Flat Roof Maintenance for Homes

By May 1, 2020May 20th, 2020Roof
Flat Roof Maintenance: Modified Bitumen

We wrote another blog on roof maintenance; if you have not already you should check it out!

Flat roofs typically require more attention than other roofing materials like shingles. This is because flat roofs tend to hold moisture and vegetation rather than shedding it easily compared to sloped roofs.

So, let’s get into flat roof maintenance tips!

Flat Roof Maintenance Checklist

Clear all Vegetation

Using a regular broom, you can sweep all vegetation off of the roof. This should be completed at least yearly. However, roofs with more surrounding vegetation will need more regular maintenance.

Ensure Ponding Water is Not Excessive

Ponding water on a flat roof is typical, and is okay in small amounts like the featured image of this post. Ponding occurs due to small divots during the install and can damage the roofing material overtime.

If you have excessive ponding, like the picture below, you may need to contact a roofer sooner for replacement as the roofing material will not last as long.

Flat Roof Ponding and Vegetation
Flat Roof Ponding and Vegetation

Check for Areas of Damage and Near Penetrations

Checking for areas of damage and near penetrations will help you find leaks quickly.

You can use a roof sealer/tar in these areas for additional protection, however, it might be best to call a roofer if your roof is leaking.

Flat roof Damage
Flat roof Damage

In the image above, there is evidence of significant damage to the modified bitumen. The asphalt and granule layer is beginning to come apart which exposes the tar underneath. These areas are typically caused by ponding water and should sealed.

Inspecting at Penetrations and Flashings

You should examine all areas that are penetrations or transfer points to another roofing material or wall.

For instance, in the image above (labelled: Flat Roof Ponding and Vegetation) you should check at the bottom row of shingles to ensure the shingles are sealed down tightly. To inspect for this, gently pull up on the shingle from the bottom.

Furthermore, you can also examine the roofing penetrations for holes like this one below. That minor tear around the pipe can allow for water entry.

Flashing torn at vent stack
Flashing torn at vent stack

When Is It Time for Replacement?

Modified Bitumen roofs typically last about 10-15 years in Florida. If you are along the coast, this can be a lot sooner due to heavy rain and winds.

You can read our blog on flat roof replacement to learn more about when exactly is it time to replace your flat roof.

Coating Your Flat Roof

Homeowners have the option to “paint” their roof covering with a special sealer. This sealer can help the roof last 1-2 more years, however, some insurance companies may not like it.

Below is an image of what this roofing sealer looks like. We cover this sealer and how to use it in more detail in this blog. However, you basically roll it on like paint!

Elastomeric Roofing Sealer
Elastomeric Roofing Sealer

Conclusion

Regular flat roof maintenance is essential for the longevity of the roof life. As a homeowner, you should make sure your roof is draining properly and is free of vegetation/debris.

Also, you can inspect your penetrations, flashings, and ponding areas for damage. These areas may need patching/repairs and can affect the total lifespan of your roof.

All in all, finding leaks early on will prevent further damage and costly repairs.

Learn how to inspect your own roof here.

Have a question? Comment below.

Aaron Shishilla

Author Aaron Shishilla

Aaron Shishilla is the youngest registered professional inspector in Florida. Coming from a family-owned home inspection company and now the marketing manager at Waypoint.

More posts by Aaron Shishilla

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