Although normally found today on commercial and industrial buildings, flat roofs have been around for centuries. Originally, flat roofs provided additional living space or a safe place for storage. Today, flat roof replacement and construction allows for convenient installation of and easy access to mechanical devices, including the components of HVAC units that require outdoor installation. Flat roofs are not actually flat; they must be built with at least a slight slope to provide adequate drainage, so they are often called low-slope roofs. Flat roofs are easier and often safer to inspect, but they are also prone to specific problems associated with their design. As with any roof, periodic inspections through a well-defined preventive maintenance program is fundamental to prolong the life of the roof and minimize the seriousness and cost of any repairs by discovering problems early. Here are some common signs that your flat roof needs help.
Flat Roof – Discovering Problems Early – Pooling
Water pooling on a flat roof is often the most obvious condition encountered. In addition to routine periodic inspections, a flat roof should be inspected after any measurable rain has fallen. If 48 hours have elapsed and rain remains on the roof in pooled areas, a close inspection by a professional and qualified roofing contractor should be performed as quickly as possible to evaluate the condition and make any needed repairs. Water left on the roof after this period can easily begin a process of deterioration to the exterior and interior of the roof structure.
Flat Roof – Discovering Problems Early – Improper Drainage
Drainage problems are often seen as pooling around the drain orifice. The drain in question should be inspected and cleared of any debris present. Piped drains should be inspected and repaired by a qualified professional. If drainage problems are associated with an accumulation of vegetation, it may be advisable to ascertain the source of the vegetation. Trees or other vegetation may need to be trimmed or removed to prevent ongoing drainage problems.
Flat Roof – Discovering Problems Early – Damaged Flashing
The metal flashing that runs along the edge of your flat roof is not just a decorative touch. It provides an important means of protecting and securing the underlying layers of roofing materials. Any missing or damaged flashing should be immediately repaired or replaced by a roofing contractor.
Flat Roof – Discovering Problems Earl – Surface Damage
Any surface damage to the exterior membrane of the roof will require immediate attention. Even a small hole caused by a careless worker can quickly lead to serious consequences. Although flat roofs are engineered to support heavy weights, heavy equipment and materials should be carefully moved and never dragged across the surface. Older roofs should be inspected more often for separation of materials and deterioration of joints. Any vegetation found growing on the surface of the flat roof should be removed by a professional contractor to avoid damage to the underlying layers.
Flat Roof – Discovering Problems Early – Other Signs
Other signs that your flat roof may need to be repaired or replaced include the following.
• Blisters can result from age, adhesion issues, pooled water or other problems. Water is likely to penetrate around or through the blister very quickly.
• Water leaking into the building’s interior is an obvious sign of roof damage. However, you may notice damp areas or stains before you actually see water dripping. You may be able to have an isolated leak repaired, but if there are multiple leaks, it is more likely that you will need to have the roof replaced.
• Soaring energy bills that you cannot explain can indicate a problem with your flat roof. A commercial roof is designed to help insulate your building, so as the roof fails, it loses its insulative properties.
Alpha Roofing is a respected roofing company that serves commercial and residential customers in Austin and Central Texas. We can help you with your flat roof issues. Our services include flashing repair and installation, flat roof replacement, metal fabrication, moss removal and skylight installation. If you have a damaged roof or a leaky roof, we are here to help! We install metal roofs, asphalt shingles, and new siding. We are known for our professional customer service, exceptional workmanship and reasonable prices. To receive a free quote, simply call (512) 777-1086 or complete the online request form.