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Simply put, flat roofs are those which possess no more than 4 inches of vertical drop for every 12 inches of horizontal distance. Flat roofs are in widespread use in commercial applications, but flat roofs are popular among certain architectural styles in residential settings as well. Flat roofs are designed to provide a unique visual look, and more homes are incorporating the style as a result.

If your home has a flat roof, then it is important for you as a homeowner to understand what options you have should your roof need repair or replacement. Below is more information about flat roofs and why they
leak.

Acceptable Coverings

Flat roofs present potential obstacles to homeowners. For example, the roofing surface must be covered using certain techniques, or else leaks become more likely. The use of asphalt shingles will not work on flat
roofs, as rain and melting ice are easily blown underneath the shingles by storm winds.

Building and roofing experts have developed several types of roof coverings that can be used on flat roofs. Below is a brief explanation of each one.

Built-Up Roof

Built-up roofs consist of multiple layers of roofing felt and asphalt. In many cases, the top of a builtup roof contains a thin layer of gravel or other material that serves as an extra protective covering against the sun, wind, and rain. Built-up roofs are constructed like a sandwich; a thin layer of hot asphalt is mopped on to the roof deck and then covered by felt, which is in turn impregnated with more asphalt. The exact number of layers can vary, but three to four layers are standard for the typical roof.

EPDM Roof

An EPDM roof, formed from thick rubber sheets of ethylene propylene diene monomer, is installed by laying down the rubber and attaching it using cement or mechanical fasteners. Seams are sealed to prevent water intrusion.

Leaks

Any roof can leak, including a traditional sloped roof with shingles, but the cause of flat-roof leaks can be more difficult to discern. Knowing some of the more common causes can help ensure you are able to keep a better eye on your roof and know when to contact a roofing contractor for assistance with repairs or replacement.

Ponding

While flat roofs usually have a slight slope in order to permit good drainage, they are more prone to ponding, the unwanted accumulation of water. Ponding can occur for several reasons, including sagging decks
and joists, improperly chosen flashing, and poor design. The end result is that the constant presence of water will ultimately degrade the roofing material and permit intrusion into the structure.

Wrinkling

Roof coverings must be installed perfectly flat to prevent wrinkles from causing trouble down the line. Wrinkles are problematic because they form seams that can be worked apart by the forces of freezing and
thawing. Open seams mean moisture intrusion is likely to occur.

Flashing Defects

Flashing is used to line the edges of roofing material where the roof meets vents and other non-roof structures. If flashing isn’t properly attached to roofing materials or is installed improperly, then it will leave an opening for water to enter.

For more information about your roof or for professional help, talk to Mid-Miami Roofing, Inc.