How to Prevent Your Flat Roof from Leaking

What You'll Need
Aluminum flashing
Tin snips
Clear epoxy roof sealant
Rubber membrane
Seam tape
Rubber membrane adhesive
Plywood (optional)
Saw (optional)
Roofing nails
Rolling brush
Tape measure
Power washer
Push broom

Finding out that your flat roof is leaking is not at all pleasant news. A flat roof can have areas of pooling water as it is not completely flat, regardless of what its name implies. A leaky flat roof is never good as any water that enters the home through the roof can lead to hazards such as flooding, rotting and even electrical fires. Follow the simple steps below to prevent a flat roof from leaking.

Step 1 – Clean the Flat Roof

In many cases, leaking can occur when debris is left on the flat roof. It can block water from flowing down the grade of the roof or redirect it to other areas. Make sure that you spend time cleaning the roof. Use a push broom to safely remove the debris and collect it in garbage bags. You do not want to push it down the drains as that can cause a blockage. This is especially important after a big storm.

Step 2 – Inspect the Drainage

All flat roof construction has drainage installed so that leaking does not happen. The water cascades down the subtle grade and down the drains. These drains can sometimes become clogged or dislodged ,which can cause water to not drain properly. Knock on the metal drain pipes with your knuckles and listen closely. If the pipe sounds hollow, there is no blockage, but if it sounds dull, then there is something stuck inside. The easiest way to unblock it is to use a pressure washer to shoot a jet of concentrated water down the drain. You can repair dislodged pipes by reseating them and tightening the screws.

Step 3 – Flashing

Adding flashing to your flat roof prevents leaks around chimneys and vents. Locate the chimney, exhaust pipes and vents. Bend the flashing around the base of these, slightly overlapping and then trimming the excess. Hammer in place with roofing nails until flush with the roof. Install flashing to the edge of the roof with the bend over the edge. Apply the clear epoxy to the flashing to seal it to prevent flat roof leaking.

Step 4 – Use a Membrane

A rubber membrane takes the place of gravel on a flat roof and is installed on top (typically) of shingles. If there is gravel on the roof, cover it with plywood cut to fit the dimensions of the roof. Cut the membrane to the size of the roof and lay the pieces over it. Fold a piece over, and apply the adhesive to the roof or plywood and then to the membrane. Press the membrane down, and then use the roller brush to remove pockets of air. Continue for each sheet, and then apply seam tape to the seams, also rolling it to push out pockets of air.