What Do I Need to Consider When Thinking about a Flat Roof?

Posted on: 26 October 2016


If you're building a new home and considering the installation of a flat roof, what do you need to consider? What are the advantages, and what are some of the potential defects you could expect in the future?

Flat Roof Advantages

Flat roofs are becoming much more commonplace these days as they have several advantages over their counterparts. These include the ability to keep the inside of your house a lot warmer as compared to homes with slanted roofs. They also allow the sunlight to be absorbed more readily into your home. It's a lot easier to install solar panels to take advantage of that "free" energy.

A flat roof construction can often be quite a bit cheaper than the slanted roof alternative. Contractors can normally install these roofs far more quickly, and these roofs also have the advantage of being very accessible, which makes periodic inspection a lot easier.

Periodic Inspection

It is, however, very important to monitor the condition of your flat roof on a regular basis. You shouldn't adopt the mantra that your roof is "out of sight and out of mind." Problems can build up over time if you don't inspect.

Standing Water

One of the main things you should be looking for is an excessive amount of standing water. This can be the main cause of roof leakages on flat roofs. You should have a means of draining water, which can build up very quickly, especially in the rainy season. You need to ensure that the roof is not absolutely flat when it is installed, as it must have a slight slope in order to facilitate that drainage.


Beyond that you should look for blistering, which is a condition that results when the membrane detaches from the layer beneath it. This can allow moisture to become trapped in the intermediate layer. When the sun heats the trapped moisture, it expands and causes the blistering, so you should eliminate the moisture source first when blistering arises.


You also need to look at the overall condition of the materials on your flat roof as time goes by. During those hot summer days and cooler evenings, these materials can expand and contract considerably, and over time they may have a tendency to crack, which could lead to water penetration.


In particular, you should look at the flashing, which is the material that prevents water from penetrating around the edges and where your roofing materials may meet ventilation points. Also, if you happen to notice an accumulation of fungus, you should remove it, as it can cause flashing to deteriorate otherwise.