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Top 6 Commonly Asked Questions About Flat Roofs

February 12, 2022 | 3 min. read

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HGTV makes roof-replacing and home buying look easy. If you’ve ever had a roof replacement or just researched the process, you’ll know that’s not true. 


There are several decisions you’ll have to make beyond what color roof you need – including what type of roof is best for your home.


There are metal roofs, slate roofs, and traditional asphalt shingles roofs. However, you may want to consider another type of roof: flat roofs.


Rescue My Roof has spent over a decade in the roofing industry, helping homeowners answer difficult roofing questions. 


This article will be going over the top questions homeowners ask about flat roofs. In the end, you’ll have a better idea of what owning a flat roof entails. 


What You Need to Know: Most Common Flat Roof Questions


Want to learn more about flat roofs? You’re in the right place.


Here are the top asked questions about flat roofs answered:


1. Why is My Flat Roof Leaking?


A cracked flat roof can lead to leaksThere are several reasons why your flat roof may be leaking, and the first step a contractor should take is diagnosing the issue.


It is common with flat roofs that the areas of penetration around a pipe or a vent will cause leaks. Contractors can use additional flashings or caulk to seal the edges so that leaks are no longer a problem. 


Additionally, flat roofs are known for cracking. While a layer of asphalt is covering the roof, it is also directly exposed to the sun. When the asphalt heats up, it can crack.


Cracking issues can cause leaks as well, which is why you must maintain a flat roof with a new roof coating when you notice issues. 


2. What Roof Pitch is Good for a Flat Roof? 


A shallow pitch roof is ideal for a flat roofs finishOne of the common problems we see in the roofing industry is contractors laying shingles where they shouldn’t be.


Asphalt shingles should only be used if your roof is more slanted than a 3/12 pitch (14 degrees).


If your roof is slanted below a 14-degree angle, a flat roof is the best option for your home. 


If you don’t have the proper flat roof coating on those areas, you may find issues with water drainage. 


To keep your roof in excellent conditions for years to come, make sure the areas that need a flat roof coating are installed correctly. 


3. How Does Drainage Work on a Flat Roof?


A scuffer box for a flat roofDrainage on a flat roof is dependent on what pitch your roof is.


Typically we see drainage issues on a flat roof because there is little to no pitch. No pitch = drainage and leak issues.


However, there are ways to ensure you will not have standing water accumulating on your roof. 


If the roof is slightly pitched, the water will run off into a scuffer box or the gutters. 


If there is virtually no pitch, you can have a tapered flat roof installation so that water can run off into the gutters.


While it may cost more to get a tapered installation, it may save you money on repairs in the long run. 


4. How Do You Maintain a Flat Roof?


 Like any roof, a flat roof requires maintenance to ensure its efficiency over time. 


We recommend having any penetrations like chimneys or vents to be checked annually. Having them inspect ted will ensure that they do not need extra caulk or repairs. 


Additionally, if you begin to notice cracks in your flat roof – call in a professional. They will have to seal the cracks or put down a new flat roof coating. 


While there is minimal maintenance involved, as long as the roof was installed correctly, you should not see any significant issues in the foreseeable future. 


5. What Are the Benefits of a Flat Roof?


Are you considering a flat roof for your home? Here are some of the benefits:


  • Longevity – flat roofs can last up to 20 to 30 years, depending on the material. 
  • Easy to Access – you won’t have to worry about crews having to tie themselves to your roof to do installation or repairs. 
  • Maintenance Free – with the exception of an annual inspection, there isn’t much maintenance involved with a flat roof. 


6. What are the Drawbacks of a Flat Roof?


Every roof system has its issues. Here are some things to look out for with a flat roof: 


  • Prone to Leaks – because there can be drainage issues with flat roofs, your roof is at an increased risk of leaks. 
  • More Preparation – the process of installing a flat roof can be tedious. Roofing contractors will need more time than a traditional asphalt shingle roof to prepare. 


Is a Flat Roof the Best Roofing Option for You? 


The only time a flat roof is a necessity is when the pitch of your roof is lower than a 14-degree angle. 


If your roof has a shallow pitch, then a flat roof will be the most effective option for your home. 


Make sure to find the right roofing contractor for you so that they are capable of answering your questions along the way. Ideally, you’ll want someone specialized in the roofing system you desire.


You can read more about finding the right contractor with “9 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Roofing Contractor.

Are you looking for a flat roof expert in the greater Milwaukee area? Rescue My Roof can assist you with your flat roof needs. Contact us today to schedule your free roof estimate.