Flat Roof Questions? What Homeowners Need to Know to Remain Leak Free

While far less common than slopes or peaks, many existing or newly built homes continue to use flat roofing materials on all or part of the structure. Newer homes are more likely to use more durable flat roofing materials made from ethylene propylene diene monomers, commonly called EPDMS or rubber membranes, however, older homes are more likely to have built-up roofs, sometimes called BUR flat roofs. These are comprised of layers of hot tar and small stones to achieve a watertight surface. 

Since flat roofs can make it more difficult for rainwater or melting snow to drain away, homeowners often wonder if they need to learn special care techniques in order to keep their flat roofs from springing a leak. If you are a homeowner who would like to learn more about maintaining your flat roof, here are three things you can do. 

Keep it clean 

The first thing homeowners should focus on when striving to prolong the lifespan of their flat roof is to make sure it is kept clean. Because there is no slope, any debris brought in by the wind or dropped from trees will settle on the surface of the flat roof. If not removed promptly, this debris layer will quickly become saturated with moisture and begin to heat up, much like a compost pile. The heat generated can quickly soften and weaken the flat roofing material and cause a leak to form. To keep a flat roof clean, homeowners can use a soft broom and garden hose to remove dirt and debris and then sweep off any remaining water on a regular basis. 

Have a regular inspection

Any roof can benefit by having regular inspections by a reputable roofing contractor and flat roofs are no exception. An annual inspection is an inexpensive way for homeowners to get a professional opinion on the condition and expected lifespan of their existing flat roof. If repair issues are noted, homeowners will be able to have the roofing contractor explain the problem and help them decide how it will need to be addressed. 

Budget for periodic care and replacement

Flat roofs, like all residential roofs, have a finite lifespan. Periodic care at regular intervals, such as resealing, may help extend the lifespan but homeowners will still need to plan ahead to cover the eventual cost of replacing their flat roof. Since flat roofing materials typically have a shorter lifespan than many other types of roofing, homeowners will want to seek the advice of a reputable roofing contractor to determine how often their particular flat roof should be replaced. 

For more information, contact a local roofing contractor, such as Commercial Solutions, Inc., to learn more.