions, Decisions, Decisions !

B.T.W. Just how did you secure such a black roof ? Is that soot from the fires :fire: down there ? I thot we had a corner on mold, wet n ugly roofs up here. Heck ! Mine looks pristine compared to yours. Must be the smog … we just get FOG here.

Anyway, great job … if n when I get to it I’ll post pix’s n comments on my roof adventure.


I agree. The angles are slightly off when you view it close up. I will probably put some caulking/mastic in there, to prevent any moisture wicking. I would pay $10 for a new one, or more if it was composite.

Hi Jerry,

Thanks for your comments and thoughts.

I think most of the color is aging, but a lot will also be resin etc dripping from nearby trees and climbing shrubs (passion fruit and wisteria are a few feet from the hive) onto the hive roof. I think the new roof will be a lot easier to clean up when needed. I will post follow-up photos over time. I am also keeping the old panels, and will compare them side-by-side in the same location, to see which does better over time. My money is on the composite. :wink:


Nice work, my friend :raised_hands:

Coincidentally I was just out finishing up some bee & garden work for the season (pulled feeders off, added remaining insulation) and this included trading the Flow roof for a regular cover on one hive. I thought to myself, this flow roof could really use a good sanding & re-oiling! Mine is not as dark as yours, but almost!


Is it fire proof too! That looks fantastic!

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I would think the metal part is, but the closest big fires are over 100 miles from us, so I am not worried. :smile:

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Did the wood rot or just look rotten because the piece you sanded looked great. I have cedar fencing and I hit it with some bleach and it cleans up beautifully like new wood. Just asking because I’m setting up my new cedar flow 2 and this might be time saving question on painting or oiling the wood. I’m staining my cedar wood with rit dye a teal color then teak oil. The tongue oil in the stores here are not good for insects but the teak oil is. Might as well right? Though the roof might be a different treatment as it rains, snows, freezes and it’s humid. I might exterior paint the roof.


It is not rotten at all. It is probably silvering from age, combined with surface mildew growing in the Tung Oil resin. One you take off the surface with sanding, it is pretty good underneath. The sanding removed very little wood to get down to a good surface. Not structurally weakened at all. No termites or insect damage.


If anyone is interested in this roof panel replacement, you need to order it very soon. Unfortunately the company is closing down at the end of this month. :cry: :thinking:

I love it on my hive:

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Here’s my solution to protecting the roof :):

The extra overhang also protects the entrance a bit better.


old school problem solvered



We just bleached all our flow hive parts and they look almost new. Needs some sanding because of wood variations. Can’t wait to put Tung oil on them and see the wood grain come alive.


This is a grand idea-the only problem is BeeBuilt stopped making these years ago. I so wish this was available

I have had my hive for nearly 3 years and it still looks almost new. The whole hive is protected by a portable roof which I made out of 13 pieces of wood. I then fold over plastic liner which tucks into the gutters at the side. The liner has been replaced once. Moreover, I store foam and brushes and other utensils in the space of the roof. It has never blown off and the overhang keeps the sides and landing board of the hive dry in heavy rain. I have eucalyptus trees around and once or twice some branches have fallen onto it. I just replace the liner. It took me 40 minutes to make the roof and it is extremely lightweight.


the roof fits over the top of the flow roof, by the way

I found some ACM (aluminum composite material I believe) from some old signage. I used it for my Flow Hive roof and it reflects the heat pretty well.