Most roofs are sloped, which allows water to flow off them and prevents standing water damage. However, flat roofs have become the norm in many parts of Pennsylvania, especially in commercial buildings. While flat roofs have several advantages over sloped roofs, they do have one significant drawback: standing water.
Standing water causes many issues. Not only can it penetrate the building structure, but it can also cause health issues and promote algal growth, which can eat away at the roof membrane. One solution to ponding water is to put a small slope onto a flat roof, helping drain the water away.
Standing water on a low-slope roof is indicative of any number of potential problems. If you have issues with your roof, contact the roofing experts at Gotcha Covered Contracting! Let’s examine some of the most common issues that cause drainage issues on low slope roofs.
Common Problems with Low Sloped Roofs
One of the most common causes of improper roof drainage is blocked gutters. Most gutters don’t get cleaned regularly, and debris buildup can be a huge problem for proper water flow. Debris and garbage tend to build up at the lowest point of the gutter, which will block water flow into the drain pipe. Once the gutters are full, the water will stay on the roof instead of draining away.
Luckily, clogged gutters are easy to fix, and proper maintenance will ensure that your roof stays dry during the rainy season.
Incorrectly Placed Gutters
In many instances, we see gutters that have been placed incorrectly without taking the slope and design of the roof into consideration. The most common example of this is with two-way structurally sloped roofs, where a steel pipe blocks the lowest point of the roof. Designers get around this problem by installing the drains upslope from the lowest point.
The result of this design decision is a gutter that doesn’t remove water as well as it should. Water doesn’t flow uphill, so placing the drain above the lowest point is a recipe for failure. Unlike a simple gutter clean, this type of issue needs a rework of the original design to fix.
Incorrectly Installed Tapered Insulation
While flat or low slope roofs may look flat, they’re not. Most roofs aren’t level, which results in pooling in any low areas. It’s essential to have a proper drain design that takes these deck irregularities into account. If your roof doesn’t have an adequate drain assembly, you’ll have to consider a redesign to fix your ponding issues.
What Can You Do?
Ideally, you want to work with a reputable and experienced contractor like Gotcha Covered Contracting when installing your roof. We’ve installed enough roofs to handle any low slope roof repair or installation project, ensuring you have a high-performing, long-lasting roof.
Another option is to use tapered insulation to divert water from curves, valley, and other low points into drains. Known as ‘crickets,’ this technique can divert water away from mechanical units and into areas where you want them, such as scuppers or drains.
Standing water will kill your roof. At best, it will reduce the lifespan of your roofing membrane. At worst, it can do extensive damage to your building’s structure. Instead of taking the risk, get in touch with Gotcha Covered Contracting to find out how we can repair your low slope roof to drain properly.