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How to Extend the Life of Your Flat Roof

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There are two main factors in how long your flat roof will last. One is the quality of installation, and the second is how well it has been maintained over the years. Improper flat roof installation, and low-quality materials, will of course affect the lifespan of your flat roofing system. And if sufficient maintenance has not been preformed, your flat roof has a much greater chance of failing early. As a homeowner, commercial builder owner or property manager, making your flat roof last for as long as possible will save you money and loads of stress.

Depending on the quality of the installation, and the type of materials used, the product manufacturer will generally issue a warranty for a specific amount of time. Workmanship warranties are usually much shorter in duration than manufacturer warranties.

Flat roofing systems that have been warrantied for 20years, wont necessarily last for 20yrs. It all depends on the amount of regular flat roof maintenance that has been performed over that time span. If your flat roof has not been properly maintained, the chances of it lasting that entire 20yrs without deficiencies, is highly unlikely. Also, many warranties will require regular maintenance to be done in order to not let the contract lapse.

That being said, when maintained properly, the same roof can possibly last for decades longer than the term of the warranty. The differences in look and functionality between a flat roof that has been maintained and one that hasn’t is profound. Unmaintained flat roofs can fail in half the time of its expected life span. The costs associated with these leaks and complete failures can be exorbitant.

Many small issues can become large problems if not caught early. Such as:

  • Ponding water
  • Algae growth
  • Build- up of debris
  • Improperly placed, or blocked drainage systems
  • UV rays can also have a huge impact on the health of your flat roofing system

All of these potentially catastrophic issues are easily preventable with the proper maintenance plan.

In order to protect the health, and extend the lifespan of your roofing system, your flat roof should be professionally inspected at least twice a year. Once in the spring, and once in the fall. Between these inspections, if its safe to do so, a properly educated building owner can perform regular checks to ensure that there are no issues.

Some of the recommended flat roof maintenance include:

  • Snow removal. Not only can the weight of snow build-up cause catastrophic failure and possible roof collapse, if your drainage system is not up to par, ponding water can also become an issue.
  • Drainage. It is important to ensure that your flat roof has a sufficient amount of drainage in order to prevent ponding, deterioration and leaks. These drains, and areas of drainage should remain clear of debris at all times.
  • Ponding water. By clearing any standing water from your flat roof, you can effectively prevent the growth of moss and algae. And reduce the effects of damaging UV rays.
  • Debris removal. If your flat roof is situated in an area with an abundance of trees, or other easily dislodged materials. It is important to clear this debris regularly. Not only can this debris clog up your drainage system and cause leaks, it can also puncture your roofing material leading to the need for large scale repairs.

flat roof maintenance work in progressThe only thing that is going to stave of flat roof damage, is sufficient flat roof maintenance. The cost associated with this routine maintenance will pale in comparison to the cost of a large roof repair, or complete roof replacement. It can be compared to changing the oil in your vehicle. It will cost you far less to change your oil regularly, than to repair a damaged engine.

A proper roof maintenance plan should be started as soon as possible after the installation of your flat roof. If this is something that has been neglected up until now, its never to late to start. If you have not been regularly maintaining your flat roof, it would be wise to first hire a reputable roofing contractor for a thorough inspection.

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