Flat Roof Maintenance
No matter the type of roof, it requires routine maintenance and checkups to make sure that the roof is doing what it needs to and isn’t compromised. With flat roofs, this is no different. However, flat roof maintenance looks a bit different than that of other types of roofs.
What is a Flat Roof?
A flat roof is, technically, not flat. It is almost level. Its pitch or slope is very low. Flat roofs have up to a ten-degree slope. They need some slope to allow water to drain.
Flat roofs have been around a long time. They were used in ancient times in arid climates. As factories, warehouses, and other large industrial structures began to appear, flat roofs became both practical and economical.
Benefits of a Low-Slope Roof
If you have a large factory, warehouse, or other industry, a flat roof may be required to cover the vast expanse.
Flat roofs give you space. Gardens or rooftop patios have been built on this space. Plants provide food and aesthetics on some flat roofs.
Flat roofs require less material to build. Construction and repair costs are lower because they are faster to erect and repair. Some homeowners or business owners have turned sections of their flat roofs into restaurants, patios, or working gardens. This adds more living or business space.
Flat roof spaces can provide beauty and give your building additional weather protection.
Flat roofs can save money on energy bills. This is especially true in Colorado climates where seasons bring special heat and cold challenges. Sloped roofs may trap heat or allow cooled air to escape. However, a flat roof leaves less space overhead where hot or cold air can collect.
Disadvantages of Flat Roof Construction
The news about flat roofs is not all good. They are unreliable in Colorado winter weather. In colder temperatures, water will collect on flat roofs. This can result in an accumulation of ice or snow. You may need to consider weatherproofing options.
Flat roofs pose a greater chance of earlier replacement. Where sloped roofs, with proper inspection and maintenance, can be expected to last twenty years or more years, flat roofs often require replacement every ten years. The National Roofing Contractors Association notes that that business and homeowners often opt for roofs with a greater pitch because of the increased cost of more frequent repair and replacement of flat roofs.
Turning a flat roof into a patio or garden has appeal for those who are trying to be eco-friendly. However, there is an extra weight involved. Plants can also penetrate the roof, creating cracks, leaks, or mold issues.
Flat Roof Maintenance Tips
If you have decided that a flat roof on your home or business is appealing, there are specific maintenance steps you need to take:
Perform Regular Inspection
All roofs should be inspected once or twice a year. However, flat roofs should be inspected every two or three months. Roof inspection specialists will make sure everything is intact.
You can do some of these monthly inspections yourself since flat roofs are easy to walk on. However, a professional roof inspection specialist should do a formal inspection at least twice a year. What are you looking for?
Check for things like:
- Blisters in the roof surface
- Holes in the roof surface
- Loose seams
- Soft spots
- Signs of rust
- Cracks in the surface or seams
- Water pooling
- Ice or snow buildup
- Signs that the drainage system for water is clogged
- Leaks or cracks in seams
- Gutters clogged with debris
If any of these occurs, it is time to call us. We provide free estimates.
Keep Roof Clear
Because of their low pitch, flat roofs collect debris, leaves, twigs, and dirt. Debris is unsightly. However, more importantly, it leads to moisture retention. This compromises your roof’s lifespan and can lead to an accumulation of algae, bacteria, and mold.
Keep Shrubs and Trees Cut Back from the Roof
Overhanging shrubs and trees aren’t healthy for any roof but they are particularly troublesome for flat roofs. Overhanging plants lead to more debris and thus the need to clean off the roof more frequently. Falling limbs can also damage the roof. Moss from nearby trees can accumulate on the roof. Once there, it will begin to grow. It is unsightly but also not good for the health of your roof.
Ensure Proper Drainage
Because of their lack of pitch, flat roofs accumulate water, ice, and snow. Pooling water indicates poor drainage. Have a roof inspector check to make sure your drainage system isn’t clogged. Cleaning of the drainage system should be part of regular inspection.
Check for Stress Points
Flat roofs may buckle or sag, or crack because of too much weight. This could be from water, ice, snow, debris, or heavy roof cleaning equipment.
Repair Leaks Immediately
All roofs may develop leaks. Flat roofs accumulate water faster so they are predisposed to leaking. If you notice a leak, call a roofing repair specialist immediately. He will assess the situation and make needed repairs before water has a chance to accumulate in walls or ceilings.
Avoid Weight Buildup
Water, ice, snow, debris, can all add weight. This puts stress on your flat roof. It can cause cracks, flat spots, or sagging. It can even cause roof collapse. To avoid undue weight, remove ice, snow, or debris.
The number one reason for issues with flat roofs is negligence. Small blister, crack, leaks, puddles, or soft spots can quickly become costly problems if ignored.
Plan for Replacement
Most flat roofs—no matter how well cared for—have a lifespan of between ten and twenty years. If repairs become frequent, it may be time to replace that roof.
Acknowledge Colorado Challenges
Colorado weather presents roofing challenges. Altitude affects materials. In Colorado’s air pressure, solar radiation, density, oxygen, temperature, and atmospheric water vapor change. This causes extra stress on a flat roof.
Colorado snow and ice accumulation can cause lumps of ice form to form at the edge of the flat roof in winter. Warm days and freezing nights invite the formation of an ice dam. Melting snow is then blocked from draining. Roof leaks and water dripping into your home or business will follow.
Colorado has three hundred days of sunshine. Constant heat will cause a flat roof to blister or crack. Heat and UV radiation wear down many roofing materials.
B&M Roofing – Experts in Flat Roof Repair & Replacement
Because Colorado’s climate presents roofing challenges, it is wise to choose a roofing specialist who understands what roofing materials will withstand the climate.
B & M Roofing is a Colorado-owned company with seventy years of successful service. We have a reputation for being fast, efficient, and economical. When it comes to flat roof maintenance, repair, and replacement, our roofing specialists know what they are doing.
B & M Roofing provides meticulous service to thousands of Colorado homes and businesses each year. They are licensed and insured roofing specialists committed to excellence.
Each roof inspection and repair receives the knowledge, experience, and expertise of a local team, dedicated to roofing repair and replacement.