Flat roofs last approximately between 10 to 20 years before they need to be replaced. How do you get your flat roof to last till 20 years – it’s quite simple – you just need to regularly maintain it. Your flat roof can have a much longer life span, provided you look after it through regular maintenance (removing debris, fixing leaks and ponding, etc). Maintaining a roof will involve some costs, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run, as it will last longer -pushing a roof replacement further away.
What Is Roof Maintenance?
It refers to any kind of work done on a residential or commercial roof in order to prevent wear and tear. Flat roof inspections need to occur twice a year, or after a big storm, to determine if anything needs to be fixed or replaced. South Florida is known for its heavy storms, so general inspections after stormy weather would be advised.
A general flat roof inspection and maintenance should include the following:
Look for Debris
Some debris can be found on a roof usually after a storm. Debris can scratch, puncture or cause serious damage to your roof so it needs to be removed immediately. You should inspect for any visible damage when removing debris.
Repairing Seams & Membranes
Seams are where 2 pieces of roofing material are adjoined. Both seams and membranes can be vulnerable to leaks, specifically in places on the roof that have accessories built into it such as air vents, skylights and air conditioner units.
The sun’s harsh UV rays can also break down the membrane overtime, causing cracks to form. Any seam or membrane that is damaged or rendered ineffective needs to be repaired immediately to prevent further problems.
Replacing the Flashings
Flashings are installed into areas of the roof where where two opposing surfaces meet such as parapet walls. These areas require the extra protection that flashing provides.They help prevent water from leaking through the vulnerable areas. Over time, flashings can become loose or deteriorated from excess exposure to moisture and will need to be replaced.
Clogging may occur in drains, vents and scuppers,especially after storms. Scuppers allow water to run off the roof, directing water to flow from the side of the roof down into a drainage system. All drains, scuppers or gutters need to be kept clear.
Plumbing stacks are pipes on the roof that direct air flow into the building’s plumbing system. Check that they are clear of obstructions and properly sealed.
Look for Blistering
Check for leaks and blistering – blistering is roofing spots that are raised and spongy/soft looking. They happen when air is trapped between the layers of felt or the felt substrate. If a blister ‘pops’, then water can enter through and damage roofing material.
Check for Ponding
Ponding is standing pools of water that sit on your flat roof and are unable to drain or dry out. Some ponding that has eventually dried out will leave a concave area with a water mark or dirt ring surrounding it. If you notice these marks, then it means that your flat roof ponds regularly, and a proper drainage system may need to be installed to prevent further damage.
Check For Splits & Cracks
Splitting and cracking of roofing material can be caused by weather changes, added stress or pressure, ponding or simply poor workmanship. Any area that is cracking or splitting needs to be filled.
Fill Pitch Pans
Pitch pans protect and encase supporting connections roof penetrations. They are filled with “pourable sealer,” a more environmentally friendly material and easier to work with than the previously used “pitch”. Though they are simple to build and fix,pitch pans play a key role in maintaining the overall health of the roof because they seal out water in vulnerable areas. So they must be kept cleaned and filled.
At ABC Roofing Corp we can assist you with residential and commercial roof maintenance. We are one of the leading roofing companies in South Florida and pride ourselves in giving our customers a commitment to excellent service. Feel free to call our office for a free estimate.
Some parts of roofs and exterior walls are particularly prone to leaks and water damage. These include roof valleys, the intersection between a dormer wall and the roof surface, and chimney and skylight perimeters—nearly anywhere runoff is heavy or where two opposing surfaces meet. These areas require the extra protection that flashing provides.