Flat roofs are less conspicuous than pitched structures – a feature that makes them easy to forget about, too. However, flat roofs also work hard the year around, protecting the buildings they are installed on from the elements and helping maintain thermal balance and good air quality, therefore they need the same amount of attention as pitched structures. Here are some things that you should know about the inspections performed on flat structures.
The Ideal Frequency
While some experts say that performing an inspection every 2-3 years is enough, most specialists agree that the ideal frequency in milder climates is twice a year, once in spring, to check for any damage sustained by the roof during the winter and once again in fall, to check for any harm caused by the summer and to prepare the roof for the coming cold season. However, in climate zones that get lots of rain and are frequently hit by heavy storms, too, it is a good idea to perform a quick check after each major weather event, stepping up the frequency of the inspections being the best way to ensure that any roof fault is caught in time, when it is still small and easy to repair. You can decide to perform the inspections on your own, but Atlanta commercial roofing pros recommend that you get your roof inspected professionally every couple of years, to catch the faults that might have escaped your attention.
The Inspection Method
The first step in the inspection process is inspection from the ground. Walk around the building, looking up that roof to check for any visible damage in the roof draining system and for marks on the walls that indicate inefficient drainage.
The next step is inspection performed at roof level. Grab a sturdy ladder, place it on even, solid soil and anchor it safely to the roof edge, then climb up to the roof. In this phase, you should check the health of the gutters and you should also look to find any ponding water – a very dangerous enemy of flat roofing systems.
If your roof is strong enough to allow for foot traffic and if the material it is made from permits stepping on, you can continue the inspection from the roof surface. During this phase, pay special attention to sensitive areas, such as the areas around the seams and around chimneys or antennas, where the contiguity of the roof has been broken – these areas are more prone to damage than contiguous areas. You should also look for any accumulation of debris – the depressions in which leaves, dust and dirt can accumulate usually indicate places where water can accumulate, too and that are prone to damage. It is important to check the entire roof surface, the contiguous areas included – look for cracks, tears, signs of rust, mold, mildew and algae growths.
Any roof inspection needs to be followed by the repair of the issues detected during the inspections, even of the smallest fault because that is the only to prevent premature roof failure.