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How to Handle Pooling or “Ponding” on a Flat Roof

As a commercial property owner, you face a variety of challenges when it comes to maintaining your building. One of the areas that you need to focus on is your building’s roof. If you have a flat roof, you may have a problem with water pooling. Flat roofs are not supposed to have puddles that last for very long. In fact, this water should drain or evaporate within 48 hours of heavy rainfall. If this does not occur, then you may have issues that you need to address as soon as possible.

Don’t Ignore the Ponding

Some people mistakenly believe that water should pond on flat roofs. This is false. When you have standing water, it can cause extensive damage to your roof. If you notice serious pooling problems after a hard rain, then you need to address it as soon as possible.

When you have standing water, you may drastically reduce the longevity of your roof. The coatings and materials are likely to deteriorate faster, your roof may become home to more vegetation, moss, and algae, and you could wind up attracting mold and insects to the roof itself.

In addition, the water can lead to structural damage to your building, roof, and interior of your building. Your roof may start to sag and leak, leading you to spend more on roof repairs than you would have if you had resolved the pooling water issue when it arose.

Redirect the Water

You may not have enough drains on your roof. If that is the case, the water will pool on your roof, regardless of the current drainage system, until you add additional drains. This will help redirect the water so that you no longer have pooling. Likewise, you can widen your drains so that they can handle more water.

Unclog Current Drains

The easiest and least time-consuming way to clear your roof of pooling water is to maintain your drains. Clean the rain gutters, drains, and downspouts on your roof. You can remove all sticks, branches, and leaves to ensure that water can drain easily from the roof.

Repitch the Roof

If you have a chronic problem with ponding water on your roof, then the construction workers may not have pitched the roof properly the first time. This means that there is not enough of a slope to your roof. Without any slope, the water cannot drain. Determining the correct slope for a flat roof can be difficult. Professional roofers will know the correct angles at which a flat roof should slope in order to drain properly. Have a professional inspect your roof to determine if this is the root of your problem.

Repair Low Spots on Roof

Even a flat roof has subtle slopes so that the roof can drain. You may have some areas, however, that are lower than others. This is a good place for the water to pool, rather than drain. You can fill the low spaces in with roof plaster to create a shallower area. When you fill the low spots, the water has more of a chance of draining off of the roof.

Roof maintenance is crucial to the longevity of your building. When it comes to flat roofs, there are misconceptions about pooling, ponding and puddling. The truth is that you should not have standing water for a long period of time. If you do have standing water, then it’s time to find solutions. For more information on flat roof maintenance, contact Ja-Mar Roofing & Sheet Metal by calling 512-441-8437 or emailing us today!