Flat roofs have been used for centuries around the world and are a very cost-effective construction method. Flat roofs are often used as additional spaces for outdoor restaurant seating, garden areas, equipment placement or even extra living space. When properly constructed for its intended use, a flat roof can have many advantages over a sloped roof.
While many flat roofs in America are used on commercial buildings, a growing number of single-family homes also have flat roof construction or are partially constructed with flat roof portions for patio covers or elevated decks. Whether commercial or residential, a flat roof — like any other type of roof — must remain waterproof to protect the interior of the building as well as its structural components. Periodic inspection of the roof surface through a preventive maintenance program can drastically reduce the chances of major and costly issues developing. A thorough inspection should also be performed after any serious weather condition. One important goal of the inspection should be to identify any low spots in the flat roof.
Commercial Roofing & Low Spots
Puddles of Water on the Roof
Rain can provide an excellent tool for detecting low spots on a flat roof. After 48 hours without additional precipitation, there should not be any puddles of water remaining on the roof. Any pooling of water after 48 hours of exposure is cause for concern. The location of the puddles can sometimes offer a clue regarding the underlying problem. Puddles located near drains are often caused by blockage within the drain. Drains that have become blocked by litter, bird nests, leaves or other debris prevent proper drainage, forcing water to back up and form puddles near the drain. Although puddles around drains do not always indicate that low spots have already developed, if neglected, the wear in the area will eventually lead to low spots. Drains should be checked periodically and any debris present should be immediately removed.
Dirt or Debris on the Roof
Low spots can also be detected on a dry roof that has been previously wet due to rain or the accumulation of condensation from HVAC units. Dirt and other debris may remain within the low spot or appear as circular or semi-circular stains around the depression. If enough dirt collects over a sufficient time, seeds borne by the wind may find a home in the dirt, so you may find small patches of green inside the low spots.
Evidence Found Inside the Building
The presence of standing water on the roofing material can cause serious damage to the building’s interior. Water infiltration can lead to mold and mildew within an occupied space, potentially causing serious health issues. The presence of mold or mildew on the ceiling, the smell of decaying wood and water stains on ceilings or walls are all indications that water infiltration has occurred. Other signs of water infiltration include warped paneling or molding, sagging ceilings and painted surfaces that develop bubbles or cracks.
Low Spots Should Be Addressed Quickly
The pooled water will soften the roofing material and lead to leaks that can cause damage that is costly to repair. Furthermore, standing water provides an ideal environment for mosquitoes to lay their eggs, causing the possibility of health issues for people living, working or even walking near your building. If you suspect that there are low spots in your flat roof, you should ask a reputable contractor to conduct a thorough inspection so that repairs can be made in a timely manner.
Alpha Roofing is a premier Austin commercial roofing contractor. We have the expertise to repair, install and replace flat roofs on commercial roofing buildings as well as residential structures. We also install metal roofing systems, asphalt shingles, skylights, and wood siding, we repair asphalt shingles, offer debris and moss removal, repair chimneys and offer maintenance plans and roof inspections. Our crews provide courteous, professional service and deliver exceptional work. If you would like to receive a free estimate, or have more questions about Commercial Roofing & Low Spots, you can either call (512) 777-1086 or complete our quote request form online.