It seems everywhere I look there are flat roofs. You may not realize it, but they are rising in popularity for a number of reasons. They are usually economical to build, add to the curb appeal of your home, and seem to last through most storms.
It is noteworthy to point out that they seem to take less storm damage than traditional roofs. The term flat roof is a little misleading. They aren’t actually flat, but they do slope less than the traditional roofing.
As I was doing my research for my new home, I decided to put some time in looking at flat roof options. I found myself more intrigued by the problems they had and decided to share that with you.
Flat roof problems – Inexperienced Contractors
This may seem like I am telling you something you already know, but, most of the flat roof problems that you come across are because of the contractor you hire.
You must have the internal outlets that go between the roof and the outside wall. Design flaws in this stage are disastrous. Your contractor should be able to take into consideration the possible blockages that could happen to avoid pooling.
A block can mean too much pressure on your waterproof membrane, a malfunction of the supports underneath, and cause your roof to leak into the space below. Not only are you going to spend your vacation budget getting it fixed, but you are also looking at repairs to the space below it.
It is best to make sure your contractor knows how to provide drainage. You will also want to make sure you get maintain agreements in your contract. Regular roof maintenance is a big deal, and without it, you will not catch problems before they happen which can save your hundreds or thousands down the road.
Some will have it automatically, but you need to read your fine print.
Wildlife Taking Over
Squirrels, birds, and rodents will often make your roof home. The flat roof provides exactly what they are looking for. It is safe from predators, high off the ground, and sometimes has water available.
They will cause holes in the waterproof membranes. This can cause leaking for you. The best way to avoid this is to regularly inspect your roof and remove problems as soon as they are spotted.
You should do this seasonally, but especially in the fall after the birds have moved out of their nests.
My son is the worst about throwing his balls and frisbees on the roof. I don’t think he means to do it, but it happens. Then he either makes me get it, or it stays there for weeks until he misses it.
This is a problem because it can block drainage but it can also damage the membranes on the roof. These membranes are meant to last about twenty years, but every time you walk on them, you are wearing them down.
Hail, footballs, and footsteps are heavier impacts than rain alone and can cause flat roof problems.
Ice and Freezing
A serious concern of all flat roof owners is that they don’t hold up to ice and freezing temperatures. Basically what happens is that the drains are flowing good, but then the ice starts to build up and causes an ice dam.
This expansion can cause holes in the drains. It can make the roof around the drain not fit into the draining areas. It usually can’t be noticed until the ice begins to melt.
This problem is one that is hard to avoid. Ice dams can happen even if you have your roof regularly maintained. There isn’t a lot you can do to prevent it.
If you have a lot of trees around your home or over your roof, you may want to consider another option. It is a disaster to find out that the leaves are causing a complete blockage of your drain.
It can seem fine until a good rain seemingly sweeps all the leaves down at once. This is easy to avoid with regular maintenance. It is one of the less troublesome of the flat roof problems.
Maintenance, Maintenance, Maintenance!
This is probably the biggest complaint of all the flat roof problems. You need to have it maintained more often to stretch the life of your roof. It is something that must be budgeted for.
It is something that must be done monthly by a professional. Maintenance is something that you will probably have to do yourself in between maintenance calls.
To put it bluntly, if you skip on the maintenance contract, your roof is going to collect water and eventually will leak. The leak can be a minor problem that is easily fixed or a deadly collapse that will cost you more than just your bank account.
All flat roof problems can be easily avoided and controlled with a good roofing contractor and maintenance schedule. Catch the problem before it becomes a problem.
Benefits of a flat roof
Yes, I have spent the entire article telling you what you can expect to go wrong. Now I want you to overlook the flat roof issues and look at the great things they have to offer. You will see a reduction in your heating and cooling costs.
You have somewhere to put a garden, solar panels, or even add on to your home later. The best part is that they do save you money in the long run if they are properly installed and maintained.
There you have it. All the things to consider when you are looking at choosing a flat roof. Just remember these key points:
- Get a good contractor
- Ask for a maintenance schedule
- Stick to your maintenance schedule
- Keep debris off your roof
If you keep these key points, then you will love your flat roof. In fact, you can love your flat roof for the next twenty to thirty years with minimal repair costs just by keeping these points. Now, go pick out your new roof.