A roof is a major investment. It requires renovations, repairs and maintenance. Depending on the size of your property, how old the existing roof is and the materials used to create it, that investment can cost more than a new car. Additionally, if your property has a flat roof, it needs extra care and maintenance. If ignored, the time and money it takes to repair can easily spin out of control. However, when your roof is well taken care of, it can protect your property from damage for years. Here is what you can do to extend the life of your flat roof.
How to Extend the Life of Your Flat Roof
- Conduct Regular Inspections
Keeping track of your roof’s condition is one of the most important measures you can take to protect it and make it last. It’s vital to have it systematically and regularly inspected, including adjacent ceilings and walls. Regular inspections allow you to detect possible issues early, when they are relatively easy to deal with. Generally, it is advisable to have your roof inspected twice a year: in spring, to look for winter damage, and in fall, to assess summer damage. A comprehensive inspection will examine the drainage system and roofing membrane along with flashed areas such as the edges and penetrations. The intersections can suffer from leaks and, when not identified in time, lead to structural damage. Finding the source of issues early will help you avoid costly future repairs.
- Keep Traffic to a Minimum
There may be times when it becomes necessary for people to get up on your roof, such as for HVAC maintenance. No matter the reason, maintain a log of who can access your roof and how frequently they do. This should be done to prevent damage caused by foot traffic. A great idea is to design walkways around the roof or attach duckboards for individuals to follow.
- Perform Routine Maintenance
Minor issues left unchecked can seriously threaten your roof’s health and greatly reduce its lifespan. Routine maintenance will ensure that you avoid expensive repairs while increasing its life. Apart from biannual inspections, you should also set up routine maintenance, including the following:
- Remove debris such as branches, leaves and sticks.
- Clean gutters and drains to prevent waterlogging.
- Look for signs of moss, fungus and algae.
- Apply sealant to all damaged parts.
- Trim nearby trees.
- Replace damaged and missing components without delay.
- Remove accumulated snow.
- Fix Leaks
If your roof leaks, take care of it as soon as possible as moisture will break it down and eventually compromise its structural integrity.
- Check the Property’s Interiors
Performing an interior inspection allows you to spot potential issues caused by water damage and help you locate leaks that may otherwise be invisible to the naked eye. Look out for:
- Peeling paint
- Mould and mildew
- Water stains on the ceiling
If you come across any of these signs, contact a professional roofer ASAP.
- Apply Reflective Paint
Darker colours absorb more heat than lighter colours. If your property has a dark roof, it’s absorbing more heat than a lighter one, increasing the temperature in your property. This, in turn, will result in having to jack up your AC to cool your property down. Use reflective paint to reduce solar heat gain. In this way your house stays cooler even on the hottest days and saves on energy costs. Also, it is versatile enough to be applied to any surface including but not limited to bitumen, concrete, metal and brick.
- Inspect the Drainage System
A flat roof relies on a properly designed and installed drainage system to get rid of unwanted standing water, which, if not disposed of, can break it down. This can lead to further leaks along the roof’s seams, which can damage the building’s structural integrity. To prevent this, make sure the drainage outlets are functioning properly and that there are no blockages due to debris or anything else.
- Hire a Roofing Company
Since any major inspection, repair or maintenance work requires knowledge, experience, skills and equipment, you should ensure they are performed by a professional roofing company. The pros can identify problems the untrained eye can’t. Additionally, they will thoroughly inspect your roof membrane, check for broken seams, holes in the asphalt, gaps in flashing and punctures in the metal panels. If there is cause for concern, they’ll take care of it before it turns into a bigger problem.
Since a roof is a big investment, it makes sense that you would want it to last a long time. However, over time, they may lose their reliability due to normal use. Repairs can burn a hole in your pocket as they can be time consuming and expensive. The best approach is to follow these simple measures. They will not only prolong the life of your flat roof but prevent major expenditures in the long run.