Leaking Flat Roof: What Are Your Options?

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Your flat roof is leaking, now what? Like the majority of flat roof owners before you, you are currently experiencing a leak. So what are your options? Temporary repair? Full replacement? Many things will factor into your ultimate decision.

First, the age of your flat roof. If your flat roof was recently installed, contact the roofing company who completed the job and have them come out to fix it. If you received a manufacturer or workmanship warranty, there should be no cost to you. On the other hand, if your flat roof is aged, you may not be able to contact the company who originally installed it. This is where things get tricky. While you can opt for a repair and hope for the best, that may not be the most cost-effective decision in the long run. Temporary flat roof repairs are exactly that, temporary and they are by no means the end to your leaking issues, only a temporary reprieve.

Before you do anything, contact a reputable flat roofing company to perform a thorough inspection. It is very important that the company that you choose has sufficient flat roof knowledge, as shingle and flat roof installations vary significantly. The contractor should check all seams, flashings and attachment points to determine where the leak started. They should also check for cracks in the flat roof membrane that may be allowing water in. If the flat roofing contractor is a good one, he should perform a test cut to ensure that there is no significant water damage or mold growth below the membrane.

Whether you need a full flat roof replacement, or a repair will depend on many factors. The age of your flat roof, and the quality of maintenance that it has received will play a role in the course of action recommended to you. Quality of installation will also be a determining factor between a repair, or replacement.

If your flat roof was recently installed, correctly, and has been provided with sufficient flat roof maintenance a repair should solve the problem. However if your flat roof is aged considerably, or has been neglected the regular maintenance that it requires, a flat roof replacement may be necessary.

First, lets assume that all your flat roof needs to stop the leaking is a repair.

What are your repair options? And which is most effective with your flat roofing material?

1-    There are a few DIY repair options available depending on your current roofing material. If your flat roof is composed of a rubber material, there are kits that you can purchase to patch up leaks yourself. Keeping in mind that these repairs are unlikely to last, and will often need to be redone.

2-    Though it will cost you slightly more than a DIY job, if you want a lasting flat roof repair, hiring an expert is your best bet.

3-    Modified bitumen flat roofing systems require torched repairs, and these types of dangerous repairs are best left to the professionals.

4-    For older style tar and gravel flat roofing systems, finding a single leak can be extremely difficult. The success rate associated with repairs to this material are very low, so it may be in your best interests to go with a full flat roof replacement immediately.

5-    If your flat roofing system is single-ply, most spray coatings are not recommended for repair purposes. The fix will not last very long, and should the leak reappear, a future repair may not be doable.

Now let us assume that the age of your roof, or the damage incurred is too much to allow for an effective repair. What are your flat roof replacement options?

1-    Metal flat roofing systems are a great and attractive option for a roof replacement. When combined with a quality waterproof, and weather proof spray coating, these flat roofing systems can be effective and functional for many years.

2-    EPDM: This type of flat roofing system is the least expensive of any of the flat roof replacement options. Though it also has a significantly reduced lifespan, and may be prone to leaks.

3-    Spray coating: There are a few high-quality, flexible, waterproof, and UV resistant spray coatings available. While not suitable for every type of roofing system, these coatings can completely rejuvenate the look and durability of some flat roofing materials.

4-    TPO RollTPO: This material is a mid-price, decent quality roofing system. More cost-effective than some, TPO should provide you with years of effective protection. Assuming regular maintenance is carried out, of course.

These are only a few of the flat roof repair, and replacement options available to you should you be dealing with a leak in your flat roof. Research all of your options, hire a reputable roofing contractor, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.