Posted On: July 2, 2019

Flat Roof Replacement: Everything You Need To Know

If we’re totally honest, flat roof replacement is a weird job.

Angular roofs are by far the standard in the residential world, leaving flat roof home and business owners at a disadvantage when it comes time to replace their roof.

If your home or business has a flat roof and you’ve been asking questions like: ‘how do you ensure your flat roof is watertight?’ ‘can you prevent water from pooling and damaging your roof?’ and ‘what odd materials do you use to canvas a flat roof?’, you’re not alone.

We’ll answer all those questions, and give you a concise breakdown of the flat roof replacement process in this post.

If reading isn’t your thing, check out this video breakdown:

Flat Roof Minimum Code Standards

In more severe cases, like this one in the video, the damage required us to take the roof off and build a brand new one in order to meet minimum code standards. To meet standards we want to build up the sidewalls, to keep water confined to the roof, and not leaking places it isn’t supposed to.

We also want to ensure the new roof is an improvement on the old one. We are not going to repair that roof in the same way it was built before. The ability to manage the water should be a major improvement and a new style guaranteed to not require another repair down the line. The code states any standing water on a roof needs to be drained and dried within 48 hours of rain. This requires some extra building up of the slope to ensure for proper drainage of water.

Ensuring Proper Water Drainage On Flat Roofs

flat roof replacement water drainage

First, the flat roof needs to be free of any divots or craters that would pool water in them, causing sinking or collapsing of the roof over time. So, when you are rebuilding that roof, first make sure the slope is enough to guide the water down and out of the gutter, downspout or leader. The parapet walls should also be built up to help guide that water down along the edges of the roof and not pooling in the edges of center. The angle of the slope is generally 1-2% on flat roofs (which aren’t actually flat).

Flat Roof Maintenance and Preventative Care

Flat roofs are sometimes known for being problematic, mostly due to the low slope and water pooling. They are generally chosen for commercial buildings as they are cost-effective and energy-efficient because there’s less volume and space to heat or cool, and they can even be turned into an extra patio or garden space in the city.

There are some things one can do to prevent water pooling or leaking. First, regular maintenance checks to clear out roof outlets

like gutters, downpours, etc. is very important. A clogged roof outlet is a recipe for disaster. Leaves, dirt, snow, ice, can all plug those outlets and trap water from getting out. Water pooling and remaining on the roof for over 48 hours is not only against code but can begin to seep into the roof ruining insulation, windows, apartment ceilings, etc.

Materials used to waterproof and build up flat roofs generally have a lifespan of 20-30 years if well maintained, so it is very important to check the integrity and quality of these regularly. You will also want to be clear about your insurance coverage for your flat roof, especially as a commercial property owner.

In a place where snow and ice can cause problems on flat roofs, make sure you have the coverage you need if a major repair or replacement occurs down the road.

The Best Way to Handle Your Flat Roof Replacement

Are you starting to think your flat roof might be approaching the end of its life? If so, it’s best to reach out to a trusted roofing contractor for an inspection. This will ensure you have all of the necessary information about your roof so you can make the right decision.

If you happen to be in Minnesota, Northface Construction will repair or replace your roof with 5-star service, keeping you informed and part of the team for the entire process! We work to make your roof even better than it was when we started and to give you peace of mind and make sure you are getting the very most out of your investment.

Contact us today for a free estimate, or just to get in touch for more information!



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