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Is Your Flat Roof Near the End of Its Life?

Flat roofs are one of the most common types of rooftops found on commercial buildings. They’re common because they’re space efficient, easy to maintain, and good for supporting large air-conditioning units. If you’re a business owner who is concerned about making the best use of your building’s square footage, a flat roof is probably the best type of roof for your needs.

That said, flat roofs don’t last forever. You need to maintain your flat roof and replace it before it loses its structural integrity, especially in places like Minnesota, where snowfall can be heavy and wet in winter.

A flat roof that is not well maintained could buckle under the stress of a heavy snow or could leak and cause structural damage to your building. Knowing when your flat roof needs to be replaced can help you take care of your commercial property. 

Water Puddles on Your Roof After Storms

Flat roofs are designed to slope toward a drain. This prevents water from pooling on the roof and helps protect the roof’s waterproof membrane. Unfortunately, when a flat roof begins to age, the slope of the roof can become compromised. 

If your commercial roof is nearing the end of its service life, you’ll start to notice water pooling on the roof in areas away from drain openings. If water is pooling around the drains, the most likely cause is that the drain itself is clogged. This can be easily solved by contacting a plumber. 

When water pools in areas that are not near the drain, however, this is a sign that the roof is sagging. While this can sometimes be repaired on a newer roof, an older roof that experiences this problem usually does so because the supporting beams have begun to warp. Often, the best way to fix this problem is to have the roof replaced.  

You may find that it’s hard to get onto your roof as soon as a storm has ended. By the time you can inspect the roof, the puddles may have all evaporated. However, puddles often leave evidence of water damage after they’re dry. When you inspect your roof, look for stains, algae, spots of mud, and leaves. These are signs that indicate that your roof has held standing water in the past.  

Your Roof Leaks Regularly

A roof should not leak on a regular basis. To have to fix a roof once in a five-year period might be understandable, but a roof that needs to be repaired on an annual or bi-annual basis is not a roof worth keeping. A typical flat roof will cost between $5 and $10 per square foot to be replaced. Considering how much it can cost just to repair the roof, you may find that replacement makes more sense than making continual repairs. 

Your Flat Roof Is More Than 25 Years Old

A typical flat roof will last between 20 and 25 years. Beyond this, many flat roofs will begin to fail. A flat roof can last longer than 25 years, but whether or not it will continue to function after this period of time is a gamble. If you want to ensure that your flat roof will last until its replacement, be proactive about replacing your roof. Do it as soon as the time comes, even if your roof hasn’t begun to develop regular leaks yet.

You See Visible Rips and Tears in the Membrane

When a commercial roof starts to fail, one of the many things you’ll see is a curling, torn, or worn away membrane. Sometimes this membrane can be replaced, but often the repair comes too late. A damaged membrane can allow water to enter the roof, which in turn causes wood rot. Once the wood begins to rot, the roof will likely need to be replaced. 

Your Roofing Contractor Says It’s Time

Sometimes the best way to find out whether or not your flat roof needs to be replaced is by checking with an expert. If you suspect that your flat roof might need to be replaced soon, consult with a roofing contractor. Your roofer may ask to see the underside of the roof, or he or she may climb up on the top of your roof.

If your roof is more than 15 years old, have your building inspected by a roofer on a regular basis. Your roofer may suggest regular maintenance that can extend your roof’s service life. If a roofer suggests that it’s time to replace your roof, get an opinion from additional reputable roofers to ensure that this is the best solution for your commercial building.

If you have questions about your flat roof and if you need to replace it, contact Berwald Roofing. We’re happy to answer your questions and help you decide when it’s time to take action.

BERWALD ROOFING COMPANY, INC.

Trust Berwald Roofing, Minnesota's experts in roofing, sheet metal, and wall panels with your project, no matter the size.

2440 Charles, St N
Saint Paul, MN 55109

Phone: 651-777-7411

Fax: 651-777-1371

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