Flat roofs are an attractive feature of many homes in Alexandria, Virginia. They are affordable and easy to install, and they can provide homeowners with additional space that can be used as a rooftop patio or garden. However, their lack of a slope makes them more vulnerable to the elements.
How To Care For Flat Roofs In Alexandria, VA
This guide to flat roof repair and maintenance can help Alexandria homeowners ensure their roof remains functional for as long as possible.
Conduct Regular Inspections
Flat roofs in Alexandria, VA must be inspected regularly given their susceptibility to leaks and other issues. Fortunately, these roofs are easier than other types of roofs to inspect safely. Homeowners should look for signs of cracking, damage, blockages or aging in the material of their roof.
Pay particular attention to the seams in the roofing system, looking for signs of separating or lifting. Bear in mind that even a small crack could cause a sizable leak, so be sure to repair any cracks right away.
Pay Attention To Roof Blistering
Another problem to look for is blisters, which can occur when air becomes trapped beneath the membrane. These blisters need to be gently popped to allow the air to escape and then patched using roofing cement. For Alexandria homeowners with spray polyurethane foam roofs, areas of discoloration can be a sign that the material is deteriorating. These spots can be addressed by cutting them out and filling the gap with caulk.
Homeowners should also check the flashing that is protecting the protrusions in their roofs, such as roof vents and plumbing stacks, to identify potential leaks. Any gaps or cracks that are identified should be repaired with roofing caulk to prevent water from seeping in through them.
It is equally important to check for leaks from inside the home. For example, damp, brown spots on a ceiling can indicate seepage and should be fixed right away.
In some cases, a personal check may be enough. However, homeowners who suspect something may be wrong with their roof should seek the services of a professional roofing contractor who can identify problems that may not be obvious so they can be corrected before they get worse.
Keep Your Drains Clear
A flat roof is not usually truly flat. Instead, most flat roofs slope to one side very slightly to facilitate drainage. Nevertheless, puddles often form following heavy rain, and this can lead to leaks when the water is left standing for a long time.
Drain openings are typically found in the barrier on the side of the roof that slopes downward. Homeowners should check this area at least once a month to ensure that these drain openings are not blocked by leaves or other types of debris. This check may need to be performed more often in the fall months when leaves are more likely to become airborne in Alexandria.
The drain openings can easily be cleared by pulling the material out of them and discarding it. A flat roof should also be swept twice a month, with homeowners placing all the sweepings in a bucket and throwing them away afterward. As part of this maintenance routine, a garden hose can be used to clear the downspouts to prevent buildup and blockages as dirt and silt may occasionally clog them.
Trim Nearby Trees
Although the weather in Alexandria is generally moderate, occasional storms can wreak havoc on area homes. For homeowners who have trees hanging near or over their roof, trimming them regularly can prevent problems when bad weather strikes. In addition, branches that grow long enough to hit the roof can scrape it and cause damage.
Clear Snow On Roofs
After a bout of heavy snow, check the rooftop for accumulation. This must be cleared out following every snowstorm. Otherwise, the snow melt could turn into ice and create cracks in the roofing.
Ensure Timely Roofing Repairs
In some cases, homeowners can repair simple leaks or cracks by using a patch of their roofing material. For example, an EPDM roof can be easily repaired using adhesives or heat guns in many cases. Materials like PVC and TPO, however, generally need professional repairs.
Bear in mind that water can seep beneath the membrane of the roof across a large distance before making its way through a seam. This can make it difficult to find the exact source of a leak. A contractor can help homeowners find the precise spot of a leak and address it properly to keep water out and avoid further damage.
Some problems may require a flat roof replacement. These include persistent water pooling; multiple instances of damage to the flashing, seams or membrane; impact damage due to falling trees; or multiple leaks.
Contact The Northern VA Roofing Contractors at Adelphia Exteriors
The Northern Virginia roofing contractors at Adelphia Exteriors have the knowledge, equipment and experience required to help Alexandria homeowners keep their roof in optimal condition. Contact us today to discuss your roofing needs or request a free roof evaluation.