Is it better to DIY, or hire a professional? Thousands of Americans ask themselves this question daily. We hope to answer this common age old question in the article below. Of course, the answer partially lies in your level of expertise, but for the average handyman, this article will be a great help.
A flat roof, as opposed to a sloped roof, is a category of rooftops in which the level of the roof is almost horizontal. The roofs are constructed in a way to keep the angle as level as possible. There is a large number of homes and commercial buildings that opt for flat roofing structures as they help in providing a subtler and more elegant look. This type of roofing allows the roof space to be used as per the need of the residents. In most cases, the flat roof is used as a living space or a living room.
As to the question, whether you should do your flat roof yourself or hire professionals, we can analyze the issue by enlisting the potential problems that can arise as a result of the faulty installation of a flat roof.
The major problems associated with flat roofing:
Leaks and moisture – This is probably the most common problem with flat roofs. Leaks and lingering moisture issues are a result of improper installation and construction of the flat roofs. Just like any other roof, over the course of time, a flat roof will develop leaks, but because its surface is flat, the water is not drained as it does not have anywhere. As a result, the water goes straight down. This results in moisture seeping into the roof itself and causing problems that may, in turn, lead to mold and fungus and paint and structural damage. To ensure this from not happening, manufacturers make it a point of making the flat roof not completely flat and having a secondary roof pitch. The pitch is the slope of a tent, and flat roofs have a pitch of up to approximately 10°. The slight slope exists to provide a gradient for drainage to the water, but if not maintained well, it can also result in problems.
Buckle in the membrane:
Similar to its alternative shingled roofs, flat roofs are constructed essentially made up of a membrane soaked in asphalt, after which they are laid across the top of the building to make the roof. However, unlike shingled roofs, the membrane on a flat roof is all one piece. Excessive movement and lack of expertise can cause damage in that asphalt membrane, which can result in the reduction of your extended roof life. Over the course of time, this can result in a buckled roof which is not safe to live under. If you search online for “buckled flat roofing on Brooklyn Brown-stoner” you will see a lot of pictures of this disastrous product of faulty labor. Although historically NY has been the mecca of flat exteriors over the last few decades, Boston has been catching up with the trend at a rapid pace.
As discussed previously, if the flat roof is not given a certain amount of pitch, it will result in a lack of water drainage and may cause water to pool in divots and dips in your roof. If pooling water is allowed to linger, it will eventually deteriorate the exterior of your roof and damage its structural integrity, shortening the lifetime of the flat roof. This is why a proper pitch (slope gradient) needs to give to the roof, one significant enough to prevent water pooling and not so significant enough to ruin the aesthetic nature of the flat roof.
Another problem associated with the lack of expertise in installing a flat roof is a collection of debris. This problem, again, stems from the absence or lack of a slope that allows leaves, branches, and other debris to collect more easily on a flat roof and block drainage. Furthermore, a big uncleared pile of leaves can hold moisture that can freeze, unfreeze, and then refreeze throughout the winter. This cycle can be damaging for the roof underneath.
Considering all of the above problems that can arise due to an absence of expertise and skill in installing the roof, it is best suited that one should always hire professionals for installing a flat roof. This will decrease the potential risk of installation errors and faults.
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