flat roof

How to Spot Damage on a Flat Roof

Issues to look for if you are wondering if your flat roof has a leak.

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Many commercial buildings have flat roofs because of the overall look and design of the space. Hip roofs aren’t needed for an industrial space or business because there is little need for a beautiful design. You can also find flat roofs on some residential houses. A flat roof can give a sleek, contemporary, or mid-century look and feel to a house. If you are a business owner with a building that has a flat roof, you should keep an eye on the roof, just as you do the exterior of the building, to catch anything that can be damaged. If you are a homeowner and have a house with a flat roof, you should be checking periodically for the beginning of damage. 

A flat roof is less expensive to install than a hipped roof, but it is susceptible to damage from ponding water, cracks and blisters, and more. Spotting damage early is important in order to prevent more extensive and expensive repairs down the road. Your New Jersey roofers at Allied Roofing Solutions are experienced with all types of roofs, including flat roofs. We can help you spot and assess damage and repair your roof if it has gotten to that point. We may find that you need a roof repair or an entire roof replacement. Don’t leave things to chance. In this article, we look at some reasons a flat roof can be damaged and what to do to prevent and repair it. 

Potential Damage with a Flat Roof

Because a flat roof doesn’t have the same ability to drain water as a hipped roof, it is vulnerable to water damage. It is important to note, however, that a flat roof is built with drainage capabilities or else a flat roof wouldn’t work at all. It is important that regular roof inspections are performed with a flat roof so any beginning signs of damage are caught early. A roof inspection should be performed at least twice a  year–in the spring and fall as well as after severe weather events like heavy storms. You may see certain signs inside the building that indicate water damage on the roof. If you choose to inspect the roof yourself, you will need to actually get on the roof.

Signs of Damage Outside the Building

Rips in EPDM Membrane

EPDM rubber roofs are one of the most common types of commercial roofs. EPDM is a type of synthetic rubber that is used in many situations, most commonly in roofing. If the protective rubber roof membrane of your EPDM roof is visibly ripping, your roof is no longer watertight. When you see that the EPDM roof is torn and ripping, you may have a serious leak coming soon.

TPO Roof Coating Cracks

TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) is a single-ply white membrane used in both commercial and residential roofing. Because TPO is white, it reflects heat instead of absorbing it. As the TPO ages on the roof, it can crack. If you see cracks in your white roof, call a professional. This is one of the most common causes of failure on a TPO roof and usually occurs around 15 years.

Pooling Water

Pooling water is one of the most common signs that a flat roof needs repair. A flat roof slopes slightly to allow water to drain properly, ensuring that the roof doesn’t accumulate standing water and collapse. A standing puddle of water allows moisture to invade the inner layers. If you see water accumulating on your flat roof or if has begun sagging in certain areas, contact a professional roofing contractor to determine the exact problem and remedy the issue so it doesn’t get worse.

Cracking, Bubbling, or Blistering

Cracking, bubbling, or blistering are signs of moisture trapped beneath the surface of the flat roof. Over time, sun heats the moisture that is on the roof, which expands and cracks the membrane. This allows water to seep into the building and damage it. This is a recurring cycle that harms the flat roof’s integrity.

Mold and Mildew

If you begin to see mold and mildew accumulating on your flat roof, you should pay attention. Stains, discolored areas, and black spots indicate problems. Moisture is the primary cause of this and it can seep into the interiors of the building, causing significant damage. Mold and mildew can affect the air quality inside and lead to a wide range of respiratory issues. As soon as you see results of mold and mildew, contact a professional roofing contractor.

Loose Fasteners

Loose fasteners can be difficult to identify. When fasteners loosen, they are seen as bumps on the roof membrane itself. If you see bumps or feel fasteners coming through the roof membrane, consider it a first sign that the membrane will need a repair soon.

Flashing Separated from the Roof

Flashing serves an important purpose on a flat roof, or any roof for that matter. On both residential and commercial roofs, flashing protects the seams from letting water infiltrate. If the flashing looks or feels loose, then it is probably letting water in through the seams. If you catch this quickly, it can be repaired. But, if you don’t see it soon, it can result in the entire roof rotting.

Signs of Damage Inside

There are easy-to-spot signs inside the building that indicate damage is occurring on a flat roof.

Water Spots on the Ceiling

ceiling leak

Water spots are a clear indication that damage has occurred on the flat roof. These are the most common signs that your flat roof has a leak or leaks. Although water spots can also result from air conditioner condensation, a leaking roof is typically the culprit. When you see water spots inside, call a professional to come investigate.

Peeling Paint and Bubbling Walls

Bubbling interior walls and peeling paint are tell-tale signs that you have a serious water leak, which often originates on the roof. When you see these, call a professional to perform a roof inspection and determine the repairs that are needed.

Peeling Paint

Dripping Water

Dripping Water

Everyone understands that when there is dripping water inside the building or house, there is leak that needs to be addressed. You need help as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Contact Allied Roofing Solutions for Your Flat Roof

If you have a flat roof, you need an experienced roofing team to inspect your roof and make any repairs that are necessary. Some damage is easy to see; other damage isn’t. Our professional roofers know what to look for and have the knowledge to diagnose the extent of a problem. If your low-slope roof needs to be repaired or replaced, our New Jersey roofers can install a rubber roof membrane for you at a fair and affordable price. Call Allied Roofing Solutions at  (201) 773-0633 to request a free estimate on your new EPDM roof.