Ponding, blistering, splitting, and ridging are all common problems people experience when a building or facility has a flat roof. When these problems occur, it could costs hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to repair the flat roof so it is structurally sound and fully functional. In an effort to not only save money, but prolong the lifespan of the roof, it is important to conduct regular, routine roof maintenance.
There are specific things building owners and maintenance personnel can do to maintain a flat roof and keep many of these problems from happening. The following are some examples of specific maintenance tips that will keep a flat roof from developing problems.
Install Proper Drainage
One of the most difficult tasks associated with a flat roof is getting water that accumulates on it to properly drain. After a storm or when snow melts, if water is not properly drained it could results in the development of huge puddles or ponds of water. When this happens something called flat roof ponding occurs. Ponding on a flat roof can cause extensive damage to not only the roof, but the interior of the building should the roof fail.
Proper drainage can reduce the likelihood that water will start to puddle or pond on the flat roof and cause problem. The problems are eliminated because the water is not left sitting on the roof, but is properly diverted away from it.
Some examples of proper drainage fo a flat roof nclude:
- Installing hoppers along the sides of the roof to collect excessive water as it accumulates
- Installing automatic pumps in areas of the roof where water tends to accumulate
- Placing gutters or drains along the perimeter of the roof
Remove Snow, Leaves, and Othier Debris That Accumulates on the Roof
Snow, leaves, and debris when left to accumulate and sit on a flat roof can cause extensive damage over time. Damage occurs when the snow starts to melt or water gets trapped under the leaves and debris. If this should happen, it can cause a number of problems ranging from ponding and blistering to splitting.
Removing the snow, leaves, and debris before it becomes problematic can dramatic reduce the likelihood of problems occurring. Regularly scheduled roof cleaning and debris removal can help with this step. In addition to regularly scheduled roof cleaning, building managers and maintenance personnel can conduct snow removal or leaf/branch removal after any huge storm that may occur within the area.
Check and Maintain Any Trees or Vegetation Around the Roof Area
Trees, shrubs, or other forms of vegetation that grow around the roof area can cause problems for buildings with flat roofs. Branches that hang over the roof can scratch and damage the roof if it should get windy. Leaves can fall off the branches and cause roofs to drain. Keeping the trees and other vegetation maintained may prolong the lifespan of the flat roofing, as it eliminates the potential for future problems.
It is recommended that an approximate 3 foot clearance be maintained in regards to tree branches. This provides plenty of room for the tree to grow without it causing damage to the roof or allowing leaves to cause drainage problems by constantly falling or dropping onto the top of the roof.
Performing these regular maintenance steps can help save time and money, as it prevents problems that could lead to extensive damage that may require expensive flat roofing repairs or the need to install a whole new roof.