Flat roofs are a popular option for both commercial and residential homeowners. While more often seen on commercial properties, many homeowners are making the transition to a flat roof when possible. This is because a flat roof provides additional benefits that simply can’t be found with traditional pitch roofs. Regardless of your type of roof, proper maintenance is key in ensuring the long life of your roof.
When it comes to the proper maintenance of your flat roof, you’ll want to consider how often you check your roof, debris risks, leaks, and other elements that can impact the health of your flat roof. Flat roofs require maintenance that differs from roof surfaces that are slanted. There is a greater risk for debris buildup and water pooling. Proper maintenance can help ensure that you aren’t dealing with issues that can be draining to your time and finances.
Why people invest in flat roofs
Flat roofs continue to be a great option for commercial and residential property owners. Flat roofs offer many great benefits that aren’t necessarily available for pitch roofs. A flat roof costs significantly less than a pitched one, making it a great option for those who are on a budget but still want to invest in quality material that will last. Flat roofs also allow individuals to maximize their interior storage space since they aren’t sacrificing any space for the pitch of the roof.
Installation of a flat roof can usually be done in less time than other roofing options. This is a great option for those who want to be able to utilize their space again as quickly as possible. A flat roof can also provide a means to making your space have more curb appeal by hiding unsightly HVAC systems. Placing your HVAC system on your roof allows you to still maintain easy access but removes it from sight.
A big benefit of flat roofs is their ability to provide greener options. While solar panels can be installed on roofs with a pitch, a flat roof makes it easier to install, saving on labor costs. For the property owner, a flat roof allows for easier manipulation of solar panels. This allows for better access to the sun at any point of the day. A flat roof also opens the ability for that space to be utilized for small gardens. This is a great option for those who are environmentally conscious and want to make the best use of their space.
Investing in a flat roof has several great benefits. It is an investment that can last for years to come when properly maintained. If you are considering installing a flat roof, or you’re looking for tips for preserving the life of your flat roof, there are a few key steps to consider.
Check your roof
Many major issues that can happen to your flat roof can be avoided when you invest the time needed to check your roof’s surface periodically. Negligence on the part of the homeowner or business owner often contributes to needing major repairs that could have potentially been avoided. It is most beneficial to check your roof at least three times a year. You should check your roof at the end of winter and the start of spring to determine if heavy snowfall or ice impacted the integrity of your roof’s structure. The end of summer and early fall is another great time to look your roof over. You should also check your roof after any major storms to check for possible debris or water pooling.
Flat roofs are much easier to examine than slanted roofs because they are much safer to walk across. It is important to consider your safety when checking your roof for any concerns. If you question whether or not you can do so safely, it is beneficial to trust a professional to inspect for you. When you check your roof, you’ll want to look for any pooling water, holes, cracks, blisters, or soft areas that can point towards water damage. You’ll also want to check for any obvious debris.
Keep it clean
Debris such as dirt, leaves, and even branches can negatively impact the overall quality of your roof. Debris can be carried by high winds or dropped from surrounding trees. If the debris is heavy enough, it can dent or puncture your roofing material. Debris collects much easier on a flat roof versus a slanted roof, which is why regular inspections can make such a huge difference. Be sure to remove any debris as gently as possible to prevent damage.
You may also want to trim back any trees that hang close to or over your roof. This helps to minimize the debris that lands on your roof as well as helps prevent the spread of moss and other fungi that can be damaging over time. It is helpful to check for debris after a severe storm. This lets you check for any excess debris or damage caused by the debris. It also lets you see if there is any water pooling on the surface of your roof. You can also benefit by checking the condition of your roof in the fall to ensure leaves won’t clog your drainage system during the winter ahead.
Consider your weight limit
A flat roof is designed to withstand a good amount of weight before its integrity is at risk. A roof can collapse if put under too much strain. The ability of your roof to withstand the stress of additional weight relies on the assumption that your roof was properly installed. You’ll want to consider any equipment you have on your roof. In most instances, this includes your HVAC system. You’ll want to know how much weight that is already putting on your roof, as well as make sure that it is properly secured to prevent damage.
If you’re experiencing a significant amount of snowfall or other natural elements, you may want to consider how much weight your roof can truly hold. In general, this is rarely a significant risk but still an important consideration to have, depending on your location and the age of your flat roof. Most flat roofs have a 10–20-year lifespan. If your roof is nearing the end of its efficiency, or you’ve had extreme weather conditions, a professional can help you determine if your roof support is adequate.
Take leaks seriously
If you’ve noticed any sign of a leak, such as water damage or stains on your walls or ceiling, you need to act immediately. It is best to contact a professional in these situations since water damage can quickly become expensive both in repairs and in any damage it creates to your interior structure and property. Water leaks can be tricky because you can’t always predict how they move through the structure of your roof.
You can start by checking the different seams and flashes along the surface of your roof, such as around chimneys, skylights, and vents. Caulking is used in many of these components, and you’ll be able to clearly spot any cracks or breaks in the caulking. You can also check the roof material for any discoloration or soft spots. Flat roofs have a greater risk of water pooling, which can create a lot of unwanted moisture on the surface of your roof.
Check your drainage system
Your drainage system helps to ensure the overall health of your roof and its ability to last for a long time. Your drainage system is important for any roof style, but you’ll want to take extra precautions when it comes to a flat roof. A flat roof doesn’t allow water, ice, and snow to slide off the same way that a slanted roof would. It is important to keep your drains, scuppers, and gutters clear to ensure proper drainage year-round. This helps to prevent water from pooling on your roof.
Your drainage system often works the hardest during the early and late stages of winter when melted snow and ice can quickly build up in your system. You don’t want to risk having to try and clear drains in the middle of winter when your safety can be a greater concern.
Don’t hesitate to call in a professional
Your roof is a major investment. You want the quality of your roof to last as long as possible. It is important to commit to regular maintenance of your roof at least a few times a year. Simple steps like removing debris, cleaning gutters, and looking for any damage can help prevent a small concern from turning into a major issue.
If you notice any issues or are not sure what to look for, trusting a roofing professional can make a huge difference to the overall longevity of your flat roof. Professionals such as those at Able Roof can help inspect, repair, or replace any elements of your roof. Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you have about your flat roof. We can help with any aspect concerning your flat roof.