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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Flat Roof Leaks: 3 Reasons Why There's Now Water Damage

6/18/2021 (Permalink)

Flat roof ponding on North Georgia property Contact the professionals at SERVPRO for flat roof leak issues!

A flat roof leak is one of the most common reasons for water damage in a commercial property. 

A flat roof system is designed to be waterproof and withstand heavy rainfall. As time goes on, a flat roof can have problems with leaks that cause commercial water damage, but do you know what is causing the flat roof leak?

The following post is designed for commercial property owners or property managers that have a flat roofing system. We will go over three of the most common reasons why there may be a flat roof leak to your commercial property. 

3 most common reasons for a flat roof leak

  1. Ponding water
  2. Damaged membrane
  3. Penetrating structures

A flat roof leak from ponding water

The professionals at SERVPRO have seen ponding water as the most common cause of a flat roof leak to a commercial property. Flat roof ponding is where water will pool on the flat roof. When ponding occurs for longer than 48 hours, it will possibly lead to a flat roof leak causing water damage to your building. A good rule of thumb to remember is, the longer that water ponds, the greater the chance of a flat roof leak.

Call a reputable commercial roofing contractor to come out and inspect your property's roof if you are worried about ponding. They will ensure that the commercial flat roof was designed with a slight slope so that the water can quickly drain. Keep in mind that even if the flat roof is designed with a slight slant, ponding can still occur, especially when the flat roof is old. 

A flat roof leak due to a damaged membrane

In more recent years, roofing membranes are made from thin, durable rubber, unlike back in the day when a commercial flat roof involved multiple layers of materials. 

The common day flat roof membranes are less expensive and faster to install yet can be damaged as time goes on. The most common causes of damages and wear to a membrane is:

  • Punctures 
  • Splits 
  • Cracks 
  • Blisters

These kinds of wear can happen over time from wind, hailstones damaging the roof's surface, or tree branches falling on the flat roof. A damaged membrane will give rainwater quick access to insulation beneath the membrane. As the insulation beneath the membrane gets saturated, it will then lead to commercial water damage. To avoid water damage, you should contact a reputable roofing contractor to come and inspect your commercial roofing system. 

A flat roof leak from penetrating structures

Penetrating structures are structures that rise through the surface of a flat roofing system. Every penetrating structure installed on a flat roof will be vulnerable to a flat roof leak. 

Common penetrating structures are: 

  • Plumbing vents 
  • Pipes
  • Gas lines
  • HVAC tubes

Professional commercial roofers commonly use roof boots to protect commercial properties from a flat roof leak. Even with the best-installed roof boot, water may still find its way into the property and cause water damage. If you are worried about a penetrating structure causing a flat roof leak, you need to call a reputable roofing contractor for a commercial roof inspection.

Final thoughts

We hope you enjoyed learning about the three most common causes of a flat roof leak. The professionals at SERVPRO of Union, Towns, Fannin & Gilmer Counties receive many calls a year for commercial water damage caused by one of the three common causes. Contact us ASAP if you are currently in the middle of a flat roof leak issue. Our IICRC certified crews will quickly respond because we understand that we have roughly 48 hours before mold will start to grow. 

We are available 24/7, 365 days a year, for emergency services. Once we receive your call, we will dispatch a crew immediately to mitigate any size disaster!

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