Flat Roof Maintenance Checklist

A flat roof on a modern home.

If you have a flat roof and want it to maintain its value and to look its best, a regular flat roof maintenance program is essential. A regular schedule of roof assessment and maintenance will ensure that your roof will hold up to harsh environment exposure, particularly to winter snow and to the overall aging process. This regular maintenance will not only provide a greater degree of safety for you and your family but will also protect the investment you have in your home.

1. Ponding on your Roof

A flat roof is particularly vulnerable to “ponding.” Ponding occurs water accumulates in pools when the roof becomes saturated with water from rain or snow. If left undetected and not corrected, this condition can cause leaking and serious structural problems – even roof failure which could result in damage to the interior of your home. The only corrective measure that can be taken if you have ponding, is to install tampered installation.

2. Splitting In Roofing Material

When inspecting your flat roof, look for splits or long cracks that, if present, will be visible parallel joints of your insulation. These will often appear spongy. These are cracks are caused by poor workmanship, freeze-thaw conditions, and surface stress. Roof surfaces where ponding occurs will have a spongy feeling when touched.

3. Roof Material Blistering

Roof blistering is another thing to look for when examining your roof. Blistering develops in the felt layers and the substrate from trapped air and creates a separation in felt layers. If you detect roofing spots that are raised and spongy looking, these are often a sign of blistering.

4. Roof Material Ridging

Ridging usually takes place in bituminous (built-up) roofs in the insulation joints, due to moisture that condenses under the felt. These ridges may appear as long, narrow cracks and are typically the result of the roof membrane having been poorly attached.

5. Membrane Fasteners

If your roof is a fastened system, you should examine it for loose fasteners. The fasteners may become loose because they were not long enough or because of water saturation.

6. Felt Movement

If the wrong bitumen is used on your roof, or if the roof is exposed to excessive heat, this could cause some or all of the felt layers on your roof to move.

7. Snow Removal

If you live in an area where with heavy snowfall, you will want to be very careful that your flat roof doesn’t accumulate too much snow. This excessive snow could put your roof in danger of collapsing. If there is an accumulation of over 12 inches of snow, you should find a way to have the snow removed. But be aware that removing snow from a roof can be dangerous. Every year there are serious injuries to those who remove roof snow without adequate experience and equipment.