Flat roofs have lots of benefits, including strength and durability, but even so, they have their own typical problem areas as well. Here are the parts and components that you should pay special attention to:
- The gutters – the drainage is one of the weak points of any flat roof. The lack of roof pitch makes the elimination of water more difficult, therefore commercial roofing building owners need to inspect their flat roofs regularly and to get rid of the water that has accumulated on the roof surface;
- The roof surface – airborne debris, such as feathers and dust as well as debris falling from nearby trees can also accumulate on the surface of the roof and in the gutter pipes. Too much dirt and debris on the roof can be harmful because such debris tends to retain moisture and to block the path of the water, causing leaks and other forms of damage;
- The flashing – the skylights and chimneys on flat roofs are surrounded by flashing, stripes made from strong, but flexible material, such as metal or rubberized asphalt in order to make the area around the openings stronger. If the flashing gets damaged, the area becomes more prone to developing leaks, therefore the flashing is also one of the roof components that need attention.
Regardless the type of the roof you have above your head, water is its worst enemy and the biggest threat to its integrity. This is particularly true in the case of flat commercial roofs that may retain water on their surface longer than pitched roofs, increasing the risk of damage and infiltration.
After each storm, a commercial roof has to be inspected. If you find ponding water, keep it under observation and make sure it drains within 48 hours, otherwise you have a problem that must be addressed quickly. Other signs to look for are bubbles of water trapped beneath the roof`s membrane. If your commercial roof is covered with metallic materials, watch out for rust and corrosion.
Sometimes inspecting the roof cover is not enough to spot potential problems caused by storms. Inspect the inside of the building too and look for wet insulation, stained ceiling and moisture on the walls. If you find signs like these, contact a professional commercial roofing Colorado Springs CO roofer right away.
Another problem that a storm may cause on you commercial roof is hail damage. It may look different, depending on the roofing materials and it can also be hard to spot, especially if the roof is covered with membranes. Sometimes hail damage is only aesthetic, but it may also create cracks and punctures that will allow water to infiltrate.
Flat roofs are great, durable and resistant structures that offer the building underneath protection against the elements, but unprofessional repairs can weaken them and eventually cause more harm than good. Here are some of the most common repair mistakes made on flat roofs:
- Patchwork-style fixes – one of the most common mistakes is to apply quick repairs to fix only visible issues, without addressing the root cause or the damage that affects the deeper layers of the roof. Any repair should involve detailed checking of the damaged area and finding the best approach that strengthens the roof, indeed;
- Applying the wrong type of coating – the special construction of flat roofs makes them sensitive to ponding water and other effects of the weather, therefore they are usually treated with various coatings to enhance their resistance. According to commercial roofing Colorado Springs CO flat roof experts, failing to apply climate-adequate coating or to reapply the coating when necessary will expose the roofing surface to the elements and will lead to premature deterioration;
- Failure to ensure proper drainage – any process of flat roof repair should involve the checking and cleaning of the gutter pipes and of the downspouts, one of the biggest mistakes made while repairing flat roofs being to dismiss the cleaning of the drainage system as minor and unimportant and to neglect the task.
Commercial roofs, especially flat ones, need some extra attention to ensure that the structure can stand up to whatever weather comes along. While most properly built commercial roofs can resist changing temperatures quite well, most of them are sensitive to the harmful actions of water, so weatherproofing in the case of most commercial roofs means, in fact, waterproofing.
Here are some of the most efficient ways to improve the strength of your commercial roof and to make it water-resistant:
- Take care of proper maintenance – commercial roofs, especially flat roofing, need to be inspected and cleaned every six months. Both phases are essential for ensuring roof health: roof cleaning removes any debris that might damage the roofing surface, while inspection reveals potential issues and problems that need repair; experienced commercial roofing Colorado Springs CO contractors offer expert roofing inspections and maintenance services.
- Address issues – the problems detected during the inspection, such as any cracks, sagging, shrinkage and slitting, need to be fixed as soon as possible;
- Apply suitable waterproof coating – there are many coating products that you can use for waterproofing your roof – some of them should be rolled on, others are sprayed on, but they are all applied on clean, repaired roofs and they all need to be reapplied every 3-5 years to ensure that your roof stays weatherproof.
If you are in the process of getting a new flat roof installed on your building, you have lots of great, energy-saving options that offer not only the opportunity to reduce the energy bills related to heating and cooling your building, but prolonged lifespan and resistance to the elements as well. Here are a few of your best options:
- Cool roofing products – traditionally, cool roofs were built using light-colored components to reflect the sun’s heat, thus reducing the heat absorbed by the roof and transferred into the building. Today, commercial roofing Colorado Springs CO shingle manufacturers offer special, cool products that reflect heat through the special materials they are made from;
- Special roof coatings – energy savings can nowadays be efficiently achieved in an affordable manner with the help of special roof coatings that can be applied on existing roofs to improve thermal performance. The coatings are available in brush-on, roll-on and roll-out versions;
- Single-ply membrane roofs – these roofs are installed by commercial roofing Colorado Springs CO pros using pre-fabricated sheets that are rolled out on the surface of the roof and fastened with adhesives, gravel or mechanical fasteners;
- Built-up roofs – consisting of a base sheet, reinforcement layers made from fabric and a surface layer of small stone. Choosing white or light-colored stone for the topmost layer can efficiently reduce heat exchange between the environment and the building interior.