Homeowners might think flat roofs are just for commercial buildings. But flat roofs for residential applications are becoming more common because they increase living space, they are faster to build, and are very cost-effective. Residential flat roofs are often associated with houses built in modern, contemporary, and asymmetrical modern architectural styles. While a popular rumour maintains that flat roofs require little or no maintenance, the truth is they require the same amount of upkeep as sloped roofs. Here are some easy-to-remember flat roof maintenance tips for your home.
Access the Roof Safely
When you are climbing a ladder to gain access to the roof, take all necessary precautions. Use a sturdy ladder in good repair. For optimum safety, tie-off the ladder to ensure it is properly stabilized before climbing the rungs. Avoid carrying heavy tools and equipment up the ladder. Use the 3-point-contact ladder rule at all times, which simply means you have three of your limbs in contact with the ladder – for example, one hand holding on, two feet standing on the step.
Clear away Debris
A flat roof isn’t really flat – it has a very slight slope to allow water to flow toward the drains. However, flat roofs tend to collect more twigs, leaves, and debris than pitched roofs. They also typically don’t handle rainfall as efficiently. So, it is important to clear the surface of the roof of any debris that might clog the drains and prevent rainwater from draining away properly.
Perform Inspections Regularly
While flat roofs generally have a shorter lifespan than pitched roofs, performing regular inspections can increase the longevity of a flat roof. The sooner a problem has been identified, the sooner it can be fixed, preventing it from becoming a bigger issue (and more expensive).
Look for clogged drains, missing screens, and debris covering the drain screens. Also check for blistering, loose seams, rust, and cracks.
If your flat roofing system has a straight drip edge to guide rainwater into a continuous eavestrough, examine flashing where it overlaps the next piece to form a joint – there should be no splits, gaps or separations. When joints have been worn or compromised, it’s recommended to consult a professional roofing contractor because roofing technicians use specific techniques to repair the joints.
Check for standing water on the roof. Commonly known as pooling or ponding, small pools of water are a sign of that something about the flat roofing system has become damaged and is not draining efficiently. When ponding occurs it should be dealt with as soon as it is discovered. Consistent pooling can lead to moss growth, leaks, and other types of damage to the roof surface.
Trim Tree Branches
When trees grow near your flat roof, regularly trim back the branches. This will help control the amount of debris that lands on the roof.
Watch the Stress Level
One of the benefits of a flat roof is it can provide additional space for a rooftop dining area, a herb garden, or a place to store equipment. But flat roofs are susceptible to excessive pressure and stress. When turning your residential flat roof into an outdoor living space, find out from your roofing contractor the roof’s maximum weight capacity.