Flat Roof Repair: Common Problems and Solutions

Posted on January 18, 2023

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Flat Roof Repair: Common Problems and Solutions

Permanent solutions can enhance your roof’s lifespan by almost ten years! On top of it, you wouldn’t need frequent repairs or costly flat roof replacement. The best way to repair a flat roof is by hiring the most reliable and experienced roofing contractor in the area. However, before calling anyone, you must understand the problem, its causes, and the solutions yourself. When you know why your roof is leaking and how to fix it, you can be confident about the solution your roofing contractor suggests.

At OConnor Contracting, we’ve been educating homeowners in our community for years. Our company aims to help you make more cost-effective and safe choices for your family. This article explains the most common problems with flat roof systems, and how to fix them permanently.

Common Problems With Flat Roofs

Leaks, algae, and blistering are the top three issues that call for flat roof repairs. If they continue to persist, it could become detrimental to your home’s interior and foundation. Below is a detailed explanation of these issues.

Roof Leaks

Roof Leaks

Leaking water is common to most flat roofs, and this worrisome problem can occur for a variety of reasons. Cracks in the roofing material and holes caused by fallen branches make way for water to seep into your home or building. Improper roof installation or damaged parts like roof vents, HVAC units, and skylights are also common causes of roof leaks. It’s never good to have a leaking flat roof, as moisture can quickly reach the roof deck, interior, and foundation of your building, causing structural damage.

Ponding Water

Ponding Water

Flat roofs are not designed to shed water, but they have a robust drainage system that prevents water from pooling on the roof. If this gutter system is poorly installed, damaged, or clogged, water can pool or ‘pond’ on the surface of your flat roof. This also happens when the roof isn’t installed evenly, or correctly. Ponding water can cause your flat roofing material to deteriorate prematurely and is one of the main reasons for roof leaks in heavy rain. The cost to repair flat roof ponding isn’t very high, so you can easily get it fixed without wasting any more time.

Blistering

Blisters are tiny bubbles that develop on the surface of a flat roof. These issues are related to flat roofing materials like EPDM and TPO membranes. Blisters generally occur due to improper roof installation and exposure to extreme temperatures. Similarly, cracking also happens as a result of installation faults and frequent exposure to the sun. When you ask a contractor to repair a flat roof that is damaged due to improper installation, it may cost more, but if the solution is permanent, it’s a worthwhile expense. 

UV Damage

The sun’s ultraviolet rays are known for damaging everything they fall on, which includes your roof– the most exposed part of your home. UV damage can manifest as fading or discoloration of the roofing material, as well as cracking and brittleness. For example, if you live in a warmer region, you may have more direct sunlight, and the intensity of the heat and UV rays is also high, which tends to cause the roofing material to deteriorate faster than usual.

Most homeowners try to do a quick fix on their roof, which is fine but only for a short time. Quick fixes help contain leaks and slow the damage, but they are not an alternative to permanent repairs or a cure for the source of the problem. If you are wondering what the solution is for the above flat roofing issues, read the next section carefully.

The Right Ways To Conduct Residential Flat Roof Repair

The proper way to repair a flat roof is by hiring a professional who knows exactly what’s wrong with the roof, why it happened, and how to get rid of the problem for good. They will first inspect the roof, discuss it with you, and begin the repairs after adequately cleaning the roof. 

Here’s an overview of residential flat roof repairs:

Repairing Leaks

Leaks are one of the most pressing issues when we talk about flat roof repair, and there are several methods that roofers and homeowners use to address this issue. 

  • Patching is a standard solution for small punctures or tears in the roofing material. This involves applying a patch of the same material as the roof, such as asphalt or rubber, to the damaged area. 
  • Sealing is another option, which involves applying roofing cement or a sealant to the area around vents or skylights to prevent water from seeping in.

In more severe cases, replacing damaged sections of the roofing material might be necessary. For example, if a large area of the roof is damaged, it may be more cost-effective to replace the entire area rather than patch it.

Drainage Solutions

Improving drainage on flat roofs is crucial to prevent ponding water and leaks. One solution is to install scuppers, which are large openings at the roof’s edge that allow water to flow off the roof faster. Another option is to replace old, damaged, or insignificant parts of the roof drainage system with better, oversized gutters and pipes that direct water away from the roof more effectively.

Removing Blisters And Filling Cracks

To eliminate unsightly blisters and cracks that may lead to leaks, you can cut out the damaged areas of the membrane. After that, remove any trapped water or debris, clean the area and let it dry. Then apply a patch of roofing material, such as flashing or a roofing sealant or rubber adhesive, to seal the area and prevent further water infiltration. 

  • Another option is to apply a roof coating, or membrane, to the entire roof surface to seal any existing blisters and prevent new ones from forming. However, it’s important to note that applying a coating or membrane is not a permanent solution and may need to be reapplied in the future.
  • In case of extensive blisters or poor conditions of your roof, it may be necessary to replace the damaged section or the top membrane. Consult an experienced roofing contractor to determine the best course of action for your specific situation. At OConnor Contracting, we offer free consultations to help you solve the issues you find.

If you live in Western New York, you can take advantage of our trustworthy services for flat roof bubble repair.

Addressing UV Damage

One solution to fix UV damage on a flat roof is to apply a UV-resistant roof coating. These coatings are specifically designed to protect the roof from the sun’s harmful UV rays. 

  • The reflective coating acts as a barrier, reflecting UV rays and reducing the amount of heat absorbed by the roof. It’s important to note that the coating should be applied by a professional, and be compatible with the existing roofing material. 
  • Another solution to address UV damage is to install a reflective roofing membrane, which works well to reduce heat absorbed by the roof. This option is more expensive, but it can also help to improve the energy efficiency of the building.

After completing the flat roof repairs, make sure your roof stays in good condition for a long time by keeping up with maintenance. You want to avoid seeing these issues popping up again in the summertime. 

Flat Roof Maintenance

To prevent frequent issues with your flat roof, it is vital to have a good flat roof maintenance plan in place. Many flat roof contractors offer a comprehensive care plan for flat roofs like EPDM, TPO, PVC, modified bitumen, and metal. Here’s what most maintenance programs include:

Regular Roof Inspections

A thorough roof inspection every six months and after any significant storm events. This helps you identify any potential problems early on before they can cause severe damage to your roof or home. 

Roof Cleaning & Patch-Ups

If your roof is made of concrete or PVC,  you can clean it yourself once a week since the material can stand minimal foot traffic. If you need help, you can ask your flat roof contractor to add roof cleaning to your maintenance plan. Single-ply membranes do not hold up well to foot traffic and cleaning chemicals. So it’s best to leave the maintenance of these roofs to the experts.

If you need flat roof repair services in Western New York, we can help you!

Most Trusted Flat Roof Repair Service For Homes

When it comes to flat roof repair, it’s crucial to choose a company you can trust to get the job done right. That’s why we take pride in being the most trusted flat roof repair contractor in Buffalo, Amherst, and all of Western New York. Our experienced and skilled professionals follow building codes and have the expertise to handle any flat roof repair project, from fixing a leak to a full roof replacement.

We use the highest quality materials and the latest techniques to repair your roof to the highest standards. We understand that roof damage can be stressful and disruptive. Therefore, we work efficiently to minimize disturbances to your daily routine and be on schedule. If you are looking for the right flat roofing contractor, or just want to know how long does a flat roof last, call us at (716)-600-7663. We will help you with a free roof inspection along with an estimate of your flat roof repair cost. Customer satisfaction is our top priority, and we strive to make sure that every customer is satisfied with our work.

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