Close your eyes and think of the word ‘roof.’ What images come to mind? Chances are you’re picturing the roof of a traditional house with a clear peak, and a sloped, shingled surface allowing for rain to roll naturally off into the gutters. It is probably the roof of your own house or the house you grew up in. Now if you open your eyes and take a look at the buildings around town, you will be surprised how many roofs look nothing like this. Today, we no longer think the Earth is flat, but our roofs certainly are. From Office buildings to contemporary homes, many architects favor the clean lines and sharp angles provided by flat roofs.
Flat roofs offer a unique set of challenges to the roofer. Since the roof is not sloped, they do not allow for the natural runoff of rain and snow of more traditional roof designs. They are more exposed to the harsh rigors of winter and summer weather and much more prone to pooling water. Because of this, they do not typically last as long as their peaked and sloped brethren. The roofing material is much more likely to rip, tear and puncture leading to an increased likelihood of leaks and all the additional damage that entails. Fortunately, roofing materials manufacturers are answering the call for new flat roofs. Modern roofing materials are being made better and stronger. These materials include rubber, asphalt, PVC, and even spray-on foam applications. Many can now carry warranties up to 20 years. If properly built, flashed and maintained a flat roof will not leak.
It is of supreme importance that you have the right roofing contractor for the job. Installing flat roofs requires a specialized skill set. You need to be sure your contractor is providing your roof with the best materials for your specific job, and knows how to best flash, seal and drain the roof of your building. Not only are flat roofs more prone to leaking if not properly built, their leaks are also much harder to diagnose. You must be certain you hire a professional with experience and success with this type of roof. Otherwise you might end up with a recurring problem and an increasingly large cost to repair what should have been fixed correctly the first time.