Flat Roof Maintenance

Flat Roof Maintenance

A new roof is expensive; and while roofs are built to last many years, the reality is that over time all roofs will need repair and replacement eventually.  Nevertheless, there are ways to extend the lifespan of your roof – among the most important ways to protect your roof is a regular roofing inspection and maintenance plan.  So then, what is flat roof maintenance and what should you expect throughout the lifespan of your roof?  Let’s take a closer look at some of the more common problems that can affect the durability of a flat roof and what you should expect from flat roof maintenance.

Signs your Roof Requires Maintenance

There are a few tell-tale signs that your flat roof is in need of maintenance.  Ponding on the roof, damaged roofing materials, and material ridging are three common signs that your roof is in need of maintenance.

  • Ponding

Ponding is defined as accumulated water on the surface of your roof.  This is a common problem with flat roofs and when left unattended, ponding is a major cause of leaks and structural damage in your roof.  Ponding must either be removed or drainage systems need to be inspected or repaired when ponding occurs – never allow ponding to go unchecked!

  • Damage

Roofing structures and materials will become damaged over time – splits and cracks may appear along roofing joints or structures, material can sometimes blister, and roofing fasteners may become loose.  All these problems are signs that your roof requires maintenance, and catching these problems early can help prevent more significant problems down the road.

  • Ridging

Finally, riding occurs most often in bitumen built-up roofs when moisture condenses under roofing materials and causes ridges to appear under the felt.  Ultimately, ridging may lead to cracks which exposes your roof to leaks so must be addressed immediately.

Protecting your Investment

Now that we have a sense of some of the common problems affecting flat roofs, what can you do to protect your roof?  Essentially, a regular flat roof maintenance program is the key to maintaining the longevity of your roof.  The first step in flat roof maintenance is regular inspection.  Professional roofers recommend annual inspections that include:

  • Visual roof inspections
  • Comprehensive reporting of roof condition and findings
  • Surveys of roof moisture and heat loss

During the inspection process, your roofer needs to be on the roof looking for signs of ponding, damage, and ridging.  After the inspection, your flat roof maintenance program will include maintenance and restoration work to prevent further damage to roofing structures.  Of course, no roof lasts forever, so at some point your roofer will recommend either surface or complete re-roofing of your flat roof.  However, regular inspection and maintenance helps to prolong the lifespan of your roof and prevent the premature need for a new roof installation.  In other words, despite the cost associated with a roofing maintenance program, you can actually save money by avoiding roof replacement in the short term.