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8 Flat Roof Problems You May Encounter

Posted on August 18, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 6 Min.

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Flat Roof Problems

Flat roofs have a unique aesthetic appeal and offer many practical benefits. However, beneath this stylish exterior, they conceal a set of challenges that property owners must be aware of to ensure the longevity and functionality of their roofing system. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into eight common problems that flat roof owners may encounter, demystifying each issue and providing you with effective solutions to safeguard your investment and peace of mind.

Understanding Flat Roofs

Before we explore flat roof problems, let’s discuss the basics of flat roofs and understand what they have to offer to commercial building owners. 

Unlike their sloped counterparts, flat roofs maintain an almost level profile with a slight incline for water drainage. Flat roofing materials, including EPDM, TPO, and modified bitumen, are popular for commercial buildings, especially in urban areas. 

Since they offer durability and protection, architects also recommend using them on residential properties. The clean lines and cost-effectiveness make them a popular choice in modern designs. Nevertheless, their distinct characteristics expose them to unique problems requiring careful attention and maintenance.

1. Leaks: Common Causes With Simple Solutions

Flat roof leaks

Flat roofs, while stylish, can sometimes struggle with drainage. Anything from severe weather to foot traffic can cause leaks, and even the smallest holes can lead to large amounts of water getting in. Water finds its way in through tiny cracks, seams, or improperly sealed areas, leading to structural damage, mold growth, and wood rot.

Solution: Regular roof inspections can help you stop leaks before they become a major issue. Check for cracks, worn-out sealant, or damaged flashing. If you spot any, apply sealants or call a professional roofing contractor as soon as possible. You can also consider adding a protective coating or sealant to further protect your flat roof from leaks. 

Also Read: 7 Reasons To Use Flat Roof Sealant And Why You Should Never Skip It

2. Ponding Water: Preventing Peril

Ponding water

Due to the inherent lack of slope, ponding water is the most frequent and common issue on flat roofs. On top of that, if your roof has a poor water drainage system, more problems are bound to happen. Sitting water can lead to weakened materials, algae growth, and leaks.

Solution: Improve drainage by clearing debris from gutters and downspouts. If the slope of your roof is uneven, consider getting it adjusted by a roofing contractor. Sometimes, all it takes is a little leveling to get that water moving in the right direction.

3. Blisters And Bubbles: More Than A Cosmetic Issue

Blisters and bubbles

Blisters and bubbles form when moisture gets trapped between layers of roofing material, resulting in a bumpy, uneven surface. Not only does this impact the look of your flat roof, but it is also a sign of faulty installation, deteriorating materials, and underlying damage.

Solution: If a blister has already formed, it’s best to let a roofing professional handle it. Prevent future blisters by ensuring proper ventilation, using high-quality roofing materials, and hiring a reliable contractor for initial installation.  

4. UV Rays: Material And Surface Deterioration

Sunshine is great, but those harsh UV rays? Not so much. UV rays slowly wear roofing materials out over time and can cause them to weaken, crack, and lose their protective coating. All these problems lead to shortened lifespans of the entire roofing system.

Solution: Consider applying a UV-resistant coating. A protective coating will prevent damage caused by excessive UV exposure and ensure your roof lasts longer. 

5. Poor Installation: When Shortcuts Lead To Long-Term Headaches

Sometimes, the blame falls on the shoulders of the installer. If your flat roof wasn’t installed properly in the first place, your roof may face a world of trouble. Crooked seams, shoddy materials, and rushed installations can turn your dream roof into a nightmare.

Solution: Prevention is key. Do your homework and choose a reputable contractor with a track record of quality work. Don’t be afraid to ask questions before and during the project starts. Proper installation is the key to preventing your flat roof from damage. 

6. Pesky Pests: Preventing Uninvited Guests

Unwanted pests like birds, rodents, and insects can wreak havoc on your flat roof. They burrow, chew, and nest their way into your roof’s structure, leaving you with holes and extensive damage.

Solution: Seal off access points. Invest in bird deterrents or nets if needed. And if things get out of hand, don’t hesitate to call in a pest control expert. 

7. Thermal Shock: Excess Stress And Strain

Like any other roof, flat roofs also go through temperature fluctuations. Rapid changes in temperature cause your roofing materials to expand and contract, which can lead to cracks, splits, and excess stress on the entire system. 

Solution: Ensure proper insulation to minimize extreme temperature changes. There are many types of flat roof insulation, each to ensure balanced heat gain and heat loss through your roof. Insulation can save your roof from thermal shocks and thus stop the consequences. Plus, an experienced, local contractor will understand the weather patterns in your area, ensuring your flat roof will last through every season.

Looking for solutions to your flat roof problems? Check out: Cracks, Leaks, And Restoration: A Comprehensive Flat Roof Repair Guide 

8. Neglect And Deferred Maintenance: The Price Of Ignoring Your Roof

Your roof should never be out of sight, out of mind. Neglecting your flat roof is a recipe for disaster. Small issues can snowball into major problems if left unchecked. Remember, your roof works hard to protect you, so show it some love in return!

Solution: Inspect your roof regularly. Don’t wait until there’s a large leak or a glaring issue. Catch problems early, and you’ll save yourself from costly repairs and headaches down the line. 


It’s true flat roofs come with their fair share of challenges, but armed with knowledge and a proactive approach, you can navigate these issues with ease. Remember, regular inspections, timely maintenance, and a trustworthy roofing professional can be your best allies in keeping your flat roof in top shape.

So, the next time you hear that dreaded drip-dropping sound or spot a blister on your roof, don’t panic. You’ve got this! With the right solutions and a bit of professional help, your flat roof will stand strong against the elements and keep you and your business safe and dry.

Keep these tips in mind, and your flat roof will thank you for years to come. Say goodbye to roof-related woes and hello to a worry-free, stylish commercial property.

Best Commercial Roof Repair Services In Tulsa, OK

Are you experiencing any of the above-mentioned problems on your flat roof? Then you know any delay in repairing your roof and replacing the damaged parts can cost you even more in the long run. Therefore, it is best to consult with professionals about your flat roof problems. 

If you want to repair your commercial roof in Tulsa, OK, you have the best commercial roof repair service provider in your area with the team at A. Fricker Roofing & Waterproofing. We are skilled roofers who you can trust and rely on. Our roofing team are experts at handling any type of roofing service, including commercial roof repair, replacement, and installation. Contact us today at (918) 402-7167!

Flat Roof Problems: Your FAQs Answered

A. Aim for twice a year – once before and after the rainy season. But if you notice anything unusual, don’t wait!

A.It’s best to leave it to a professional. DIY fixes can often make things worse.

A. While it’s a smart move, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Combine a protective coating with other preventive measures and consult with roofing professionals.

A.They can be, mainly due to drainage issues, but with the proper maintenance leaks can be minimized on your flat roof. Just remember to regularly inspect your roof and address issues as they arise.

Flat Roof Problems