Flat roof maintenance

Flat roofs have always had a bad reputation for being leaky and cost a lot to maintain. Repairing a flat roof doesn’t have to be expensive. Depending on the location and severity of the problem flat roof maintenance and flat roof repairs can be taken on by the competent DIY enthusiast. Advancements in flat roof materials and installation methods have improved drastically over the years and a long trouble free life can be expected from a new flat roof. Flat roof maintenance should be carried out at least twice a year before any unexpected problems occur.

Flat roofs are created by fixing ply boards over the roof timbers and furring strips which are lengths of timber that are cut in a way to make an uneven level to make the roof slope in a suitable direction which allows for water dispersal. Depending on the circumstances of the roof insulated boards are fixed on top of the ply and then covered with at least 3 layers of felt. Each layer of felt is laid in opposite directions to help seal the roof. Felt ‘drips’ are then fitted to the edges of the roof which turn down into the guttering to allow the rain to run off. Felt and lead flashings are fitted and turned up into the brickwork where the flat roof meets a wall.

If your flat roof is leaking it will probably be obvious on the ceiling directly below. Flat roof Leaks are caused in many ways and as with any repair work it the first thing to do is identify the cause of the leaks before deciding whether you can repair the roof yourself or call a flat roof repair service.

Bad design or poor installation of a roof can cause leaks. The first thing you should do is examine the roof for any signs of ponded water or if there are areas where the water does not drain away properly. Next examine the seams or joins in the felt and check for cracks at joins and corners. If one of the joints looks like it is not sealed carefully run a flat tool such as a trowel along the joint. If the tool can be inserted in between the layers of felt then this is a sure sign of a leaky area.

If there are any blisters or dipped areas on your flat roof be careful not to tread or put any weight on these areas. Dips in flat roofs are caused when the ply boarding underneath has been soaked with water and starts to sag down. Certain types of timber sheeting used for flat roofs are notoriously unstable if they become water logged.

If your flat roof is covered with stone chippings it can be difficult to identify where a leak maybe. Your first action should be to carefully sweep aside or remove the chippings altogether until you find the leaking area. After flat roof repairs are completed recover the area with the chippings or put new ones down.

There are repair kits available such as adhesive and tapes with some that can be applied in wet weather in the case of an emergency. Many of these should be considered as a temporary measure and a reputable flat roofing contractor will be able to repair the roof permanently. If there are many repairs to the roof needed to be done or if the roof is being repaired regularly it may be wise to consider having a new flat roof installed by a specialist flat roofing contractor.

This article was written by: Lee Jones

I have been professional Builder & Roofer for 20 years and have been running my company for last 8 years. I also teach kickboxing for the PKA Professional Kickboxing Association