Repairing a Flat Roof: Everything You Need to Know

There comes a time in every roof’s life when you have to start thinking about repairs. Whether caused by an unfortunate event, harsh weather conditions, or the roof simply getting old, knowing how and when to repair a flat roof can be incredibly useful information to have at hand.

So, without further ado, the flat roofing experts at Alvadac are here to give you a comprehensive overview of the types of damages that can occur, the durability of flat roofs, how long they last, and how to repair a flat roof.

Common damage issues of a flat roof

Before we look at flat roof repair, let us first take a look at why roofs might need to be repaired, and how you can spot the issues yourself.

Water damage 

Water damage can easily be spotted by checking for damp or discoloured patches in your attic, around your roof timbers, and on your external walls. Damage such as this is typically indicative of flat roof leaks that have been left untreated over a period of time.

If you spot any signs of water damage, it is essential to take immediate action, before the water damage has a chance to affect the structural integrity of the building or interfere with any electricity. When caught early, it can be solved by a quick flat roof repair or patch job, but extensive damage will require a flat roof replacement of the entire roof.

Impact damage 

Unfortunately, impact damage cannot be predicted or preempted. However, depending on the type of damage and what caused it, repairing a flat roof with impact damage can be quite simple. This is because it is an isolated fault, and so a qualified roofer can patch and repair the flat roof.

Long-term damage

Whereas impact damage is the result of an unforeseen accident, long-term damage occurs over time. Given plenty of time, small cracks can grow larger and larger, which will significantly increase the flat roof repair costs.

Incorrect methods of application

If a roof was not installed properly, or by so-called cowboy roofers, this can lead to damage over time. If the price guide seems too good to be true – it probably is! Always go for an experienced roofer and flat roofing expert like Alvadac, who will use the correct application techniques.

Weather damage 

The British weather is infamously unpredictable, and this can cause damage to your roof. Extreme weather conditions can cause heat expansion, UV damage, water damage, and harsh weather can blow debris onto the roof, causing impact damage.

Durability of EPDM roofs

When it comes to flat roofs, EPDM is the most durable of the flat roofing materials, especially compared to a green roof or glass-reinforced plastic (GRP) flat roofing. EPDM can withstand heat and UV rays much better than its alternatives, especially when properly installed by a professional roofer.

The installation involves attaching a single sheet of EPDM rubber roofing direct to the underlay, using a heat gun or adhesive patches. As it is one single sheet, it is much quicker for the roofer to install, and thus reduces the average price.

The lack of seams also reduces the risk of water ingress – another reason why it is so durable. Damage can also be easily patched up using a smaller square of EPDM, or a new roof laid cost effectively. Thus, whether a flat roof repair or replacement is necessary, you won’t be left too out of pocket.

How long do flat roofs last before needing to be replaced?

The lifespan of a flat roof entirely depends on the type of roof, the flat roofing systems used, the application method, and the roofing material. To aid you in your research, you can find the average lifespan of the most common flat roofing materials below:

  • Mineral felt – 10 to 20 years
  • Asphalt – 10 to 20 years
  • TPO rubber – around 20 years
  • Fibreglass GRP – around 25 years
  • EPDM – 30+ years

However, it is important to note that these estimations are based on the average manufacturers’ guarantee. In reality, as long as you look after your flat roofing properly, your roof can last much longer. In fact, properly maintained felt and asphalt can last up to 40 years, whereas EPDM can stretch up to 50 years of usage.

How to repair flat roofs

When repairing a flat roof, firstly identify the type of damage and the scale of the damage. If it is a case of the material coming away or a small leak, repairs can be carried out quickly by anyone with DIY skills. The nature of the repair can also vary depending on the material of the flat roof. For the purpose of this guide, we will use EPDM as an example.

To repair a flat roof, simply determine the scale of the issue so that you can purchase the correct size and amount of self-adhesive patches. You can then thoroughly clean and dry the area, before applying primer, and then the patch. Remember to always follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly, as the method may vary depending on the product.

However, a flat roof repair is always best undertaken by an experienced roofer who is trained to work at heights. This is especially true for roofs with extensive damage, or if you are not confident with DIY.

Repair services from Alvadac

If you are looking to repair a flat roof, look no further than the expert team here at Alvadac. We are professionally trained and highly experienced in carrying out all kinds of flat roofing repairs, with locations across Leeds, Bradford, and Huddersfield.

Call us today on 01274 317 091 to benefit from our 40 years of roofing expertise, and receive a free, no-obligation, competitively priced quotation.

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