Roof Replacement and Repair

How to Tackle a Leak on a Flat Roof

If you have a flat roof that seems to have sprung a leak, you'll want to deal with it as soon as possible. But is this something that you can do yourself or does it need the input of a professional instead?

Where to Start

Before you can proceed, you need to gather some information. Firstly, you must pinpoint the source of the leak, which can often be easier said than done. Often, the first indications of a leak could be some discolouration on the ceiling, with water spots. You will need to see if the leak originates there or whether the water has run down a roofing element to the lowest point and simply dripped there.

The Inspection Process

It's also possible to pinpoint the leak by carrying out a thorough inspection on the rooftop. It's a good idea to inspect the roof regularly (whether you do this yourself or bring in a contractor). You can often uncover issues as they develop and before they become serious problems.

As you inspect, look at suspect areas, such as the collar that may surround many pipes as they go through openings in the roof. Check to see that the flange is still in good condition and prevents moisture from penetrating. Many flat roofs have seams, and these are also potential problem areas. Should your roof have been repaired in the past, take a look at any patches and see if they are still holding up as tightly as they once did.

Most importantly, look at the condition of the drains and gutters to make sure there are no blockages. Clogged drains can certainly lead to pools of water, with obvious risks.

The Repair Process

If the roof is in need of repair, the process will depend on the type of installation you have.

If you have a tar roof with gravel on top, a repair may involve additional tar, supporting mesh and protective gravel. In this case, you may also be able to detect the problem areas simply by looking for an area where gravel may be missing. When exposed to the elements, the tar can often crack or dry out.

Some roofs are made from EPDM (rubber), which can be patched using a membrane. Still, this should only be attempted if the entire area is completely dry as otherwise, the patch may not "take."

What You Should Do

If you haven't been able to pinpoint the source of the leak or would rather leave everything up to the professionals, call in a contractor that specialises in flat roofs instead. 

For more info about flat roofing, contact a local company.