A high-quality flat roof, whether on a commercial or residential building, should ideally last anywhere between 40 and 50 years. But if not maintained periodically, it may not survive half that long.
A property’s roof is its first line of defence against weather. So, it’s vital that you schedule a flat roof inspection from time to time to identify and address problem areas. Knowing its issues can help protect your building by allowing you to prevent and treat minor issues and therefore extend the roof’s life.
But not all flat roof inspections are equal. So, how can you make the most out of yours? Here is a list of questions to ask your roofing contractor to find out whether they’re covering all the bases.
Essential Questions to Ask During a Flat Roof Inspection
When you get in touch with a flat roof expert, you need to know what questions to ask them to ensure they can effectively diagnose what is wrong. Here is a list to get you started.
1. How old is the roof?
Flat roofs are meant to last approximately 40 years. The newer varieties offer the best protection against natural forces, including heat, while an older one may have already started showing signs of wear and tear.
If you are in the process of buying a property, asking this question will allow any replacement or repair costs to be factored into your overall cost. Additionally, this will help you understand whether your flat roof is close to the end of its life cycle or merely needs minor repairs for the foreseeable future.
2. Are there any specific parts you are concerned about?
Flat roofs tend to have various areas with low sloping. These roofing systems are susceptible to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays and moisture, which, over time, increase the chances of water pooling. This causes further damage to the different roofing membranes, resulting in cracks and the flashing becoming loose. Furthermore, it allows rainwater to accumulate and seep into different areas of the building and cause damage. When inspecting your flat roof, your contractor will be able to find these areas and inform you about the necessary steps to take. They will also be able to detect other potential warning signs and advise you on the best way to proceed.
3. Did you find any holes or cracks?
The inspector should examine your roof carefully for holes and cracks. Along with assessing the overall condition and wear and tear on your roof, they should check for small areas of damage, even if it is relatively new. Holes and isolated cracks can be a good entry point for animals and bugs. Even the smallest crack or hole can lead to water leakage issues which can cause severe damage if left unchecked and untreated.
4. Are the membrane perimeters up to standards?
There are several factors that may harm the integrity of your flat roofing, including the membrane perimeter. So, it’s a good idea to find out whether your roofing contractor used the right amount of perimeter sheets when installing your flat roof. This will also help you find out whether the manufacturer’s specifications were followed. Remember, an improperly installed perimeter affects the integrity of your entire roof and puts your building in harm’s way.
5. How will they document damage?
Find out how your roofing contractor documents damage. This will come in handy if your roof has insurance as you will need to submit proof and adequate documentation to guarantee your claim is processed properly.
6. What maintenance tips can extend my roof’s lifespan?
When dealing with flat roofing systems (whether made with PVC, TPO, or EPDM), know that they are vulnerable to environmental stressors such as pooling water, growing vegetation, and organic debris. These, along with leaking or clogged downspouts, improper flashing, and poor craftsmanship, can lead to premature roof failure.
Among various other issues, an improperly-maintained roof will lead to wrinkling, blistering, splits and seams that can cause interior damage that is costly to fix when not identified in time. By talking to your flat roofing inspection contractor, you will find out the exact condition of your building’s roof.
They will also be able to create a preventative roof maintenance program suitable for your property. To that end, it’s a great idea to maintain records of past inspections, warranties, building specifications, and other important paperwork that can come in handy later.
7. How long will it take to replace/repair my flat roof?
Ideally, your flat roof contractor will inform you how long it will take to repair whatever issues they find. However, it’s a good idea to know their plan in case it begins storming while they are working. Ask whether they will cover the roof to prevent mishaps or do they have a wait-and-see approach towards weather-related issues.
Before investing in flat roof repair or replacement, it’s a good idea to have a certified and experienced professional conduct a thorough inspection. This will help create a clearer picture of your property and what problems you may face. With a flat roof inspection performed by an expert, you know how to keep it in great condition which will save you money in the long run.