Your roof exists to protect the space below it from water and other elements. Keeping water from soaking into building materials is crucial to maintaining the integrity of the structural components that make up the framework of any building, commercial or residential.
Making sure that buildings remain dry also avoids the dangers that can result when interiors become wet. Chief among this potential damage is mold growth and damage; a risk that increases when the mold spores found both inside and out are exposed to moisture. Microbial growth damages standard building materials and can also threaten the health and well being of individuals inside.
Ensuring Drainage With A Flat Roof
The key to keeping buildings dry under a flat roof is to be sure that rainwater and other precipitation drains freely and completely off the roof. Since flat roofs do not have the pitched sections of a traditional roof, it is harder to guide the water off the roof.
Despite the relative difficulty of guiding water from a flat roof, a well-engineered one is able to drain the water efficiently. Even though a flat roof does not appear to have a slope to it, a properly constructed flat roof surface will have a slight angle built in to direct the water pooling on it towards the drain and gutter system.
The Importance of a Proper Drainage System
Clearing out clogs in the gutters and downspouts on a flat roof is critical for proper drainage. If the built-in drains fill with debris, they dam up the water, resulting in the rainwater, slush, or snowmelt rising ever higher on the surface of the roof. Eventually, the moisture finds a way to seep into the building structure through a seam, damaging the areas where the water then migrates.
A flat roof will also have internal drains if it covers a large area. These drains carry water away from the center of the roof and ultimately send the water into the gutter and downspout system through conduits. These internal drains also must be maintained consistently to work well, meaning any residue and debris must be removed to allow the water to flow.
Often a flat roof has one or more fixtures called scuppers that direct the flow of water from the roof through a parapet or low wall encircling the flat roof. Frequently seen where the flat roof is also used as a terrace or deck, the scupper is essentially a culvert or small tunnel which collects and then moves water off the roof and into a drainage system. Scuppers must be clear of leaves, loose gravel, or any other substances that may prevent water from moving. They also can corrode or form cracks over the years, so will require repairs or sealing to prevent water from moving into the interior of the building rather than through the scupper and into a drain.
Maintain and repair the drainage system associated with your flat roof to avoid water damage. Seek professional help if a general cleaning does not resolve the problem.