(From the Rooftop, October 2017)

While flat roof repairs are best overseen by professionals, there are a few tactics building owners can employ on their own to ensure their roof lasts longer with fewer emergency repairs.
It is always better for the building owner to become educated so he or she can help make the purchasing decisions throughout the project.
The following is a list of tips and strategies every building owner can use to properly assess their flat roof and make informed decisions.

Understanding the Warning Signs

Owners and facility managers often forget the roof is even there, or that it requires regular attention. You should be inspecting your roof for damage twice a year at bare minimum, with professional quarterly inspections, including a solid drain cleaning, added to the spring and fall to keep your roof in the best shape. Major inspections should occur every spring and autumn, with the building manager taking a regular look after storms or inclement weather. As we mentioned in another article, it’s during these times roofs are most susceptible to damage.

Pay close attention to where mechanical equipment is mounted, or at least be aware of where and how they function. Flat roofs are frequently used as platforms for mechanical equipment where improper mounting and flashing can cause leaks. It’s crucial that property managers know what is on their roof, how it functions, and how it can affect the roof it’s placed upon.

Managers should pay special attention to areas where the roofing is without gravel and nakedly exposed. The ideal time for you to undertake a flat roof inspection or carry out repairs should be a cool, dry day when there is no dampness on the roof.

Finally, check areas around roof drains where water enters the gutters and other drainage points as these are most susceptible to flat roof deterioration. This is a common problem area for flat roofs, especially if you’re located anywhere near trees or where debris could cause blockage.

Basic Maintenance Tips

We recommend consulting a professional for all things roof related, but if you are taking the initiative to inspect and maintain your own roof there are some basic tasks you can do on your own.

See how water is being drained away from the building and if gutters and outlets are clogged. Check the underside of the roof, especially the edges, from the attic for detection of leaks. You can catch problems early this way. While we recommend using a trained professional to help remove most debris, it is possible to use a leaf blower to remove most of the loose detritus, especially if you do not want to risk stepping foot onto problem areas.

Check to see whether any nearby trees have got low branches, as these could scrape your flat roof and cause damage. If there are any such low hanging branches, see about having the branches pruned. The best practice is to allow a 1-metre clearance to avoid blockage and damage due to fallen leaves and branches as well as removing any unwanted vegetation or growth on the roof itself. This is a very important task to undertake in the autumn and spring.

Lastly, check for cracked caulking, which can be easily removed and replaced by anyone with basic repair skills. In that same vein, small punctures or worn spots often can be mended using home-center patch kits for your type of roof. However, if you notice elongated cracking, serious blistering, or are unsure of the true severity of the problem, it’s time for a professional assessment. You do not want to gamble on causing additional problems, especially if you are in and around machinery you are unfamiliar with.

Crown Industrial Roofing Maintenance Services

If you have any concerns about your roof or want to avoid a flat roofing emergency, pick up the phone and call Crown Industrial Roofing immediately. Our team of experienced commercial and industrial roofers will assess the situation, provide expert flat roof leak detection, and repair your flat roof quickly and safely. Emergency leak detection and repair services are available within 24 hours, 52 weeks a year.

For more information, or in case of a flat roofing emergency, contact Crown Industrial Roofing by phone at: 416-744-7788.