Whether you own a commercial building with a flat roof or your home has one, this unique type of roof often requires more work than other standard types of roofs. We’re here to explain the six most common flat roofing problems so you know what to expect. 

The 6 Most Common Flat Roofing Problems

Sure, flat roofs may be simpler to build, but they require a lot of regular maintenance, inspections, and upkeep to ensure everything is functioning properly. The most challenging part about having a flat roof is knowing whether you need to get it replaced or if you just need to do a few minor repairs.

For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of the top 6 most common flat roofing problems and how best to deal with them, depending on their severity.

1. Alligatoring 

One of the most prominent signs that your flat roof needs replacing is alligatoring. Alligatoring is when the asphalt used to build your flat roof has aged and lost elasticity, causing it to crack and bubble and resemble the skin of an alligator. 

Unfortunately, when alligatoring occurs, your flat roof has deteriorated past the point of no return and will need to be replaced. 

2. Leaks and Moisture

Leaks and lingering moisture are other common issues with flat roofs. If you’re proactive and deal with these roof issues right away, you might be able to avoid a total roof replacement

Yes, any roof can be susceptible to leaks, but the water doesn’t have anywhere to go with flat roofs. This results in moisture seeping through the roof itself, causing more problems down the line, such as mold and mildew. 

The best way to deal with a roof leak is to inspect your roof regularly and fix any issue that’s found in a timely manner. 

3. Buckling in the Membrane

Most asphalt flat roofs are constructed similarly to shingled roofs in that they are made up of a membrane soaked in asphalt and then laid across the top of the building to make the roof. Unlike shingled roofs, however, the membrane on a flat roof is all one piece.

This means that over time, as your house shifts and settles, so will your roof. Excessive movement can cause buckles in that asphalt roof membrane, which signals the end of your flat roof’s life. A buckling roof isn’t safe to live under and can cause major problems over time. 

If you discover buckling in your roof’s membrane, it’s best to repair it immediately. 

4. Pooling Water

When your roof is flat, there’s nowhere for precipitation to go when it rains or snows, and water can begin to pool. Most roofing materials are manufactured to hold up to water, but you should still drain these pools as soon as possible and check to ensure that water doesn’t seep into the lower layers of the roof.

If pooling is allowed to linger, it’s likely to deteriorate your roof’s exterior, shortening the flat roof’s lifetime.

5. Cracking

Flat roofs tend to have more pressure exerted on them since they are flat instead of slanted. Sometimes this pressure can build up, and if the pressure and stress become excessive, it can cause your roof to crack. If your roof does crack, you should call a professional immediately. 

Also, note that a roof crack can signify that your roof is structurally compromised and it’s time for a new one.

6. Flashing

Like most other materials, asphalt flat roofs tend to expand and contract with changing weather and temperatures. Over time, this continued expansion and contraction can cause the flashing to pull away from the edges and corners of your roof, leading to leaks and moisture that can get trapped inside your roof. 

The best way to avoid damaged roof flashing is to inspect and maintain your flat roof regularly. Once the leaks become significant, or if you have a lot of deterioration in the flashing, you’ll be forced to get a new roof.

Werner Roofing and Flat Roofs — Contact Us for Help!

If you have questions about the condition of your flat roof, or if you think it’s time to get it inspected, call the experts at Werner Roofing. With more than 20 years of experience i as professional roofers in West Michigan, we’ll be able to tell you exactly what’s going on and fix it in a timely fashion.

If you’re unsure what condition your flat roof is in or what might need to be repaired, you can request a free quote online or call us at (616) 844-5382 today!

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