One of the best ways to keep your flat roof strong and intact is to control its surroundings. As great as trees are for your property’s beauty and your air quality, they can wreak havoc on your roof if they’re placed wrong.
The rule of thumb is to have at least a yard between your roof and the nearest tree branch. If you have trees close to your building, trim them on a regular basis to keep them away from your roof.
The most obvious reason for this is the damage a branch can do if it falls onto your roof. However, close proximity also lets moss travel from a tree to your roof. That moss will damage your roof material and could lead to major problems.
As we mentioned above, flat roofs don’t have gravity on their side. Dirt, leaves, and other debris don’t fall off them the way they fall off slanted roofs.
Make it part of your regular cleaning routine to clean your roof every month or two.
Your first course of action should be reaching your roof with a ladder and using a leaf blower. This will get rid of as much debris as possible without putting extra weight or friction on the roof.
If you can’t get everything with a leaf blower, a push broom is the next best tool. You may need to do this more often during certain times of the year, like the fall if your roof tends to accumulate falling leaves.
As an added bonus, a clean roof will make your building look nicer and will keep decaying materials from damaging its finish.
As much as we all love the typical weather in California, we aren’t immune to extreme weather either. Depending on the material of your roof, you may be able to use a roof coating.
There are coatings to protect your roof from weather issues like ocean salt, heavy rainfall, and humidity. This coating often lasts ten years so it will be well worth your investment.
One of the most common and problematic assumptions building owners have is that if their roof starts leaking, they’ll notice right away.
Sure, it’s hard to miss a giant puddle in your office. In some cases, though, roofs leak into attics or insulation and building owners or property managers have no idea. This can cause rot in your building’s structure as well as spreading mold.
Instead, know how to find a roof leak. Pay special attention to areas where two parts of your roof join and to seams in the roof. Make it a point to go into your attic on occasion to check the roof, especially during or after rainfall.
If you forget everything else, this is the #1 most important flat roof maintenance tip: get regular inspections. Your roof often gives plenty of clues that something isn’t right, but the average building owner doesn’t have the expertise to notice them.
Hire a professional to inspect your flat roof three times per year or more. You should also get an inspection after any major weather event to check for damage.
It may seem like an added expense, but these inspections can pay for themselves in no time. A problem could cost a few hundred dollars to fix in its early stages or it could cost thousands and thousands of dollars if it gets out of hand.
Sometimes, to protect your roof, you need to think beyond the roof. Your drainage system is a prime example.
A flat roof doesn’t have the benefit of gravity draining water off it as a slanted roof does. With a flat roof, you need a well-maintained drainage system to pull the water off and away from your foundation.
This is especially true in the winter. You never know when the temperatures will dip below freezing. Standing water on your roof can turn into ice which not only weighs down the roof but can also split the roof’s surface.
Maintaining your drainage system includes keeping your gutters clean so water can get through. It’s especially important during the fall and if you have a large number of trees around your building.
You may have mastered the art of DIY decor, but your roof is a different story. Whether it’s for inspections or repairs, trying to do it yourself instead of hiring a professional can cost you far more in the long run.
This is particularly true for buildings with flat roofs. These roofs have plenty of considerations and quirks you won’t know about if your only experiences are with slanted roofs.