MasterBuild Africa

How to prevent flat roofs leaks

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Ponding, sagging roof joists, blocked drains, splits and cracks as a result of thermal and structural movement are some of the causes of flat roof leakages. The following are some ways in preventing leakages:

1. Planned, Proactive Maintenance

A roof denied an occasional inspection is storing up bigger problems for the future. The lack of a good maintenance regime causes a dramatic acceleration in the aging of the whole roof installation. This brings about completely unnecessary costs. A proper programme of inspection and maintenance is advised, as a poorly maintained roof will put residents/occupants of a building at risk of accidents. Also ensure that fall protection is installed at the perimeters.

2. Good Design

Maintenance is extremely important for all roofs, but maintenance programmes can be simpler and less onerous if the roof is properly designed to begin with. Designers should feel free to design for a realistic, reasonable maintenance regime. And not be under the illusion that ‘Flat Roofs’ are flat. They are not.

3. Appropriate Repair or Replacement

No roof lasts forever, but a well designed, well maintained roof can give a full life of service. On occasion, incidents such as falling debris, high wind or storm damage will need remedial treatment, and this needs to be undertaken using the correct materials suitable for the roof finish, properly prepared and applied by trained professionals.

A good inspection regime will also save money at the end of the roof lifespan, because for a regularly inspected roof, the options for repair or replacement when it reaches the end of its working life will be less costly.

Cracks Flat Roof Leaks
The existing asphalt waterproofing appears to have had its working life significantly shortened by lack of care and poor design. The asphalt is age hardened and brittle, and as a result thermal and structural movement have led to splits and cracks, allowing water penetration.

Debris Flat Roof Leaks
Outlets in the parapet to allow water to leave the roof, blocked with debris (including large pieces of timber) and silt, which had built up for so long that plants were growing in it.

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