Reinforcing Flat Roofs

What You'll Need
Wooden roofing beams
Tape measure
Roofing nails
Stanley knife
Construction gloves
Building plans

The structure of flat roofs can often mean that it requires some reinforcement, which will prevent it from bowing and suffering damage. Additional support will often be all that is required to make the roof fit for purpose, ensuring that it doesn’t succumb to the pressure from external forces. By taking some steps, you can be assured that the roof will remain effective.

Step 1 – Inspection

Examine the ceiling from the inside of the house and the flat roof from the outside, which will help you to determine the best way to access the beams that support the roof. Consider the plans for the property in addition to this step to find the layout of the structure, which will dictate how you must proceed. If, for example, the roof has suffered damage, it is worthwhile going this route to complete the repair at the same time. When additional beams are required to reinforce the roof, it may be necessary to engage the services of a structural engineer and to obtain the necessary permits before any work takes place.

Step 2 – Remove Roofing Material  

Gather the tools and equipment necessary to lift the roofing material. Position the ladder to enable you to climb it safely in order to gain access to the flat roof. Roofing tiles and sheeting can be lifted out of place, often only needing the edge to be pried up with a crowbar before they are pulled up by hand. Don a thick pair of workman’s gloves to avoid injury during this process. If necessary, pull up any nails that fix the roofing in place. Removal of the top layer of roofing may reveal roofing paper or other type of protective film that was used as part of the original installation of the roof. Use a Stanley knife to cut this out of place if any fasteners prove too difficult to remove.    

Step 3 – Add Reinforcements

Complete all the steps to expose the beams of the flat roof so that you can consider them and determine what work is required. Look for any damage to the existing beams so that you can complete repair work on them. Cut out any damaged sections of the wood beams with a saw and measure the gap to get the dimensions for the replacement section of beam. Nail the replacement section of the beam into place before adding extra supporting beams in the same manner. Measure prior to securing the beams to ensure they are equally spaced. Angle the roofing nails to ensure they pass through the beams properly and hammer them until they are flush.   

Step 4 – Rectify Roof

After installing the reinforcing beams, you will be in a position to replace the roofing material to complete the structure. Replace the roofing paper before laying the tiles or sheets of the upper surface.