How To Find A Leak On A Flat Roof
The best time to look for a leak is when the roof has been dry for at least three days, and in the evening/night-time, when after cooling down, the flat roof leak hot-spot will release heat that has stored underneath the hole during the day.
If this technique is not possible, below are other ways to detect a leak on a flat roof and remember to clearly mark the area of the leak when you find it:
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Keep An Eye On Your Ceiling
As well as checking your flat roof for any noticeable damage, it is also important that you keep an eye on the ceiling of the interior room underneath the roof. Stains from water damage is a good visual indicator of unseen damage, trapped moisture or damp which need to be dealt with sooner rather than later to limit the amount of damage caused to your home.
Concrete Flat Roof Repair
Common damage issues include cracks in or surface wear to the concrete roofing. Surface wear can hide cracks, so be sure to clear away any loose debris.
Temporary or Emergency Flat Roof Fix
Application of a thin bitumen primer, followed by a bitumen based paint can help waterproof and seal any cracks in the concrete.
Larger and more obvious cracks on a concrete flat roof can have a small patch of torch-on roofing felt added as a layer on top this requires a smooth surface for the top layer to fully seal and waterproof the leaking area.
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Contact A Roofing Contractor
Preventing a disastrous roof leak in the midst of winter is as easy as maintaining the flat roof before the wintry season starts. But when unanticipated roof leaks erupt, consult the most reputable commercial roofing contractor in the area, Reliable Roofing.
Reliable Roofings skilled crews are experts in a wide range of flat roof repair services. Our roofing specialists apply new roof coatings, seal all leaks, perform simple roof maintenance and repairs, clean the roof, and replace damaged roof materials with high-quality ones.
Any type of roof damage warrants immediate attention from professionals at Reliable Roofing. Minor roof damage can worsen or cause a leak, leading to the ruin of valuable inventory inside the commercial property. Structural damage to walls and ceilings can also occur.
What Causes Winter Roof Leaks
When the winter season arrives, however, a flat roof must withstand a whole new set of environmental challenges. Roof leaks are notorious for occurring only in winter. In spring and summer, a flat roof usually remains dry and intact, despite heavy rains and thunderstorms.
Winter roof leaks are caused by any number of possible causes. Ice dams are a well-known source of roof leaks. Ridges of ice that form at the edge of the roof block the flow of water. Trapped water leaks into small holes in the roof and into the interior building.
Water infiltration can happen when a roof has faulty seams. Roof seams are located between rolls of membrane or between panels. As temperatures rise in the aftermath of heavy snowfalls, the rapidly melting runoff can penetrate the seams and allow moisture leaks inside the property.
Roof membranes are susceptible to cracking, especially on older rooftops. Though roof membranes typically maintain a watertight seal the rest of the year, winters repeated cycles of freezing and thawing can eventually stress roof membranes. Cracks in the membranes allow water to infiltrate.
The lateral movement of drifting snow makes flashing vulnerable. The blowing snow has the opportunity to enter the flashing and melt, which leads to a roof leak. Leaks that penetrate the flashing only during the winter season are likely in even newly and well-built roofs.
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What Goes Into Repairing A Flat Roof
Flat roofsrequire a lot of knowledge and expertise when being maintained, repaired, orreplaced its essential that you use a qualified roofing company.
The bestrepair method for a flat roof is prevention. You should have qualifiedprofessionals inspect the roof semi-annually or after major storms, etc. Theycan identify any minor issues and repair them before they become major issues.They will also be able to identity if your roof needs repaired or replaced.Sometimes a roof may beyond repair and needs to be totally replaced. As ageneral rule, flat roofs need to be replaced every 10-15 years so a good placeto start is to find out how old your roof is.
One of thecommon flat roof issues mentioned earlier was the pooling of water. This iswhere liquid collects and can cause damage to the roofing materials. There maybe various reasons for water pooling but sometimes it may be as simple as thepitch of the roof being off. In this case, you can add a tapered insulationwhen replacing your flat roof. This will allow water to run off into thegutters and prevent pooling.
Rotteddecking is another issue often caused by leaking roofs. Many roofs are covered with a base sheet anda modified bitumen cap sheet. The cap sheet can be installed by hot moppingasphalt or torch applied. This is important to note because in order todetermine whether the decking is rotting, you need to strip away the felt inthe areas that are leaking to determine whether a roof needs replacing or if itcan be repaired.
Thoughts On Flat Roof Repairs How To Repair Epdm Rubber Tpo And Torch Down Roofs
Thanks CorneliuYou have been a great customer to work with. I hope all the roof repairs are at an end now.When we got a call from Corneliu, we knew he had suffered major damaged to his roof. We gathered our roofing teams together and rushed to get his flat roof closed up before the next rain.
Hurricane Sandy damaged many roofs in Westport, New Canaan, Wilton, Ridgefield, and Greenwich areas.
Because most houses are surrounded by tall oak trees, the chances are high that a strong wind could blow some of the trees over or even brake limbs off and blow them on any roof nearby.
Hi CorneliuI am happy your roof is in good shape.We have been fixing flat roofs for over 30 years
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Curl The Mesh Ends Back
Once you have the mesh rolled out and cut, you want to start curling it back, bringing it to the center of the roof. You do this to seal the roof and mesh into place, which requires you to roll it back and hold it down to prevent unfurling. Try using a heavy object like a book or crowbar, avoiding sharp objects.
During the sealing process, you will work on one side of the mesh and then on the other. To avoid mishaps or difficulties, start with the more troublesome side, which is likely to be the side opposite your ladder or however you accessed the roof.
Flat Roof Leaking Causes
There are a number of reasons why your roof may spring a leak or other roof damage may occur.
Natural disasters like hail storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, electrical storms, floods, wind damage storms, and related severe weather often damage commercial roofing.
If you experience one of these natural disasters, inspecting your roof and assessing any damage is something that you should prioritize during the aftermath, even if you do not notice any leaks right away.
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Confirming Your Roof Type
An important step in completing an effective repair to your low-sloped built-up roof system is to confirm that your roof system is, in fact, an asphalt-based roof system. The following method of repair is only applicable to roof systems that are asphalt-based. If your roof assembly is a single-ply membrane, such as EPDM or TPO, the application of asphalt repair material to the surface of the membrane can damage the membrane and lead to a much larger patch or even full replacement.
Felt Roof Leak Repair
Felt roofs are perhaps the most common form of flat roof across the country. Roofing felt has many advantages, including being cheap, and easy to install. However, felt roofs are highly susceptible to damage and leaks. Depending on the type of felt roof you have, the leak could be caused by splitting felt, impact damage, lifting joints, broken flashings, or crevices in the roofs surface. Due to their low initial cost, its often best to simply replace a felt roof rather than continually repair it, however here are some of the ways to fix a felt roof leak.
The simplest way to repair a felt roof leak is once again to use acrylic-based waterproofing paint. This is highly effective at treating split felt, small gaps in joints, and punctures. If your flashing is coming away, wed recommend repointing or redressing the old flashings to restore their waterproof seal. For a more long-term fix, youd generally use a patch of torch-on roofing felt, or add a full, additional layer over your felt roof. If repairing your felt roof requires the use of hot flames, always leave this to a qualified professional, as it is too hazardous for an inexperienced hand.
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Flat Roof Repair From Ponding
While flat roofs are, as their name suggests, flat, they still have a slight slope to them that encourages any water to run off their surface and into the drains around the roof. However, if you have noticed that your roof is collecting large puddles of water when it rains it could be a sign that your roofs drainage system isnt working to its full potential.
Ponding can cause deep concave indents to occur around the roof, as well as stains and watermarks to occur on the inside of your property. These indents will continue to collect water, damaging the material and over time may allow water to begin to seep through into the interior of your home.
Ponding is usually caused by insufficient drainage, so, if you have noticed the beginnings of ponding on your flat roof, check that your drains and guttering is clear and free of any leaves, sticks or other things that could be blocking it up and preventing the water from running away.
However, if your roof is still suffering from ponding even with clear drains, you may need to add additional external gutters to help collect the excess water, especially if the ponding is occurring around the edges of the roof while automatic pumps can be used to deal with ponding in more central areas of the roof that cannot easily runoff.
Additional drains can also be installed, as well as having lower or sunken areas of your roof built up and re-laid to create more of a slope so that water doesnt collect in those areas.
Cut Out The Damaged Area
Using a utility knife, cut away the damaged area, starting at about an inch deep before slowly going deeper until you have removed all of the damaged material. You will want to cut a rectangle around the damaged part. Also, just like before, be careful not to damage the material beneath the damaged portions.
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Roof Repair Vs Roof Replacement
Make sure to work with a professional to determine if your flat roof requires a repair or a complete replacement. Failing to effectively treat the leak can result in thousands of dollars wasted. For this reason, we discourage DIY repairs on flat roofs. While experienced DIYers may have the right tools and materials to repair a flat roof, failure to repair a roof correctly can be catastrophic. Repairing an old, leaky roof is also likely a waste of money. Ultimately, flat roofs start to leak after about 12 to 15 years, and replacement is typically the only option at that point.
Flat roofs work well on both modern homes and commercial buildings, but they do need to be inspected regularly so that minor problems dont grow into costly issues. Now that youve reviewed the basics of how to repair a flat roof, you know what to expect when you reach out to a professional.
Sealing Small Cracks And Holes
Small cracks and holes are common, and you can seal them in a few steps. To start, you will have to slice open blistered spots, followed by flattening the membrane. Once the area is smooth, you will apply roofing cement, lay out a fiberglass mesh layer, and add a final layer of cement. Lastly, you will use gravel to prevent sun damage.
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How To Fix A Leaky Flat Roof
If you own a commercial building in the Las Vegas valley, the odds are that it has a flat roof. While these are popular among builders and business owners due to their low cost and ease of maintenance, if you fall behind with your flat roof repairs, the roof could quickly deteriorate in the event of a major storm. Sometimes you may not know you have an issue until its too late and your leaky flat roof turned the inside of your building into a swimming pool.
How To Repair A Flat Roof
While called a flat roof, such roofs are only mostly level, having a slight slope to drain water. However, because the slope is small, it requires different materials to stay watertight. Usually, you do not have to worry about them, but every once in a while, you need to look for cracks and other types of damage to stop a leak before it happens.
You might see a flat roof on older houses or in arid areas, and they are usually made of asphalt, rubber, PVC, or similar synthetics. These materials are quite simple to fix, and with regular maintenance to prevent significant damage, you can easily extend the lifespan of the roof.
The article will cover some of the important parts of repairing a flat roof, which include finding the damage, sealing small cracks and holes, using roof patches, and resealing a flat roof.
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Replacing Your Flat Roof With Epdm
EPDM is a type of synthetic rubber made from recycled materials. EPDM roofs are durable and inexpensive. Dont be surprised if you hear roofing contractors talk about TPO interchangeably in conversation at first. EPDM is a very popular option because its durable and easy to install, and it has a longer lifespan than metal roofs.
EPDM installations require seaming, which means that there are more chances for water to seep through seams that pull away from the roof and damage your home. However, if EPDM roofs are spray-applied, then the chance of the seams pulling away from the roof is significantly lowered.
Damaged Or Deteriorated Flashing
Flashings are a key part of any flat roofing system. Their job is simple, to cover and seal any angles, seams, or joints, that would otherwise provide the perfect place for water to enter. This could be along an adjoining wall, around roof vents, and more. However, despite its impressive lifespan, lead flashing can falter, particularly when exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations. Over time, as the metal heats up and cools down, it will expand and contract, eventually revealing the edge it was meant to protect. This then, in turn, causes flat roof leaks.
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Repairing A Flat Roof Leak
The flat roof should be clear of all debris even if the leak has been found, to ensure there isnt more damage that needs repairing at the same time. Then, before washing the area that needs repair work, make sure that safety procedures have been set up and that no through-way from anywhere on the roof to the exit is blocked by any obstacles or excessively slippery. Wear hi-vis clothing if possible and when using a hose-pipe or pressure washer, do not have piping trailing where it can easily be tripped over by people accessing or leaving the flat roof area.
How To Prevent Flat Roof Leaks
There are many things you can do to prevent your flat roof leaking in the first place, saving you plenty of time, money, and worry in the long-run!
- Inspect your flat roof regularly. If you check your roof at least twice a year, in the spring and in the autumn, youll be able to spot most issues before they become nightmare leaks.
- Take a look at your roof after any harsh weather. This includes storms, heavy rainfall, strong winds, and especially snowfall. Ensure that any debris or ponding water is swiftly removed.
- Inspect your guttering system, ensuring that there are no clogs or other issues that might prevent it from working. Learn how to clean gutters in our handy guide.
- Replace your flat roof. If your flat roofing membrane has more patches than a boy scout, its time to replace it. Wed recommend ClassicBonds cut-to-size EPDM membrane.
- Install flashing. Adding flashings to your flat roofing system will prevent the most common sources of roof leaks. Flashing seals the seams around chimneys, guttering, vents, and more to prevent water ingress.
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Can I Claim On House Insurance For A Leaking Flat Roof
Claiming on your home insurance for a roof leak is a tricky matter. Often, if the leak was not caused by an unexpected event such as a heavy storm or a falling tree, this damage would fall under general wear and tear and youd have to pay for any repairs yourself. Your insurer will look for obvious signs of external damage that may have caused the roof leak, such as damage to your roofing membrane. If no such damage exists, you are likely out of luck.