Flat Roof Maintenance, Repair and Preservation

A blocked roof gutter
One of our staff clearing a gutter clogged up with previous felt roof chippings that was causing water to flow over the sides of the gutter in rainy weather.

Depending on the waterproofing system, you may have to consider carrying out flat roof maintenance and repair roof problems, to ensure the preservation of your flat roof. Fortunately, not all systems are the same and we are pleased to say our EPDM systems require no maintenance due to its durability and longevity.

It is important to consider the long term maintenance and flat roof preservation issues as well as possible future roof repairs, when first waterproofing your roof or if carrying out flat roof replacement works. The decision made here regarding the choice of waterproofing system and roofing contractor, will have a big impact in the longevity and potential flat roof repairs you may encounter.

Common flat roof maintenance and roof repair issues

Some common flat roof maintenance and roof repair issues you may come across when using traditional, out of date systems may include:

  • Splitting – causing long cracks to run along the roof ultimately leading to water ingress over a large area.
  • Building movement – stretching the waterproof material and eventually causing tearing, if the material is not stretchable and flexible.
  • Blistering – causing swelling in parts of the roof and eventually ending in punctures in the waterproofing allowing water to freely pass into the property.
  • Ponding – placing stress on the roof, testing joints and the strength of the waterproofing material’s coating.

Splitting is often caused by cold temperatures which freeze and then thaw out the waterproofing layer, causing expansion and contraction, before leading to long cracks across the roof area which require repairing of the roof. Splitting can also be caused by stresses on the roof and through ponding of water.

Cracks in the building caused by movement can cause waterproofing to tear if not flexible
Cracks from building movement can cause tearing and damage to waterproofing if not flexible and stretchable.

Building movement will apply tensions to the waterproofing layer of the roof and if the material is not pliable or stretchable enough, then this will eventually cause the sheeting to tear and break.

Blistering will occur when air gets trapped between the waterproofing layer and the underlying substrate decking. This trapped air causes bubbles or blisters and can move around when temperatures rise and the gas becomes heated. With a multilayered system like felt, this can separate the layers, while if the blisters become punctured through pressure or movement, the waterproofing will become compromised, requiring flat roof maintenance to ensure preservation.

Ponding is probably the most well known issue when concerned with flat roof preservation. Most of us know that ultimately sitting water is not a good thing for your roof and probably why flat roof’s have such a bad reputation for having problems, as the water has nowhere to go.

Modern quality waterproofing vs age old flat roof maintenance issues

Flat roof repair required due to splitting on a felt roof
Splitting felt allowing water to leak into the building and requiring flat roof repair

Modern quality waterproofing systems can often address most if not all of the issues described above, freeing you of exhaustive future flat roof repair and maintenance worries.

The EPDM roof membranes we use are able to address these issues and requires no maintenance. The rubber membrane does not split or crack, can stretch up to 400% without damage, is flexible enough to accommodate building movement and can be used as a pond liner, so is more than capable of dealing with roof ponding. Our membrane is also manufactured to measure, therefore requiring little to no onsite joining.

Should there be any issues, such as additional works, penetrations or damages at a later date, our rubber roofing technology can be easily repaired through various corner pieces, preformed collars and specialist adhesives. On top of this our choice of EPDM system has a proven, minimum life expectancy of 50+ years, while the manufacture provides a 20 Year Guarantee for additional peace of mind.

For more information on EPDMs, check out our EPDM product, and manufacture pages.

A word about general flat roof preservation and maintenance

General flat roof maintenance to clear up the leaves off shoots of towering trees
Typical example of where general flat roof maintenance may be required to ensure no unnecessary stress is placed on a roof due to blocked drains and pipes.

General roof maintenance is concerned with the upkeep of guttering, drains and other factors which could put undue strain on the roof. These factors are often location, roof purpose and waterproofing system dependent, which is another reason to choose a modern waterproofing system and professional roofing contractor.

For example, a low roof located in the country near tall trees, could require the drains and gutters to be regularly cleared of leaves, to ensure suitable water drainage. On the other hand a ballasted roof can also have issues with stones, mud and other debris clogging up and affecting water drainage.

Ultimately, the biggest factor determining flat roof maintenance, roof repair, and flat roof preservation, will be down to the waterproofing system being used and professional undertaking the work.