11 Common Flat Roofing Problems
Flat roofs, in particular, provide numerous benefits. They’re affordable, readily available, fairly simple to install, and in certain circumstances, even energy-efficient. They’re also a great place to put things like HVAC units, solar panels, and communications systems.
However, flat roofs are not without their drawbacks. If flat roofs are not properly maintained, the same properties that make them so useful can soon turn into vulnerabilities.
Usually, asphalt flat roofs are built in the same way as shingled roofs are: a membrane is soaked in asphalt and then stretched across the top of the structure to form the roof; however, unlike shingled roofs, the membrane on a flat roof is all one piece. This implies that your roof will shift and settle over time as your house shifts and settles.
An increase in strength might result in buckles in the asphalt membrane, signaling the end of the life of your flat roof. A buckling roof is unsafe to live on and can lead to significant difficulties in the future. It’s a good idea to have it changed right away.
Leaks and residual moisture, two of the most prevalent concerns with flat roofs, are issues that may be easily addressed if you remain on top of them. A flat roof will develop leaks just like any other roof, but because it’s flat, the water has nowhere to go but straight down.
This implies that moisture can leak into the roof itself, causing issues such as mold and fungus. The easiest method to manage this is to have your roof examined regularly and maintained if an issue arises. Roof leaks may appear harmless at first, but if not repaired swiftly and appropriately, they can lead to much larger problems down the road.
Asphalt flat roofs, like most other materials, expand and contract as the temperature and precipitation change. This continuous expansion and contraction can cause the flashing to peel away from the sides and corners of your roof over time, resulting in leaks and trapped moisture inside your roof.
The easiest method to avoid this is to have your flat roof inspected and maintained on a regular basis. You’ll have to replace your roof if the leaks become severe, or if the flashing has deteriorated significantly.
Storm damage can cause punctures or rips in flat roofs. This is why, following a large weather event, business roof inspections are extremely vital. Punctures can also be caused by pedestrian foot traffic, although restoration systems that include adequate walk pathways can assist to avoid this problem.
Flat roofs using synthetic rubber membranes, such as EPDM, experience shrinkage (a common type of flat roof material). Seams delaminate and pull apart, causing tiny gaps in the roof surface to appear.
Even though EPDM is a popular choice for flat roof construction because of its longevity, all EPDM roofs will shrink with time. Errors in the fabrication or installation of the roof membrane can further increase natural shrinking.
Because flat roofs are flat rather than inclined, they are subjected to additional pressure. This pressure can build up over time, and if the strain and tension get too much, your roof may fracture.
If your roof does break, you should contact a professional as soon as possible. A crack in the roof is frequently a warning that your roof is structurally weak, and it’s time for a new one, in addition to exposing your property to precipitation.
Just like in any stagnant body of water, biological growth can happen on your roof. This includes things like algae and vegetation that you’d normally see in a pond. A dirty roof will be less reflective, affecting both the building’s interior and outside temperatures.
Roofs at risk of ponding water require regular cleaning, and indicators of biological growth should be observed during a business roof inspection.
When it rains or snows, there’s nowhere for the water to go because your roof is flat. The roof of your home may shift over time as it settles, so it may not be as level as it was when it was initially erected. Water may collect in divots and dips in your roof as a result of this.
Although most components are designed to withstand water, you need to drain these pools as quickly as possible and check to see whether water has seeped into the roof’s bottom layers. If pooling is allowed to persist, it will degrade the outside of your roof, reducing the flat roof’s lifespan.
Flat roofs are prone to blistering and other surface flaws such as “alligatoring.” Alligatoring is a term used to describe a flat roof membrane that has degraded to the point that it resembles alligator skin (pictured above). Excessive exposure to the sun or wet insulation are the most common causes of surface problems.
Any loose material or refuse on a roof, such as leaves, tree limbs, dirt/mud, dust, or even garbage from human presence, is considered debris. Due to natural wear and tear and exposure to the weather, any roof will have a small amount of debris on it at any one moment, but too much debris can clog drains and cause irreversible damage, especially on flat roofs with no natural slope for drainage.
Debris can be removed via pick-up, leaf-blowing, or pressure-washing to guarantee that a flat roof drains effectively (or that a fluid-applied restoration system can be fitted properly).
Lack of Maintenance
Forgetting to do periodic maintenance is perhaps the single most common cause of premature roof failure. All of the mentioned above flat roof issues may be avoided with regular maintenance and business roof inspections.
Additionally, they can be remedied by using a fluid-applied roof repair technique. There’s no denying that replacing or repairing your roof can be expensive. Avoid shelling out extra money by performing regular maintenance on your roof, especially if you live in a heavily-wooded area or in a state with changing seasons.
Horizon Roofing – serving the Orange County, CA area – is your reliable local roofing contractors. We specialize in residential roofing and commercial roofing and have been in the industry for over a decade. We have excellent reviews and look forward to serving your need.