How to keep flat roof from leaking

Flat roofs are cost-effective but can have problems like leaking.

What are the problems with flat roofs?

For low-sloped roofing systems, a flat roof proves to be cost-effective, economical choice. They are durable, easy to maintain and leave you with enough space left over for your heating and cooling system or even storage.

Just so you know, flat roofs aren’t 100 percent flat. They just look flat compared to most sloped roofs. But flat roofs do have a very slight slope so rain can drain off.

While these roofs are great, they do have their problems. They can be prone to leaks and are vulnerable to wind damage. They can also collect debris and have issues with cracks and buckling.

For expert repairs to flat roofing in Auburn,WA, you can trust  Gutter & Roof Solutions NW to get the job done right. We specialize in repairing modified bitumen, built up and single-ply roofing. We will inspect your roof and give you a free estimate.

Of course, many of the problems flat roofs experience can be prevented by regular maintenance and inspections. A yearly inspection will help keep your roof flat and healthy.

Do flat roofs leak more?

In general, it’s myth flat roofs leak more than other roofing systems. Many think they are prone to leaks because they are flat and don’t readily shed water. Flat roofs actually have slight slopes so water can drain.

Reasons a flat roof leaks:

  • Poor construction: If corners have been cut in roof construction, a roof of any kind may be prone to leaking. Regular inspections will help determine any damage a roof might have.
  • Heavy rainfall: Flat roofs are usually best for arid regions or areas of low to moderate rainfall. However, even the driest regions experience heavy rainfall, which can cause issues like standing water.
  • Standing water: Rain of any sort may cause water to pond on a roof long after the rain has passed. Ponding may occur especially with older roofs or roofs with blocked drainage systems like gutters. Most flat roof water damage is caused by ponding.
  • Cracks: Flat roofs are susceptible to more pressure than other sloped roofs. Excessive pressure causes cracks. Cracks can cause further structural damage if not repaired.

Remember, all roofs can develop leaks, but leak repair is always possible.

Modified bitumen roofing is applied with a blow torch.

What is the best material for a flat roof?

Generally, you have three options when it comes to building flat roofs, single-ply or single layer membrane, built-up or modified bitumen. Each type of roof has its benefits and the best fit will depend on your needs.

Single-ply roofs come in different varieties including neoprene, ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), chlorinated and chlorosulfonated polyethylene sheet and polymer-modified bitumen. These types of rubber or polymer roofs are popular for commercial roofing because they are flexible and handle impact damage and temperature changes well.

Modified bitumen is another form of single-ply roofing noted because it’s usually applied with high heat torches. Because the seams are melted together, they are less prone to leaking and the stronger polymers make them less vulnerable to cracking.

Built-up or BUR is the most traditional flat roof material. It utilizes several layers of bitumen-soaked roofing felt and asphalt tar that’s covered by crushed stone granules to protect the roof, making it especially fire retardant. This makes for a very durable roof.

What is the life expectancy of a flat roof?

Depending on the material used and maintenance, flat roofs will last for 10 to 25 years. Added life can be had through restoration by applying silicone or acrylic coatings.

Are flat roofs good?

Flat roofs are generally some of the most cost-effective to install, largely because the surface area is usually smaller than other roofing systems. They are also considered the most energy-efficient roofs.

They are generally durable but can be prone to leaking if not well-built or well-maintained. Flat roofs tend to be best in warmer, drier climates. Areas with heavy rainfall or snow and ice can leave roofs vulnerable to pooling or ice jams that need to be cleared within 48 hours. Leaks can result if standing water or ice jams aren’t cleared.

Can hail damage a flat roof?

All roofs are susceptible to hail damage, but the damage is often hard to detect in flat roofs. You might spot obvious damage like holes, splits or cracks, but hail can also damage the roof’s structure.

After a hail storm it’s recommended you have a roofer come and inspect your roof for underlying damage. Gutter & Roof Solutions NW specializes in flat roof repairs and will inspect your roof and provide free estimates.

Flat roof damage insurance claim

Because of their reputation for leaking, some insurance companies will deny claims when the flat roof is damaged. Before submitting a claim, it’s preferable to have the roof inspected by professionals. They can detect damage that’s not obvious and some will be able to help you with your claim to make sure you get the best settlement possible.

Flat roof damage repair

Whatever kind of flat roof you have in Auburn, WA, if it’s been damaged and in need of repair, the professionals at Gutter & Roof Solutions NW are ready to help. Give us a call today at (253) 218-3225. We can inspect your roof and give you a free estimate.