Tracking Down Roofing Issues

Should You Purchase A Home With A Flat Roof?

Flat roofs are typically seen on larger commercial buildings, but they are becoming more popular on residential homes, especially in hot climates where there's not an abundance of rainfall. If you're on the hunt for the perfect home and have come across one with a flat roof, it's important to do a little research before deciding whether to make the purchase. Here's what you need to know as a potential buyer of a home with a flat roof.

Ventilation Is Important

Installing the proper vents in a flat roof is a bit harder than installing them in a traditional, peaked roof. If the attic is not properly ventilated, it may become very warm when the temperature rises. This can drive your air conditioning bills sky-high, and it can also cause premature damage to the roof itself, as the heat is forced to escape through the roof material.

To check whether the attic is well ventilated, visit the home on a hot day. Go into the attic, and see how much hotter it is than the rest of the home. If it only feels marginally warmer, then it's likely well ventilated. If it's so stuffy and hot you can't bear to be in there, then the ventilation is probably lacking.

Drainage Is Essential

Flat roofs are meant to be carefully built up so that they drain slowly to one side or towards embedded drains. Venture onto the roof and look over the drainage system. Are there drains embedded in the roof, and if so, are they clear of debris? Is there a drain located along the side of the roof, and if so, does the roof seem to be slightly banked to that side? 

You should also look for signs that the roof has been draining poorly. Areas where the material is peeling, pitted, or discolored can indicate this. Of course, if it has rained recently, you may see some actual puddles when the roof is not draining properly. Improper drainage can lead to leaks and premature roof damage, so it's often best to walk away from a flat roof with poor drainage.

If a flat roof drains well and the attic beneath it is well insulated, then there's really no downfall to purchasing a home with this type of roof. Depending on the exact material used, the roof may still be under warranty, since most come with a 10 - 20 year warranty and last about 25 years.

For more information about flat roofing, talk to contractors from companies like Fischer Roofing - Flat Roof Pros.