Flat roofs offer unique challenges. They have less than a 25 percent pitch and do not drain off water as easily as a roof with a greater slope. Consequently, it is imperative the roofing system functions correctly or you could find yourself dealing with costly water damage.
Asphalt is the most common material used on flat roofs. Installers roll out building paper, coat it with hot asphalt, and add a layer of pulverized gravel on top. This combination creates an initial strong seal against the elements. However, nothing lasts forever and flat roofs degrade.
What Are Common Issues on Flat Roofs?
The National Roofing Contractors Association / Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (NRCA/ARMA) states the major cause for flat roof problems is lack of preventive maintenance. Common failures on flat roofs include:
- Broken bond between the material overlaps
- Loss of tensile strength in materials
- Fastener failure due to movement where various materials meet
- Elongation of holes for fasteners
Problems on flat roofs increase with age as the roofing materials shift and break down over time. Consequently, it is extremely important to include scheduled inspections and regular maintenance into your regime.
Routine inspections detect ruptures, blisters, and bubbles in the roofing. A proper inspection can also uncover trouble areas where flashings give away near chimneys, vents, and other roof projections. A qualified roof inspector also checks the roof drains where water flows off the roof through the gutters. They also inspect the gravel topping for damage as this compromises roof integrity.
Flat roofs need prompt repair. Punctures, a peeled gravel coating, and missing or damaged seals and flashings can cause serious water damage. Use a qualified professional who guarantees their workmanship. Discuss your maintenance needs and establish a plan for peace of mind. It extends the roof’s useful life and minimizes your risk.
Another benefit of scheduled maintenance is the inspector can advise you when you will need to replace the roof. You can budget for the expense instead of scrambling to squeeze the cost into your budget. Since inspectors provide written reports, scheduled maintenance also provides an excellent paper trail should you ever need to file an insurance claim.
In the Greater Atlanta area, contact The Roof Clinic to discuss your needs. We use HAAG certified roof inspectors and have the expertise to perform scheduled roof maintenance and repairs on flat roofs. We also offer a free roof analysis if you want to understand the condition of your roof now.