Few things can cause more damage or cost more in repairs than a leaky or compromised roof. A flat roof requires extra precautions in climates where rain is regular or a seasonal occurrence. Though there are different types, flat roofs are generally built with a slight slope and several drainage outlets. Protecting the investment in home or business real estate calls for regular maintenance and inspection. Familiarity with the design allows problems to be spotted early, preventing the need for costly repairs.
The best way to ensure proper drainage on a flat roof is through inspection during and after a rain storm, at least twice a year. There are several particular things to watch for, depending on the type. The most important thing to check for is “ponding” or standing water. If there is over a 1/4″ of standing water on your roof within 48 hours after a storm then it may be necessary to re asses your roofs drainage system. Check to ensure the roof drains and scuppers are not clogged, you can also lower wall scuppers to alleviate some of the ponding water but this should only be done by a certified roofing professional. If after doing this standing water still remains, your best option may be to remove the old roofing system and install a tapered insulation system. This works by angling the pitch of the roof toward the scuppers and drains and greatly improves the roofs drainage system.
Worn surfaces, in the case of modified bitumen and single ply roofs, can lead to poor drainage and holes, so these should be repaired quickly. Gravel is often used as a cover to absorb the impact of precipitation and reduce the heat absorption of dark surfaces underneath. If the gravel surface shows holes, this is an easy problem to fix. In the case of a bare surface, blistering is much cheaper to deal with sooner rather than later. Some flat Miami roofing designs rely on copper flashing to seal the joints between the roof and outside walls. Since flashing can be vulnerable to wind damage and corrosion, ensure it is present all the way around the roof and is not rusting or cracked.
The importance of proper drainage on a flat roof cannot be overstated. Besides watching out for common problems, a maintenance routine can keep the water flowing smoothly. Debris should be cleaned from the roof regularly, and experience will show that this should be done more often in certain seasons. Cleaning the drainage holes and pipes is another important step. With regular maintenance and inspection, a flat roof will last for decades.