Essential Tips for Flat Roof Maintenance

July 3rd, 2023

Flat roofs are usually seen on commercial buildings, but they’re becoming more common on residential ones. This type of roofing system offers some advantages, such as good energy efficiency, easy installation, and simple maintenance. Whether you have a flat roof or you’re thinking about having one installed, knowing what’s involved in maintaining it is important.

A well-maintained flat roof experiences fewer issues over time and lasts longer overall. The following guide can help you understand why flat roof maintenance is essential. You’ll also learn how to maintain your roof and when to have a roofing contractor handle maintenance tasks.

Understanding Flat Roofs

What exactly is a flat roof? Despite the name, this type of roofing system doesn’t actually lie flat. In fact, it has a low slope or pitch. All roofs need to have some slope in order to allow water to drain. Flat roofing has a much lower slope compared to a pitched roof.

Different types of flat roof systems are available for residential and commercial buildings. These include the following: modified bitumen, built-up roofing (BUR), and single-ply or membrane

Modified bitumen roofs are asphalt-based roofing systems that come in large rolls. These flat roofs offer flexibility and durability.

Built-up roofing has several layers, including an asphalt or tar layer and a top layer made of gravel. This is typically a roofing system used for commercial flat roofs due to its extra weight and odors.

Single-ply or membrane roofs are available in different roofing materials, including ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM)) and thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO).

Flat roofs offer certain benefits, but they also have potential drawbacks. Since water from rain or snow stays on these roofs longer, ponding or pooling can occur. This can lead to water damage. Good drainage and regular maintenance can help prevent this.

Flat roofing systems offer versatility and energy efficiency. They provide a roof surface for solar panels, HVAC units, rooftop gardens, and other uses. Flat roof installation also tends to be easier than pitched roof installation.

Importance of Preventative Flat Roof Maintenance

Routine maintenance on your flat roof is essential for many reasons. When you have preventative roof maintenance done, this lowers the risk of having major issues or severe damage occur. Maintaining your flat roof also helps keep it in good condition year after year instead of developing excess wear and tear.

What kinds of problems can happen if you don’t maintain your roof on a regular basis? Potential issues that can occur include roof leaks and damage from debris that builds up. The membrane that’s part of your roofing system can also become worn down, resulting in a higher risk of water damage in your home or building.

Flat roofs can last for decades when they receive regular maintenance. Keeping your flat roofing system clean and free of debris or water buildup can help extend its lifespan. This means you can go longer before needing a roof replacement. You’ll also have a lower risk of needing minor repairs or costly repairs over the years.

Indicators it’s time for Maintenance to your Flat Roof

How do you know if it’s time for maintenance? Common signs that a flat roof is due for maintenance include visible damage, such as cracks. You should also have roof repairs and maintenance done if your flat roof has any leaks. Other signs that your roof needs maintenance include pooling water, debris buildup, and algae or mold growth.

Local weather and environmental factors can affect the condition of your flat roof. Severe storms with downpours, hail, or high winds can cause damage to flat roofing systems. Wind can blow debris onto your roof or cause tree branches to scratch or scrape against the surface. Hail can leave dents and cracks, while heavy rains can lead to serious pooling. Exposure to UV rays might also affect your flat roof, depending on its roof material. Some materials can deteriorate due to UV exposure over the years.

When should you call a professional residential or commercial roofing contractor? If you have any signs of damage or issues with your flat roof, you should schedule repairs and maintenance. If your roof hasn’t had any kind of preventative maintenance in awhile, it’s also a good time to call a professional.

Flat Roof Maintenance Checklist

What kinds of tasks are part of proper maintenance for a flat roof? Routine inspections and cleaning are important for keeping your roof in good condition. Inspections can help you find problems with your roof that can be addressed now to prevent further damage. Cleaning helps keep leaves, dirt, and other debris from accumulating on the roof surface. A buildup of debris can raise the risk of roof damage and leaks.

Proper drainage system upkeep is also essential for flat roof maintenance. Since these roofs don’t have a steep slope, it’s harder for water to drain from them. Making sure your drainage system is in good shape helps lower the risk of pooling water and leaks. Depending on your drainage system, this might involve keeping gutters and downspouts clear of blockages or debris.

Checking and maintaining flashing should also be part of routine maintenance. Flashing is the metal or rubber around vents and other areas of your roof that have a higher risk of leaks. These protrusions go through your roof, leaving gaps around the openings. Flashing helps protect these areas. Damaged, cracked, or worn flashing needs to be replaced or repaired to keep these areas safe from water damage.

Regular re-coating and sealing is a maintenance task that helps ensure your flat roof’s performance. Coating and sealants can become worn over time, putting your roof at risk of developing leaks and other kinds of damage. Your roof membrane or material isn’t able to keep water out as effectively when it’s not properly sealed and coated. Re-coating and sealing as often as needed prevents this from happening.

DIY Flat Roof Maintenance

Homeowners or building owners can do some simple maintenance and repair tasks. However, it’s crucial to use safe methods to lower the risk of injuries. If you’re going onto your roof to inspect it, make sure to wear shoes that offer a good grip or traction

instead of being slippery. Consider wearing a safety helmet while you’re up on your roof. Even though flat roofs are safer to walk on compared to pitched roofs, you should still be cautious. Watch for puddles of water. Avoid walking on rotted areas and skylights.

What kinds of easy repairs and tasks can you do on your own? In addition to careful inspections, you can clean debris off your roof. Pick up large branches and sweep up smaller debris. If you have any trees close to your building or home, trim any branches that hang over your roof. This helps keep your roof safe from damage.

When should you hire a professional roofing contractor to maintain your roof? You should have a professional thoroughly inspect your roof and handle any necessary repairs. A roofing contractor should also take care of maintenance tasks that you’re unable to do on your own. In general, you should have a professional roofer inspect and maintain your flat roof at least once a year or more often as needed.

Trust Leverage Roofing for all Flat Roofing Repairs!

When choosing a professional, make sure you hire a reliable and experienced roofing contractor. Your contractor should have many years of experience performing flat roof inspections, maintenance, and repairs. Hiring a qualified roofer means they’ll know what to look for and how to handle any issues your roof has. They should also have a reputation for providing dependable service in your area. This helps ensure that you’ll have high-quality roofing maintenance done.

When you need flat roof maintenance done, count on Leverage Roofing. We offer high-quality roofing services for residential and commercial customers in the Carolinas. Our locally owned and operated roofing company is licensed, bonded, and insured. Our knowledgeable team of roofing professionals can give your flat roof a thorough inspection and determine what tasks are needed to keep it in good shape. Contact us to learn more about our roofing services and set up a maintenance plan.

Although you can do some roof maintenance tasks yourself, having professional maintenance done offers important benefits. Roofing experts can handle inspections, maintenance, and repairs, so you don’t have to risk your safety walking around on your roof.

Having professional contractors do these tasks also ensures that any issues with your flat roof are found and addressed now. This helps reduce the risk of costly repairs or the need for an early roof replacement.  

Regular maintenance is a big factor in keeping your flat roof in excellent condition over the years. It also helps protect your interior from severe water damage. Set up a routine maintenance plan with Leverage Roofing to help ensure that your roof gets the care it needs. Call us for timely roof repair services as well to prevent additional damage to your flat roofing system.