6 Basic Things to Consider Before Replacing Your Flat Roof

When you think of flat roof replacement, there are certain things you need to consider in order to increase the longevity of your next roof, starting with the reason why you need a replacement. Improper slope, a clogged drainage system and structural problems are a few conditions that lead to replacement. Other reasons include R-Value, wind uplift and deck problems.

A flat roof is prone to more damage than other types of roofing because of its surface. Water stagnation and a blocked drainage system eventually lead to roof leakage. The major thing to figure out before replacing your flat roof is the cost of both the repair and its replacement. If a simple repair is enough, fine. But if the cost of the repair is near that of replacing the roof, you should opt for replacement. This blog is about the things you need to consider before replacing a flat roof.

Consider These Things Before Replacing the Flat Roof

1. Slope: The slope of a flat roof is its most important and tricky part. A simple mistake will lead to water clogging that results in roof leakage. When a poorly-leveled flat roof starts to leak, it has a more severe effect than any other type of damage. Imbalanced roof slope causes water stagnation. It is important to understand that flat roofs are not entirely flat and that the slope plays a vital role in the longevity of your roof. Therefore, when you are planning to replace it, speak to the contractor about the roof’s slope.

2. Roof Drainage: The slope and drainage go hand in hand. The roof water drainage system needs to be planned in a way that the pipes go straight down. This is because the roof is an open space, and leaves, branches, industrial debris, and rust from vents fitted on the roof will always find their way down the pipes. This lead to blockage if they curve and bend in multiple places. However, when straight pipes cannot be installed, you need to get inspections and cleaning done regularly.

Whether you opt for internal drains, gutters or scuppers for roof drainage, you need to make sure the flat roofing contractor you hire matches your roof drainage system with the slope. You must also evaluate how many drains are required and whether the scupper opening is large enough to pass the necessary volume of water. If not, there is a possibility of water clogging and eventually leading to roof damage.

3. Structural Loads: The more the structural load on the roof, the more the possibility of it sinking. You will have to be clear about this before you consider replacement. It is important to evaluate the amount of weight your roof can take, calculated in pounds per square foot (PSF). Roofs are engineered to withstand snow and rain loads based on their geographical location. So if your original roof was installed to withstand 2 PSF and in installing the replaced roof you add a few pounds, it will not be able to withstand the rain or snow. Therefore, it is important to analyze the roof type and make sure that the replacement is done based on the initial construction. Consult an engineer if you are not sure about the structural load of your roof.

4. R-Value: A roof’s ability to resist heat transfer is calculated by its R-Value. The higher the R-Value, the better the material insulates because it defines the amount of heat that is passed through the roof. It all depends on the material being used in the construction or installation. Consult with your contractor for the R-Value of your roof.

5. Wind: The edge of a flat roof is sensitive to wind damage because blowing wind creates pressure. If not managed it can lead to peeling and the degeneration of roof material.

6. Roof Decking Problem: If the decking on your roof has a structural problem, it might affect the roof floor as well. The wooden structure of the deck can bow down over time, leading to the roof sinking. Therefore, it is important to consider restructuring or remodeling the deck in order to avoid roof leakage.

When planning a flat roof replacement, it is important to take care of these basic things. Replacing your roof is a big decision. You need to take care of proper slopes and drainage, balance structural loads, calculate R-Value, manage roof decking, and have well-contructed edges to avoid damage caused by wind. The focus is to increase the lifespan of the replaced roof and make it worth every penny spent.

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