Many beautiful styles of construction use a flat roof. In ancient Egypt, flat roofs were designed to either keep summer heat out or winter heat in. Perhaps your current Tulsa home is ultra modern or minimalist. Maybe you use the surface as a terrace, a roof living space or as a garden. Or sometimes a simple “box” addition is added on later and the easiest solution was a flat roof.
While it may have been simpler to build, it requires a lot of maintenance and inspections to keep it up a flat roof and make sure that everything is functioning as it should. The difficulty with a flat roof is maintaining it so that water doesn’t collect rain and then leak inside. Since flat roofs have the potential to pool water literally above the internal spaces of the house, ensuring that they are waterproof is the biggest challenge for designers.
Just like any roof, a flat roof will develop leaks, but since it’s flat, the water doesn’t have anywhere to go but straight down. This means that moisture can seep into the roof itself and cause problems that may lead to mold. Have your roof inspected regularly and maintenanced every time you find an issue. Decor Construction has years of experience with traditional and flat roofs in Tulsa.
Excessive movement as your home shifts and settles can buckle the asphalt membrane, which signals the end of your flat roof’s life. Flat roofs tend to have more pressure exerted on them, since they are flat instead of slanted. Sometimes this pressure can build up, and if the pressure and stress become excessive, it can cause your roof to crack.
Since your roof is flat, when it rains or snows, there’s nowhere for that precipitation to go. As your home settles over time, the roof itself will shift a bit, meaning it might not be as level as it was when it was first installed. (Even flat roofs that were carefully designed in this way can eventually be faced with ponding as they age.) Water pools in divots and dips in your roof.
While most materials are manufactured to hold up to water, you should drain these pools as soon as possible and check to make sure that water doesn’t seep into lower layers of the roof. When water is allowed to linger, it’s likely to deteriorate the exterior of your roof, shortening the lifetime of the flat roof.
Just like most other materials, asphalt flat roofs tend to expand and contract with changing weather and temperatures. Over time, this continued expansion and contraction can cause the flashing to pull away from the edges and corners of your roof, leading to leaks and moisture that can get trapped inside your roof. Areas of concern are around chimney and any rooftop vents.
As you talk with roofers, water damage restoration teams and construction pros, you might hear these common terms describing your roof:
Built-Up Roof (BUR)-The traditional hot-tar-and-gravel roof is built from three or more plies of waterproof material alternated with hot tar and ballasted by a layer of smooth river stone. Once made of tar paper, these types of roofs gradually are using more-advanced materials such as fiberglass membranes. Two problems are 1) it is hard to find the source of leaks and 2) gravel can clog gutters.
Modified Bitumen roofs are one of the longer lasting types of flat roofing materials, easily lasting 20 years or more. They are made with composite sheets consisting of a polymer modified bitumen and sometimes surfaced with films, foils or mineral granules. Regardless of how the material is applied (self-adhesive sheets, hot-mopped asphalt, or cold-applied adhesives) the seams are usually melted together which help stop leaks.
Rubber Membrane/ EPDM (short for ethylene propylene diene monomer) is a true rubber. The durable material resembles an inner tube, but it’s engineered to resist damage from sunlight. EPDM can be mechanically anchored with fasteners, ballasted with stone, or glued. The material is relatively light yet highly resistant to scuffs and tears. Leaks are easy to patch.