McCoy Roofing Contractors

The Common Causes of Flat Roof Leaks in Heavy Rain

What are the common causes of flat roof leaks in heavy rain and what should you do if one happens to you? Find out here.

Picture of a McCoy Roofing  project manager analyzing a possible cause of roof leak in a house.

Have you noticed recently that the flat roof on your home or commercial property has a few leaks? Are those leaks worsening whenever there is a storm coming through? If so, then you need to know  what is causing these leaks.

This will help you understand whether or not your roof needs to be repaired or replaced. With all the storms we have in the Midwest, it’s good to recognize the signs of leaks early on.

Read on for our in-depth guide.

Common Causes of Flat Roof Leaks

1. Plumbing Problems

Even though it’s one of the most important aspects of a property, building owners tend to know very little about their plumbing systems. Even so, a building owner usually knows when there’s an issue with their plumbing.

Have you ever wondered what prevents water from coming in via your plumbing system? Plumbers use what’s called vent pipe flashing, which is used to help prevent roof leaks.

“But wait,” you might be thinking, “If the flashing is supposed to prevent roof leaks, why does my commercial property have water damage every time heavy rain comes through?”

There could be a few reasons. First, the flashing may have been installed incorrectly.  It could enduring too much wear and tear on the flashing. The leak might also be coming from a ventilation fan duct. In any of these cases, it needs to be replaced.

Even if you believe this to be the primary cause of your roof leak, be sure to reach out to a commercial roofing company to set up an appointment. They’ll come to walk the entirety of your flat roof to see what the issue really is. You may be surprised that the plumbing isn’t to blame after all. It could actually be something else on this list.

2. Natural Damage

Try to think back to when you first noticed your roof was leaking? Was it during a storm or following a storm that had with high winds?

We know how it goes. You walk past faint brown spots in your ceiling or walls and wonder to yourself “has that always been there?” Spoiler alert: they have not. These ever-so-faint brown spots are a sign of water damage.

When did these begin? Why are they there? There could be many reasons. The most likely is that you’ve roof has had some natural damage.

This happens from time to time during heavy storms, especially ones with high winds. Heavy branches (or a tree itself) may have fallen on your roof and caused damage. If not fixed right away, that damage can quickly lead to water finding its way indoors during heavy rain.

How do you fix this? Start with an inspection. Hire a commercial flat roof company to come out and assess the condition of your property. These professionals have been trained to spot signs of natural damage, no matter how small.

3. Corrosion

Flat metal roofs have become very popular with both commercial properties and multi-family properties over the last decade, and for good reason!

Metal roofs have an extremely long lifespan. Studies have shown that metal roofs can last anywhere from 40 to 70 years with proper roof maintenance. Did you catch that last part? With proper roof maintenance.

Most property owners have flat metal roofs installed, then push them to the bottom of their priority list. Without frequent checkups, your metal roof may develop some corrosion, which is can cause your flat roof to leak whenever there is heavy rain.

The corrosion might be occurring around fasteners or in the middle of your roof if flying debris causes significant damage.

This entire situation can be avoided by scheduling a checkup with your roofing company twice a year: once in the Spring and once in the Fall.

4. Skylights

Skylights in flat roofs are a growing craze in the industry. They offer a tremendous opportunity to fill the property with natural lighting, which offers many great benefits.

These skylights don’t come without their faults, however. If not installed properly, your skylight could be allowing water to seep in during heavy rainstorms, causing tremendous water damage to your property.

5. Old Shingles

If you have a flat roof made of asphalt shingles, then the most likely reason for leaks is the shingles have worn out or torn off.

Shingle roofs can last a very long time and are quite cost-effective. However, just like metal roofs, they can suffer significant damage without frequent roofing checkups.

With frequent checkups, your roofing service can alert you to the poor quality of your shingles. If this happens, you should make plans to replace them. This will save you thousands of dollars in water damage and prevent damage to your equipment and belongings.

Avoid These Common Causes of Flat Roof Leaks in Heavy Rain

Be sure to revisit this article for more information on how long roofs typically last and the signs that yours might need to be repaired or replaced. Questions? Give McCoy Roofing in Omaha a call at 402-616-7304. We are happy to help.