Why, despite the knowledge, decades of experience in the design and construction of flat roofs and the use of increasingly sophisticated materials, do flat roofs still bring doubts and worries to many property owner’s minds? The answer to this question lies in these three factors: Design, Construction and Operation.
Very common flat roof problems stem from poor maintenance or a complete lack thereof. Regular maintenance requires flat roofs to be periodically inspected for damage, repaired, cleaned and checked for the functionality of its insulation and waterproofing properties.
The cycling through hot and cold seasons deteriorates flat roofs across Southern California year after year. On the surface of a flat roof, temperatures can range from +30 to +100 ° F. They are also exposed to UV (ultraviolet) radiation. Therefore, the nature and properties of the materials from which the flat roof will be made and insulated with should ensure functionality under these conditions for at least 15-20 years.
Leaks, roof moisture and fungus are the most visible consequences of improper maintenance. Poor insulation promotes heat from escaping through the layers of roofs leading to leaks and flooding from rain. This process becomes detrimental to the flat roof and leads to the deterioration and destruction of the membrane, flashings, gutters, and downspouts.
Each type of roof should have carried out calculations of temperature and moisture. The aim is to not only select the correct thickness of thermal insulation, but also eliminate the possibility of condensation between the layers of the roof and eliminate conditions conducive to the growth of mold on the ceiling and walls on the inside. These calculations take into account the space around windows, skylights, roof hatchways, etc. These are the places where moisture frequently occurs and are favorable conditions for mold growth. With inadequate ventilation, steam and moisture within the layers cause separation and can be seen visually on the ceiling and wall in the form of streaks and peeling paint coating, which are tell all signs of weakness in the roof’s waterproof seal.