Tips for Maintaining a Flat Roof

In this article, Republic Roofing gives you tips for maintaining a flat roof. We can attribute the popularity of flat roofs to their low profile and lack of maintenance compared to pitched roofs. However, they require more upkeep than pitched roofs. Their materials are costlier, and they tend to accumulate debris and water.

Maintaining your flat roof can keep it in good condition. So, preventative care will lessen the chances of making expensive repairs.


First, Let’s Know Your Flat Roof

You can examine your roof more thoroughly if you know what to look for and where to focus your attention.

When inspecting or fixing your roof, knowing the material it is made from is crucial. Roofing contractors employ many common materials to construct flat roofs. They all have advantages and disadvantages to consider. 

Speaking in general terms:

  • EPDM (Rubber Membrane Roof): It is more vulnerable to puncture than other forms of roofing. But you can readily repair it. It rarely leaks and adapts well to temperature changes.
  • Modified Bitumen: It can be flexible in freezing conditions and help save energy costs. Yet, it is not as resistant to damage as an EPDM roof.
  • TPO and PVC: They are equally sturdy, resistant to the elements, and save energy. However, we must have cleared some relevant differences between the two:
  • TPO roofing is resistant to punctures, mold, and tears. But its lifespan may be lower than other flat roofing materials.
  • PVC is tougher, more stable, and lasts longer than TPO. Still, it does not perform as well in freezing temperatures.
  • Built-Up Roofs (BUR): BUR roofs are low-maintenance and aesthetically pleasing. But they may not fare as well as other roofing styles in severe weather. Moreover, the top layer of gravel might clog gutters and scuppers if it falls into those areas. While leaks in BUR roofs are uncommon, finding their origin can be difficult when they occur.

You must read the manufacturer’s instructions and the warranty on your flat roof material before performing repairs. Repairing one type of roof requires different skills and tools than doing the same for another.

Roofing repair is never an easy or safe task. Thus, get a professional and experienced roofer whenever you have any doubts.

7 Tips for Flat Roof Maintenance

  1. Inspect It Regularly: On a flat roof, issues might “hide.” A flat roof’s limited view is in stark contrast to that of a sloped roof. If you check your flat roof frequently, you can detect problems early. So, they will not cause costly damage to your roof or home.

You should inspect your roof at least twice a year and more often if there are nearby trees. Also, perform roofing inspections after storms or heavy snowfalls.

Look for signs of damaged insulation, soft points, blisters, fractures, debris, holes, leaks, corrosion, and pooled water.

  1. Clean Debris: Debris can accumulate more quickly on a flat roof. But you also can remove them faster and safer. You must sweep leaves, mud, branches, and anything else the weather throws up there with a broom. But be careful not to stand on the roof while doing so.
  2. Trim Nearby Branches: Remove any low-hanging or rubbing branches from trees surrounding your house. Falling branches or limbs rubbing against it can damage your roof. Besides, moss can grow from the branches to the roof. Tree branches also create a pathway for wildlife to enter your attic.
  3. Fix Leaks Quickly: Did you recently spot a leak on your flat roof? Call a roofing professional to repair it immediately to prevent mold and structural damage. Typically, leaks occur in joints or around flashing on flat roofs. So, inspect the flashing for any signs of cracked caulking. Generally, it is less expensive to repair a leak in a steep roof than in a flat one. 

Water cannot drain off the roof since it is flat. Instead of dripping into the interior, water will soak the roof’s underlying layers. When the water finally filters through the roof, it usually means the flat roof structure has suffered significant damage.

  1. Do Not Allow Any Weight Staying on the Roof: Snow and ice may put pressure on any roof. But a flat roof has nowhere for it to go. Your roof may be sturdy, but it can still succumb to the weight of snow and ice. Such loads can cause it to sag and allow water to enter. The worst case is that the ceiling caves in.

Getting rid of snow and ice may be a risky and arduous task. When it is chilly outside, TPO and PVC membranes contract. Thus, unintentionally puncturing your roof is easier in these circumstances. Besides, snow can cover vents and other structures, which can suffer damage when shoveling or raking snow. 

Calling the pros for snow and ice removal is the safest option if you cannot clear them from the ground.

  1. Clean Gutters and Downspouts: The presence of water or ice on the roof should raise red flags. Water can pool on flat rooftops if the drainage system does not work properly. Clutter like dirt, twigs, leaves, and pebbles can impede the water flow via drains, vents, scuppers, and gutters. Water pools on the roof when it does not drain correctly, leading to ice dams in the winter. 

Water collects on your roof when the drainage system cannot drain it properly. So, ensure the water from your roof drains away from your home. If it doesn’t, fix the flow by leveling, redirecting, or unblocking the system.

  1. Examine all joints, seals, and flashings: There is a high risk of leaks and cracks in the roof at the seams where different roofing materials meet. It is crucial to fix any damage, such as cracks or splits, so it does not worsen. Your roofer must protect with flashing leak-prone locations. Besides, repair or replace any loose or broken flashing.

Republic Roofing’s Got You Covered

Roofing is not like other home improvement jobs where you can save money by doing it yourself. Leaks, mold, and other expensive problems might develop because of a shoddy repair job. Even a level roof presents risks. Thus, do not leave your family’s security to chance.

For more information, contact Republic Roofing at 901-437-5278. We service areas in Lakeland, Germantown, Bartlett, Memphis, and Collierville, TN.