Recognizing The Signs Of Roofing Problems On Flat Roofs

Most people know that a leaking roof is bad news, but that's not the only sign that your roof is in trouble. If the flat roof of your business is damaged or in disrepair, you may not be aware of the problem until it starts leaking, and potentially damaging other parts of your building. Here are some of the most common signs of roofing problems your business may experience, and what you can do to prevent them.

Puddles on your flat roof

Flat roofs don't drain the way sloped roofs do, so some minor accumulation of rainwater is to be expected, especially after a heavy downpour. If your roof has puddles forming on it when it rains, it could be a sign that there is an indention on the roof that needs to be filled in or built back up in order to let the water drain properly. Over time, this standing water can damage the sealant on your roof, and lead to structural damage.

The best way to deal with puddles on your roof is to have a roof inspection to determine what's preventing the water from draining properly. It may be a simple fix, such as clearing the gutters to allow the water to flow away, or it may require building up any indentations so that the roof is made flat again. 

Blisters or bubbles on a flat roof

If you look at your roof and notice that there are blisters or bubbles in certain places, you may have a moisture problem to contend with. Many roof bubbles are caused by changes in temperature that damage the roof covering. Heat, cold, and the sun can damage exposed roof covers if the gravel that covers them is removed or eroded. They can be filled with water from cracks along the bubble itself, or from leaks along the flashing on the roof.

To prevent the bubbles from damaging your roof, they'll need to be patched. If there are lots of these bubbles on your roof, you may want to consider having the entire roof re-covered and re-sealed instead.

Damaged flashing on a flat roof

Flashing is the material that covers the edge of your roof and prevents water from getting in under the edge. It's usually a metal, like aluminum or steel, and it is vulnerable to bad weather conditions. High winds can pull the flashing away from the roof, allowing water to get in and under the edge of the roof and causing damage to your building. Sometimes, it's easy to tell if the flashing is damaged, because it will appear bent or pulled away from the building. If you have vents or a chimney on the roof, the flashing around these areas could also be damaged, but they are harder to see from the ground.

If your flashing is damaged, it's a fairly simple fix. The flashing can be replaced quite easily by a professional roofer, who can also check for any water damage caused by the damaged flashing.

Cracks on your flat roof

Cracks are usually caused when your roof contracts and expands with changes in the outdoor temperature. Roofing materials should be designed to handle this natural movement, but over time, they can become less flexible, leading to cracks in the layers of your flat roof. These cracks are often discovered when you notice a leak in your ceiling, but regular roof inspections can catch these cracks before the damage gets that far.

Some cracks can be patched over to make the roof waterproof again. If the roof has become spongy or unstable due to the cracks, you may have to have the entire roof replaced. 

Most problems with flat roofs can be minor if they are caught early. Don't let your roof remain "out of sight, out of mind." Schedule regular inspections, and have a professional roofer make any needed repairs, and you'll get a longer life out of your flat roof.

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