The Most Common Causes of Flat Roof Leaks
A leaking roof presents a real problem for everybody involved, especially when it’s the roof of a commercial premises. While identifying the leak is usually pretty simple, completing the repairs in a way which is likely to prevent the leak recurring can be a complex issue. So many of our industrial and commercial buildings here in the UK feature flat roofs so today we’re taking a look at the most common causes of leaks so that you as business or building owners are aware of the potential damage, how best to avoid it and what to do if you have a leak.
- Clogged Drains - Drainage systems on flat roofs often get blocked, resulting in water pooling on the4 surface of the roof which will put a strain on the whole roofing system. Regular roof inspections (especially after prolonged bouts of rain) is essential to ensure that a small problem doesn’t deteriorate. If you notice pooling on the roof it’s time to get the roof drainage system cleared so that the water can freely flow away and prevent further damage. If a leak has occurred, then it’s best to act immediately and get the roof repaired before it gets worse which will lead to costlier repairs or even roof replacement.
- Roof Penetration – Roof penetration objects are those which puncture the membrane of the roof – this includes pipes and any other equipment where installation involves cutting through the roof membrane. This will leave spots that are more vulnerable to leaks and they must be effectively secured in order to protect the roofing system. These areas also need regular checking for damage to the membrane which would result in a leak.
- Roof Membrane Damage - Whatever type of roofing membrane is in place, it will deteriorate and become damaged over time. This will make it more susceptible to splitting or tearing which will allow water to penetrate the membrane, causing a leak.
- Insufficient Maintenance - Regular maintenance will prolong the life of a flat roof – identifying problems and fixing them before they get out of hand will help to make the roof last longer. However, eventually the roof will probably need to be replaced, especially if it has undergone periods in which there has been no regular maintenance.
Any business owner whose premises has a flat roof is responsible for the safety of those carrying out maintenance and inspection work and has a duty of care to provide the necessary collective and personal protective equipment necessary to reduce the risks involved in accessing the roof. One of the most efficient methods of preventing falls from the edge of a flat roof is the installation of a rooftop demarcation barriers system at least 2 metres from the edge of the roof. If there are any skylights present on the flat roof, these present a specific fall hazard and access to them should also be prevented with suitable barrier equipment.