Flat Roofs have its advantage which is why most commercial buildings are having it and residential homes are not transitioning to flat roofs. It is easily constructed and installed, provides more space, and costs less. But just like any other roofing system, it faces problems and issues. There are many factors that affect the stability of your flat roofs, the most common are:
-Exposure to Harsh and Changing Weather Conditions
Some of these can be controlled by hiring reputable contractors and suppliers but mostly, external factors give more threat to your roofing system which is why you need to have a routine inspection and have existing knowledge of fixable problems before it costs you more or avoid it.
1. Ponding Water
Flat Roofs are not literally flat, they have a slope of a fourth of an inch per foot. This is to allow water to run off towards the floor drains. If your flat roof doesn’t have this sloping and does not have enough drainage, there is a big possibility that during the rain and melting of snow/ice, the water will pool over your roof, which can cause staining, and growth of molds and worst-case scenario structural damage.
During your construction, make sure that the right sloping is being applied and that you have enough drainage system to accommodate the water and can drain not more than 72 hours. Once constructed, make sure that your gutters and drains are free from dirt to prevent it from clogging so the water can runoff.
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2. Leaks and Moisture
Leaks are likely to happen more to flat roofs as they are inclined to let the water runoff. When water ponds on your roof, the moisture can seep through the cracks or exposed surface of your roof which can lead to structural damage.
During the construction, make sure that your material for the protective layer, waterproofing, and insulation is of the best quality, and be knowledgeable about their service life in order to know if you need to replace it. But most importantly is to have a scheduled inspection to maintain the durability of the material. Do not wait for the material to give up before you take an action.
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Blistering, also known as alligatoring, is also common to roofs as the sunlight and heat hits directly every part of your flat roof. Due to the changes in temperature, during the daytime with the scorching heat of the sun through the nighttime which is way cooler, your roof will undergo the process of expansion and contraction in order to breathe. And when your roof undergoes this process, your protective layers will also go along and if it’s not flexible enough, it can tear or blister.
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During the construction and if your area has harsh weather conditions, invest in a material that is flexible and plastic that can last longer in your area. Do a regular check-up if your layers are starting to stretch, bubble, and blister which can lead to tear or break. Once your layers are deteriorating, have your old layer removed, fix the cracks (if any), and reapply any necessary protective layers.
Flat Roofs, as many benefits it has, should be inspected and maintained well every year because they only last for not less than 15 years. The good thing is, that it is more accessible so your routine inspection isn’t that hard and should be done accordingly. If your roof shows a little sign of clogging, cracking, or deteriorating, have a quick fix and if not, contact your local contractor.