Think about how many gallons of water your roof has to deal with whenever it rains or storms. Angled roofs have the benefit of letting the water pour off, but flat roofs aren’t so lucky. Left unmonitored, a little bit of ponding can turn into much worse.
If something happens and it develops a leak, your property insurance may not cover the costs. As such, the best option is to waterproof it before a leak develops. This can be done in various ways, from complete roof replacements to simple patch jobs.
Here are some of the best roof waterproofing methods to waterproof a flat roof.
Problems a Flat Roof May Face
A flat roof is a common option for commercial buildings. They’re affordable, easy to install, and versatile spaces. They’re easy to keep clean, and there’s plenty of space for HVAC units.
However, there’s a reason most homes are built with sloped roofs. It’s not just about the style or aesthetic they provide to a property.
First of all, flat roofs are always exposed to the sun and other elements. That includes lightning strikes, hail, and wind damage.
Any damage sustained will lead to leaks. In addition, water will often pond on top of flat roofs because there’s no slope redirecting it. That area of the roof can sage and eventually become a major leak if there’s a puncture or tear in the membrane.
Another problem you may encounter is blistering. These bumps or ripples happen when the flat roof membrane has deteriorated due to over-exposure to the sun.
Roof maintenance is essential if you want to avoid these problems. Another solution is to invest in a roof waterproofing membrane that’s both durable and long-lasting.
Flat Roof Waterproofing Options
There are multiple options available if you want to waterproof a flat roof.
You can opt for a single-ply membrane that covers the roof and provides protection. There are liquid options that solidify on your roof like cement. And there are more temporary options if you’re trying to prevent leakage before you can get more permanent repairs.
Always make sure to ask your roofer about your options before you invest in anything.
TPO Roofing Membrane
TPO, or thermoplastic polyolefin, roofing is a single-ply white membrane. It comes in varying thicknesses and dimensions, which makes it good on different roof sizes.
Due to its color, it’s effective at mitigating heat as it reflects sunlight rather than absorbs it. Depending on the type of building you apply it to, you can expect cooler temperatures indoors as a result.
If maintained properly, your TPO roof waterproofing membrane should last around 25 years.
The only downside is that the white color shows dirt and stains. You may not like how it looks to neighboring buildings, so you’ll have to take the time to keep it clean.
PVC Roofing Membrane
PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, roofing is similar to TPO in that they are both single-ply membranes made out of thermoplastic materials. They’re also both white. However, PVC roofing has its own advantages over the alternative.
The main difference is that PVC is much more flexible than TPO. It’s easier to install and works better with complicated roofing systems.
Another benefit of PVC roofing is that it’s more resistant to chemicals and weather, which works better for certain industries. You won’t have to worry as much about water leaks or deterioration.
EPDM Roofing Membrane
EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, is a synthetic rubber black membrane. As opposed to other white membrane options, this black material absorbs heat. You’ll need to keep this in mind when deciding if it’ll work for your building.
The tradeoff is that you don’t have to worry about it looking dirty or needing to keep it looking pristine. An EPDM roof is also very durable, and it can last up to 30 years.
Reinforced Bitumen Membranes (RBM)
While the previous three types of membrane were single-ply, there are membrane options that allow for more substantial roof waterproofing.
Reinforced bitumen membranes (RBM) involve two to three membrane layers on the surface of your roof. The different layers are bonded together with hot bitumen and combined with a polyester carrier. The end result is a waterproof material that also covers your roof’s insulation.
You can also apply RBM with cold adhesive, a gas torch, or self-adhesives.
Liquid Rubber Coating
Liquid rubber coating is a great waterproofing option that’s available in a few different forms.
First, you can use it as a primary roof coating and sealant to protect your building. The liquid rubber sealant comes in a can or bucket, much like paint. You can then apply it to your roof with a roller or sprayer to create a fully adhered membrane.
The rubber coating is especially good for sealing cracks, joins, and flashings. However, it needs multiple coats in order to prove effective, and curing time can take more than 24 hours.
Additionally, some rubber coating brands spread more easily than others. You can also find it in different colors, such as white, gray, and black.
Patch and Seal Tape
There’s always a chance that your roof can suffer damage after a major hurricane. It’s not always feasible or necessary to redo your entire roof if it develops a leak.
When that happens, you can use a waterproof patch and seal tape to seal any tears in your roof membrane. These strips can adhere to almost any roofing surface and will even stick in wet conditions.
Keep in mind that this is meant for only temporary emergency repairs. However, they should help protect your building until you can schedule professional roofing services.
Avoid Flat Roof Leakages
There are a lot of different options for building owners that want flat roof waterproofing. A single-ply membrane is easy to apply but may not offer the best protection. Liquid rubber coating is more complicated to apply but is also very durable.
Allied Xteriors is here to help with all your custom roofing and waterprofing solutions. We service both residential and commercial properties in the South Louisiana area. Contact us to request a quote and learn more.