Flat roofs are affordable, unobtrusive and relatively easy to maintain. However, as many types of flat roofs incorporate asphalt-based substances and felt, among other similar materials, they pose some concerns over their longevity. This is where preventive maintenance comes in.
Depending on the original installation and quality of materials used, a typical flat roof can last up to 50 years before needing to be replaced. By carrying out regular checks and proper maintenance, you make sure your roofing doesn’t suffer excess wear and tear or major damage, which can negatively affect its performance.
As a property owner, if you want to avoid expensive repairs, here are some reasons why you must take precautionary measures and the best ways to go about them.
4 Benefits of Preventive Flat Roof Maintenance
We’ve listed some ways your property will benefit from preventive maintenance and in turn help you save money in the long run.
Increases Its Service Life
The life cycle cost of your flat roof is the money you can expect to pay over its lifespan. By conducting regular proactive maintenance, you greatly reduce that cost by prolonging the overall service life of your roof. This saves you from time-consuming and costly repairs and helps avoid untimely replacements. Like the roof itself, taking precautionary measures is an investment that shouldn’t be ignored.
Protects the Exterior and Interior
Any form of extreme weather, be it high winds, hail storms or snow and ice, can wreak havoc on a flat roof. Year-round temperature fluctuations along with UV exposure can stretch the seams and loosen bolts. Storms can result in scratches, tears and dents appearing on your roof among other kinds of damages. All of these can also lead to leaks, which can damage your property’s interiors.
But with regular maintenance, you’ll be able to take a closer look at your flat roof more often. This means you are more likely to catch minor issues before they cause any serious damage to the property or inhabitants.
Keeps the Scuppers and Drains Clear
A scupper is a drainage outlet that runs accumulated water off your flat roof through a wall or raised roof edge. They allow water to enter through the roof deck where it’s channelled with a system of pipes below. It’s necessary to keep all scuppers and drains clear of debris to ensure they function properly. If a drain or scupper is clogged, water will back up and pool. This, in turn, can lead to rust, leaks and other forms of damage that are costly to repair. These can be avoided with regular maintenance to protect both the property and your wallet.
Minimizes Repair/Replacement Costs
Although preventative maintenance isn’t cost free, it’s a lot less pricey than a complete roof replacement. Property owners who maintain their flat roof without any professional assistance generally end up paying much more than those who perform checks two to three times a year.
Simple Flat Roof Maintenance Tasks to Follow
As a responsible property owner, here are some simple steps you can take to ensure your flat roof stays in great condition.
Keep an Eye on Its Condition
There are signs to look out for that indicate possible damage. Make note of the following signs on both the outside and inside of the building:
- Sagging roof lines
- Water stains on ceiling and walls
- Moss or plant growth on the roof
- Dark streaks on the roof
- Bad indoor air quality and mould growth
- Higher energy bills
Once you’ve noted these signs, contact your roofing company. They’ll perform thorough inspections, along with taking a visual scan of the surface, explore the damage and suggest the best course of action.
Trim Nearby Trees
Tree branches that overhang your building can damage the roof. On particularly windy days, low hanging branches can scratch the surface and, in extreme cases, remove layers of asphalt. In the case of storms, branches can break off and damage the surface. Fallen leaves can also clog gutters and drainage systems, preventing them from emptying accumulated water efficiently. Roofing experts generally recommend trimming all branches within six feet of a flat roof.
Repair or Replace Roof Sheet (As Necessary)
All visible punctures and cracks should be addressed immediately upon being spotted to prevent major leaks. A roofing company can offer their honest opinion as to whether it’s a better idea to repair the roof or replace it altogether. Sometimes the cost of fixing multiple areas outweighs the cost of a new roof.
So, if you’re dealing with a flat roof near the end of its lifespan, it may be a better idea to replace it instead of trying to fix the surface. It’s vital to know exactly where it is in its life cycle to ensure you plan repairs or a replacement accordingly.
The Best Time to Have Your Roof Inspected
Roofing experts recommend having flat roofs maintained and repaired biannually. The most suitable seasons are spring and autumn as they can help prepare the property to face summer heat and winter cold.
Along with scheduled maintenance, it’s vital to have inspections after severe weather events such as thunderstorms, tornadoes and hail or snowstorms to ensure damage is minimized. Make sure your contractor offers emergency repair services and is prompt in their response to ensure damage is repaired.
It’s better to spend a little money now to save big in the future. Failing to invest in preventive maintenance for your flat roof will likely cost you a lot more in repairs and replacements. With so many reasons to keep up on proactive, regular maintenance, it’s really a no-brainer. Experienced roofers will perform routine inspections to ensure it remains healthy. These can double the remaining life of your roof and save you the trouble of having it replaced anytime soon.