Flat roofs are more common than most people think, especially when you are talking about commercial buildings. Flat roof drainage is the most important part of the construction and repair process in order to prevent water from pooling (or ponding).
Flat roofs are not necessarily flat in the sense that they usually slope towards one edge or may run to the center if the structure uses an internal drainage system.
Gutters and Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts are one of the most common types used in both commercial and residential structures. One of the reasons for this is that they can be retrofitted or even rerouting to a different drainage area. They come in a variety of colors and natural metal. Having this you can seamlessly blend gutters into the curb appeal of your home or business.
Flat Roof Interior Drainage
Flat roof drainage using an interior consists of several drainage pipes placed at different levels towards the center of the roof. Then the water is transferred within the roof (usually just beneath) to the outer edges of the structure.
The biggest benefit of this type of system is that a very minor amount of the flat roof drainage system is visible to public leaving something that has a very aesthetic appeal. The downside to this is that it is a costly system compared to others, but sometimes this is the only option for large flat roofs.
Most people do not know what scuppers are until they see them. These are the types of flat roof drainage that shoots the water off and past the side of the structure. They are designed so that the water cannot cause structure damage to the foundation. These are ineffective in areas, like ours, due to the snow. The snow takes long to melt and therefore lets the melting snow just drip around the foundation.
When you are looking for a flat roof repair contractor, you should find a contractor that not only do you trust, but is knowledgeable. Davis Roofing & Construction has qualified teams to get the job done right. Call for a free estimate and let us show you why you should choose the right team for your job.
It’s winter in the midwest and even though it has been a relatively mild one so far, you still want to make sure your roof is protecting your home from roof leaks when the inevitable rain and snow arrive. If you are not comfortable with climbing up on the roof, you can look through a pair of binoculars for a close visual inspection of your shingles or, you can also have a certified professional come out and do the inspection.
Protecting Your Home From Roof Leaks In Winter
1. Check The Roof Sub Structure To Make Sure It Is Sound
The roof sub structure is the plywood decking material that is placed over the framework of the roof prior to the application of the underlayment and shingles. The wooden decking material can begin to rot if water has leaked under the shingles in the past. Check the plywood decking for signs of warping. If warping has occurred, you will want to get a professional roofing contractor out to make sure the damage is not extensive.
2. Check The Roof’s Flashing Areas
The flashing areas of the roof are located in valleys, around chimneys, skylights and other penetrations such as vent pipes and side walls that join together with a lower roof plane. These areas are the most prone to leaking so you want to make sure the shingles around them do not appear torn, bent, tattered or broken.
The shingles in the valley area shown in this picture are cracked and broken, indicating it is time for a roof replacement.
3. Inspect The Overall Roof and Gutters
Another critical factor in the integrity of your roof is keeping it free from debris both on the shingles and in the gutters. Clogged gutters can cause them to back up and force heavy rainwater up underneath the shingles. Eventually this water will find its way through to the roof decking and into the attic of your home. Inspect the entire roof as well. If you’ve found a pile of leaves in a valley area, these will need to be removed right away to prevent damage.
4. Consider Having Heavy Snow Removed From Your Roof
Getting up on a ladder to remove anything from a roof after a heavy snowfall can be dangerous. It is best to call a professional for help. If snow has really piled up several feet it can be beneficial to remove it from the critical areas mentioned above including in valleys, along roof lines and eaves. Underneath heavy snow melting will occur. The melting snow can turn to ice and back up under the shingles. If snow is especially several feet deep in valley areas, it can be beneficial to remove it.
If you live in a heavy snowfall area, you may want to consider installing electrical wires along the eave edges to help the snow melt off. This is particularly helpful where snow can accumulate more than 2-3 feet or more every winter.
5. Check The Attic For Condensation
Most people forget that your roof can also be inspected from the inside by looking in the attic. Taking a flashlight, see if you can spot heavy condensation, ice or frost on the underside of the roof decking. If this is the case, your roof ventilation is probably not adequate.
Make sure that your attic insulation does not extend over the soffit areas along the inside perimeter of the attic. Soffits provide air intake holes where fresh air is allowed to come up into the attic and ventilate up and outward through the roof vents at the top. When air is stagnated in the attic, the moisture from inside the home does not have a chance to escape and can freeze or cause frost. When melted, it drips onto the insulation. When moisture drips onto the insulation, it reduces its effectiveness and will allow more heat to escape from your home. Your attic should not be any warmer than the temperature outdoors during winter, and this is achieved through proper attic ventilation.
Gutters are a vital component of a quality roofing system and need proper maintenance to keep rainwater flowing in the proper direction.
Clogged gutters can easily force water onto the fascia board and can eventually cause rotting. Even worse water can get dammed up and find its own path into the interior of the home, so keeping them free of leaves and debris is a top priority throughout the year.
Here are ten suggestions that will help insure free-flowing gutters during the heaviest of storms.
Do Not Rely Solely On Gutter Guards
There is no shortage of gutter protection items on the market, but there aren’t any that are absolutely foolproof. This is particularly true if you live in a heavily wooded area. If you have gutter guards, they still need to be inspected and cleaned out occasionally.
Spring Clean Your Gutters
Check your gutters in spring and clean out tree seeds, leaf buds, small sticks, branches and falling tree blooms. It is always surprising how much can accumulate and cause an overflowing situation during a rainstorm. This is especially true if there are trees overhanging the roof. Certain trees can also leak sap that can act like glue to bind the debris together to create an obstruction. It’s a good idea while you are inspecting and cleaning your gutters to take note of the condition of your roofing shingles. If your roof has not been replaced in more than 20 years, your home could seriously need a new one.
Summer Check Up
Sometimes we experience extremely dry weather in the summer and this can cause some leaves to fall prematurely. Pay attention during heavy storms to make sure the water is flowing through the gutters and not over the top of them. If you see a waterfall effect, it is time to get back up on the ladder and do some more cleaning.
Fall Gutter Cleaning
If your home is directly underneath trees, you may need to clean out your gutters several times during the fall season. Make sure to clean the gutters early enough to that you are not climbing a ladder during icy weather. You may need the help of a garden hose,and it is not advisable to use the hose during freezing weather.
Many Different Methods For Cleaning Gutters
A makeshift scoop from an old milk carton can easily be created to scoop out debris, or you can use a small garden shovel. It is also possible to use your hands if you wear heavy gloves. Running water is a good choice, however you will likely need a pressure washer to force any wet, rotten gunk out. If you choose this method, take care to keep the water stream away from the shingles as it could easily force them loose. A leaf blower can also be used to remove debris, however it is advisable to wear safety goggles and a dust mask to protect your eyes and lungs.
Make Sure You Feel Safe On A Ladder
To clean out any debris, you will need to climb up on a ladder and scoop out the debris. If you do not feel confident using a ladder, call a professional tohelp. Never climb out onto the roof itself and try to clean gutters that way. Never work on the roof in wet, icy, or windy conditions. Be sure to wear non-slip shoes, and never lean over the edge. If you are not experienced in roof maintenance, you may find yourself making an unexpected trip to the emergency room, so think carefully about using the ladder.
What To Do With The Muck
When cleaning out gutters, you may find yourself picking out lots of decomposed debris or “muck”. If you hang a bucket up on the ladder with you, it is easy to dump the muck right into the bucket. From there you can add it right to your compost pile. Another option is to put down a tarp over your shrubs and just throw the gutter contents down as you go.
Run Water From A Garden Hose To Check For Clogs
Once the debris is cleared, it is helpful to take a garden hose up to the gutter and run water through it. This will test if any clogs are still lingering. If you do not see water coming out of the downspout, then you will need to go back and remove more debris.
Check For Leaks Or Gaps In The Gutters
As you are cleaning out the gutter, visually inspect them for obvious holes or cracked caulking at the seams. If you find cracked caulking that has peeled away, the gutter must be completely dried and a bead silicone will need to be applied to seal the hole and keep water from getting in behind the gutters.
Inspect And Replace Spikes And Rivets If Necessary
Another thing to inspect are the spikes that go through the gutters through the fascia board and into the rafters directly behind it. These spikes can easily work there way out of the hole and will need to be replaced to insure the gutters are securely fastened. Also check the rivets on the downspout to make sure they are nice and tight. A rivet gun along with new rivets would be needed to fix the rivets if they are loose. These can be found at a local hardware store.