Membrane roofing systems are common on flat commercial roofs, mainly due to their cost effectiveness and durability. These roofs won't last forever. As they reach the end of their lifespan, certain problems will indicate that it is time to have the roof replaced or refurbished with a coating.
1. Separating Seams
One or two separating seams aren't a big deal, as they can usually be patched and sealed to add extend the life of the roof. The issue is when multiple seams are separating or if the same seams keep pulling apart even after repairs. In these cases, the best solution is to have a new membrane system installed, as any repairs will be very short-lived at best.
2. Wet Insulation
Most flat roof systems have integrated insulation just below the roofing panels and the waterproof membrane. When the membrane fails, moisture saturates the insulation. This moisture leads to water leaks, mold, and rot inside the building. If the leak is contained in a small area, the damaged insulation and roof section can be removed and patched. Extensive water damage means the entire system and the insulation beneath it must be replaced.
3. Extensive Pinholing
One of the benefits of a flat membrane roof is that it's easy to patch any small holes punched in the roof. Holes are only a leak when there are a lot of small pinholes that can't easily be patched or sealed over completely. Pinholing can be a result of age, weathering, or acid damage from pollution or bird droppings. Once there are a lot of holes, the only suitable repair is to replace the membrane or apply a thick silicone sealant.
4. Poor Drainage
Poor drainage shortens the lifespan of a flat roof. Rain and snow melt will puddle on the roof, prematurely aging and weakening the membrane. If the problem is caught early new drains can be installed to save the roof. Otherwise, the membrane will need to be replaced if damages have already occurred. A membrane replacement is also a good time to have roof drainage improved.
5. Severe Uplift
Uplift occurs when the wind gets under the edge of the roof membrane and lifts it up. A weak edging and anchoring system can be the culprit. Small uplift issues can sometimes be repaired, but often the damage is so extensive that replacement of the membrane and reinforcing the edges of the roof are necessary.
If you suspect that it's time to replace your flat membrane roof, contact a company like Danny Odom & Son Roofing.