What is Flat Roofing?
Flat roofing: Basic overview
The term ‘flat roof’ describes a specific roof surface that’s nearly level. While the name denotes a horizontal surface, experts in property roofing recommend a slight angle to allow for seamless drainage of rainwater.
Flat roofs are common across Canada. They are an affordable alternative to the conventional pitched roofing style. Regions in warm climates have long adopted these roofs as they ensure a stable temperature inside the property.
Often, flat roofs are also common in outdoor living spaces, industrial buildings, and house extensions. Besides, some residential properties might require such roofs because of planning regulations. This roofing option is gaining popularity favour with construction contractors and architects for properties with a modern, minimalist design aesthetic.
Flat roofing materials
Benefits of flat roofs
Flat Roofing Services Toronto
Expert Flat Roofers Toronto
- What are the advantages of a flat roof?
- WHAT CAN DAMAGE YOUR FLAT ROOF?
- WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE CHOOSING A NEW FLAT ROOF
- SIGNS THAT YOUR FLAT ROOF NEEDS REPLACEMENT
- AREAS ON YOUR FLAT ROOF THAT NEED EXTRA CARE
- MAINTENANCE TIPS FOR FLAT ROOFING
- Flat roofs are often used in commercial buildings because they are not only affordable but also very durable if well maintained.
- Easy to access: A flat roof is easily accessible because of its flat surface. This means that if you want to inspect the gutters or siding on the roof, you can easily do it without causing damage. Therefore, flat roofs are quite easy to maintain.
- A flat roof system is cost-effective as you don’t need to invest in decorative roofing materials like shingles to complete the construction. The simple construction, as well as minimal repairs needed over the years, make flat roofs an affordable option for businesses.
- With a flat roof, you can rest assured that the roofing will remain intact when high winds pick up. flat roofs offer adequate resistance so you don’t have to spend on repairs after big wind storms.
- Flat roofing tends to make the best use of space especially in buildings where equipment such as air conditioning units and exhausts need to be installed on the rooftop. This type of roof has a plain surface so it can easily hold heavy equipment.
For you to fully enjoy the usefulness, durability, and affordability of a flat roof, you must ensure that it’s properly installed. We specialize in different types of flat roofs including Modified Bitumen, PVC and TPO. Whether your flat roof is leaking or you just need advice on which material to use, we’re always ready to help.
Roofing systems, especially flat roofs, are designed to take consistent abuse throughout their lifetime. In fact, this is one area in the home that is the hardest heat by external elements. Due to this reason, you need to perform routine maintenance to prevent premature failure.
We’ve listed the 5 most common causes of damage to a flat roof below:
1. Exposure to the elements
Harsh weather conditions like hail, storms, and strong winds can damage the roofing system. That’s why you need to schedule a roof inspection before or after severe weather. When the inspection is done, the necessary repairs are done to ensure that the roof doesn’t deteriorate further when the harsh weather sets in. For instance, the roofing contractor will check to ensure the gutters are cleaned and in tip-top shape as well as the drainage. Clogged gutters can cause extensive damage to the roofing during severe weather.
2. Biological growth
Algae, fungus, moss, and lichens can grow on the roof surface. They often grow on the roof when there’s moisture as well as shade on the roof surface. They are not just a cosmetic issue on the roofing materials. Moss not only holds moisture on the surface of the roof, it can also speed up the wear of asphalt shingles. Moss and crud can grow extensively on the roof surface that it’s hard to tell what roofing material was used. This biological growth on the roof surface can result in frost damage, cracking and wear of the roofing material in both freeing and non-freezing climates.
3. Poor workmanship
If certain components on your roofing system are poorly installed, you’ll end up spending more on repairs or even exposing your roof to significant damage. If your roof needs repairs or installation, you must hire a professional to get the job done. Make sure the roofing contractor you hire is fully licensed and insured to perform roof repairs. Find out if the contractor has experience handling flat roofing systems. Flat roofs have their own unique maintenance demands so it’s better to hire a contractor with experience in Toronto commercial roofing to handle repairs and maintenance work.
4. Ignoring routine maintenance or repairs
You need to follow the recommended roof maintenance and inspection plan. These regular checks on your roof will help prevent further damage and costly repairs. If the contractor recommends certain repairs after conducting an inspection, it’s important to ensure they’re done immediately. Putting off flat roof repairs for too long can lead to serious damage and the need to perform a complete roof replacement.
5. Too much weight and stress on the roof
It’s quite common for property owners to add more equipment on the rooftop overtime which tends to stress the roofing material. Commercial flat roofs can hold certain equipment on the surface. However, you need to ensure that the roof is designed to withstand all this weight. When the weight is too much, it becomes a huge risk to the occupants of the building.
Flat roofing systems can be made using different materials and when it’s time to choose the ideal one, you need to take your time and make a good decision. Flat roofing materials that are easy to install, versatile, affordable, waterproof and durable should be your go-to options. Getting an expert to advise you on the types of flat roofing you should consider is paramount.While in the process of choosing a new roofing system for your flat roof, you need to consider some factors about your building, the current roofing as well as what you would like to achieve with the new roof. Going over these factors will help you make the right decision and invest wisely on the flat roof replacement project. We’ll go over 5 important factors that you should consider when deciding which flat roof is the best.
What are the drainage requirements?
One of the reasons why many property owners consider a roof replacement is because of drainage issues. If your current roof has a poor drainage system that you would like to enhance, you may need to perform repairs on the roof deck before installation to fix the drainage. The other option is to go for modern roofing systems with better drainage, so you don’t spend much on repairs.
What’s the slope of your roof?
The slope of your current roof will really determine which materials are best suited. Traditional materials such as shingles and concrete tiles are often not recommended on flat roofs with no sloping simply because they rely on water running quickly off the roof to remain effective. Single-ply roofing materials will also not work on roofing that is too steep. Therefore, you will need to settle on roofing options that work well for the slope of your current roof.
How much load do you expect on the roof?
If you often use the flat roof for storage, then the expected structural load will determine what kind of roofing system suits you best. Look for roofing materials that are robust if you expect heavy load on the roof occasionally. Avoid coatings and instead, go for spray foam which is designed for heavy loads.
Perhaps one of the things you want to achieve after replacing the roof is to save money on energy bills. Installing an energy efficient roofing system with a higher R-value is always a great idea. Think of materials that reflect the sun and compare them to those roofing solutions that help insulate as a way of lowering energy costs.
What’s the condition of your roof deck?
The state of your roof deck will also determine what kind of solution you can go for during flat roof replacement. If the roof deck is too weak, the surface may not be able to hold any equipment or additional weight during installation. You may need to choose a roofing solution that can be applied on top of the existing roof. Alternatively, you’ll need to have the roof deck repaired first before any new roofing is installed.
When your roof begins to give in, you may spend so much money on repairs instead of replacing it the entire thing. A roof replacement can help you to enhance the value of your property and avoid costly repairs. Unlike a sloped roof where it’s easy to see the worn-out roofing material, flat roofs rarely give any visual indication of damage. You can’t easily tell if the flat roof is worn out unless an actual inspection is done. However, there are things that you can watch out for to help you understand that something is wrong, and you may need to replace the roof. We’ll look at the most common signs.
Severe roof leaks
When there are chronic water leaks on your flat roof, it could mean that the roofing membrane is already giving in and has become extremely inefficient. If this issue is not addressed, you could end up damaging the walls, furniture, and equipment that’s inside the building. A roof inspection needs to be conducted to discuss these leak concerns so that you can get the best possible solution. You may also need to invest in a new roofing material that is more waterproof to avoid spending on costly repairs every year.
Worn out roof deck
When the roof deck is damaged, the entire roofing system is compromised. Maintaining the condition of your roof deck is paramount if you want the entire system to perform optimally. In fact, a damaged roof deck will need to be repaired or replaced before a new membrane is installed. It affects the overall performance of your roofing system and can lead to most moisture issues if the deterioration progresses. In fact, damaged roof decks create a breeding ground for mould which is why they need to be repaired fast.
Is your roof too old?
With time, the most robust commercial roofing system will give in. when this happens, you need to replace the roof with a stronger, more modern and efficient roofing material. You can hire an expert roofer to come and perform an assessment. If you’ve been spending so much money in recent years on costly roof repairs due to the age of the system, it could be time to replace it. Roofing materials deteriorate over time so even though there is no significant sign of damage, a replacement will help you to enhance the value of your building.
A poorly insulated roof is important if you want to reduce heat transfer indoors and cut back on energy bills. Replacing the roof is a great way to improve the building’s HVAC efficiency and to moderate the building’s temperature. This not only means that you’ll spend less on energy costs but also extend the lifespan of your roofing system. If the insulation is already exposed to excess moisture, the roofing material will need to be replaced. Consult a roofing specialist who will advise you on the materials which provide the best insulation in commercial flat roofing.
Flat roofs need regular maintenance to live up to their full potential. Most roofing professionals recommend maintenance and repairs to be done at least twice a year. If you live in an area that experiences severe weather, more regular maintenance may be necessary. Having the flat roof maintained before and after severe weather will help minimize damage.What happens during maintenance?
The services that fall under preventative roof maintenance vary depending on the roofing material. Your roofer may inspect the roof, clear gutters, remove debris and unwanted elements as well as perform small general repairs on the roofing system.
1. Check the seams
The seams of a roofing system are the points where two pieces of roofing materials connect. It could be the area where the two roofing sheets meet or where two pieces of the metal meet. These areas are usually prone to leaks. During the inspection, the seams need to be assessed for signs of water damage. If the area is loose, it needs fixing immediately to prevent roof damage. Your roof contractor can recommend installing water barriers under the expansion joints to prevent water from leaking into the building. Water barriers can also be installed around the coping of the roof to protect the system and enhance the durability of your roofing material.
2. Check the roof penetrations
Roof penetrations are areas on the roof where the roofing material is cut to fit a different accessory such as the air vents or skylights. In most commercial buildings, you’ll find other roofing components such as A/C units and vents installed. These accessories cause the roofing system underneath to be vulnerable to leaks. The space that is around the penetrations needs to have sufficient clearance to make it easy to perform any necessary repairs. When inspecting the roof, your contractor will keep an eye for signs of water damage in these penetrations.
3. Check the metal flashing
Flashing is a very important component in a flat roof. It is installed to prevent water from leaking through the areas of the roof where to pieces of roofing material are joined together. The flashing needs to be properly maintained to prevent exposing the roof to severe damage. For roof membranes that have a 20-25-year lifespan, flashing will need more routine maintenance. If you have invested in a re-roofing project, it means you may have two or three roofs that will need to be re-flashed after a while.
4. Check the gutters
Most Toronto roofing experts recommend cleaning the roof gutters at least two times a year. However, there are a few factors that you may consider when determining how often you need to clean your gutters. For instance, if you have pine trees growing above your house, you may need to inspect the gutters after every 3 months. Remember, you can’t tell if your gutters are clogged unless you inspect the roofing system. Clogged gutters can cause a roof leak which will damage your paint, furniture, appliances and cause serious electrical problems in your commercial building.
Flat roofing systems are known to have a very long lifespan if well maintained. The lifespan of the flat roof will also depend on the type of materials used during installation. For instance, if the flat roof is made of asphalt or felt, it won’t last compared to one that is made of slate or EPDM. This means that you must select your roofing material very carefully during installation or a replacement if you’re looking for a durable system.
What is splitting and is your roof affected?
If your roof is made from materials such as felts, it is prone to splitting. Splitting occurs due to several reasons. It could be because of poor workmanship, stress or pressure on the roof or extremely cold weather that causes freeze-thawing. Splitting can also occur if the surface is walked on and gets damaged or due to poorly maintained reflective paint or stones. To avoid this, make sure you get a professional to install the felts and ensure that regular maintenance is done especially on other roofing components like the stones and reflective paint.
Have you noticed ponds of water on the roof?
Ponding is a common occurrence in flat roofing systems. It happens when the water doesn’t drain, and you’ll notice pools of water on the rooftop even in dry conditions. One of the best ways to deal with this issue is by installing hoppers which will collect the excess water. Your roofing specialist may also advise you to use an automatic pump to remove the water on affected areas in the middle of the roof. To prevent the issue from recurring, check the drains to ensure they’re not blocked. Your roofer may also recommend building up the lower areas of the flat roof to stop ponding issues.
Ensure maintenance is properly done
With time, debris, leaves, and dirt will accumulate on the flat roof system and need to be removed especially when they get to the gutters and drains. Hire a Toronto roofing specialist to remove all these unwanted elements safely from your rooftop. Sometimes standing on the roof is not recommended because it can cause further damage unless the roof is designed to be used as an outdoor area. Your roofer may recommend using a leaf blower to get rid of unwanted dirt on the surface.
Cut back overhanging tree limbs
When there’s a tree so close to your roofing system, it could bring issues. The leaves and branches could fall off and block the drainage system which ultimately leads to internal leakage. During roof inspection, any overhanging tree limbs need to be cut off to avoid these issues.Also, ensure you check the roof after a heavy storm. Snowfall shouldn’t be left on the flat roof for long because it can cause significant damage. Don’t forget to check internally for signs of roofing repair issues such as stains on the ceiling which could be an indication of water damage or leaking.
Talk to Us About Your Flat Roofing Today!
It’s easy for a functional flat roof to go unnoticed, particularly if it’s serving its purpose perfectly. However, when it starts leaking or you spot other signs of damage, that’s when you realize that something isn’t alright. The damage could be caused by long-term wear, weather, or simply tree branches. Regardless of the flat roofing material you have installed, you will have to get the roof inspected regularly, and the necessary repairs handled on time.
Most property owners opt for a DIY approach to most roof maintenance projects and this isn’t a good idea either. Probably you have learned countless DIY tips online to inspect and repair your flat roof. However, handling the real roof repair tasks requires specialized skills and an in-depth understanding of how different flat roofing materials work. Actually, there is a possibility of causing more harm to your roof when you decide to fix it on your own. Besides, you might slip and fall, or get injured when inspecting or repairing your roof.
Whenever you notice something wrong with your roof, it’s recommended to contact a reputable roofing contractor that can handle flat roof inspection, repair or replacement project effectively. Fortunately, our company was created to help property owners within the Toronto region to handle such issues. We have been offering flat roofing solutions with an outstanding guarantee. This shows that our roofing specialists are fully committed to uphold quality and deliver the best possible flat roofing services.
Coverall Roofing is among the most reputable roofing companies offering flat roofing and sloped roofing services in Toronto. The company also offers a broad range of other services including packages for individuals. Some of the benefits of choosing to work with us include a free consultation, free quotes, and customer satisfaction guarantee.
Since the company’s inception more than 30 years ago, Coverall Roofing has earned an enviable reputation among most property owners in Toronto and the nearby regions. To be sure that your roof can survive the harsh winter and other unfavourable elements of weather, call (647) 470-4076 and get a free quote.
If you have been looking for a roofing contractor that offers comprehensive flat roof inspection, repairs, and installation, Coverall Roofing is your best chance. We take pride in our professional and highly experienced roofing experts who can handle even the most complicated commercial and residential roofing projects. Our experts have a wealth of knowledge regarding various roofing materials and will offer you the insights you need to make the best choice for your flat roof.