Flat roofs on commercial buildings, while offering practical advantages and sleek design, are susceptible to a range of issues that can affect their functionality and longevity. In this article, we’ll discuss common problems encountered with flat roofs, such as leaks, ponding water, and damage from UV rays, along with practical solutions to each challenge. Understanding these issues and their remedies is essential for maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of your commercial building’s roofing system.
Understanding Flat Roofs
Unlike sloped roofs, flat roofs feature an almost level profile with a slight incline to facilitate water drainage. Common materials for these roofs known for their durability and protective qualities, include:
- Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is a durable synthetic rubber membrane widely used in buildings with flat roofs.
- Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is a single-ply white membrane used on both residential and commercial building. Because TPO is white, it is able to reflect heat.
- Modified bitumen is made of asphalt combined with rubber or plastic, reinforced with fiberglass to create a rugged but flexible waterproof membrane.
Common Problems with Flat Roofs
Leaks – Obviously, leaks are one of the more serious problems with flat roofs. These can be caused by anything from severe weather to foot traffic, and water can enter the building through cracks, seams, or improperly sealed areas. Even the smallest leak can wreak havoc on the interior of the building, where it can cause water damage and lead to mold and mildew.
- Solution – Regular roof inspections can help stop leaks before they become a major issue. If any cracks, worn-out sealants, or damaged flashing is found, they can be patched with fresh sealant.
Ponding Water – Flat roofs are not exactly flat. They have a gentle slope to direct water off the roof. When water is obstructed with debris or damage, water will pond. If this water remains on the roof, it can cause leaks, moss, and algae growth.
- Solution – Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear. If the problem is an uneven roof, consider having a professional commercial roofer adjust it.
Blisters and Bubbles – These form when moisture gets trapped between layers of roofing material and causes a bumpy or uneven surface. This is usually caused by improper installation or underlying damage.
- Solution – This is a situation where it’s best to call in a professional. Future blisters can be prevented by ensuring proper ventilation, using high quality materials, and hiring a reliable commercial roofer to do the work.
UV Rays – UV rays can wear out roofing materials over a period of time, causing them to weaken, crack and lose their protective coating. This can shorten the lifespan of your roof.
- Solution – Protect your roof by applying UV resistant coatings to extend the life of your roof.
Pests – Birds, rodents, and insects can damage your roof, leading to leaks and other roof damage.
- Solution – Regularly inspect and seal potential pest entry points and consider deterrents to keep pests away.
Thermal Shock – As you can imagine, roofs are subjected to wide swings in temperatures. Rapid changes can cause roofing material to expand and contract, which can lead to cracks, splits, and excess strain on the entire roofing system.
- Solution – Minimize this issue through effective insulation, which maintains a more consistent roof temperature.
Neglect – Neglecting your roof is a recipe for problems. Small issues can become major ones if not remedied promptly.
- Solution – Regular roof inspections are the solution, as they allow you to catch problems before they cause extensive damage.
Poor or Improper Installation – If the roofing company doesn’t install your roof properly, you will have problems. Crooked seams, shoddy materials, and taking short cuts during the installation process can mean big trouble.
- Solution – Select a reputable roofing contractor to avoid installation related problems.
Proper maintenance and understanding of the unique challenges of flat roofs are vital for the health of commercial buildings. By acknowledging these common issues and implementing the suggested solutions, building owners can ensure their flat roofs are durable, functional, and efficient. Regular professional inspections and timely interventions are the keys to the longevity of your flat roofing system.
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For complete commercial roofing services, reach out to the experts here at Paul Bange Roofing. For over 30 years, we have served residents and business owners alike with quality commercial roofing, affordable prices, and outstanding customer service. The level of high quality workmanship we bring to each job site is unparalleled, and all our work comes with a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. In addition, your commercial roofing job will be backed by a lifetime warranty via membership in our Overhead Care Club.
Whether you need a roof for your small warehouse or large estate home, you can trust us to handle the job with careful precision. We show up on time, fulfill any promises made, and we work hard to make sure that everything is done right the first time. If you are in need of a roofer, if you’d like to request a free estimate, or if you just want some information about our company, visit our website or give us a call at 954-981-ROOF(7663), 561-981-ROOF(7663), or 305-981-ROOF(7663).