Your roof is one of the most important parts of your building. Any damage to it can cause further destruction and wreak havoc on the structural integrity of your property. Leaks are one of the more persistent and challenging aspects you have to deal with if you are a commercial building owner.
Fortunately, if you do own a commercial building, chances are this is equipped with a flat roof. Flat roof repair can be quite complex, especially for those who aren’t knowledgeable about this. Let us walk you through patching your flat roof when it is leaking.
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Signs You Already Have Leaks in Your Flat Roof
Commercial flat roofs can last well over the years, provided they are maintained well regularly. However, exposure to the elements, as well as various foot traffic, can make it susceptible to breaking down and encountering leaks. Below are some signs that you need a repair:
- There are already large tears, rips, or cracks in the roof or its seams
- Water and moisture build up inside the building
- Water is already pooling on the roof
- Your commercial roof’s top coat is already damaged
- Blisters and bubbles form from failing to adhere to the roof
- Mold, moss, algae, and or lichen have found their way into the building
Commercial roofs are designed to have durable materials. As such, you may not exactly see the problems and signs, particularly to an untrained eye. If you need help, it is best to call professionals so that they can address these problems.
What to Do When Leaks Plague Your Flat Roof
Start Locating the Source of the Leak
One of the first things you should do when you have a leak in your commercial establishment’s roof is to find the leak from inside the building. Bear in mind, however, that this is not the easiest thing to do, especially since water can run along the roof and its seams, and by extension, pool in another location.
One trick you may want to do is to look closely for signs of leaks and drips, as well as other signs of water damage. Then, using a tape measure, gauge the leak’s positioning under the said roof relative to the walls near them.
Get on the Roof
After taking the said measurements, it’s time you start going up on the roof itself. Look for signs of water damage, such as those near vents or flashing. While flat roofs are flat, they may not exactly be level. Water can run down the sides or lower spots, so take more care in inspecting these areas. Besides the aforementioned, you may also want to check for tears, cracks, punctures, as well as holes.
You might need to use a ladder for this, so ensure that it is properly secured before climbing on it. If the roof is too high up or is overwhelming, call commercial roofing specialists who can be of assistance.
Rid the Roof of Any Debris
Once you have identified the source of the leak and areas you have to repair, make sure to clean up the area of any debris to prevent your patch from sticking to the roof. This extra step also allows you to get a better view of the damage.
You should also take the time to dry the area before you even begin doing any repair work on it. This prevents trapping moisture beneath the patch and mold grow on it.
Address the Damaged Area
If there are any blisters or damaged areas, cut through the membrane so that you can remove extra moisture trapped in the area. Carefully cut through all of the damaged roof membranes until all of the membranes remains flat. Be careful not to damage the surrounding areas.
Apply Roofing Patch and Cement
The next step would be to apply the roof patch and cement to the damaged section using a trowel, carefully pushing the cement into the area and smoothing it out. This patch serves as a means to stop further damage, as well as provide an area for membrane flaps to adhere to.
Lay the mesh or the membrane over the cement. You can use fiberglass mesh or a patch as this provides additional waterproofing properties, something which your commercial roof can benefit from. Cover this up with more cement until the mesh or membrane is hidden.
Reseal the Roof
The last important step is to reseal the roof. This step, however, requires coating the whole roof if the waterproof seal is already compromised. To do this, start by putting a bitumen powder on the whole roof or on the affected area as this serves as the primer. Let this dry for at least 20 minutes.
Place a fiberglass mesh over the roof and cover this with sealant using a soft brush. Continue installing the mesh and sealant until the whole roof is covered. You would need to add another coat of sealant 12 hours later.
The Right Time to Call a Professional
Commercial roofing leaks on flat roofs can be complicated and challenging to address. While this article may help you fix some leaks and damages temporarily, this may not totally repair all aspects of your roof, particularly when the leaks are already on a larger scale.
If this is the case, calling licensed roofing contractors and specialists like us are the best way to go. Our team of professionals conducts thorough inspections and make seamless repairs to make your commercial roofing issues a thing of the past.
The Bottom Line
With the help of this guide, identifying and fixing a leak on your flat roof is definitely possible. As a building owner, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety, security, and structural integrity of your property. Although you can do temporary fixes, reaching out to a professional roofing company will ensure that your leaky situation is under control.
Our team will assess any and all damages and leaks on your commercial flat roof and fix your unique situation. Feel free to get in touch with our company representatives today.