Did you know that there are almost six million commercial buildings in America? Since 2012, commercial building construction has increased nearly six percent.

Many of these industrial, manufacturing, or warehouse buildings are built with flat roofs. While this is efficient for walking on the roof and storing items, it has its own world of problems when it comes to a flat roof leak repair.

When leaks arise, it can be easy to put them off or try and fix them yourself. A professional and qualified roofing company can quickly locate and fix the problem as well as advise on how to prep your roof for winter.

If you have an interest in learning about a flat roof leak repair process, keep reading on!

Common Flat Roof Leak Repair Problems

There are a few problems that contribute to leaky roofs. Flat roofs are also more prone to standing water which can cause leaks or weaken the roof. Some of the other common problems include:

  • Poor drainage
  • Old roofs
  • Flashing issues
  • Roof membrane issues

You might need siphonic drains on your flat roof in larger commercial buildings. This can help avoid a roof leak and ensure water is draining off your roof. In smaller buildings, drainage and standing water problems typically arise at the junction between the flat and sloped parts.

Also, be mindful of any heavy objects that are on flat roofs. Some designs and insulation allow for foot traffic or storage, but other roofs can be damaged by added storage.

How to Spot a Leak

Spotting a leak is the first sign that you need a professional roofing company. While you never want to get to that point in your commercial building, sometimes it is inevitable due to weather or tree branches.

Some of the common signs of a roof leak are:

  • Stains
  • Open seams
  • Damaged flashing
  • Visible cracks or punctures
  • Mold
  • Water drips
  • Increased energy bills

Flat, metal roofs, improper installation, or poor materials can make your roof more prone to leaks. Sometimes, a hole is not always obvious, and you should have regular maintenance on your roof.

Old Roofs

There are three main types of flat roofs, and most times, they last around 15 to 20 years. Sometimes, you can luck out with proper installation of flat roofing and edge closer to 25 years.

If you have had frequent repairs or it is over 20 years, you will likely need the entire roof of your building replaced. The main types of flat roofs are:

  • Built-Up Roof
  • Modified Bitumen Roof
  • Rubber Membrane Roof

A built-up roof is heavier and cheaper than other options – it is also an excellent option for fire-resistant materials. On the other end of the spectrum, rubber membrane roofs are lightweight and resistant to tears.

However, it does absorb more heat if your building is in a warm climate.

Cold Weather Roofs

A leaky roof often arises from one of two issues: old materials or weather-related problems. Weather can be anything from snow, ice, wind, or hail. Even excessive heat can cause problems and make your roof prone to cracking.

Ice dams are one of the more significant problems for flat roofs. They can cause damage to your gutters and other parts of your roof. There are a few simple ways of preventing ice dams, including:

  • Heated cables
  • Add installation
  • Add flashing around chimneys
  • Insulate ducts
  • Seal electrical cables

It is always a good idea to have a professional roofing company come out before winter hits and give your roof a good inspection. There are also various de-icing products on the market you can use.

Snow and ice can also create issues with ponding and standing water which ruins the integrity of your roof and causes cracking or leaks.

Damaged Flashing

Roof flashing uses a type of metal (typically galvanized steel or aluminum) and helps protect areas of your roof from water seeping in. You can find flashing around:

  • Chimneys
  • Slope changes
  • Drip edges
  • Skylights

It helps effectively seal the edges and prevents leaks. If the flashing has been improperly installed or damaged, it can quickly create more extensive problems. A professional roofer should assess and install flashing to ensure that the problem doesn’t arise again.

Roof Membrane

Roof membranes are overlayers on roofs that help give them a watertight seal. It is usually made of forms of synthetic materials. They are generally used with flat roofs since standing or ponding water is a more considerable risk.

Most times, damage to roof membranes happen from punctures or scratches. What are some of the causes of punctures?

  • Fallen debris
  • Improper installation
  • High foot traffic

Over time, like most parts of your roof, the membrane wears down and will need replacing. If your building is next to tall trees, consider having regular maintenance and trimming them back to avoid excessive debris on your roof.

While foot traffic may be inevitable, you can install walkways and padded built-up areas that people can use while on the roof. Built-up areas will help prolong your roof and prevent unnecessary damage.

Fix Your Flat Roor Leaks

Flat roofs are more likely to be damaged from standing water and foot traffic. Older roofs are even more at risk since roofs should be replaced every couple of decades.

In heavy winter areas or after major storms, a professional roofing company can assess if your roof is in tip-top shape. And if it comes time for a flat roof leak repair, call on the professionals for help.

Contact us today for a free quote, and rest easy knowing you are in good hands.