Tips for Maintaining Flat Roofs

Flat roofs have unique needs. While they give homes a unique, modern appearance, they cannot always deal with weather and moisture as well as slanted rooftops can.

Here are several ideas on how to handle your flat roof to ensure it lasts as long as possible.

Pay attention to drainage: Your flat roofs will not drain quite as easily as slanted rooftops, you need to make sure it has high-quality drainage options. This means regularly maintaining gutters, drains, scuppers and other features that keep water from pooling up on your roof. Keep this equipment clear of leaves, needles and dirt — especially during windy seasons and in the fall when leaves tend to pile up. It’s also a good idea to check your roof from time to time after it rains, so make sure no water is “ponding” or forming puddles that indicate moisture problems. You don’t want water to sit on top of your roof for any length of time.

Get rid of debris: You can’t expect all the dirt and debris to eventually end up in the gutter when you have a flat roof. So get into a routine of cleaning off your rooftop so that debris never piles up. Those piles of dirt and leaves can encourage mold, moisture problems, and pests. You may need to clean more frequently if you have problems with windy weather or leaves falling before winter. One of the best ways to prevent debris problems is to make sure there are no overhanging branches near your flat roof, so you may want to do some trimming, too.

Check for signs of damage: Flat roof damage may be hard to see from ground level. In addition to cleaning the rooftop, check for any signs of damage that may need to be treated. This could include cracks, discoloring, worn spots and holes. You may be able to patch small flaws yourself and keep your roof healthy, but large cracks are a serious problem that needs the attention of a professional. If your flat roof has a lot of flashing on it, do not forget to check the caulking for any cracks that may be admitting moisture. Caulking is one of the weak spots, particularly on a flat roof, and any cracks should be dealt with immediately.

Be careful about weight and stress: While flat roofs may seem sturdy, most flat rooftops are surprisingly delicate. They cannot handle much extra weight at all. So avoid stacking or piling supplies on top of the roof. Before adding any additional equipment or features to the roof, call in a professional for an opinion on how it will affect roof integrity. Even simple things like Christmas decorations may have an effect, so plan carefully and treat your roof well.

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