Flat Roof Solutions: Primary Causes of Flat Roof Deterioration

flat roof solutions deterioration

Roofers use different materials for flat roof solutions depending on the specifications of the homeowners and needs of each structure. Among the materials used are BUR (Built-up Roof Membrane), Elastomeric/Plastomeric Roof Membranes (which include EPDM or ethylene propylene diene monomer, Neoprene, PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride, TPO (Flexible Thermo Polyolefin) and Polymer-modified bitumens) and Fluid-applied Roof Membrane.

Each material has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some are improved versions of the others. For instance, modified bitumen incorporates modifiers such as APP (tactic polypropylene) and SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene) to improve the performance of asphalt.

No matter what material is used for flat roof solutions, deterioration eventually sets in and the roof membrane has to be repaired or replaced to keep the roof in optimum condition. The usual factors that lead to deterioration of flat roofs are as follows:

1. Temperature

Fluctuations in temperature with the accompanying contraction and expansion of roof materials create strain on the roof structure. Flashings could break at the seams, roof material could tear and mortar could crack. All these create entryways for water to seep inside.

2. Sunlight

The volatile components of asphalt or tar on the roof evaporate when exposed to the heat of the sun. The heat also oxidizes asphalt and makes it brittle. The roofing material eventually loses its elasticity and the surface could crack or flake, exposing the felt membrane below the surface.

3. Settlement

Strains are sometimes exerted on flashings after the walls settle. In some cases the roof could settle below the drain pipe level. These occurrences cause floodwater to back up the roof or allow water to seep through the leak on the drain.

4. Roof Traffic

Most roof materials are not designed to withstand constant foot traffic or extra accessories. Walking on top or placing objects on the roof could causes serious damage to the materials and roof deck.

5. Water

Once cracks appear on the surface of the roof, water could seep inside and cause damage to the structure if left unattended. Water or moisture left inside can turn into ice under cold or freezing temperature, which could tear new holes.

6. Wind

Strong winds may push water inside cracks or splits on the surface, particularly at defective seams or joints. They may also tear the roof at its weak spots such as at loosed seams. In addition, storms accompanied by strong winds have been noted to move or sway the roof structure itself.

7. Chemicals

Acids, saturated animal fats and pollutants have the potential to damage roof materials. That is one reason why manufacturers recommend the application of coatings and ballast covering to protect the roof membrane from these harmful chemicals.

Flat Roof Solutions Tips: Practical Approach to Flat Roof Maintenance

flat roof solutions

Flat roofs need more maintenance than pitched roofs because debris and water tend to collect or pool on the surface. A roof with less than 15 degrees of pitch is considered a flat roof. Flat roofs have normally long lifespan but only if proper maintenance is observed. Of course, the roof’s lifespan also depends on the kind of materials used.

The traditional felt-based roofs suffer from some shortcomings such as blistering, water ponding and splitting. Through regular maintenance, you can prevent damage to your flat roof and prolong its usable service life.

Here are practical flat roof solutions maintenance tips to ensure the durability of your home:


Blister occurs when air is trapped between the felt substrate or layers of felt. Heat causes the air to expand, which pierces the felt when it breaks out. Blistering has more chances of occurring when the air bubble is large and occurs on a join. Water can now pass through the blisters and into the roof. We advise getting professional help to clean and fix the area to eliminate the blisters and make sure that waterproof condition is restored.


Water ponding is one of the most common problems of flat roofs. This is indicated by standing pool of water on the roof’s surface or water mark around an area of the roof during dry conditions. You can use automatic water pump to collect water in the middle area of the roof or hoppers to collect the water near the edge. Ponding is easily remedied through regular maintenance to detect early signs of the problem.


There are different causes of splitting such as pressure, stress, water ponding and freeze thawing. It could also be caused by poor workmanship quality. Foot traffic, walking on the surface or failure to maintain the reflective paint may be the culprits too. Large splits have to be repaired by professionals. Small splits or cracks may be fixed by the owner using commercially-available patch kits.

Proactive Maintenance

Performing regular maintenance with a proactive approach will prevent the occurrence of major problems that might necessitate costly roof repairs. If your roof was not built to be used as an outdoor roof deck, standing on it to clean debris and dirt may damage the material or slant of the roof, which allows water to run down. Using a leaf blower is an option to remove leaves and dirt on the roof. Better yet, engage the services of professionals to safely clean the roof.

Trees pose a problem too when they are allowed to grow high where their branches could scrape and damage the roof. Fallen leaves and branches could block gutters and downspouts as well.

Know the Different Types of Flat Roof Solutions

flat roof solutions

People who choose flat or low-sloped roofs for their houses do so because of functionality and aesthetics. A flat roof, like other roof types, has the main function of protecting the house against the elements. In addition, flat and other low-sloped roofs look great on a variety of architectural styles including modern buildings.

While old flat roofs do not last as long as their pitched counterparts, advances in technology over the past decades saw the development of new membranes that can compete with pitched roofs in terms of lifespan. For those interested in knowing the common membranes available in the different types of flat roof solutions, we listed them below.


Flexible Thermo Polyolefin (TPO) is designed to correct issues associated with other Thermoplastic membranes by possessing better seam, puncture and tear strength. Sales of TPO membrane roofing in the United States exceed all other types of flat roofs. TPO is considered a green product because it can be recycled 100% without chemical byproduct.


EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) is a synthetic rubber and the most widely-used single-ply roof membranes. It is reasonably-priced and has a warranted lifespan of up to 30 to 50 years when properly applied.

Metal Flat Roof

Metal is ideal for both flat and pitched roofs. Different metals such as steel, zinc, aluminum and copper are used as covers. Although it costs more than other roofing materials, metal more than makes up for the upfront cost by its durability and low-maintenance.

Modified Bitumen

Modifiers such as APP (tactic polypropylene) and SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene) are added to enhance the performance of traditional roofing asphalt. APP was added to asphalt bitumen to improve its ageing quality. SBS, on the other hand, improves substandard asphalt and make it flexible like rubber.


Asphalt built-up roof (BUR) membrane uses multiple plies of asphalt-impregnated felt embedded in bitumen. The asphalt is applied on the bitumen while still hot to merge and form a single-piece material. The membrane is laminated several layers (up to four plies) to form a thick material. It is protected from wear and tear and sunlight by embedding crushed stone and other granules on the surface. Unlike other roofing systems, asphalt roof installation is energy-intensive and adds to air pollution.

Turbo Seals

A gel-life membrane composed of 45% recycled tire rubber. It is placed on top of existing asphalt roofs and covered by a sheet membrane.

PVC Roofing

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) membrane roofing is also known as vinyl roofing. Because of its light color that reflects sunlight, PVC roofs are energy efficient. They are also used to waterproof green roofs.

Deciding the Right Tampa Roofing Style for Your House

Selecting a Tampa roofing style for your house or building is not an easy task. Homeowners take into account several factors before deciding which type of roof to install. Some of these include the effectiveness of the roof type to keep the elements away from the interiors, the need for additional space inside the house, energy-efficiency of the structure and the overall look of the house.

We listed some of the most common roof styles today and the reasons why homeowners would want to install them.

1. Gable Roof

gable roof

This popular roof type is characterized by the triangular shape of the roof. It has two sides that slope down from a central apex or ridge. This roof style is suited for homeowners who are concerned about water ponding and need additional space for their attic.

2. Mansard Roof

mansard roof

A distinguishing feature of a mansard roof is the two slopes design on its sides, with the lower slope forming a much steeper angle than the upper slope. For those who prioritize extra and spacious living spaces to serve as additional rooms, this roof style creates additional living quarters under the roof.

3. Bonnet Roof

bonnet roof

Bonnet roof is the reverse of a mansard roof. It has two slopes on each side, but the lower slope is less steeped than the upper slope, the exact opposite of a mansard roof. For people who want more shade and protection to their outdoor area such as porches, this is the right roof style for them. The design also creates extra space on the upper slope for a functional attic.

4. Flat Roof

flat roof

As the name implies, the roof is either flat or has very little pitch to drain water. Easily the simplest type of roof to be built, flat roof requires fewer materials and costs less than other roofs. If you want to save money on your roof, then flat roof is for you.

5. Shed Roof

shed roof

Similar to the flat roof, this roof style has a single pane that slopes from one side. Because of its relatively-steeper pitch compared to a flat roof, shed roof provides better drainage of rainwater. It also offers the same advantages as a flat roof. However, the single sloping pattern of the roof will leave you with uneven room shapes below. This is best for those who want a unique architectural style on their homes.

6. Hipped Roof

hipped roof

Hipped roof has slopes on all four sides, which are of equal length. Similar to a gable roof, the roofs form a ridge at the top. Those living in storm-prone places prefer hipped roof because it provides better wind-resistance and protection from rain.

Benefits of Incorporating Daylighting in Flat San Diego Roofing

daylighting san diego roofing

Most residential and commercial buildings in San Diego today incorporate daylighting strategy into their designs. Daylighting allows natural light to enter the interior of a building to provide natural illumination. Most buildings with flat San Diego roofing have prismatic skylights and light tubes that take the most advantage of their wide and flat surfaces.

What is Daylighting?

Daylighting involves the effective use of windows and other openings that allows sunlight to provide internal lighting during daytime. Daylighting designs on buildings are built either to provide optimum visual comfort with the use of natural light or reduce energy use and its attendant electricity costs.

Types of Daylighting

Daylighting may either be passive or active. Passive daylighting collects sunlight with the use of non-moving or static devices such as skylights, windows or light tubes and reflect the daylight into the building’s interiors. Active daylighting collects sunlight by employing mechanical devices that either track the sun’s movement using sensors and lens or through electronic motor devices with installed programs to follow the sun’s path based on a pre-determined sun chart.

Concrete Benefits of Daylighting

Increases Productivity

Severely studies have confirmed the concrete benefits of natural light on human physiology, including improved student academic performance and general health, increased retail sales and enhanced employees productivity, and significant fall in employee absences from work.

Reduces Energy Requirement

Electrical lighting requirements for buildings are reduced by as much as 70 percent with the relatively simple action of installing prismatic skylights on just 4 percent of the total San Diego roofing surface. Less electrical lighting is required to illuminate the rooms because of the natural daylights coming in through the skylights and windows, which translates to enormous savings in energy costs. The investment on skylights will pay itself in about two years’ time. In six to eight years, prismatic daylighting will pay for the cost of an energy-efficient roof system.

Reduces the Need for Air Conditioning

The cost of cooling a building is also drastically reduced through daylighting. Natural daylighting is noted to generate practically no or minimal heat, thereby reducing the constant need for air conditioning in warm places.


Many power plants generate energy through the use of fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels significantly contribute to air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Using more daylight as lighting lessens the demand for artificially-generated energy and its undesirable consequences. With the heightened public awareness on global warming and climate changes, more people now appreciate the merits of daylighting.

Flat Roofs vs Dimensional Shingles: Which One Should You Choose?

There are as many types of roof designs as there are materials used for roofing. Let us compare the best qualities of two of the most popular roof types—the flat roofs and dimensional shingles.

1. Dimensional Shingles


Dimensional shingles, also called laminated or architectural shingles, are simply two regular asphalt shingles bonded together to create a new type of roof shingle. Since there is now a top layer and an underlayer, the design gives the impression of a three-dimensional appearance.

They were created primarily for aesthetic appeal by combining two shingles together to form a new type of shingle. Designers went further by experimenting with different styles and themes to create what are called designer shingles, which range from the rugged to Victorian in concepts.

The combination of at least two layers of shingles results to stronger roofing material and affords better protection from harsh weather. The sturdiest model could withstand winds of up to 130 mph.

These are the desirable qualities of dimensional shingles:

  • Durable. Manufacturers give warranties lasting up to 40 to 50 years.
  • Appealing. It has multiple designs with different color combination.
  • Availability. It is widely available at your local supply stores.
  • Adaptability. It can be used on most pitched roofs.

2. Flat Roofs

flat roofing phoenix

Flat roofs are becoming more common these days because of improvements that minimize if not eliminate most objections against this type of roof. Ponding is a big reason why people stay away from flat roofs. When left unattended and allowed to deteriorate, the waterproofing materials on top make water seep into cracks that eventually find its way inside the building and ruin the materials within. The development of new materials and technology, however, improves the roof’s water resistance through better seals that provide more water protection than earlier methods.

To keep the roof in excellent condition, regular maintenance is a must including replacement or re-coating of the waterproofing materials used to keep water away. Neglect to perform this procedure drastically cuts down the lifespan of the coating and leads to expensive replacement.

These are the best traits of flat roofs:

  • Cost-effective. Flat roofs require fewer materials and labor, hence they are significantly cheaper.
  • Additional Space. The extra spaces at the top are often used as material storage or spare room.
  • Durable. Only strong and sturdy materials are used to withstand snow, ice and rain accumulation.
  • Weather Resistant. During severe storms where winds of more than 100 mph could be observed, flat roofs offer the best wind-resistant design compared to pitched or angled roofs.

Roofing Phoenix: Should You Go For a Flat Roof?

flat roofing phoenix

During house construction, builders typically have two choices on the types of roofing to put on top of the structure—a flat roof or a pitched roof. Of course, key factors to consider when choosing the type of roof include the design of the house or building, applicability of national and local laws, the owner’s budget and location.

For those interested to know what type of roofing Phoenix demands for its houses and buildings, particularly the use of flat roofs as a practical roofing design in the area, we compiled a list of the advantages and disadvantages of flat roofs. Based on the pros and cons listed below and considering that Phoenix has an arid weather and experiences mostly sunny days, flat roof is a viable option.


  1. Affordable. Cheaper than pitch roof since they use fewer materials and labor. There is also no need for decorative materials, which rack up the cost of roofing.
  2. Accessible. Easy to climb on and inspect for regular maintenance because of its very minimal slope and mostly flat area. Applying new coating is easier and cheaper too.
  3. Wind Resistant. The flat nature of the roof offers the least wind resistance compared to a pitched roof. This feature is vital during storms when strong winds could rip off tiles and shingles attached to pitched roofs.
  4. Extra Space. You can use the roof as an extra space to store materials and supplies. You can even design a green roof or garden on a flat roof.
  5. Design Adaptability. Great for small structures such as garages, porches and extensions. They are also the best roof type for buildings and other large structures.
  6. Facility of Repairs. Expert roofers can complete full replacement of roof coatings in a single day.
  7. Durable. The materials used on flat roofs can withstand ordinary wear and tear and last for up to three decades.


  1. Maintenance Needed. It requires regular checkup and maintenance (recoating) to ensure the roof remains leak-free.
  2. Potentially Expensive. A flat roof’s coating may require an earlier replacement than pitched fork if not properly maintained, which makes it more expensive than angled roof.
  3. Not Snow-Proof. They are unable to withstand the weight of snow accumulation during winter season and heavy rain during storms.
  4. Aesthetics. Some people regard certain coating materials used on flat roofs such as synthetic rubber as physically unappealing. Sometimes flat roofs do not harmonize with the general designs of the house in the vicinity.
  5. Instability. The larger the area covered by the flat roof, the less stable it becomes.