10 Elements That Cause Damage to Flat Roofs (Part 1)

From being energy efficient to cost-effective, flat roof construction offers numerous advantages. They are comparatively easy to install and provide a suitable location for components such as solar panels, HVAC units, and equipment for communication.

But flat roofs come with some problems that can turn into serious issues if not addressed promptly. Let’s take a look at some factors that cause damage to flat roof houses.

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  • Homes that have trees nearby cause the fallen leaves, branches, other debris to accumulate easily on a flat roof. The lack of slope blocks the drainage. Additionally, the overhanging branches chafe the roofing material when a strong wind blows. There is a risk of holes during storms which provides a passageway through which water can enter the house. Therefore seasonal maintenance and cleaning are crucial to prevent serious issues.

If the piles of leaves and debris are left uncleared they can absorb and hold moisture. When the temperature changes, the moisture freezes, thaws, and refreezes. The cycle continues throughout the winter thereby creating havoc on the roof underneath.


  • flatroof-problems-documentation-auditExposure to destructive elements is substantially the root cause of flat roof problems. The roof is an integral component of a house that prevents the residents from heat, cold, water, and all sorts of unfavorable conditions. In doing so it is consistently exposed to sun, rain, storms, and snow. Thus making the damage from the outside world inevitable. When a roof lays bare to harsh weather conditions, roofing material no matter how durable will start to deteriorate.

Following are some common flat roof exposures:

  • Overexposure to sun
  • Wind-driven debris
  • Lightning strikes
  • Freezing
  • Hailstorm

Some uncommon issues related to exposure include outside pollutants and chemicals.


  • Water leaks are a common incidence in houses or buildings with flat roofs. That happens because over time due to lack of maintenance and blockages flat roofs lose their ability to effectively remove water. Water starts pooling up on the roof and once that happens water will find its way into the structure of the house in no time.

If roof leaks are not addressed quickly and effectively, bigger problems can arise over time requiring costly repairs. Mechanical and physical impact associated damage can also cause punctures thus causing subsequent damage to flat roofing membrane resulting in roof leaks.

Punctures And Tears

  • Flat roofs are vulnerable to punctures and tears over time. Single-ply roof systems are also prone to tears especially when incorrectly specified. Damage can occur by moving sharp-edged tools such as a ladder, scaffolding across the roof. Sharp objects such as gravel can trap in shoes and cause tears when people carelessly walk on the roof. This can be prevented by building proper walking paths on the roofs.

After a major weather event such as wind or rainstorm roof inspection goes a long way in preventing serious damages. Detection and repair of punctures and tears early on time before they can get any bigger can save you the cost of an entire roof replacement.

Soffit And Fascia Damage

  • Soffits and fascias are designed such that they secure the gutters. The wooden framework of the property is susceptible to damage from rainwater, snow, ice, and animals in the absence of soffits and fascias. But as time passes soffits and fascias become liable to damage caused by rotting. If you spot discoloration around the leaks, it is indicative of the rotten soffits and fascias. Older wooden structures lose waterproofing over time thus giving rise to this issue. PVC boards on the other hand are waterproof and resistant to rot.

If you are looking for repair and flat roof contractors, call us at (202) 629-3692. Our team at Infinity Design Solutions has decades of experience in the repair of flat roof systems. We are located in Washington, DC.