How To Prevent Leaks On A Flat Roof

Construction & Contractors Blog

Flat roofing provides a simple, cheaper alternative to pitched roofs for both commercial and residential applications. The roofing is prone to several problems such as thermal movement due to thawing and cooling and water seepage due to water standing on the roof.

A flat roof design is slightly slanted to prevent water pooling, but there are issues that can cause water to infiltrate the surface and cause problems such as rotting of underlying structures, damage to electrical wires and flooding in the building. Here is a look at several tips to prevent your flat roof from leaking.

Clear any debris

Tree branches, leaves and other debris are notorious for blocking the flow of water through the roof surface or redirecting water away from the drains and thus causing pooling. Such debris can also gouge the roofing material, opening up gaps in the seams and roof membrane that lead to severe water seepage.

To prevent such problems, you should take time to sweep your roof to clear debris regularly. This is especially crucial after huge storms that usually drag all sorts of debris onto the roof. A push broom can effectively clear off debris from the roof surface, though you should avoid pushing the debris into the drains.

It also helps to thoroughly inspect the drainpipes for any debris that could be blocking water flow from the roof and thus causing pooling. A slight knock on the pipes should tell you if there is an obstruction or not. Blocked metal drains will usually produce a dull sound as opposed to a hollow sound from a clear drain. If there are any obstructions, use a pressure washer to shoot a jet of water though the pipes to clear them up.

Inspect and fix the flashing and seams

Regular inspection of the metal flashing on your flat roofing could help you detect leaks, especially in areas where the roof sheathing meets the chimney, skylights and exhaust pipes. If there are any gaps in such roof areas, fix them by installing new flashing to hold fasten them to the roof. You can install a new flashing by bending it around the base of the loose part and hammering it in place using roofing nails until level with the roof.

Finally, walk along the seams and check for any gaps that would let in moisture. The most notorious areas for damage are on the edges, where roof sealant may have eroded over time. If you notice any gaps, call in a roofer, such as Bell Roof Co, to apply caulking or roof tar on the seams to restore a tight seal.


21 September 2015

Those Cold, January Nights

When I was in college, I lived in an old house just south of the university campus with five other girls. When we came back from Christmas break, the heater was broken. The beginning of January was the coldest time of the year, and because it was the weekend, the heating company couldn't come fix it for a few days. My roommates and I pulled our mattresses into the front room and slept all together to keep warm. Two weeks later, our heater broke again! That time we ended up getting a completely new furnace. Needless to say, we got to be good friends with the heating contractor that month, and it was a good experience that led to the creation of this blog.