How To Maintain A Flat Roof To Maximize Its Life Span

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Most flat roofs come with warranties that last between 10 and 20 years. If they're properly maintained, though, they can last much longer. It's not uncommon for flat roofs to be in good shape 25 years after they're installed, as long as they're looked after. If your home has a flat roof, here's how to maintain it so that it lasts for as many years as possible.

Have Your Flat Roof Sealed or Painted

First, all flat roofs should be either sealed or painted. Since water doesn't flow off of them as quickly as it flows off of slanted roofs, it's important to have a barrier between any precipitation that falls and a flat roof. A sealant or paint will form such a barrier.

Roofing contractors typically seal or paint flat roofs when they're installing them, and the cost is normally included in their quotes. You'll want to confirm that the roofing company you're hiring will be applying a sealant or paint, however. You don't want a miscommunication about sealing or painting to leave your roof susceptible to water damage.

Inspect Your Roof After Windstorms and in the Fall

Second, flat roofs should be regularly inspected. In actuality, all roofs should be periodically checked. People with slanted roofs usually notice issues when they look at their house, though. Since flat roofs can't be seen from the ground, it's necessary to make a specific effort to inspect them.

You'll have to get on a ladder to inspect your roof, but it's not necessary to climb on the roof itself. In fact, climbing onto your roof should be avoided if possible because it's both dangerous and can cause damage to your roof. Just secure a ladder so that you're able to safely climb up it and visually inspect your roof from the side.

While it's a good idea to inspect your roof periodically throughout the year, make sure you check your roof after any significant windstorms and during the fall. These are the most common times for branches and leaves to collect on flat roofs.

Remove Any Debris on the Roof

Any leaves, branches, or other debris you see when inspecting your roof should be removed. If debris is allowed to pile up and become wet, its weight can strain a flat roof. Additionally, tree branches could scratch or puncture a roof in a storm.

If you're unable to reach debris from your ladder, use a rake to slide any debris you see off the roof. This way, you can stay safely on your ladder while reaching the debris on your roof.

Check the Gutters Around the Roof

While you're inspecting your roof and removing any debris, make sure you also check any gutters that are attached to the roof. They too should be free of debris, and water ought to be able to flow freely through them. If they aren't free of obstructions, water may not drain from the roof properly -- instead, it might pool on the roof.

To clear out gutters that have debris in them, simply grab the debris in them and throw it into your yard. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands while doing this. (Throwing debris onto a tarp that's in your yard makes it easy to carry the debris to a compost pile or the curb.)

Have Repairs Made Promptly

Should you see any damage while inspecting your flat roof, have the issue promptly addressed by a professional roofing company. Getting damage repaired as soon as possible will keep the damage from worsening. It will also help keep your repair costs as low, and it'll ensure the damage doesn't significantly reduce the life span of your flat roof.

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12 July 2017

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