Common Issues Experienced with Flat Roofs

While flat roofs are most commonly found on commercial buildings, it is not unusual to see them in a residential setting. There are likewise many advantages that come with flat roofs, like the ease of installation and cost-efficiency.

However, the same factors that might make a flat roof sound appealing can cause issues down the line. We’re going to go over some of the most common flat roof issues.

Flat Roof

Exposure Problems

As we’ve discussed before, your roof takes the brunt of all Mother Nature throws at it. A standard pitched roof will not take the exposure evenly. Some sides will get more sun than others and some will get more snow.

With a flat roof, the exposure doesn’t wax or wane depending on the time of day or the way the wind is blowing. Instead, it’s constant, so exposure issues can be more significant.

Roof Leaks

A flat roof is, well, flat, which can lead to water problems. While roofs may be installed with a slope to encourage water runoff, the lack of a structural slope can cause issues such as ponding water.

When water ponds, it contributes to the roof’s weight and will ultimately cause it to sag if left untended. It can also start to grow algae, which can impact both the exterior and the interior.

Ponding water isn’t the only way leaks manifest with a flat roof. If moisture can’t drain, the water will find its way inside and cause more problems. Once water is in the house, repairs are extensive and costly.

Punctures and Tears

As we said above, flat roofs receive the full force of whatever the weather is on any given day. That means whenever there’s significant wind, storm activity, or hail, it’s more susceptible to damage.

After a storm rolls through the area, it’s generally a good idea to have your roof inspected to make sure you didn’t sustain roof damage that could worsen with time. This is especially true if you have a flat roof.

Torn flat roof

Debris Build Up

Every roof is going to be a host to debris over the course of its life. Leaves pile on, storms blow twigs and muck everywhere, animals make nests—it’s all a part of the roof life cycle.

Again, the lack of a slope works against the flat roofs in these situations. With nowhere to go, debris may stay put, clog up drains, and lead to further issues.

Roof Blisters

Prolonged exposure to the sun will take an effect on pretty much anything, and your roof is no exception. A flat roof, which receives all of the sun that’s out all of the time, can start to warp after a while. Some roofs may even “alligator,” meaning they have deteriorated enough that they resemble alligator skin.

Again, residential flat roofs aren’t terribly common in our area, but they are popular among certain modern home designs. If you’re building a home and considering a flat roof, take stock of the issues that are likely to arise to make the best possible decision. As always, Dale’s Roofing is here to help you maintain your roof, pitched or flat.


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