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Schenectady Roofing: Article About Common Flat Roof Issues

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When roofing a flat surface, most Schenectady roofing companies will opt for some form of built up roofing system, such as a bituminous coating. The BUR approach is economical both in the short and long term, but these roofs generally do require some regular maintenance.

The most common form of wear that occurs on a flat roof is splitting or cracking. In fact, some minor splitting is perfectly natural and to be expected. Small cracks often require no action at all, but should be monitored. Medium sized punctures or cracks should be filled with tar or another appropriate patching agent, and any large punctures or cracks require professional attention immediately. Note that cracking can be symptomatic of a larger issue, such as ponding.

Flat roofs are usually not level, but have a slope of up to 10 degrees, and any drainage system is designed to take advantage of this minor slope. Ponding water is a substantial risk for any flat roof, and the most common reason that it occurs is that the BUR was never level, or no longer is. Either the BUR has an incorrect slope or recessed areas have formed.

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Correcting ponding generally requires resurfacing the BUR and may require tapered insulation in order to make the roof more water resistant.

When a BUR is installed, felt paper is often installed as an underlayment between the roof structure and any roofing layers. Usually due to improper installation, this felt paper can cause several problems. If, for instance, the incorrect bitumen was used or the roof is subject to excessive heat, then the felt paper can actually move, which will disrupt the coatings above it. Sometimes air becomes trapped in the felt layer, and this can lead to blistering, which manifests as raised, spongy areas of the roof. If there's moisture in the felt layer, then this can result in ridging, which tends to follow the line of any roof joints. Note that ridging can look like cracking or splitting but can be differentiated by its evenness.

Not all flat roofs require membrane fasteners, but for those that do, these fasteners must be a point of emphasis. If these fasteners become loose, they can undermine the entire roof and must be professionally replaced immediately. Fasteners generally don't loosen naturally, even over time. The most common reasons they loosen is that incorrectly sized fasteners were used or the fasteners have been compromised by water penetration.

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