Why Your Flat Roof Leaks During Heavy Rain: Causes and Solutions

Posted on March 18, 2024

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Why Your Flat Roof Leaks During Heavy Rain: Causes and Solutions

If you are a flat roof owner you may constantly worry about how your flat roof will hold up in the rain. Although having a flat roof gives you more space and flexibility of use, it also comes with its own set of problems. 

As a roofing company serving Georgia for years, one of the most common problems that owners come to us with is that their flat roof is leaking. That’s why, we will discuss why leaks occur, and how you can fix a leaking flat roof. 

Why Your Flat Roof Is More Vulnerable To Roof Leaks

Flat roofing systems are more prone to roof leaks during periods of heavy rain, and a major reason is due to their low slope. Unlike pitched roofs, flat roofing systems lack the natural slope that helps water to drain off easily. This means that water can pool on the surface of the roof, causing it to deteriorate over time. Additionally, debris such as leaves, branches, and other outdoor elements can accumulate on the flat roof, causing water to collect and seep under the surface

The Causes Of Flat Roof Leaks

Understanding why flat roof leaks occur is the first step in preventing them. Here are some of the main reasons:

Membrane Seams Coming Apart

Before we talk about this, let us give you some context as to what seams are. Some of the most common flat roofing materials such as TPO, EPDM, and modified bitumen, are available in the form of rolls. These rolls are rolled out on the roof and adhered to the surface by different methods. 

When sections of the rolls meet and are joined together with adhesive or heat-sealed, seams are created, and this then becomes the most vulnerable area of your roof. Over time, the adhesive or sealant can break down, causing the seams to come apart and leaving gaps for water to penetrate. Periods of heavy rain further aggravate this problem. 

Poor Installation And Repairs

While seams may be the main entry point for leaks, one of the main reasons why seams begin to crack and wear out easily is due to improper installation or repairs from your roofing contractor. 

Improper installation is a leading cause of leaks along flat roofs. When a roof is not installed correctly, it can result in various issues such as gaps in the seams, or inadequate sealing. 

These problems create opportunities for water to seep into the structure, especially during heavy rain. It’s crucial to ensure that your flat roof is installed and repaired properly to avoid these potential pitfalls.

Roof Age

No matter which material you install on your roof, it is bound to get damaged.  As flat roofs age, they are subjected to the relentless assault of the elements. Continuous exposure to sunlight, rain, fluctuating temperatures, and foot traffic can cause roofing materials to deteriorate. Over time, this can lead to the breakdown of these materials, resulting in cracks, holes, or weakened areas. These compromised areas are more susceptible to leaks, especially during heavy rain when the roof is under greater stress.

Lack of Maintenance

Regular maintenance is vital for ensuring the longevity and performance of flat roofs. 

Without proper care, debris such as leaves, branches, and dirt, can accumulate on the roof’s surface. This buildup can clog drains and gutters, preventing water from draining properly and leading to ponding water on the roof.

If you have a skylight installed on your flat roof then you want to be aware of the fact that sealants around skylights and other roof penetrations can degrade over time due to exposure to the elements. This degradation leaves openings for water to seep into the roofing structure.


Flat roof leaks

Solutions For Fixing A Leaking Roof

Now that you know the causes of flat roof leaks, here are the ways in which you can solve the problems. 

Professional Inspection 

If you suspect your flat roof of leaking, it’s crucial to have it inspected by a professional roofer. They can identify the source of the leak and recommend the appropriate repairs. Professional flat roof inspections are thorough and can uncover hidden issues that may not be apparent to the untrained eye. By addressing the root cause of the leak, you can prevent further damage to your roof and property.

Improve Drainage

Proper drainage is essential for flat roofs to prevent water from pooling and causing leaks. Regularly clearing debris from drains and gutters can help ensure that water can flow freely off the roof. Additionally, installing extra drains or improving the slope of the roof can help improve drainage and prevent water buildup.

Regular Maintenance

Regular inspection and maintenance of your flat roof can help prevent leaks. This includes checking for damage, clearing debris, and ensuring that seals are intact. Regular maintenance can help catch issues early before they escalate into more significant problems, saving you time and money in the long run.

Apply a Waterproof Coating

One way to improve the durability of your flat roof is to apply a waterproof coating. Roof coatings are applied over the top of your membrane and, therefore, offer an extra layer of protection against leaks. Usually made from silicone and acrylic, these coatings can help seal and protect the roof from water damage. 

For more information, read our blog post on the best elastomeric roof coatings before you decide to have one applied. 

Best Flat Roofing Services In Georgia

By following these tips, you can protect against flat roof leaks during heavy rain. However, if the leak persists, or you are constantly facing issues with your roof, it’s better to call the experts at Division Kangaroof. 

We are a premier roofing company in Georgia with years of experience. Our roofers have expertise in installing and repairing commercial flat roofs of all types, and we are ready to help you! Contact us today at (706) 778-3516 to speak with one of our experts. 

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