When it comes to roofing, there is a wide range of options available to homeowners and businesses. One particular category that often requires special attention is low slope roofs.
Low slope roofs, sometimes referred to as flat roofs, have a pitch of less than 3:12 (meaning they rise less than 3 inches vertically for every 12 inches horizontally). These roofs are commonly used in commercial buildings, but they can also be found in residential settings. They also come with a wide range of options, which can be hard for property owners to understand.
In this blog post, we will help you understand the world of low slope roofs, discussing:
- What they are
- Different low slope roof options
- Signs of damage
- How to repair damage
- When it’s best to seek professional help
What is a Low Slope Roof?
A low slope roof is a roofing system with a relatively shallow pitch, making it nearly flat compared to traditional steep-slope roofs. While they are less common in residential homes, they are often used in commercial and industrial settings due to their cost-effectiveness and the ability to provide additional usable space on top of the building. Low slope roofs come in various materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.
5 Different Low Slope Roof Options
When it comes to roofing, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. The same goes for a low slope roof! Here are 5different roofing materials to consider for your roof.
1. Built-Up Roofing (BUR)
Built-up roofing, also known as tar and gravel roofing, is one of the oldest low slope roofing systems. It consists of multiple layers of roofing felt, asphalt, and gravel or other aggregate materials. BUR roofs are known for their durability and longevity, often lasting 20-30 years. However, they can be heavy and may require periodic maintenance to replace damaged gravel or sealant.
2. Modified Bitumen Roofing
Modified bitumen roofing is a modern evolution of BUR roofing. It is made from asphalt that has been modified with polymers to enhance its performance. Modified bitumen comes in rolls or sheets, which are applied to the roof and then heat-welded or adhered together. This roofing type is known for its flexibility, making it less prone to cracking in extreme temperatures.
3. EPDM Roofing
Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) roofing is a popular choice for low slope roofs. It is a synthetic rubber material that is highly resistant to UV rays and weathering. EPDM roofing is available in large sheets that are easy to install. It is a cost-effective option and can last up to 40 years with proper maintenance.
4. TPO Roofing
Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) roofing is a single-ply membrane roofing system. TPO roofs are known for their energy efficiency, as they reflect sunlight and reduce cooling costs. They are also resistant to mold, algae, and punctures. TPO roofing is easy to install and maintain, making it a popular choice for commercial buildings.
5. PVC Roofing
Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) roofing is another single-ply membrane roofing system. It is highly durable and resistant to chemicals, making it an excellent choice for industrial and chemical plant roofs. PVC roofing is also energy-efficient and reflective, reducing cooling costs.
Common Signs of Damage in Low Slope Roofs
Low slope roofs, like any other roofing system, are susceptible to damage over time. Recognizing the signs of damage early can help prevent costly repairs. Here are some common signs of damage in low slope roofs:
Ponding Water 💧
Ponding water occurs when water accumulates on the roof and does not drain properly. It can lead to premature roof deterioration and leaks. Ponding water is a clear indication of poor drainage, which should be addressed promptly.
Blisters and Cracks 🏚️
Blisters and cracks in the roofing membrane can allow water to penetrate the roof system. These can be caused by exposure to UV rays, extreme temperatures, or poor installation. Regular inspections can help identify and address blisters and cracks before they worsen.
Leaks are the most obvious sign of roof damage. Water stains on ceilings or walls, dripping water, or wet insulation are signs that your low slope roof may have a leak. Prompt leak detection and repair are essential to prevent further damage to the building’s interior.
Loose or Missing Roofing Materials 🔍
High winds and severe weather can cause roofing materials to become loose or even blow off. Missing or loose materials can compromise the roof’s integrity and should be replaced promptly.
Membrane Damage 🧰
The roofing membrane itself can become damaged due to foot traffic, falling debris, or punctures. Inspecting the membrane regularly for signs of damage is crucial to maintaining the roof’s performance.
How to Repair Roof Damage in 5 Steps
If you notice any of the above signs of damage in your low slope roof, it’s essential to address them promptly to prevent further deterioration. Here are some steps for repairing roof damage:
1. Ponding Water
To address ponding water, ensure that the roof’s drainage system is functioning correctly. This may involve adding roof drains or improving the slope of the roof to promote proper water runoff.
2. Blisters and Cracks
Repairing blisters and cracks typically involves cleaning the affected area, applying a patch or sealant, and ensuring the damaged area is properly bonded to the rest of the roofing membrane.
Locating and repairing leaks can be challenging, as water can travel along the roof’s interior before becoming visible. It’s often best to consult a professional roofer with experience in leak detection and repair.
4. Loose or Missing Roofing Materials
Replace any loose or missing roofing materials promptly. Depending on the roofing system, this may involve securing loose materials or replacing entire sections of roofing.
5. Membrane Damage
Membrane damage may require patching or replacing the damaged section. It’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for repair materials and techniques.
When to Seek Professional Help
While some minor repairs can be handled by homeowners or building maintenance staff, there are instances where professional help is necessary. Consider seeking the expertise of a roofing professional in the following situations:
- Extensive damage: If your low slope roof has significant damage or multiple issues, it’s best to consult a professional to assess the overall condition and recommend appropriate repairs or replacement.
- Safety concerns: Roof work can be hazardous, especially on low slope roofs. If you are not experienced in roof repairs or lack the proper safety equipment, it’s safer to leave the job to professionals.
- Warranty considerations: Some roofing warranties may become void if repairs are not performed by certified roofing contractors. Be sure to check your warranty before attempting DIY repairs.
- Uncertainty: If you are unsure about the extent of damage or how to properly repair your low slope roof, it’s wise to consult a roofing professional for an accurate assessment.
Low Slope Roofing Experts
Low slope roofs are a practical choice for many commercial and industrial buildings, but they require proper maintenance and occasional repairs to ensure their longevity and performance. Regular inspections and timely repairs can extend the life of your low slope roof and protect your investment in your property. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek professional help to address any roofing issues and keep your low slope roof in top condition.
Whether you are a commercial property owner, or simple the owner of a contemporary home, Anchor Point Roofing is there to help you take care of your roof. Contact us today to learn more about our services!