flat roof

Common Issues with Flat Roofs [And How to Solve Them]

Many commercial and industrial buildings have flat roofs because they are less expensive to install and maintain than pitched roofs. Flat roofs, or “low slope” roofs, typically have a slope of 25% or less.

Water pooling, leaks, and membrane punctures are common issues with flat roofs. Protective coatings can remediate many of these issues.

By far, the most common issue with flat roofs in Northeast Pennsylvania are leaks, which can be caused by the other flat roof issues.

What Are The Causes Of Commercial Roof Leaks?

One of the most common causes of leaks in commercial roofs is water pooling. You may hear commercial roof professionals refer to “ponding water.” Ponding water on your flat roof is water that is pooling. The terms are interchangeable.

Ponding on an industrial roof could be a sign that your drainage system is clogged or that the roof is not properly sloped. If your roof’s membrane is composed of water-resistant materials, ponding water may not be an immediate need for repair. But if there’s evidence of consistent, reoccurring ponding on your building’s roof, it needs to be fixed. Water pooling can degrade roofing materials. Excessive amounts of standing water add a weight load to your roof.

What Are The Most Common Roofing Materials On Buildings?

The most common roofing materials found on buildings include BUR, PVC, TPO, EPDM, and metal.

BUR, or build-up roofing, is comprised of layers of bitumen (commonly asphalt) alternated with layers of fabrics and then coated with an aggregate, such as gravel or slag. They’ve been used for decades. A modified BUR roof system is similar, but the roofing membrane consists of rubber polymers. An applied cool-roof coating can add “green roof” efficiency to a BUR or modified BUR roof system.

The integrity of PVC (polyvinyl chloride roofing) and TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) roofs depends highly on proper installation as it is mechanically attached in seams. These polymer options provide protection against chemicals and grease. White and lighter colored PVC and TPO can protect your building from UV rays.

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) is also known as thermostat roofing. It’s a flexible, synthetic roof system that does not have UV reflective properties.

Metal roofing is often chosen as a roof system because it can be installed more quickly than other roof materials.

Our team of commercial roofing contractors can revitalize metal roofing, EPDM, rubber, or PVC roofs with innovative materials from Conklin. Our roofing systems improve the structure of your building’s roof, provide waterproof protection, and can help reduce your energy costs every year.

What Kind Of Flat Roof Material Is Best?

Conklin roofing systems provide top-quality roof protection and energy efficiency. Their cost benefits make them the best roofing material options on the market.

Conklin’s Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) Roof Systems and Single-Ply Membrane roofing systems have a layer of insulation that helps lower heating costs in the winter and is highly reflective to help decrease temperatures in the summer by up to 40%, reducing your air conditioning bills.

Check out the chart below:

chart showing conklin white roofs have an 85 percent reflectivity compared to asphalt 5 percent.

Learn more about our Commercial Roof Coatings.

What Are The Obvious Signs That I Need Roof Repairs?

Facility managers can spot some roof damage just by visually inspected the roof. Rips in the EPDM membrane, brittle or cracked sealants, loose metal fasteners, and other obvious signs of roof damage are easily spotted. Some roof systems may be sensitive to foot traffic, however, and roof inspection poses some risk, so inspection is best left to a professional roofer.

Of course, any sign of leaking requires immediate inspection.

Keystone Commercial Roofing offers free on-site roof consultations.

What Are The Steps For Flat Roof Repairs?

You first need to determine the cause, learn what solutions are available. A roof consultant can help you find the most cost-effective solution to your flat roof issue. Most professional commercial roofing companies will provide a free roof inspection.

We are among them. In addition to the no-cost inspection, we use technology to include property owners in the process through drone photography. A mobile app enables us to provide you with visual proof of roofing issues, pinpoint weaknesses in your flat roof, and fully discuss solutions that fit your budget.

How Often Should I Get The Roof Of My Building Inspected?

A regularly scheduled roof inspection can help you avoid common problems with sloped roofs and should be part of a commercial roof maintenance plan. Typically, you should have a professional inspect your building’s roof twice a year.

For scheduling purposes, it might be easiest to plan roof inspections toward the end of summer and toward the end of winter. Extreme temperatures can cause commercial roof damage. Regular checks after each of these seasons can help spot areas of your flat roof that show potential for leaks or other weaknesses.

Intense storms may cause damage to your flat roof or cause atypical ponding issues. We recommend scheduling a roof inspection after Northeast PA has experienced any unusual, extreme storm activity.