How to Handle Pooling or “Ponding” on a Flat Roof
Posted on Tuesday, November 1st, 2022 at 11:10 am
Flat roofs can have many benefits. But sometimes water pools or “ponds” on your flat roof. Pooling occurs when water does not drain off your low-slope roof after it stops raining.
Pooling water can cause long-term damage to your roof and is a cause for concern. If you allow water to continue pooling, it will begin to wear on the roof’s coating. The water can break down your roof’s protective layer and seep through, damaging the roof structure.
How to Correct Roof Pooling or “Ponding”
If you have a low-sloped roof that ponds with water, the following are some reasons why it may occur and what you can do to fix them:
- Flush the drains: Drains on flat roofs can become clogged with debris, such as sticks, leaves, and dirt. If the drains aren’t working correctly, water will pool around them. One of the first things to check is whether the drains are clogged. Clean them out if they are. Also, a roofing professional can thoroughly clean and flush the drains. It is wise to have a professional perform periodic preventative drain cleaning on your flat roof.
- Install roof crickets: You may notice that water only ponds in specific areas, such as around chimneys or vents. The position or design of these obstructions may cause water to collect near them. The best way to battle water pooling in these areas is to install roof crickets. A roof cricket is a sloped, triangle structure that rests against the roof obstruction and diverts water away.
- Fix sunken spots: A flat roof’s surface should have a consistent depth, smoothness, and slope. Even a flat roof should have subtle gradients – either off to a side or directed to internal drains. Over time, or if someone improperly installs a roof, these slopes can become inconsistent, causing water to pool. Repeated walking on the roof area, storing things on it, or having heavy equipment up there can also cause indentations that cause pooling.
A roofing professional can fill and repair these sunken spots or indentations, so they become flush with the rest of the roof again.
- Add more drains: Especially in places that get a lot of rain or snow, a flat roof may need more drains to properly clear water from the roof. A professional roofer can determine your needed drainage, install extra drains, or even enlarge the existing drains. Adding more drains is more costly than other simple fixes, but it is a much cheaper alternative than replacing the roof or fixing structural damage ponding can cause.
- Replace the membrane: A flat roof membrane is a protective layer that locks moisture out of the structural areas of the building. Pooling water can break it down, causing thin spots or holes.
If your roof membrane is damaged, you should consider replacing it. There are many more types of flat roof membranes than there used to be. Newer choices are more effective and longer lasting, with some built to last 30 years. Hiring a roofing professional to replace your roof membrane could be a valuable investment.
- Re-pitch the rooftop: Your flat roof may be pooling because the pitch was not adequately designed or installed. Even a flat roof will have some small degree of slope. Over time, shifting of the building may also cause an originally well-pitched roof to lose its pitch. Without the proper slope, water will certainly pool and not drain as it should.
Re-pitching a roof is costly, and a roofing professional will consider other ameliorative measures first. Nonetheless, if your roof needs to be re-pitched, it may be a necessary investment. Even more costly structural repairs may become necessary if you don’t perform the re-pitch.
Call Us Today to Help You Solve Your Roof Issues.
Your flat roof can last many years with proper inspection and maintenance. You should act quickly if you notice water pooling or “ponding” on your flat roof. If the pooling continues, it can cause serious structural damage, which can be much more expensive to repair.
The roof repair and installation professionals at Kidd Roofing have provided quality roofing services to homeowners and commercial property owners since 1982. We put our customers first and would love an opportunity to inspect your flat roof and suggest solutions that can save you money and lengthen your roof’s life span.