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How To Inspect And Maintain Flat Roofs

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It’s best if you inspect flat roofs every two to three years to look for signs of trouble and after every significant storm. How do you inspect and maintain a flat roof? Learn the signs to watch for when inspecting a flat roof.

What Damages Flat Roofs?

There are many different things that can damage flat roofs, including:

  • Over-exposure to sun
  • Lightning strikes
  • Freezing temperatures
  • Hail
  • Pounding rains
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Wind damage
  • Wind-driven debris
  • Exposure to outside chemicals

Will a Flat Roof Leak if Damaged?

Of course, flat roofs may leak if damaged. The water may come through the ceiling a long way from the place where the roof is damaged. The water may also build up for a while before leaking into the structure.

Steps to Inspecting a Flat Roof

While you may want to call a professional roofer to look at your flat roof, you can also inspect it yourself by following some easy steps.

Remove Debris

Depending on the roof’s location, it may be covered with leaves and other lightweight debris. It can be difficult to spot problems until you can see the roof. Therefore, use a broom or leaf blower to clean the roof.

Watch for any debris that may be caught under the roof or protrudes into it. This is a sign that your roof is leaking or will leak soon.

Inspect the Edge Strip

Climb partway back down the ladder and inspect the edge flushing clear around the roof at eye level. It should be firmly attached to the roof.

If pieces are missing or not securely fastened, then the roof may leak.

Look for Signs of Ponding

Grab the water hose and head back to the top of the roof. If you do not have a water hose that will reach the roof, you could also use a power washer. See if water puddles in some regions of the roof.

You can also do this after a rainstorm. If you see the water pooling, this is a sign of weakness in the roof’s design. You will need to contact a professional to determine why that area has settled and have them fix the problem.

Check for Weak Spots

Walk over the entire roof. If you feel any spots that seem to give way under your weight, then something is causing the roof’s decking to be weak in that spot.

Call a professional so that they can identify the problem and get it fixed.

Scrutinize the Flanges

If you have any pipes or other objects protruding through the flat roof, flanges should surround them to keep the roof from leaking at these points. Be sure that they are all present. They should also be fastened securely to the roof.

You may be able to repair very minor problems yourself. If you notice that these pieces are missing, bent or loose, then it is time to call in a professional.

Scan the Drains

If your flat roof has drains designed to remove water, make sure that they are not blocked. Pouring water down them allows you to see if they are working properly.

If you notice the drain is not working or seems partially blocked, seek out a professional.

Look for Loose Gravel

Depending on the type of flat roof you have, there should be an even amount of loose gravel across its surface. While you will want to look while you are on top of the roof, check this by walking around your flat roof after a rain. If you see a bunch of it on the ground, then it is a sign that your roof is damaged.

Discuss with a professional which type of flat roof meets your needs the best. Generally, flat roofs are built-up roofs, modified bitumen, or rubber membrane roofs, and they each have their advantages and disadvantages.

Learn more about the types in this video.

Scan the Attic

Even if the flat roof is not above an attic, crawl up there and look for wet spots. These spots indicate that water is getting in from somewhere. Your flat roof may be the culprit as water rolls downhill before it enters the home or business.

A professional can help you identify where the water is coming into the building.

Maintaining a Flat Roof

There are several steps that you can take to maintain a flat roof, including:

  1. Inspect for damage frequently, and get it repaired quickly.
  2. Minimize weight on the roof.
  3. Clean your gutters and drainpipes frequently.
  4. Recoat the roof often.
  5. Keep leaves and debris off the roof.
  6. Trim trees away from the roof.

Whenever you need professionals for your roofing needs, don’t hesitate to contact EZ Roofing.