As you may know, a flat roof is a type of roof that is flat or nearly flat, with a slight slope to allow for water drainage. In Pennsylvania, flat roofs are becoming increasingly popular for their sleek and modern design, and ease of installation and maintenance.
One great benefit of flat roofs is the ability to use the space for various purposes. For example, you could install skylights, solar panels, or air conditioning units on your flat roof. Additionally, the flat surface provides the opportunity to create extra living space, such as a small garden or a lounge area.
Here at Hepler Contracting LLC, we know that one of the most frequently asked questions is, “How long does a flat roof last?” In this blog, we will explore the various factors that can impact the lifespan of a flat roof, and provide tips for maintaining your flat roof to ensure it lasts for as long as possible.
Average Lifespan Of A Flat Roof
The average lifespan of a flat roof in Pennsylvania can vary depending on several factors, including the type of material used, the quality of installation, and the level of maintenance. Here are the typical lifespans for some common flat roofing materials according to InterNACHI:
Built-Up Roof: A built-up roof, also called a hot-tar-and-gravel roof, is made of several layers of waterproof material with hot tar in between. The top layer is coated with a layer of smooth river stones to help hold it in place. With proper maintenance, a built-up roof can last for 30 years.
PVC: PVC roofing material is often reinforced with polyester or fiberglass for added durability. These roofs can last up to 30 years and are resistant to fire and UV rays.
EPDM: EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene monomer, is a synthetic rubber roofing material that is resistant to UV rays, and extreme changes in the ozone and temperature. It has a lifespan of 15-20 years.
TPO: TPO, or thermoplastic polyolefin, is a versatile roofing material that can reflect UV rays and resist flames. It has a lifespan of 7-20 years.
Modified Bitumen: A modified bitumen or torch-down roof is a type of single-ply rolled roof that has been treated with asphalt and rubber, and reinforced with fiberglass. This type of roofing material has a slightly shorter lifespan than PVC but can last up to 20 years with proper maintenance.
It’s important to note that these are just estimates, and the actual lifespan of a flat roof in Pennsylvania can be extended with proper care and maintenance.
Factors That Affect The Lifespan Of A Flat Roof In Pennsylvania
Several factors can impact the lifespan of a flat roof in Pennsylvania. These include:
Climate: Pennsylvania is known for its cold winters and varied climate, with an average daily high temperature of only 21-37 degrees. The state experiences strong winters and warm summers, which can put a lot of strain on a flat roof.
Maintenance: Proper maintenance is essential for extending the lifespan of a flat roof. This includes regular inspections, timely repairs, and keeping the roof clean and clear of debris and ponding water.
Materials: The type of material used for a flat roof can also affect its lifespan. Some materials, such as rubber or PVC, are more durable and have longer lifespans compared to other options. It’s important to consider the type of material when selecting a flat roof for your home in Pennsylvania.
Common Problems That Can Shorten The Lifespan Of A Flat Roof
There are several common problems that can shorten the lifespan of a flat roof in Pennsylvania. These include:
Ponding water: Flat roofs are designed with a slight slope to allow for water drainage, but if the slope is not sufficient or the roof does not have proper drainage, ponding water can occur. This can lead to leaks and other damage to the roof, resulting in a shortened lifespan.
Improper installation: If a flat roof is not installed correctly, it can be prone to problems that can shorten its lifespan. This can include issues with flashing, sealing, or the slope of the roof. It’s important to make sure your flat roof is installed by a professional to avoid these issues.
Hail or storm damage: Pennsylvania is prone to severe weather, including hail and storms. Damage from these events can shorten the lifespan of a flat roof if it’s not properly repaired. It’s important to regularly inspect your roof for damage and make repairs as needed to ensure its longevity.
By addressing these problems and taking proper care of your flat roof, you can help ensure that it lasts as long as possible.
Tips For Maintaining A Flat Roof
Here are five tips for maintaining a flat roof in Pennsylvania:
- Keep drains and scuppers clear: This is the most important maintenance task, as backups in the drainage areas can trap standing water on the roof and lead to damage.
- Sweep off debris: Fall is a good time to sweep off leaves and dirt that would turn into mulch over the winter.
- Trim trees and remove branches: Low branches that could scrape the roof should be removed to prevent damage.
- Check the flashing for cracks: Cracked caulking or flashing should be removed or replaced to prevent leaks.
- Patch small punctures and worn spots: You can repair small punctures or worn spots yourself using a patch kit. However, large cracks or splits in the roofing membrane may require professional attention.
Is Your Flat Roof Past Its Lifespan?
If you live in the Pittsburgh area, chances are your roof has seen better days. If you have a flat roof, it’s essential to get on top of any problems before they become major issues. Once your flat roof shows signs of wear and tear, it may be time for a replacement.
If you’re thinking about replacing your flat roof, Hepler Contracting LLC is here to help! We are the best flat roofing company in the area and can provide you with a free quote on your project. We will work with you to determine the best course of action for your specific situation, and make sure that your flat roof is in top condition before we leave. Don’t hesitate to contact us at (412) 694-8785 if you have any questions about replacing or repairing your flat roof!