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Very Dirty Gutters On Edge Of Flat Residential Roof

Why Does Your Flat Roof Keep Leaking?

Flat roofs have several distinct advantages, but the fact that they don’t have much of a slope also makes them more prone to leaks. Unfortunately, the cause of these leaks can be a little tricky to pinpoint. 

Are you desperately wondering why your flat roof keeps leaking? We’ll explore the most common causes — and how to fix them. 

1. Improper Installation

Unfortunately, improper installation is one of the most common causes of leaks in flat roofs. Improper installation can occur in the form of inadequate sealing or flashing and, in some cases, faulty membrane installation.

Having your roof assessed by an independent third-party — a contractor who didn’t install the roof — is advisable in these cases. 

2. Damaged Roofing

Pooling water can cause roofing materials to develop blisters, while extreme weather or impact with an object can also damage the roofing materials like single-ply roofing (EPDM or TPO) or modified bitumen. Even small tears and cracks can quickly wreak havoc. 

Get your flat roof fixed as soon as reasonably possible to minimize the damage and prolong its lifespan.

3. Problems with Flashing and Roof Penetrations

Flashing — the metal strips installed around the roof’s seams and edges — is absolutely critical to a properly-functioning roof. When it’s installed incorrectly or becomes damaged over time, leaks are almost inevitable. Water trickles into the home or building slowly in these cases. 

Roof penetrations like skylights, vents, and chimneys also create vulnerable areas where leaks can develop. Flashing and sealants are used to prevent water damage in these spots, but damage or incorrect installation can cause leaking. 

Poorly maintained gutters can also contribute to roof damage. Fortunately, these issues are usually minor when caught early and repaired promptly. 

4. Water Pooling and Inadequate Drainage

Despite what their name suggests, flat roofs aren’t completely flat. Instead, they have low slopes that allow water to drain. A flat roof can start leaking when the slope isn’t sufficient, or the drainage path is obstructed. That’s because water begins to pool in certain spots, weakening and damaging the roof over time and causing water to leak into the home or building.

Being proactive is essential if water is pooling on your flat roof, as the problem will only get worse with time.

5. Extreme Weather Events

Heavy rain, hailstorms, snowstorms, and even strong winds can all cause a flat roof to sustain damage. Homeowners who notice that their flat roof suddenly started leaking after an extreme weather event can bet that there’s a correlation. 

In some cases, heavy rain overwhelms the roof’s drainage system, while storms can cause objects like tree branches to obstruct it. Extreme weather can even cause structural damage in some cases. 

You know what to do — don’t wait; call a competent roofing contractor as soon as possible to assess and repair the damage.

6. Poor Maintenance

Most flat roofs have an expected lifespan of around 15 years. Homeowners and businesses can help to ensure that the roof lasts as long as possible by facilitating regular maintenance. 

Ideally, a flat roof should be inspected at least once a year. This enables roofing professionals to identify small problems before they have the chance into major repair jobs. 

7. Your Roof Is Past Its Expiration Date

If your flat roof is already nearing the end of its lifespan, it’s also important to consider that roofing materials degrade over time. No matter how well you maintain your flat roof, it will need to be replaced once it reaches the end of its functional life. 

Built-up flat roofs can last 15 to 20 years, while you can reasonably expect to replace a modified bitumen roof after 10 to 20 years.

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