How Do I Know If My Flat Roof Needs Replacing?

black flat roof

Quality Flat Roofing

It’s easy to tell when a peaked roof needs repair or replacing. Usually, the roof is visible from the street, so owners or technicians can quickly spot missing shingles, wood rot and other signs of decay. It’s a bit harder to spot issues with flat roofs. A lot of businesses opt for flat roofs because they’re affordable, have a great lifespan, and are easily accessible. However, there are few visible signs from below that flat roofing is having problems. Most of the time it takes getting on top to do a close inspection. The good news is that once up close it’s easy to spot signs of wear and tear. A lot of people wonder how they’ll know when it’s time to replace their flat roof or if a simple fix will suffice. Alliance Roofing has put together the following information to help owners with flat roofs in Glastonbury and Hartford, CT.

Do Flat Roofs Always Leak? Of course Not!

A leaky roof is typically a sign of either age, poor workmanship, or a combination of both. The fact is, over time, most roofs will leak. Whether it’s heavy rain or strong wind, every roof has a threshold of how much stress it can take. When leaks happen, flat roofs are at risk because they have less ability than peaked roofs to shed water. However, are roofs really flat? Just because they’re called ‘flat roofs’ doesn’t mean they’re completely level with the ground. Most flat roofs are sloped to a small degree to help water flow off the top of a building. In fact, flat roofing experts often call them by another name. What are flat roofs called? They’re referred to as low slope roofs, meaning their slopes are much less pronounced than in traditional peaked roofs.

Small leaks are normal with a roof that’s several years old. Repair teams can fix those in a day. Hopefully, leaks will happen first in parts of the flat roof with overhang to avoid damage to electrical or pipe systems. However, a flat roof with major or repeated leaks likely needs to be replaced. The leaks are signs of overall deterioration in the roof’s condition. Failing to replace the roof can damage wood beams, masonry work and other parts of a building that will be more expensive to repair.

Holes or Buckles in Flat Roofing Boards

Damage to flat roofing boards is another sign that replacement is necessary. If something happened to a specific portion of the roof that caused a hole or buckling, then a partial replacement will do. In most cases, roofing boards, part of what flat roofs are made of, develop holes and buckle due to age and other problems that spell replacement. Rot in boards can lead to serious leaks, allows animals inside and lets heating and cooling out. When replacing a flat roof that had holes in roofing boards, it’s a good idea to call a commercial HVAC system service that can check for any damage from long-term exposure to the outdoors.

flat white roof

Maintenance for Flat Roof Materials

Building owners who want the most out of their roofs will ask, “What is the best material for a flat roof?” Here are some of the most common flat roof materials:

  • Modified bitumen roofing – This was created in the 60’s and incorporates polymer layers applied to the roof with heat or some other type of adhesive.
  • Built-up roofing – This is the most traditional form of flat roofing. Built-up roofing uses many layers of asphalt mixed with bitumen. The hot coal tar is soaked onto the roof with a mop and forms a sturdy layer that’s heat and water resistant. It’s usually topped with a layer of fine rocks.
  • Single Layer Membrane Roof (EPDM) – EDPM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer rubber. This roof style uses elastomeric membranes in single-ply layers to cover commercial facilities. It’s the most modern method that gets great results. There are a number of different chemical membranes that are used in single-layer membrane roofing. They’re installed in thin sheets and can handle swings in temperature very well.

Any flat roof material needs regular maintenance to keep it in great shape for longer. Many use polyvinyl coating to make it more rain and moisture resistant. The more work that’s done to keep the roof free of water and debris, the longer it will last. It’s a good idea to schedule regular cleanings during dry spells to clear off foliage, trash or anything else that can build up.

How long do flat roofs last? Most commercial flat roofs can be expected to last for around 10 years. Regular maintenance can extend that a bit, but at some point, an aging roof will need to be replaced. Once repair and maintenance bills start to cost a large fraction of what a new roof will cost, it’s time for a replacement. Buildings with a flat roof in Glastonbury and Hartford, CT can turn to Alliance Roofing for the best repair and replacement services in the area. Dial 860-633-7243 today!