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The Three Main Causes of Flat Roof Leaks

The quirks of flat roofs can make them particularly prone to leaks and water damage. This is particularly true of older or poorly maintained roofs. But that doesn’t mean that most leaks can’t be easily prevented. With over 30 years of experience in commercial and industrial flat roofing, we’ve seen pretty much every type of leak that you can imagine. But it strikes us that there are actually only three main causes for flat roof leaks.

Standing Water

This is by far the number one reason for flat roof leaks. Standing water can accumulate during any season, but is particularly common during the spring and fall. Because the roof is flat, water may not drain as quickly as on a sloped roof. Instead, standing water can seep through the roofing system and into the building.

How to prevent damage from standing water: During the initial installation phase, make sure to invest in durable waterproof membrane materials and watertight seals. Afterwards, ensure that all drainage routes are clear to allow for adequate water drainage.

Blocked Drainage Routes

Plant debris like leaves and sticks can cause serious blocks in your drainage system. They can prevent the water from properly draining, and therefore promote water damage in your building.

How to prevent blocked drains: The key here is regular and seasonal maintenance. If there has been a major storm, make sure to schedule an extra maintenance session to remove all the debris brought in by the wind.

Extreme Fluctuations in the Weather

When the weather goes very quickly from hot to cold or vice versa, your roof will expand and shrink at a rapid rate. While these changes may be small, the sudden nature of the movements can cause your roof system to form small cracks. If left unattended, these cracks will allow water to seep into your roof system.

How to prevent temperature-related damages: One of the best ways of protecting your roof against extreme weather fluctuations is to paint it with a protective reflective coat. This reduces the degree of change in your roof temperature and prevents cracking. If you notice any cracks, we suggest contacting a professional to assess the best repair method for your roof.