Common Flat Roof Problems

Roofing Tips

Flat Roof Problems

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Over the last decade, flat roofs have become more economical, stylish, and most importantly, strong.

Gone are the days of flat roofs that cost more to maintain than to install. But improvements in flat roof technology is not foolproof, and, like all roofs, flat roofs require maintenance and repair. To keep you up-to-date, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common flat roof problems that require repair work down the line.

Problem 1: Pooling Water

Have you ever wanted a swimming pool, but just don’t have space? Try a puddled flat roof!

Jokes aside, at Aabco Roofing we’ve seen some flat roofs that are so pooled with water that it looks like a swimming pool.

So, how do flat roofs pool water? Technically speaking, a flat roof is not completely flat. The roofs are built at a slight angle to allow water to run off. A completely flat roof would genuinely turn into a swimming pool after heavy rain, as debris like dead leaves can clog up drains.

Repair 1: Maintenance and Draining

Despite being built at a slight angle, flat roofs often get blocked and start pooling water. Often this is due to a build-up of debris that prevents water from draining off the roof.

If caught quickly, the solution can be solved by simply clearing out the debris and allowing the water to drain off the roof. This is why regular flat roof inspection and maintenance is so important. Our Aabco Roofing contractors will also be able to determine if your roof has been built without an angle, which will require the roof to be completely rebuilt.

Problem 2: Damaged Flashing

Flashing is the term given to the pieces of metal strips that are applied at the points where a roof, flat or otherwise, meets another surface. Flashing is particularly important because it prevents water from getting into your roof and creating a potentially damaging leak.

Despite its structural importance, flashing does come loose regularly, often with a little wind or damage from moving debris. On a flat roof, damaged flashing plus pooling water can result in a serious leak happening very quickly.

Flashing can also come loose if flat roofs are not designed properly. If the roofing contractor does not allow for some movement, a slight deflection of the flat roof can result in the flashing breaking or any other waterproof membrane between the roof and the house being damaged. Older roofs also require more regular inspections, as years of swelling can cause flashing damage.

Repair 2: New Flashing and Inspection

Although there are many reasons flashing can be damaged, the only solution is to repair or, more likely, replace the problem areas.

If flashing or any other waterproof seals continuously break, a more in-depth inspection will have to take place, where an Aabco Roofing technician will ascertain the structural integrity of your roof.

Problem 3: Blistering

Blistering flat roofs almost look like they are made out of alligator skin, although you likely won’t notice the problem until a roofing maintenance team has a look.

Blistering occurs when air or moisture is trapped between layers of a roof. As they get hotter in the sun, blisters start to rise and swell until they become a problem.

Repair 3: Cut and Seal

Small blisters aren’t too much of a problem, but as soon as they start growing in size a roofing technician will need to remove them. Luckily, dealing with blisters is not too complicated, as they are most often cut out and the roof patched up.

Problem 4: Buckling

Unlike traditional pitched roofs, flat roofs are built on top of a single, continuous membrane. This membrane separates the roofing materials from the rest of the home and is an integral part of every flat roof. As your house, and consequently, your roof, shifts and settles over time, a strain is exerted onto the membrane.

The excessive strain will cause the membrane to buckle, eventually allowing the roof to possibly sag.

Repair 4: New Roof

A buckling flat roof is not structurally sound and requires immediate inspection. Most of the time, the best solution is to replace the roof and membrane entirely, likely with more durable materials that can withstand movement.

If you do think your roof has started to buckle, contact a professional as soon as possible. If the buckling looks particularly bad it may be advisable to leave the house until one of our technicians can take a look at it.

Luckily, most flat roof issues can be dealt with before they become serious problems with regular roof maintenance. Rather than risk having to replace your roof entirely, contact Aabco Roofing for more information on roof inspections.

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