Many houses have a flat roof, it may cover the entire roof or may simply be a section; this is often the case when an extension has been constructed. Flat roofs are generally cheaper to construct than a sloped roof, however, they also have a shorter life expectancy. The average flat roof should last between ten and fifteen years depending on its construction.
Unfortunately, flat roofs are often inherently flawed, their construction leads to water pooling on them and this places the roofing felt in duress which can lead to water seeping through and damaging the inside of your house. Once you locate a leak inside the home it is time to look at your roof and decide whether you need to repair it or replace it. You may wish to seek the advice of professional roofing firm King Koating Roofing when deciding the answer to this question.
If you choose to make the decision yourself then you should follow these steps:
Assess the Roof
Although this is best completed by a flat roof repair specialist you can look at the condition of the seams, joints, corners and even the attachment points yourself. If you note they are showing signs of deterioration, or there are obvious punctures or signs of leak then it is advisable to test the roof. To do this you will need to cut through the top layer and assess the condition of the underlying layer. If this is letting water through then a flat roof repair may suffice short term but in the near future you will have to replace the roof.
If you find yourself needing to do a test cut then you must have some materials, such as a piece of roof felt and duck tape to cover the cut temporarily until the repair or replacement is completed.
The Most Common Issues
Flat roofs generally attract water and it is when it sits still that you are most likely to experience leaks. If you find that there are puddles on your roof for longer than forty eight hours after the rain has stopped you are looking at an issue that will need repairing or replacing. The other most common spots are the joints, corners and attachments as these are automatically weak spots. In fact, if you flat roof is made from a rubber membrane you may have experienced shrinkage which is pulling the material from its fastenings.
You will also find there is likely to be an issue with a flat roof if there are often people walking on it; the very motion of feet will scuff the protective layer and allow water through.
When to replace
A flat roof should be repairable if it is less than ten years old; the only realm exception to this is if it has not been installed properly in the first place or it has been damaged. Providing the underlying layer is still sound you should be able to have a flat roof repair done and keep your property dry for several more years.