Flat roof repair can be tricky when there are a lot of factors to consider and roofing materials to choose from. Read the detailed guide below to help you.
There’s a lot of reasons why you should have a flat roof installed on your home. They’re perfect for home extensions, in areas where people may have to access them. They’re often cheaper too, perfect if you’re trying to control costs. Plus, they have a much more contemporary look. If you have a flat roof though, you will need to watch out for some common problems.
Here’s how to repair your flat roof, and see which materials are best for repairing damage.
Flat Roofing Materials
Even before you have your flat roof installed, you should think about the materials used in making it. This will affect the longevity of your roof, and how you go about repairing it.
Here are the most common materials used in creating these roofs.
EPDM: EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, and is a popular roofing choice. This roofing material can be installed in one piece without the need for joins, depending on the size of the roof. Plus, it’s highly lightweight and elastic. These can last up to 50 years if installed properly.
GRP: GRP roofing, or Glass Reinforced Polyester roofing, is another popular choice. This is an option that works well for complex shapes, as it’s easily cut to the right shape for your roof. It’s also designed to be installed at varying temperatures, so you’ll get the best result when you have it installed. Again, this should last for at least 50 years.
Bitumen Felt: This is the classic roofing material for flat roofs, and is still a good choice for many home owners. This is installed in a ‘pour and roll’ method, where the bitumen is heated up in a boiler and poured onto the substrate. Layers of membrane are also placed between layers of bitumen, to create the perfect roofing material.
Modified Bitumen: This is also known as ‘torch on’ felt. It comes in a roll format, and is laid out over the roof. Then, a torch is used to heat it to the correct temperature and affix it to your roof.
Single Ply Membranes: These are a variety of materials, such as PVC, TPO and TPE. They’re lightweight and flexible, making them perfect for slopes and large areas. They’re also highly fire resistant, something that you’ll be looking for in a roofing material.
Green roofs: Something that’s becoming more popular is the green roof, where a layer of vegetation is placed on the roof. It looks amazing, and is fantastic for the environment. They also help reduce noise pollution in your home, and create habitats for insects and butterflies.
Which should you choose? It’s very much up to you as the home owner. You’ll have to take into consideration the size and shape of your roof, the cost of the materials, and the longevity of the roofing material.
For example, if you want to save some cash and are happy to have a roof that last around 20 years, then a torch on roof will be perfect for you. But, if you want to get a roof that lasts longer, and will be resistant to leaks and growth, then the EPDM roofing material will be better for you.
How to Repair Your Flat Roof
No matter how well your flat roof was installed, there may be some problems that you have to deal with.
Here’s how to repair common issues and keep your roof in good condition.
Leaks and Water Damage: These are by far the most common issues you’ll have with a flat roof. While most flat roofs aren’t actually totally flat and allow for drainage, some do fall victim to ‘ponding’. This is when when water stands on the flat roof. That’s a problem, as the water will escape at some point, and that’s going to be into the roof structure. This leads to wood rot and damage, and water stains on your ceilings and walls.
To repair the leak, you will need to find where it’s originating from. You can get on the roof and look for a tear or hole in the material, as that will usually be where the water is coming in. Once you’ve found it, you can seal it up or use a roof patching kit to seal up the hole. If the damage is too great, consider having the roof replaced.
Debris Damage: If debris makes its way onto your roof, it can cause all kinds of damage. For example, a falling branch can punch a hole in the roof. Fallen leaves will collect in gutters, allowing water to back up and again lead to ponding. You want to avoid these issues if at all possible.
Trim back trees, so they don’t pose a danger to the roof. Clear your gutters regularly, or install a gutter guard so water can still flow freely away from the roof. If you inspect your roofing regularly, you can avoid these problems before they even happen.
Rusted or Missing Nails: Some roofing types will require nails to hold them onto the roof. Over time, they can become rusty or come out of the roof, leaving entry holes for water. Again, inspections are the best way to tackle this. Get up and take a look at the roof. If you see any nails that are rusty or missing, replace them so water can’t get into the roof.
Vegetation on the Roof: Growing vegetation is a problem on any roof type, but it often happens on flat roofs. Mildew and moss are commonly found growing if the roof is often wet, so this is what you’ll need to tackle if you find it on your roof. Check your drainage, and ensure that the roof has enough of an angle to drain properly.
With these tips, you’ll be able to pick the best roofing material for your flat roof, and fix any issues you have with them. If you’re ever unsure, talk to a roofing professional so you know exactly what needs to be done.