Many people believe that flat roofs are maintenance free, . . . Wrong!
There are simple things that one can do to look after a flat roof installation and save a lot of money in the long run. You can do some preventative maintenance yourself, but don't hesitate to consult commercial roofing contractors or a roofing specialist in modern roofing.
The first things you need to look at in commercial roofing systems are drains.
Are they plugged?
Are the drain screens clear of debris?
Do the roof drains even have screens?
Simply take the screen off and clear the leaves, needles or moss and place in a garbage bag. Re-install the screen once you are done. Some modern roofs don't have a roof drain, but scuppers. They work the same way and generally don't have a screen. Scuppers drain through the outside parapets of your home or building. If your scupper does not have a screen contact your local commercial roofing supply store; locating a screen is hard. The screen for a scupper actually looks like the end of your kitchen whisk you beat your eggs with. You could make a whisk into a screen by using wire cutters and cutting about 3.5 inches out the end of the whisk; should work up to a 2.75 inch drain.
Some flat roofing systems in will have a straight drip edge (torch on roofing) or what we call a gravel stop detail flashing (for low sloped roofs, tar & gravel) where your roof will drain into a continuous eaves-trough. These flashings can be problematic. At every joint where the flashing overlaps the next piece; there is usually a tiny split or separation. You can try to fix this yourself, but we highly recommend calling a professional. A good roofing technician will fix the splits first time. However a home owner or building maintenance for commercial roofing can pour a liquid cold process sealant over the defects. Unsuccessful cold process sealing can complicate the repair and will drive up roofing technician costs afterwards. Cured cold liquid membranes are difficult to scrape and remove.
The eaves-trough gutters should be regularly cleaned out once or twice a year depending on how many trees are nearby.
Moss growing on your roof?
It does happen on modern roofing too. Just scrape it off and spray the area with a good environmental moss or mold killer. When scraping it off be careful not to puncture the membranes. It is best to use a plastic tool so it eliminates that risk. Moss growing on your low sloped roof will eventually rot out the membranes. Look for any deficiencies like bubbles or ridges that could be poking through the tar & gravel. These imperfections should be fixed else persons like your satellite installer, chimney guy and even your heating/ air conditioning guy who can step on these defects will puncture the membranes . . . then you have problems! Always consult with your roofing expert if you spot anything out of the ordinary.
High tech roofing - On your roof look at the chimney and roof penetration flashings. Chimney collars require being re-caulked every three to five years. Mulco Supra Expert or Titebond are good brands to start with. Your local hardware store won't usually stock these brands. Just do a Google search and it should point you to a supplier.
Call me now for any advice about flat roofs or visit my website.
Modern roofing - flat roof leak repair
Chris Fraser, founder and owner of XL Roofing Edmonton Alberta.