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Common Flat Roofing Problems: How To Maintain Your Flat Roof

Sean Levine  |  September 19, 2021  |   |  No Comments

Despite its many benefits, including dashing aesthetic appeal and energy efficiency, flat roofs are generally greeted with mixed feelings, especially amongst residential homeowners and property managers in the US.

And even with the decades of experience in flat roof designs, construction, and its ever-increasing sophisticated materials, why do many homeowners still have doubts about flat roofs? The answer lies in its problems. Although flat roof maintenance can help curtail most of these problems, the cost of flat roofing maintenance could prove to be high in the long run. But is that enough reason to shy away from this outstanding roofing style? Certainly not!

Every roofing system has its setbacks. Some of the common problems faced by flat roofs are in the design, construction, and operation.

Common Problems Affecting Flat Roofs

Design Problems

Flat roofs, by the nature of their design, are handed by many problems already. They are constantly exposed to UV radiation and unending cycles of freezing and thawing. And unlike sloped roofs, flat roofs are more susceptible to water damage, thanks to their poor ability to drain water. And sometimes, pitch issues from faulty designs, which leads to clogged drains and blocked downspouts, cause water damage. But that's not all there is. Even before the water damage, the overwhelming impact of the sun creates leaks in the roofing system for moisture to pass through. The harsh sun rays constantly absorbed by the roof without reflecting much will cause seams, transitions, laps, and other flashing details to fail. This will lead to cracks, splits, and a whole lot of other small openings on the roof membrane, which will eventually act as an entry point of moisture to the roofing system.

However, this design problem can be fixed with proper coating and insulation—at least to a greater extent. A roof coating can help protect the flat roof from the elements, either by reflecting sun rays or creating a solid barrier against moisture. Always get a well-seasoned flat roof installation contractor near you to handle the job.

Construction Problems


As flat roofs are exposed to the constant scorching effects of the sun, insulating your flat roof provides the solution of reducing the risk of leaks and high energy bills. However, poor insulation makes it harder for heat to escape through the layers of the roofing system and creates a conducive environment for the growth of mold on the ceiling and the.


Waterproofing is a vital step in flat roof installation. Waterproofing gives the roof protection from moisture. It provides a barrier against water seeping through the roofing membrane. However, some flat roofing contractors, either due to lack of knowledge, technology, or by employing an unqualified team of laborers, can make a mess leading to moisture seepage.

Poor Choice Of Materials

One of the gravest mistakes any homeowner or flat roofer can make is to use just any material or unproven alternatives in any stage of flat roof installation. Using what is not part of the manufacturer's directive or chosen material, all in the name of reducing cost, can prove to be costlier in the long run.

Operation Problems

Rooftop Fittings

One of the outstanding benefits of a flat roofing system is that it provides extra space that you can use for many things. However, some homeowners and property managers are always guilty of abusing this opportunity, knowingly or unknowingly. Most times, homeowners connect most equipment, including television antennas, Ventilation, HVAC units, and other appliances, through an internal installation in the attic. While this practice is okay, it could impact heavily on the roof's stability and insulation.

Flat Roof Leaking Warning Signs

Undoubtedly, flat roofs offer incredible value. They provide a great aesthetic, are easy to install, and allows DIY maintenance. However, most people fail to imbibe the right maintenance culture, which involves periodic flat roof maintenance. One of the common problems with flat roofs is leaks. Here are some of the tell-tale leakage signs that will ultimately prompt you to either repair your flat roof or apply a flat roof sealant.

Tears, Ripples, and Splits

During a roof inspection, look out for any inconsistencies in the roofline where water could gain entrance into the building, indicated mainly by damp. Damp means there's a possibility of a tear, ripple, or split.

Dark Brown Patches

Before water starts to drip into the interior of the building, excess moisture will first accumulate on the ceilings or upper walls as patches of damps. Therefore, you should be on the lookout for signs of damp, which is an indicator of a leak.

Tips for Maintaining and Protecting Your Flat Roof

Most of the flat roof problems are due to the poor maintenance habit of the homeowner or property manager. Flat roofs, despite all their glories, need to be taken care of properly. Periodic flat roof maintenance involves inspection for damages, repairs, cleaning, and thorough checks on its insulation system.  When you fail to do these as a homeowner, these minor problems could turn into a big monster, costing you a lot more money.

To protect your flat roof and extend its useful years, here are some tips for you

Regular Inspection

Big problems are always from neglected minor problems. A frequent flat roof inspection can help you spot all minor problems and deal with them effectively and timely.

Regular Inspection And Cleaning Of Gutters

Debris can block your roof gutters and cause water ponding. At least every year, clean up your flat roof gutters and get rid of dead or fallen leaves, twigs, or tree branches, which could make it to the gutters and prevent the free flow of water out of the roof.

Apply Roof Sealant Or Coating

Roof sealant or coatings are very much necessary for any flat roof. It protects the roof from the harsh effect of the elements. There are many roof sealant products out there. Consult your local roofer to help you determine the best coating for your flat roof.

Avoid Standing On Your Roof All The Time

Can you stand on your flat roof? Of course, you can. But that's not always advisable. You shouldn't turn it into a habit. Except if necessary, standing and walking on your flat roof can add pressure to the material, leading to leaks. If you must clean your flat roof, it is best to hire a professional flat roofing contractor for the job.

Cut And Trim Surrounding Trees

If trees and other foliage surround your building. It'd be in your best interest to keep them a distance away from your roof by trimming and cutting.

Flat roofs are constantly faced with many challenges. But that should never be a reason to worry. With proper maintenance culture, you can keep your roof safe and away from all these problems. To get the most rewarding flat roof solutions, get in touch with Kings Queens Roofing, 68-38 Main Street #2 Flushing, NY 11367 (718) 489-4009 https://www.kingsqueensroofing.com/.


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