How do you stop a flat roof from leaking?

Can a flat roof be repaired?

When your home’s roof has a leak, it is a major issue. Think what it must be like to have a commercial building’s flat roofing leak!  Depending on the business, there could be machinery and products destroyed, the safety of employees and customers endangered, and so much more could go wrong. Is there flat roof leak fixes though, or do they have to tear the building down? 

Fortunately, there are contractors that install commercial flat roofing can often fix flat roofing that leaks too.  For the owner of a building with flat roofing that is leaking, they should first call the contractor that installed the roof and inquire if they do roof patching and repairs.  

If you’re not able to find the original contractor, look for other commercial roofing contractors. If their ad on Google says, “flat roof is leaking what do I do”, you’d want to specifically ask about the type of roofing membrane that is currently on the roof. 

Do flat roofs always leak?

Flat roofing doesn’t always leak. They are more likely to leak than pitched roof, but they don’t always leak. A flat roofing system isn’t 100% flat, there is a slight slope, but it must have a unique draining system. Two common causes for flat roofing to leak is poor maintenance and poor construction. 

What causes flat roof leaks?

The main culprit to flat roof leak causes  is the construction of the roofing membrane wasn’t installed correctly. Yes, human error can be the reason your commercial structure has flat roofing leaks. This will happen when a contractor is keeping within a budget and time frame, they’ll cut corners on things like the flat roofing, then you have leakage.

 It doesn’t take much to make flat roofing a leak liability, even the smallest amount of corner cutting will do it. Flat roofing that is installed properly and maintenance and upkeep are done as advised will give you a lifespan of thirty years or longer without any problems. 

How do you find a leak in a flat roof?

Water will always follow the path with the least resistance. So, if you notice water stains on the ceiling or have flat roof leaks in heavy rain in the middle of your warehouse, it could be coming from anywhere on your flat roofing. After it has quit raining for several days, follow these 7 tips that can help you locate the flat roofing leak.  

  • One: Clear all debris from the flat roofing surface and look for punctured or torn places in the roofing membrane. 
  • Two: Walk around and inspect the metal flashing on the flat roofing. There should be two layers of roof flashing. The first layer covers the sheathing, and the second layer is on top of the membrane protecting the first layer of sheathing. Sheathing is found around any roof protrusions like chimneys, pipes, vents, etc. These are key areas for flat roofing leaks. 
  • Three: Examine the plumbing vent collars, a flange should be in place to protect the roof opening. If it is cracked or decayed, it will allow leaks around the flat roofing. 
  • Four: Look for caulk or tar patches on the flat roofing from a previous owner. These are meant to be temporary and if a flat roofing repair or replacement didn’t take place, the patches can start leaking. 
  • Five: Inspect the seams of the flat roofing material for possible flaws where water can leak. If you can pick the edges and pull them away from the roof, there isn’t any seal to keep your flat roofing waterproof. 
  • Six: Inspect for low spots, apparent by concentric circles left from standing water. The center of these circles could be a source for roof leak where the standing water seeped through. 
  • Seven: Using a water hose, run water along the potential areas you discover and after a few minutes, go inside and see if there is water leaking, do this one troubled area at a time so you’ll know which spot is leaking.

If none of this helps you find where your flat roofing is leaking, call a professional commercial roofing contractor that works with flat roofing.

How do you waterproof a flat roof?

Two coats of elastomeric coating will protect your flat roofing from water while insulating it too. Follow these three steps to get the job done: 

Step One: Measure the surface area  in length and width and multiply that those numbers to get the square feet. Your local hardware store associates can help you determine how much elastomeric you’ll need for that amount of flat roofing. 

Step Two: Clean the flat  roofing with a pressure washer or water hose and stiff broom. Make sure to remove all debris, dirt, and dust. A good cleaning solution for flat roofing is mixing 1 quart of trisodium phosphate with five gallons of water. Allow the roof time to thorough dry or the coating won’t adhere. 

Kilker Roofing & Construction
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