While typically found on commercial roofs, some more modern or minimalist home designs may also feature flat roofs. Flat roofs are very popular in the Bay Area, primarily due to the influence of famed architect Joseph Eichler, who promoted affordable midcentury-modern designs in San Francisco and surrounding areas.
With that stylized look comes a little more maintenance and upkeep than your average roof. One of the biggest challenges is determining if your roof just needs some repair work or is due for a major replacement. This becomes even tricky to determine when you have a flat roof. The good news? We’ve outlined a few of the most common problems that indicate its time to have your roof inspected or worked on.
What to Keep an Eye Out For
- Water Puddles or Pools
A typical roof has a slant to it to prevent water from building up anywhere. Flat roofs don’t have this advantage. With exposure to the elements, your roof can begin to develop some dips or uneven spots. Since that rain or snow really has no natural runoff point, these areas could begin to collect water. While your roofing materials are likely designed to withstand rain and snowfall, it is still good to inspect for pools a day or so after rain and ensure these spots are drained quickly to avoid deterioration at all. To avoid these spots, some additional repairs may be required.
- Buckling Membrane
A flat roof will typically have an asphalt membrane that is laid across the roof space. While initially flat, the natural movement and shifts of your home will cause some wear and tear to that membrane. If there is an excessive amount of shifting, there could be buckles in the membrane. This is a serious structural issue that requires immediate inspection. Most likely, a buckling membrane indicates is time for a roof replacement.
- Roof Cracking or Bubbling
Often referred to as “alligatoring,” a flat roof that begins to crack and bubble (resembling an alligator’s skin) is a telltale sign that a roof replacement is on the horizon. Why does this occur? Roofs that are flat don’t have the natural give that slanted roofs have. Over time, the build-up of pressure can cause the asphalt on your roof to lose some of its elasticity, eventually deteriorating so badly that a replacement is the only option.
- Leaks or Water Stains
This is an easy problem to spot — and one of the most common to plague flat roofs. Moisture spots or leaks can not only be threats to the structural health and integrity of your roof, but also the interior of your home. Thankfully, these types of issues are generally pretty straightforward and easier to resolve without replacement. However, due to the flat shape, moisture doesn’t run off as naturally, so it is important to handle leaks as soon as you notice them try to prevent mold and fungus developments.
- Flashing Issues
Your roof is exposed to the elements 24/7. That means it will endure natural wear and tear over the years. Flashing issues can develop when your flat roof begins to expand and contract due to this exposure and temperature swings. The flashing may start to peel away, exposing corners of the roof to the elements. This means the threat of leaks, mold build up due to unchecked moisture, and other complications.
Have Roofing Problems?
Semper Solaris is proud to offer reliable roof replacement in the Bay Area. If you are concerned about some problems you notice with your flat roof, don’t hesitate to contact our skilled roofing professionals today.