Common Problems With Flat Roofs

Flat roofs hold a number of advantages which make them attractive to homeowners looking to build an extension. The most often cited of these is that they are inexpensive and simple to install, owing to the simplicity of their design and the relatively small amount of materials they require.

That said, flat roofs do have their downsides. In this article, we’ll quickly run over a few problems commonly encountered with flat roofs and see what can be done about them.

Improper drainage

Perhaps the number one problem with flat roofs is that they cannot rid themselves of water as efficiently as their sloped counterparts. Depending on the material used, the surface of the roof might warp and buckle beneath the weight of this water, which causes a spiral effect whereby a small puddle can form in a dip in the roof, which can cause it to sink lower and thereby accommodate a larger puddle. Eventually the surface of the roof will sink to such an extent that a pinhole leak will form.

Falling objects

Flat roof owners can safeguard against this effect by ensuring that their roof is kept free of weights which will impact the surface of the roof. These impacts might come in the form of an acute shock, such as that caused by an object falling onto the roof. It might, on the other hand, be a more chronic problem – leaves and snow can gradually accumulate on a rooftop, gradually placing an undue strain on it. If the guttering should become blocked, the danger posed by precipitation will be all the greater.

If you’ve inherited a flat roof that looks in a bad way, then don’t despair. Good roofing contractors will be able to assess your roof to see whether it warrants a repair or a replacement.


The tar-based surface of many flat roofs is prone to blistering and cracking when exposed to long, hot summers. As the surface heats during the day, it expands, only to contract later at night when the temperatures drop. The result of this is hugely-accelerated deterioration. Newer EDPM roofs are more resistant to this sort of wear-and-tear and are thus rated with far longer lifespans.

Poor installation

We’ve already mentioned that one of the chief benefits of a flat roof is that it is easier to install than its sloped counterpart. This is especially so of newer rubber roofing technologies which can be installed without the aid of expensive (and dangerous) blowtorch equipment. However, this advantage can, paradoxically, be a disadvantage, in that it has encouraged an army of cowboys to pick up some tools and sell their shoddy services up and down the country.

The result can be roofing that isn’t sealed properly, that is uneven and otherwise fragile. This will almost inevitably result in premature leaks and other damage. Suffice to say, the best way to avoid a hefty bill later on is to invest in a reputable roofer to install the roof in the first place. If you’re in Leeds, roofers with a wealth of experience can be found at Leeds Roofing Company.

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