Choosing a flat roof is a very common thing in the case of commercial buildings, given that it is an efficient solution, with a rising popularity. The versatility of the flat roof leaves room for customization. In addition to the fact that there are several types of roofing materials you can choose from, a flat roof can also be transformed into a living roof – a terrace with vegetation and a place to relax, or even a rooftop garden.
Unlike a pitched roof, the surface of a flat roof is almost perfectly straight, with a very slight inclination, imperceptible to the naked eye. To a large extent, this roof model is suitable for apartment buildings, office buildings and commercial buildings in general. However, they are also perfectly functional in the case of residential houses, garages or other types of constructions, all the more so as the covering membranes have been greatly improved over time, being able, today, to provide excellent protection and durability.
Flat roofs can be covered with two types of materials: bituminous membrane and synthetic membranes. Damage to the membrane will create problems, so roof maintenance is mandatory to identify and repair them in time.
Risks associated to bituminous membranes
Bituminous membranes have a shorter lifespan than synthetic ones. They do not withstand too well sudden changes in temperature or stagnant water. As soon as the temperature drops below 0 degrees Celsius (32F), the elastic properties of the bitumen are lost, and the material becomes brittle and cracks. Water may also freeze in the pores of the roof, causing cracks that, over time, lead to exfoliation and rupture of the material.
In summer, the bituminous membrane, due to its dark color, strongly absorbs the sun’s heat. The heating level of the roof reaches 70 degrees Celsius (158F), and, at this temperature, the bitumen melts, becomes soft and may lose its uniformity.
Risks associated to synthetic membranes
These modern waterproofing solutions are much more resistant, durable and able to cope with extreme temperatures, ultraviolet radiation and mechanical damage. They are also easy to repair. The biggest risks, in their case, are the accumulation of coarse debris with the risk of penetrating the membrane, and the initial faulty installation – which can be avoided if you work with a licensed roofer Flower Mound TX professional who stands behind their work through the warranties offered after the installation of the roof.
Signs that your commercial roof needs repairs
In general, these signs include punctures, ruptures or cracks in the roofing membranes (any place that allows water to enter is an emergency!), water infiltration into interior walls, pooling water on the roof or vegetation growth (which indicates the presence of moisture in the membrane).
What to do?
Inspections maintenance operations should be done by trained commercial roof specialists. Certified thermography personnel is recommended for infrared inspections, which are performed to detect water infiltrations and leaks. The repairs should also be carried out by professional roofers specialized in commercial roofs and certified by the flat roof material suppliers.
Keep in mind that the lack of a proactive maintenance program is probably the most important cause of declining the lifespan of a roof, in addition to extreme weather, improperly added equipment and accidental or intentional damage.