Flat and Low-Slope Roof Replacement

Knowing when it is time to replace a flat roof installation

CertainTeed flat roof replacement membranes

Flat roofs have become increasingly popular in recent years for commercial and residential buildings. While flat roofs have their advantages, they also come with a unique set of challenges. In addition to leaking, flat roofs can experience a variety of other issues, such as ponding water, poor drainage, and UV degradation. Ponding water occurs when water pools on the roof, which can lead to structural damage and leaks. Poor drainage can result in water being trapped on the roof, causing damage to the roofing materials and increasing the risk of leaks. UV degradation can cause the roof to become brittle and crack, which can also lead to leaks. It is important for building owners and managers to be aware of these issues and take proactive measures to prevent them. In this blog post, we will focus on the issue of leaking flat roof membranes and what consumers should know about flat roof replacement.


Diagnosing Flat Roof Leaking

A leaking flat roof membrane can be caused by a number of factors, including poor installation, aging, and weather damage. Flat roof membranes are typically made of rubber or synthetic materials that are designed to be durable and long-lasting. However, even the best materials can deteriorate over time due to exposure to the elements. When this happens, the roof can start to leak, causing damage to the interior of the building.

Water damage caused by a leaking flat roof membrane can be significant. In addition to damaging the roof itself, water can seep into the interior of the building and cause damage to walls, ceilings, and floors. If left unchecked, this can lead to mold growth, which can be hazardous to health. In addition, a leaking flat roof membrane can decrease energy efficiency by allowing heat to escape during the winter and air conditioning to escape during the summer.

Diagnosing a leaky flat roof can be a complex process that requires a combination of observation, investigation, and testing. Here are some steps that can help in diagnosing a leaky flat roof:

Inspection of the Roof: The first step in diagnosing a leaky flat roof is to conduct a thorough inspection of the roof. This can be done by visually examining the roof surface for signs of damage, such as cracks, holes, and tears. It is important to also look for areas where water may be ponding, which can be an indicator of poor drainage.

Check the Flashing: Flashing is the material used to seal the gaps between the roof and any protrusions, such as vents and pipes. Inspecting the flashing for signs of damage or deterioration is important, as it is a common area for leaks to occur.

Trace the Leak: If a visible leak is present, try to trace it back to its source on the roof. 

Water Testing: If the source of the leak cannot be determined through visual inspection, water testing may be necessary. This involves simulating rain conditions by spraying water onto the roof in specific areas while monitoring for leaks inside the building.

Hire a Professional Inspector: If you are not comfortable conducting a roof inspection or water testing yourself, it is recommended to hire a professional roofing inspector. A professional can provide a more thorough inspection and use specialized equipment to detect leaks, such as infrared cameras.

There are several signs that it may be time to replace your flat roof. These include:

Age: Most flat roofs last between 10 and 20 years. If your roof is approaching or exceeding this lifespan, it may be time to replace it.

Damage: If your roof has sustained significant damage, such as from a storm or falling tree limb, it may be more cost-effective to replace it than to repair it.

Leaks: If your roof is leaking in multiple areas, it may be more practical to replace it than to repair it.

Energy Efficiency: If your energy bills are higher than they should be, it may be due to poor insulation or an aging roof. A new flat roof can improve energy efficiency and save you money on utility bills.

Flat Roof Replacement Process

If you decide to replace your flat roof, the process typically involves the following steps:

Removal of the old roof: The first step is to remove the old roof. This may involve tearing off the existing membrane and insulation.

Repair or replacement of the deck: The deck is the surface that the new membrane will be attached to. If the deck is damaged or deteriorated, it may need to be repaired or replaced.

Insulation: Insulation may then added to improve energy efficiency.

Installation of the new membrane layers: The new membrane is then installed, along with any necessary flashing, seams, or other components.

The cost of flat roof replacement can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the roof, the type of materials used, and the complexity of the installation. 

Flat Roof Styles and Appearance

CertainTeed provides a variety of flat roof color options through their Flintlastic® SA Cap sheet. These colors are designed to complement a wide range of building styles and color schemes, allowing for customization and personalization. The Flintlastic® SA Cap sheet is also formulated to provide long-lasting protection against weathering, cracking, and UV radiation. These color options not only enhance the appearance of a building but also contribute to energy efficiency by reflecting sunlight and reducing heat absorption. A lighter color roof will reflect more sunlight and heat, keeping the building cooler and reducing the demand on air conditioning systems.  The range of color options provided by CertainTeed makes it easier to create aesthetically pleasing and functional flat roof designs.

Certainteed Coolstar vs White Flat cap sheet

The Premier Flat Roof for Your Home

If you’re in need of flat roof replacement or repair, it’s important to work with a reliable and experienced roofing contractor. Our team of skilled professionals uses the latest technology and materials to ensure your flat roof is leak-free and performs at its best. Contact Odyssey Roofing today for all your flat roofing needs!

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