How to Fix Your Flat Roof

How to Fix Your Flat Roof

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Flat roofs require more attention than traditional pitched roofs. Flat roofs are not completely flat- they do have a slight slope, usually 10 degrees. Flat roofs consist of a waterproofing layer over a building or residence. Water is directed to the drains, gutters, and downspouts due to the slight pitch. Flat roofs develop more problems than traditional pitched roofs, but these problems can be avoided by doing a little preventive maintenance. Regular inspection for cracks, flashings, nail heads and damage done due to the elements will eliminate the need for costly repairs. It is recommended that inspection of roofs be carried out at least twice a year.

Flat roofs are generally constructed by laying an asphalt roll or asphalt building paper. This is then mopped with hot asphalt liquid. A layer of crushed stone or gravel is then evenly embedded on the hot asphalt. It is advisable to use the services of a professional roofer due to the complex nature and skill requirements to do a thorough job. Special equipments are required to install a flat roof and it would prove expensive to the homeowner to buy these only for a one-time installation. However, homeowners can carry out preventive maintenance and small repairs on their own.

Careful inspection is the only way as crawling under the roof to detect pinholes of light on sunny days is ruled out, as flat roofs do not have any crawl space under them. This makes detecting the exact spot causing the leak difficult. Also water does not necessarily damage the spot from where it leaks inside; the damage could be a few feet away from the leak.

Some of the trouble spots you should inspect are ;

  • Exposed roofing nail heads.
  • Roof drains, around gutters, downspouts and other drainage systems.
  • Flashings such as chimneys, skylights, vents and other roof projections.
  • Areas where that are devoid of gravel.
  • Valleys.
  • Roofing seams and at junctures with other roofs.

Look for discoloration in the gravel, as this is a clear indication of pooling causing the leak. Sometimes roofing gets pulled away from the base or the decking causing blisters, moisture accumulates in the space between the decking and roof membrane causing leaks. It is advisable to conduct roof inspection on moisture free cooler days. Also check the weather forecast to rule out the possibility of rain in the next two days. After inspection the next step is repairing your flat roof.

Carry all the essential tools that are required and also wear thick rubber soled boots. First sweep the roof and clear away all the loose material and gravel from the damaged area. Make a rectangular cut with a knife and straight ledge. Cut through all the damaged layers and remove the rectangular piece. Next cut a piece of the roll the exact size of the one you removed. Inside the cut out area, spread a layer of plastic roofing cement also spread a layer of the cement on the edges of the cut out area. Place the patch and nail it down with special roofing galvanized nails, space the nails two inches apart. A second patch usually four inches larger than the first one is then placed on the first patch after applying roofing cement on the first patch. Press the second patch firmly and nail it down with roofing nails and apply cement as was done on the first patch. Once the cement begins to set sweep the gravel over the patch.

This procedure seems fairly simple for you to do, in case you do not feel confident you may call a professional roofer to do the job.

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