Common problems with flat roofing

The general problem with a roof of any type is correctly identifying problems when things go wrong. And, more often than not, it means stopping water from coming in.

The issue may not be at the point where you start to notice the leak in the house. It is possible that water pools in between the layers of roofing material over several months before actually entering the house and unfortunately, the water does not usually start coming into the house on a warm summer’s day when you’ve got plenty of time to cope with it! The problem often becomes apparent when heavy rains compound existing problems. So, it is better to take a few minutes searching for the obvious signs of a leak now which is preferable to doing it in the dark when a leak has started and it’s hammering down with rain!

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Here are some of the problems that flat roofs can suffer from:

  1. Ponding

A pool of water sitting stagnant on top of your roof is not a good sign. Standing water that’s been ponding for a while will always find a way to escape and unfortunately, that is most often through the roof!

  1. Watermarking

Water may have found its way to the roof or started ponding after a long period of inundation. Either way it will often leave signs like patches of lighter or darker colours depending on the surface you are looking at.

  1. Vegetation

Moss, fungus, mould and weeds are all signs that there has been a build-up of water. Get your flat roof sorted with Flat Roofing Bristol at a site like

  1. Cracking or stretching in the joints or corner

With age, a flexible material that forms a waterproof layer on the roof can crack (due to drought or stretch), rip off or just wear away. This is most common with roofs made of rubber or EPDM (Ethylene-Propylene-Diene-Monomer).

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  1. Blistering

This is when you see bubbles appear in roofing membranes. One day it will deteriorate completely, providing direct access to the water into your home.

  1. Movement

All properties suffer some degree of movement but in many cases, it is very small. However, the decline and heave of soil can often lead to significant movement in the building structure. A moving wall will stretch the roof which will often cause tears and cracks in the waterproof membrane.

  1. Rusted or missing roofing nails

While not common in modern roofing, nails exposed on older properties can be the entry point of water because they rust or fall.

  1. Puncture

Keep a close eye on anything added to your flat roof using nails or screws to hold it in place. Not only does it provide a route for water into your home, but may also void the warranty on the roof installer.

  1. The roof angle is not enough

Flat roofs should not really be 100% flat. There should be little gradient for the flow off of water. Ideally between 1 in 40 and 1 in 80. The gradient can be tricky to spot, but you can use a spirit level to find the angle. It can also be used to check for any possible slacking in the roof.

  1. Remove debris

It’s good practice to make sure the water can run freely in all the gutters around the house and also on the flat roof, which removes all debris. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Your insurance should cover you for any major problems, but remember that any claims can affect your future insurance premiums.

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