Inspecting a Flat Roof

Inspecting a Flat Roof

Leaks Can Be Devastating

When you’re buying a new property, you have a lot to think about to prepare for your new home. Inspecting a flat roof before following through with the purchase is extremely important. Even though you may have owned a property with a flat roof in the past, it is still a good idea to inspect the roof and understand how to maintain it. Leaks can be devastating and expensive if they’re not repaired quickly after they’re found.

Serious Flat Roofing Problems To Look For

1

Blistering

These are areas that look like bubbles or where the surface is uneven. There could be moisture trapped underneath the membrane, but more often, its a result of improper installation. Ask a roofing contractor if a particular blister on your roof will cause bigger problems.

2

Splitting

This could mean their’s a poor structure or bad insulation installation. Even if the membrane was installed correctly, shifting or movement inside could cause a split in the flat roof’s membrane. If this is the case, the flashing in this area will usually fail too.

3

Movement

If the membrane looks like its shifted from it’s original position, it could be due to the slope of the roof being too steep for the type of membrane installed, poor adhesion, or thermal issues. This can contribute to ridges, splits and other roof problems.

4

Obvious Damage

When inspecting a flat roof and find that it has been punctured or shows other signs of obvious damage, you should bring it to the attention of your professional roofing contractor.

5

Shrinking

Some membranes have a tendency to shrink. You will see this as an issue if membrane seams look like they’re pulling against a penetration like a plumbing vent pipe, or if the membrane can be pulled away from the eave’s edges. You may also see “bridging” at angle changes such as parapet walls, against other walls, etc.

Things to Look When Inspecting A Flat Roof

On the Roof

If you don’t see any discolored spots or any other signs leaking inside, it is still a smart choice to have the roof inspected. There could be cracks beginning to form that will become bigger issues down the road. You’ll want to get these problems fixed before they cause any internal damage to the home.

One thing we would recommend is walking the roof to do a simple visual inspection. To be safe, make sure to be aware of where you are on the roof and never walk backwards. Make note of all the penetrations and don’t put any weight on any skylight covers, they’re not built to withstand significant weight. While you’re walking the roof, make a note of how it feels under your feet. If it feels weak, get off the roof safely and as quickly as possible and call a professional roofing contractor.

A leak on the roof could soak the insulation under the membrane. If it feels a spongy underneath you, you’ll also want to refer to a roofing contractor. This is also the case if you notice any water coming out of any part of the membrane.

Inspect Penetrations and their Seals

Next, you will want to look at all the penetrations and seals. A large amount of leaks start at penetrations and seals, which make up a very small percentage of the total area of the flat roof. Penetrations, things like pipes and flashings that ‘penetrate’ the roof, are usually enclosed by flashings made from some form of sheet metal. Inspect around these penetrations for deterioration and cracks. This cracking might not seem to be a big problem, but as moisture gets in, it will expand the crack until its large enough to cause a big leak. Seals are where two waterproof materials overlap, coming together in the same spot. Inspect these seals and make sure they’re smooth and still fully adhering.

In the Interior

You’ll want to check each individual room in the property carefully. Check the ceilings for any stains or discoloration. If the roof is leaking, you’ll find a dark colored ring forming around the water-saturated spot. If you see this, you should contact an experienced roofing contractor before moving ahead with your purchase.

Damage from a leak in one area doesn’t necessarily mean that the leak is located directly above it. Flat roofing systems have layers that might direct the moisture to other areas in the home, many times far away from the source. The damage could also be from a plumbing or AC leak or, possibly some other source other than your roof itself. Its also a possibility that the leak that caused the stain was previously repaired but the discoloration on the ceiling was not. However, to be on the safe side, the best thing to do is to hire a professional flat roofing contractor to locate the source of any leaks.

To Conclude

If you’ve finished your roof inspection and decide you need to hire an experienced commercial roofing contractor, make sure to get several bids to ensure that you thoroughly understand what really needs to be remedied. Also, if you get multiple bids, you’re more likely to pay a lower price for your roof repair. Your roofing contractor might also be able to help you extend your roof’s lifespan and give you instructions on what you can do for routine maintenance throughout the year.

Emergency Roof Repair Contractors

Mikku and Sons Roofing has been helping residents throughout Phoenix since 2001. Our experienced and friendly crew members can inspect your roof and help you get it ready for the monsoon season to help you reduce the risk of damage. But, if your roof does have damage due to monsoon storms, we are ready to help you with quick and complete roof repair. We have experience in all types of roofs, including tile, shingle and flat roofs on both personal residences and commercial property. We are fully licensed and insured and make it our mission to provide quality workmanships and exceptional service.

Call us today at (623) 465-1068 to find out how we can help you prepare your roof for the coming monsoon season or to repair it after a storm.

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