8 Tips for Maintaining a Flat Roof

8 Tips for Maintaining a Flat Roof

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Maintaining the roof of your commercial property is essential as an investor. Knowing how to maintain your roof can help save time and, ultimately, money. Each year, there are approximately 5 million new roofs installed on homes throughout the US, according to Forbes. If your current property has a flat roof, it’s not only important to know the signs it requires a repair or a replacement, but it’s also imperative to know how to maintain it as best as you can yourself. Knowing how to maintain a flat roof will help you to ensure your roof is in proper condition without putting your structure at risk.

1. Keep Your Roof Clean and Clear of Debris

Maintaining a flat roof is key to extending its lifespan and ensuring it lasts as long as possible. A flat roof is much different compared to a slanted roof with traditional shingles or even metal roofs. When it comes to flat roofs, you will need to keep them clear of clutter and debris over time. This means inspecting your roof rather frequently, especially if you live in an area that is prone to storms and high winds. Keeping an eye on the roof itself is necessary to prevent items from becoming stuck on top of your roof or putting unnecessary weight and/or pressure on the roof’s structure.

2. Have Your Roof Inspected Frequently

With a flat roof, you may need to call for professional roof inspections more frequently than with a traditional roof. This is often due to the flat nature of the roof itself and its ability to take on more weight during snowstorms and when debris falls after traditional thunderstorms. If possible, get it inspected for potential cracks, leaks, dives, holes, pools of water, or blisters about once per year. This will provide valuable insight into the roof’s condition and whether it is time for any repairs.

3. Take Care of Surrounding Landscaping

Anyone who owns a building with a flat roof will need to consider surrounding trees and landscaping. Preventing overgrowth is key for those who have a flat roof, especially properties that are surrounded by tall trees. Maintaining the trees that surround your building with a flat roof will prevent branches and other debris from falling and building up on the roof itself. When tree branches break or fall from a tree, they can also add significant weight to your roof, requiring numerous inconvenient removals. Take the time to regularly trim the surrounding trees that surround your property’s flat roof to minimize the risk.

4. Immediately Address Roof Leaks

Unfortunately, as with any type of roof, a flat roof is also at risk of developing leaks over time. Leaks can occur due to the natural wear and tear of a flat roof. However, leaks are more likely to occur on a flat roof due to a branch, object, or other debris crashing down on it. Inspect your roof frequently for water buildup, pools of water, and sunken areas. It is also advisable to inspect all areas inside of the property that has a direct link to your attic and/or roof. If you spot water stains or divets in your ceiling, it may be time to consider calling on the professionals for a thorough inspection of the roof itself.

5. Keep Weight to a Minimum

Anyone who owns a commercial building with a flat roof must understand the importance of minimizing weight on the roof. Because the roof is flat, some property owners tend to believe they can implement furniture or other decor to their roofs. It’s not to say you can’t do that, but you should speak to a professional first to ensure it won’t overwhelm your roof.

In general, flat roofs are not built to withstand additional weight for any extended period of time. This means, as little as a few inches of snow can place unnecessary weight onto your flat roof, which can cause it to sink in or absorb water. Keep an eye on potential leaks inside the property’s walls or ceilings to ensure additional weight is causing leaks in your roof.

6. Reseal and Recoat Your Roof

Owning a flat roof requires different maintenance than a traditional roof made of shingles. When your property has a flat roof, it is highly advisable to reseal and recoat the entire roof at least every two to four years, in our experience. The frequency in which you recoat your property will depend on the size of your roof, the age of your roof, as well as the surrounding weather it has endured in the most recent years.

If you live in an area prone to major storms and heavy snowfall, it’s highly recommended to reseal and recoat your roof at least once every two years. This will also help to prevent major leaks, cracks, and long-term damage from occurring on your roof through basic wear and tear.

7. Do Not Ignore Small Repair Jobs

As the owner of a property with a flat roof, you may encounter different issues than individuals who have traditional roofs in place. However, this does not mean that you will be without potential issues. In fact, you are likely to notice cracks, divets, or even pools of water over time with a flat roof, even with proper maintenance. The key to ensuring that your roof lasts as long as possible while retaining its durability is to stay on top of regular repair work.

Whether your flat roof has a small crack in one side of it or if you have noticed small drips inside one of the rooms of your property, addressing the issues as quickly as possible is ideal. Allowing small repair jobs to go by the wayside can lead to even bigger issues, especially when it comes to dealing with water leaks and roof foundation trouble. Staying on top of all the repair work your roof requires will minimize the risk of major repair and replacement work that appears unexpectedly. The more informed you are of your roof’s condition and age, the less likely you are to encounter unaffordable issues that appear seemingly out of nowhere.

8. Ensure You Have a Proper Drain Setup

Even with a flat roof, you will need to ensure a proper drain setup to avoid water buildup and/or damage over time. Without a proper drain system in place, you run the risk of putting unnecessary weight onto your roof and, ultimately, inside of your property. A proper drain setup can help you to extend the lifespan of your roof. In our experience, most flat roofs last between 10 and 20 years, depending on the type of roof as well as how well it has been maintained.

Taking care of and maintaining a flat roof does not have to feel stressful or overwhelming, especially once you are aware of common maintenance tips. The more familiar you become with taking care of a flat roof, the less likely you are to encounter major issues that require costly repairs and replacements in the future. Do you have a flat roof and want to know more about taking care of it, maintaining it, or even repairing it? Contact Precision Roofing to learn more today.

Kyle Grell

President & Co-Founder


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