My Flat Roof Is Leaking. Why? (5 Common Reasons Explained)

Flat roofs require more attention than standard types, whether it’s a commercial property or your house.

While they’re easy to build and have certain benefits, they require regular inspection and maintenance to ensure they function properly.

The most difficult aspect of owning a building with a flat roof is knowing whether you just need a few minor roof repairs or a complete roof replacement. From cracks and buckling to water pooling and leaking, flat roofs can experience a lot of problems.

Below, we discuss some of the most common causes of flat roof leakage so you can identify them properly and figure out if you need to contact a roofing company.

5 Biggest Reasons Behind Flat Roof Leakage

Flat roofs are easy to install, access and repair. They also provide a convenient area to install HVAC units and space for other purposes, such as a rooftop patio.

But leakage is a big concern. Here are some of the most common causes and how to know when to schedule roof repairs.

  1. Damaged Flashing

Flashing is installed at the exterior edges of the roof and interior walls to protect the roof membrane. When it’s not installed correctly or is damaged by wind or temperature changes, the edges of the roof can become exposed. This allows water to seep in.

Asphalt flat roofs tend to expand and contract with changing temperatures and weather. Over time, this constant expansion and contraction can cause the flashing to move away from the edges and corners, resulting in moisture accumulating inside your roof. The best way to avoid these problems is to inspect your roof regularly. If the leaks become too big, or you notice a lot of damage to the flashing, you may need to replace your roof completely. A roofing expert can tell you what precautions to take in order to ensure its longevity.

  1. Water Pooling

This is one of the most common reasons for flat roof leakage because it’s easier for rainwater and melted snow to collect on a flat roof than a sloped one.

While most roofing materials are made to stand up to water, these pools should be drained as soon as possible. You must then check to make sure water hasn’t seeped into the roof’s inner layers. If water pools for a long time, it will likely deteriorate the roof, thus shortening its lifetime. Pooling water is typically the result of the incorrect roof sloping, sagging, or clogs in the drainage.

If you notice signs of structural weakness like bowed ridgelines, cracked chimneys or creaking, it’s time to get your roof inspected.

  1. Roof-Penetrating Structures

Flat roofs are particularly vulnerable to leaks if any structures rise up through its surface. These include plumbing vents, pipes, gas lines, and other building elements. Tactics to protect your roof from these structure-induced damages include rain collars, field wraps and pipe boots.

However, water may still work its way past these defences, so all roofing inspections should include a thorough check of roof-penetrating structures.

  1. Age

No matter how cautious you are in following a strict roof maintenance routine, all roofs become susceptible to leaks and cracks with age. That includes newer flat roofing systems that last longer than older ones but will eventually reach the end of their natural life.

How quickly your roof ages and need to be replaced or repaired depends on a few factors. These include the efficiency of the initial installation, the roofing material you choose, and climatic conditions in your area.

  1. Poor Workmanship

Faulty installation can shorten the roof’s lifespan, so you must hire experienced and reputable roofers near you. Mismatched roofing shingles, shingles inserted on low-pitched roofs, or putting new shingles over old ones are just a few examples of improper installation. Make sure your roofers are adept in the use of advanced roofing tools and methods.

Regular roof inspections are vital to detecting problems early and repairing them before they result in costly structural damage. If you’re concerned about signs of leakage in your flat roof, arrange an inspection from a professional roofing company. Depending on how old your roof is and its condition, they may suggest simple repairs or a complete roof replacement.

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