How Do You Repair a Flat Roof?

flat roofing system

What is the best material for a flat roof?

Because a commercial structure typically has an expansive roof, flat roofing is a common feature. There are several reasons why, among them, it allows a place for the HVAC system, which is typically massive in size compared to a residential system. To be installed on the roof, it doesn’t take up ground real estate that would better serve for parking. So when flat roof repair is needed, it is important to know what type of material the roof is made. 

There are a lot of different options in flat roof materials, which can make it difficult deciding the best for building. It is important to review the options, analyze the pros and cons, the lifespan, flat roof repairs and maintenance needs, and the cost of installation. The following are the 4  most popular flat roof materials that have been deemed to be the best in commercial roofing.

PVC Roofing

PVC roofing is the preferred choice for many when choosing a single-ply material. It is more expensive than some of the other roofing material options, but the number of benefits overshadow that concern. 

This is a reinforced membrane that is crack resistant and impact resistant which can shorten a single-ply roofs lifespan. It is a low maintenance material, reflects the UV rays that can cause higher energy bills, and most roofing contractor offer a 20-year warranty.  

Metal Roofing

A standing seam metal roof is another popular choice for commercial roof with a roof slope of 2 inches or more. It does require experience for installation, which lowers the number of roofing contractors available for flat roof repairs or installation. When installed professionally, you can expect up to a 30 year lifespan with a metal roof, a durable material that  is crack resistant. If not installed correctly, the edges and seams are known to be the first place a metal roof leaks. 

TPO

TPO flat roofing material is a popular choice because of its low cost installation. With a lifespan up to 20 years, the white-coated surface offers great energy savings like a PVC flat roof. Little to no maintenance and with welded seams, leaks are unlikely. 

Modified Bitumen Roof

A modified bitumen flat roof is the most budget friendly option for commercial structures. With an asphalt membrane base is the biggest downside because of the susceptibility to blistering and cracking. With a maximum 15 year lifespan, it isn’t the long-term choice in roofing, but the installation cost keeps it popular. 

How many years does a flat roof last?

The arid climate and scorching sun in Texas is something to factor in when choosing a roofing material. The cost of a new roof is a key factor as well because as a business owner, you want the longest lifespan possible, which means flat roof repair needs should be few and far between but easily done when needed. Lifespan of the most popular flat roofing materials are: 

  • Modified Bitumen Roofing – a material that is asphalt shingle like offers up to 15 years lifespan. 
  • Built-Up Roofing – a popular choice for commercial flat roofing material that consists of asphalt and fabric and topped with gravel or crushed stone has a lifespan up to 30 years.
  • TPO Single Ply Roofing – an environmentally friendly option that isn’t as flexible as other roofing materials and has a maximum lifespan of 20 years.
  • PVC Single Ply Roofing – the more expensive options that has superior energy efficiency benefits and a minimum lifespan of 20 years.
  • EPDM – this synthetic rubber single ply roofing material has lifespan up to 30 years, making it a popular choice as a cost-effective option. 

Can you patch a flat roof?

Minor repairs yes, more detailed, and intense repair should be made by a commercial roofing contractor. Commercial flat roofs age and sustain damage, causing them to deteriorate. For a commercial building owner, you should know when the repairs can be done by your maintenance team and when they should be done by a professional roofing contractor. The following are indications that will identify the more common issues of a flat roof:  

  • Water Pooling
  • Ceiling Leaking 
  • Debris Accumulated
  • Blistering, Cracking Surface
  • Built-up Moisture
  • Aging Roof 

How do you repair a flat roof?

Any of these indications of flat roof repair needs should not be ignored. If your maintenance crew isn’t able to inspect and make the needed repairs, call a professional commercial roofing contractor. If your crew is capable of minor flat roof repairs, you’ll need the following materials:

  • Utility knife
  • Clean cloths 
  • Safety gear
  • Asphalt roofing cement
  • Same flat roofing material as the existing

Now, the following steps should be followed with the utmost caution and care for safety. 

  • First: Identify the problem areas first and focus on those areas. .
  • Second: Clean and clear the area of all debris and dry up pooled water. 
  • Third: Remove the any blisters by slicing with the utility knife, do not cut the roofing felt.  
  • Fourth: Remove any water under the blistered area with the cloths and allow time for I dry out before proceeding. 
  • Fifth: Fill the scraped up areas with roofing cement and the surrounding area. Create a thick coating on any cracks, holes, or uneven areas to create an even surface.  
  • Sixth: Place the new roofing material patch over the area and position it while the roofing cement is wet. Seal the patch edges with ore roofing cement.  If the roof has gravel topping, apply gravel over the patch. 
flat roofing system

How do you stop a flat roof from leaking?

For an immediate flat roof repair in rain, stretch a tarp over the area so that it goes at least 2 feet past the leaking area. Then place 2×4 boards around the leaking area to hold the tarp in place.  This is only a temporary fix until you can have a roofing contractor do a permanent repair or you can do the following yourself: 

  • Clean off any debris.
  • Dry up any water.
  • Apply a silicone roof patching material over the leaking area with a dense brush.
  • If the leak is where the flashing is installed, or should be, replace the flashing.
  • If the leak is coming from around the HVAC system, or other protrusion, replace the rubber booting.

Unless your maintenance crew has experience in flat roof repair or replacements, the best repair job is by a professional roofing contractor that has experience in the type of material on your roof. You can find a roofing contractor by Googling “Flat roof repair near me”. Read the reviews and ask them for referrals of recent jobs. 

The best time for a permanent flat roof repair in summer, but not when the temperatures are in the 100s. A roofing contractor will advise you if the weather isn’t the right temperature (too cold isn’t good either). Follow their advice, they’ve been doing this for a long time. Call (512) 299-6576 today for flat roofing repair in Austin, TX.