Part of having a flat roof is dealing with the reality that it is most likely going to leak at some point. When a flat roof is leaking, damage can range from a stain on your ceiling to damaged electrical systems and water-damaged carpet and furniture. The primary causes of flat roof leaks are outdated roofing materials and technology, standing water, and the unpredictable and fluctuating Cincinnati climate.
For most people, repairing the roof is the first option that comes to mind when a leak happens. It’s important to remember that the stain on the ceiling is the final stage of a leak. Once the stain appears, it’s a sign that the roof has been leaking for a while. For the stain to show, the water first had to soak through the insulation, the roof deck, and the rafters.
When dealing with flat roof repair and maintenance, you can easily avoid the following common mistakes:
- Incorrect roof coating. The climate the house is in should dictate the roof coating. It’s common to forget that the roof needs coating or to apply the incorrect coating. A professional roofing contractor will know which roof coatings are appropriate for Cincinnati.
- Inadequate drainage. Flat roofs need sloping and properly located drain spouts. The absence of these will cause water to pool and eventually result in leaks.
- Patching leaks. People commonly fix leaks by simply putting a patch in place. This repairs only the visible issue but doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Always consult a professional before repairing a roof.
- Faulty installation. Some roof repair needs are the result of someone doing a poor job during the original installation. Issues can come up if someone uses weak membranes, inadequate caulking, or installs the flashing improperly. Always use a licensed contractor for roof installations and repairs.
- Neglected snow and ice. Winter months are hard on roofing material. Ice and snow accumulate on rooftops, and if left unattended, can cause extensive damage. Removing the buildup of snow and ice is essential to maintaining the roof’s integrity. Snow removal is less expensive than a new roof.
- Missing ventilation. One needs to consider the ventilation during roof installation. Improper ventilation will cause moisture to build up. Excessive moisture results in decay, mildew, and mold. Pop-up vents and ventilators installed on either end of the roof can prevent this issue.
The harsh reality is that repairing a leaky roof frequently turns out to be more expensive in the long run. Patches don’t last, so you end up paying the cost of having the patch installed along with the cost of the damage that the leak caused, and then doing it all over again once the patch fails. Spot repairs don’t address the trapped moisture underneath the roof. Without a way to eradicate the moisture, it will rot the rafters and the deck, and cause mold to grow. Keep in mind that the money spent on repairs essentially is lost money that you’ll have to spend again.