Picture of a commercial building.

The greatest cause of failure for a flat roof is the failure to correct minor deterioration and defects, in their early stages. Problems caused by weather or natural disasters, or by age, require roofing contractors and flat roof repair. A contractor will advise the building owner whether to repair or replace and will supervise the implementation of engineering plans, as needed. Flat Roof repair is one of the commonly neglected aspects. Many homeowners tend to realize the importance of flat roof repair only after the roof starts leaking.

Most flat roofs are found on commercial buildings and were probably installed by professional commercial roofers with flat roofing experience; however, you will find some residences with this type of installation. Unfortunately, most of these installs were done by contractors with little or no experience dealing with this type of roofing and end up requiring repair long before reaching the minimum life expectancy of the materials. Here are some of the easy and most common steps you can take when evaluating your roof and determining what type of job is needed to be done.

Simple procedures you can follow when repairing your flat roof at your home.

1. First, ensure that you can sweep all of the dirt and debris off of the surface and look closely at the problem. It is also important to ensure you have a clean surface for roofing cement to stick to properly.

Repairing the damaged section and replacing it with a new section would be ideal for small damaged areas of the roof. Dirt and gravel from the damaged section of the roof should be cleaned by grabbing a broom and sweeping it clean. The gravel should not be discarded and can be used for repairs. The damaged area can be removed by using a straight edged utility knife. You will need to put some effort for cutting a rectangular section of the roofing material. The first layer of equipment needs to be cut first and the other layers that are damaged can be cut after this and this is one of the necessary steps of restoring the roof.

2. Secondly, you want to cut around any areas that are cracked or peeling with a knife that is sharp and remove those bad sections. Sometimes you may have to lift up shingles to evaluate the undersides because problems may not be obvious when they are small. By making your shapes uniform squares or rectangles, you can keep them uniform and easier to replace with new materials.

Picture of a roofer pressing weld layers of roofing material. Flat roof installation. Heating and melting bitumen roofing felt.

3. Try to take that cut-out piece and use it to measure a new piece of shingle or roofing material to replace the broken area. You will want to ensure that cement or putty around the edges is adequate to keep a watertight seal. Flat tops on buildings are prone to standing water due to poor drainage, and you shouldn’t allow the water to have a place where it can seep in and cause more damage in the long run. Overtop of the patch a full layer of cement seal should ensure all edges are accounted for and tightened down.

4. A replacement that is 4 inches larger than the first replacement needs to be cut and the first patch must be overlapped by this by at least 2 inches on each side. Roofing cement can be used to cover the first replacement patch, and you must extend it by at least 3 inches outside the patch perimeter. Similar to what you did with the first replacement you would need to press down the second replacement and hold it in place as you cement and nail it.

Picture of a roofer repairing a flat roof drain.

5. Sweep back the gravel onto the top of the patch to help hold it in place after the cement has begun to set in. If the cement has not hardened the wind could easily pick the patch job and blow it away, and you would have to start the repairs all over again.

Keep all of these things in mind when considering the challenges and obstacles of flat roof repair. When in doubt be sure to contact a team of professionals in your area that can be sure the job will be done right the first time. Often trying to attempt a complicated or complex job can result in more difficulties in the long run and may even end up costing a lot more money. Get the job done right by consulting a professional with expertise and experience today. Remember, flat roofs often require regular maintenance by cleaning the debris that may build up and clog roof drainage.

Roofer installing clay tiles

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