10 Factors That Cause Damage to Flat Roofs (Part 2)

Besides their architectural style and plenty of advantages, flat roofs are an energy-efficient substitute to sloped roofs. Flat roofs require lower construction and repair costs. They take up less space and use less material for construction.

But flat roofs have their issues, especially when their maintenance is overlooked. Here are some factors that can affect the life span of your roof.

Leaky Flat ROOF

Ponding Water

  • Flat roofs are not flat, they have a slope that is enough for water drainage. But the margin for error is not much. If there is a blockage in water flow, or if the ice is banking it water starts collecting in the form of small ponds. This ponding water is the root cause of serious problems.

If the blockage is not cleared, the roof begins to leak into the house. Prolonged moisture results in the growth of moss and algae thus giving rise to additional issues. Poorly maintained flat roofs especially cause issues in colder weather.

Structural Movement

  • Another factor that poses a threat to flat roofs is structural movement. Structural movement is also known as thermal movement. A building’s envelope is liable to natural expansion and contraction. This process results in structural movements. It is a natural process that causes mobility in the roofing arrangement as well as the whole structure.

This happens because indoor cooling units lower the temperature of the building thus resulting in temperature differences inside and outside. This results in cracking and splitting in flat roof membranes around seams, penetrations, and other structures.

Biological Growth

  • When water is allowed to pool for a long duration, life begins to grow inside the stagnant water. Vegetation and algae are produced in uncirculated water that has ponded on the flat roof. A dirty roof further makes the condition worse. Therefore, roofs should be kept clean and tidy. Remove all the debris, snow, and water from the roof especially after a heavy rainfall or windstorm. Regular cleaning and maintenance are essential whatever the type of roof your building has.

Water should not be allowed to pond at the roof. Monitor the roof from time to time and see if there are signs of biological growth. A commercial roof inspection once or twice a year can go a long way in protecting your roof from potential damage.


  • Flat roofs that are made from synthetic rubber membranes are vulnerable to shrinkage. EPDM is a material used in flat roof construction. EPDM roofs are more susceptible to shrinkage as compared to regular roofs. Over time seams delaminate or pull apart which allows passageways to form on the surface of the roof. EPDM is super durable and therefore it is a preferred choice in the construction of a flat roof system. But nothing lasts forever so does the EPDM.

Shrinkage is a natural process but it is accelerated due to unfavorable factors. Poor manufacturing or installation of roof membrane can speed up the process of shrinkage. Always go for a trusted roof repair company when looking for installation or roof repair services.


  • Structures undergo settling and shifting as time goes by. Over time a roofing membrane settles between the house and the roofing material. As a flat roof membrane is a continuous sheet, it is liable to buckling due to structural shifting. A poorly installed roof can worsen the problem leading to bigger issues requiring an entire roof replacement.

If you are looking for repair and construction of flat roofs, 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.