Flat roofing is a popular and common form of roofing for many different buildings, both domestic and commercial. This is mainly down to the low cost of a flat roof compared with other types of roofing. Despite its name, a flat roof is not actually completely flat; instead, it is pitched at a low angle to prevent water from collecting on the felt surfaces of the roof – essentially, preventing any leaks.
This is not to say, however, that flat roofs are not susceptible to leaks. While a flat roof is slightly angled, the level nature of the roof does mean that water does not run off quickly and it can easily collect cracks in the roof surface. Whether a leak is caused by harsh weather that leads to general wear and tear or the roof is simply old and outdated, those who own a flat roof will likely have to deal with some sort of leak at one point or another. Flat roof repairs can range from a small and simple patch repair, right through to a complete renovation.
Often, we ignore our roofs until we actually discover leaks or notice visible damage, however, the roof is one of the most important parts of the house and should, therefore, be inspected regularly and kept in top condition. The roof is what protects your home from external elements and ensures that you, your family and your possessions are safely sheltered. This is why it is important to regularly check your roof in order to catch potential problems and repairs.
For your convenience, we have put together a guide on everything you need to know about flat roof repairs. We always recommend sourcing a professional to carry out any repairs on your flat roof; while you may be tempted to try completing a DIY repair yourself in order to save money, you should always leave it to the professionals. Repairing a flat roof that is severely damaged instead of renovating it, for example, could do much more harm than good and lead to further costly repairs and renovations down the line. Read on for everything you need to know about flat roof repairs.
Firstly, it is important that you regularly check your roof for any signs that it needs repairing or replacing. Below are some common signs that your roof may need replacing:
Leaks are by far the most frequent and common issue when it comes to flat roofs. If your flat roof is leaking, you should be able to notice it in the rooms below. There are a few different reasons why your flat roof may be leaking; if you notice that water is pooling on the surface of your roof, otherwise known as ‘ponding’, this could be caused by a roof gradient or drainage problem. Ponding can lead to lots of problems for your roof. If the ponding is any deeper than 25 millimetres or lasts for more than 48 hours, you should get a professional to see to it as soon as possible. A professional roofer will be able to find out what is causing the leak which is vital to ensure that the problem does not come back later down the line.
If you own a commercial property with a flat roof or have a flat roof deck, there may be people, such as maintenance personnel or visitors, walking over the roof regularly. Frequently going out on the roof, walking over fasteners and dropping tools on the roof can puncture the membrane and lead to other damages that will need to be repaired by a professional. If your flat roof has a lot of foot traffic, it is important that you keep an eye on the roof and regularly inspect it for any signs of damage.
Flat roofs that are made using EPDM rubber can suffer from material shrinkage, however, this is far more likely to occur on a large building or a building that has a poor roof installation – perhaps the membrane has not been attached correctly. When rubber shrinks, it can pull off parapet walls, drip edge or even a chimney. If you notice any signs of shrinkage, you should aim to have your roof inspected and repaired as soon as possible to avoid any further damage being caused.
Once you have established that your roof needs repairing, it’s time to prepare for the actual repair. As mentioned above, it is imperative that you find a reliable and reputable roofing contractor to carry out the repair for you. Remember, climbing up on your roof yourself and attempting to patch it up is extremely dangerous which is why it should always be left to the professionals. Ask your chosen contractor to inspect your roof to determine the damage and to work out exactly what repairs need to be carried out.
Following this, you should choose a time for the contractors to come round and carry out the repair that is convenient for you. Some repairs will take a long time, depending on the extent of the damage, and so you should factor this in. Don’t leave it too long, however, as the last thing you want is for the damage to worsen.
Again depending on the extent of the repair being carried out, you will want to prepare your home before the contractors appear to begin their work. There will likely be a lot of noise and dust when work is being carried out; perhaps even an open roof. If this is the case, you may want to consider relocating while the work is being carried out. Remember to cover up pieces of furniture and ensure that the contractors can easily access your home and roof. You may also want to consider bringing houseplants in from outside.
Once your roof has been repaired, you should follow these top tips to ensure that it remains in the best condition possible:
You should inspect your flat roof every few months; this may be by simply looking out of a second-story window, or you may need to access your roof via a ladder if you are unable to clearly view it from a window. Look out for any blisters, tears and holes and inspect the edges of the flashing to ensure that water isn’t seeping beneath it. In addition to this, inspect the rooms below the flat roof for any signs of leaks or water damage.
Ensure that any overhanging trees are regularly cut back so that leaves and branches do not fall on the roof, causing damage. Keep the roof clean and remove any debris that falls on the roof. Fortunately, cleaning a flat roof is far easier than a normal roof due to the level surface. Remove any growths or vegetation on the roof itself; but remember, vegetation could be a sign that water is being held which can lead to leaks. If you do notice a lot of vegetation or growths on your roof, it is worth contacting a contractor for a proper inspection.
If you live in an area where it often snows or gets particularly icy during the colder months, you should keep an eye on how much weight your roof can take. The weight of too much snow or ice buildup on your roof can become excessive; in the worst case scenario, it can cause your roof to collapse. While roofs are designed and built to be strong and durable, it is worth shovelling off any heavy snow during winter.
If your flat roof needs repairing or replacing, look no further than AD Booth & Sons Ltd. Our experienced and professional team of roofers are equipped with the skills, training and knowledge to provide all of the flat roofing services that you require – whether it’s a general roof repair or you need a new fibreglass roof for an extension.
With over five decades of experience in the industry, we pride ourselves on our outstanding customer service and excellent reputation in the area. We use only the best materials when constructing and installing flat roofs and each member of our team is highly trained in all techniques. To discuss the cost of a roof replacement or for a free, no obligation quote, simply get in touch with us today.