When to repair and when to replace your flat roof

Flat roofing can wear over time and eventually show its age. Perhaps, there has even been severe weather damage. Either way, how do you know when it is time to replace the roof? If you have a damaged or aging flat roof, you may be wondering if you can get by with just a few repairs, instead. We understand the importance of having a quality roof as well as the expenses of a full replacement. Roofing replacement can be a challenge for many, so we are here to help you. There are options for flat roof replacement and repair, as well as a few alternatives.

When Do You Repair Your Flat Roof and When Do You Replace It?

Replacement vs. Repair: What To Consider

If you are trying to decide if it is time for a full replacement or if your roof just needs a few repairs, the following factors can help you decide. These are the top factors to consider when debating whether to replace or repair a flat roof.

  • Roof’s Age: The first thing to consider is the roof’s age. Some roofing materials have longer lifespans than others, but no roofing system lasts forever. How long your roof lasts depends on the quality of your roofing materials and how well you keep it maintained. Once a flat roof reaches the end its intended lifespan, repairs can only extend its life for a few years at most. If your flat roof is reaching this age, then you should consider a full flat roof replacement.
  • High Energy Bills: A top benefit of flat roofing materials is their ability to save energy. High-quality TPO, PVC, and EPDM roofing can go a long way in keeping heated or air-conditioned air inside the building, which will reduce your energy costs significantly. If you’ve recently noticed a significant change in your gas or electric bills, your roof may be to blame.
  • Roof Leaks: If you notice a leak in your roof, or water coming through the ceiling, moisture is getting through and can seriously damage a roof and building structure. If you act quickly, you may be able to simply repair the damage, but if leaking goes unchecked for an extended period of time, the roof can become severely moisture-damaged and you will have to do a full replacement.
  • Visible Damage: One of the best ways to determine whether your roof needs to be repaired or replaced is by giving it a once-over. Climbing up on a flat roof is a lot easier than ascending a pitched roof. If you have concerns over the quality of your roof, you can climb up there and check it out for yourself or call on a professional to do a more thorough roof inspection.

Roof Damage to Look For

Should you examine the roof yourself, there are certain things to keep an eye out for. Some types of damage can be remedied with a roof repair, while others may indicate it’s time for a full replacement.

  • Damaged Flashing: Flashing is often-overlooked but an integral part of a flat roof system. If the metal flashing around chimneys, vents, and other fixtures are lifting, damaged, or missing, your flat roof will be at risk for serious moisture damage. When caught early, damaged flashing can be repaired or replaced. Ignoring damaged flashing can result in extensive damage to the roof.
  • Blisters and Cracks: Flat roofs have unique signs that it’s time for repairs or replacement, most prominently, blisters, bubbles, or cracks. If the top layer of your flat roof looks like it’s been damaged by high temperatures and it’s beginning to bubble or crack, it’s likely time to replace the membrane. If there is only blistering in a small area, you can likely perform a patch repair for the time being.
  • Pooling Water: One of the most tell-tale signs that a flat roof needs to be replaced is standing water. Despite being called “flat”, these roofs do have a small slope to help ensure water is moved away from the surface. If the roof deck warps due to age or damage, your roof will stop repelling water and it can accumulate into pools that will quickly cause even more damage. If you notice any sagging, or you see puddles it is time to call a roofing contractor to get a replacement done.
  • Impact Damage: After severe weather, dents can appear on your roof. Isolated damage can most often be repaired with a patch. More serious impact damage that has punctured the roofing membrane may require replacement.

How Do You Replace a Flat Roof?

Once you decide it’s time to replace your flat roof, hire a reliable roofing contractor to do the job. These are the steps you can expect for a roof replacement:

  • Removal of roofing membranes
  • Roofing system cleaning (flashing and vents included).
  • Removal and replacement of rotted plywood and fascia.
  • Installation of new HVAC stands and features if required.
  • Installation of new insulation.
  • Installation of the new roofing membrane.
  • Installation of perimeter flashings and fascia caps.
  • Debris clean-up and removal.

Your Alternatives to Flat Roof Replacement

If you do not feel that a replacement is necessary or do not have the funds to commit to this, you do have a few different alternatives you can consider:

  1. Patching: In some cases, patching a smaller damaged area can work but this is only effective if moisture damage hasn’t yet spread.
  2. Re-Covering: Adding another membrane (like EPDM or TPO) over the top of your existing flat roof can be done without removing the damaged materials first. This option can work where the roof isn’t leaking and there are only signs of aging or minor deterioration.
  3. Roof Coating: A roofing contractor applies a thin liquid membrane on top of your existing roof, which works if the roof is not showing extensive damage. This alternative works best when there are no insulation issues and no underlying structural issues.

Flat Roof Replacement Tips To Remember

If you find that you do have to replace your flat roof, there are some steps you can take to make the process simpler.

  • Know Your Options: There is always a wide range of flat roofing materials from which you can choose. Before you begin your flat roof replacement process, be sure to review all of your flat roof options so you can decide which is best for you.
  • Check Your Insurance: In most cases, a roof replacement is the homeowner’s responsibility so you need to check with your home insurance provider to see what’s covered and what’s not.
  • Hire the Right Contractor: Hiring the right contractor will get you high-quality roofing materials rather than low-quality materials, a long-lasting roof, and a stress-free roof replacement.
  • Choosing a Flat Roof Contractor: Not all contractors have experience working with flat and low-sloped roofs. It is important to find a flat roof contractor you can trust. They should be able to inspect your roof and let you know if you need repairs or replacement. Do not choose a contractor solely based on the price. By investing in a high-quality, experienced, and professional contractor you can rest easy for years to come.


Reach out to us today for a free quote. We have the experience and reputation you can trust for your flat-roof projects. Be it repairs or replacement, you can count on us to get the job done right and we offer a quality guarantee for our work and the materials we use.

Learn More About Our Roofing Services!

free estimate button