Step 1: Understand flat roof basics
Before looking at the best ways to do flat roof repair, you need to know flat roof basics. As the name suggests, flat roofs are roofs which are almost level. Their flatness makes them susceptible to water damage since water tends to accumulate over flat surfaces over time. Although flat roofs are assumed to be flat by most people, they should have a slope (pitch) of at least 10 degrees.
Besides water damage, flat roofs are also susceptible to heat damage (from the sun). All types of flat roof damage come with distinct signs. Flat roof water damage comes with unmistakable signs like; dark brown ceiling patches (resembling concentric circle stains) caused by water seeping in slowly through the ceiling. A sagging or rotten ceiling is also a sure sign of water damage. Water damage can also cause excessive rusting if you have metal roofing parts. Flat roof heat damage comes with signs like major splits, tears or ripples.
Step 2: Take safety precautions
Once you have familiarized yourself with flat roof basics like types of damage, it is time to take the necessary safety precautions before you begin repair procedures. First and foremost, make sure the roof is accessible safely i.e. there are no excessively slippery areas. You should also wear safety clothing such as a helmet, gloves and high visibility clothing. You should also have a roof kit to protect you from falls as well as allow you to transport equipment from the ground quickly and safely.
Step 3: Clean the area
Before you begin repairs, don’t forget to clean the roof. Remove all debris even if you have found the damaged area to make sure there is no more damage. Cleaning the roof also helps to prevent slipping.
Step 4: Start repairs
Different types of flat roofs require different repair procedures. Here’s what you need to know about repairing the main types of flat roofs.
a. Repairing concrete flat roofs: Concrete flat roofs are susceptible to cracks as well as surface wear. To repair such damage effectively, start by cleaning away all loose debris present. You can fix concrete flat roof damage temporarily by applying a thin layer of bitumen primer. This can be followed by applying a bitumen based paint to waterproof the surface as well as seal cracks temporarily. This fix is perfect for temporary as well as emergency repairs.
You need a flat roof repair expert to do a permanent fix. Such fixes are recommended when there is severe damage such as large cracks or patches.
b. Asphalt flat roof repair: Asphalt flat roofs are susceptible to blistering which is the formation of bumps of trapped air/moisture which tend to burst over time. This type of heat damage cause cracks, splits or wrinkles. It can also cause sagging over a long period. This type of damage can be fixed temporarily or in cases of emergency by applying waterproofing roofing paint on the cracks or damaged area.
To repair such damage permanently, the damaged roof section must be torched on. You shouldn’t attempt doing such repair if you are not an asphalt flat roof repair expert yourself.
c. EPDM Rubber flat roof repair: Rubber flat roofs are susceptible to damage caused by falling debris. The debris usually causes tears as well as deep cuts or holes. To fix such damage temporarily, you need lap sealant. This type of repair is however ideal for small cuts, tears or holes.
To fix EPDM Rubber flat roof damage permanently, you need to apply EPDM primer when the roof is dry. You also need to add self-adhesive rubber tape to cover the damaged area. The area also needs to be adhered firmly from the centre outwards using a hard roller. If this fix is too technical for you, don’t hesitate to call a roofing expert.
d. Felt flat roof repair: Felt flat roofs are susceptible to cracking, splitting or puncturing. Edging can also cause lift or old flashings (against the wall) resulting in leaks. Felt flat roofs also tend to form dips or hollows. Painting damaged areas can repair most felt flat roof damage temporarily.
If the felt roofing is in poor condition, you may require a more specialized repair such as liquid system repair. Older felt roofing may need patching. This process requires the use of a torched flame which introduces numerous risks. For this reason, it is advisable to leave permanent felt flat roof repairs to experts.
You can do temporary or emergency flat roof repair yourself. In most cases, however, you need a flat roof repair expert to do proper repairs. A roofing expert can check for signs of further damage. Flat roofing experts are also trained to deal with the unique safety risks presented by flat roofs. Considering damaged roofing can damage property as well as cause serious health problems, you have another good reason to hire a roofing expert.
Best ways to do flat roof repair? Hire a flat roof repair expert!