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Solving Common Problems With Flat Roofs: Leaks, Pooling & Drainage
June 13, 2023
Royal Roofing

Flat roofs are becoming the number one choice for residential and commercial buildings due to its numerous advantages. However, they come with their fair share of challenges. Leaks, pooling, and drainage issues are some of the most common problems associated with flat roofs. Most of the issues with flat roof can be solved by easy repairs or DIYs but to be on the safe side it is better to get a professional to check it out for you. Endeavor to always choose an expert roofer to help with your flat roof repairs in order to help longevity. In this article, we will delve into these problems and explore effective solutions to ensure the longevity and functionality of flat roofs.

Understanding Flat Roof Leaks

  • Identifying the Causes;

Flat roof leaks can be caused by various factors, including:

  1. Poor Installation: Faulty installation techniques or the use of substandard materials can compromise the integrity of the roof, leading to leaks.
  2. Age and Wear: Over time, flat roofs can deteriorate due to constant exposure to the elements, causing cracks, punctures, and weakened seams.
  3. Ponding Water: The accumulation of water on the roof, known as ponding, can result from improper drainage, leading to leaks and water infiltration.
  • Solutions for Flat Roof Leaks

  1. Regular Inspections: Conduct routine inspections to detect early signs of damage or wear. Look for cracks, blisters, or any areas where water might accumulate.
  2. Proper Maintenance: Ensure regular cleaning of debris and leaves from the roof surface. Trim overhanging tree branches to prevent damage caused by falling branches or excessive shade that slows down water evaporation.
  3. Quality Roofing Materials: Invest in high-quality roofing materials and hire experienced professionals for installation to minimize the risk of leaks.
  4. Waterproof Membranes: Apply a waterproof membrane or coating on the flat roof surface to provide an additional layer of protection against water infiltration.

Battling Pooling on Flat Roofs

  • Understanding Pooling

Pooling refers to the accumulation of water on a flat roof due to inadequate drainage. It is a common issue that can lead to structural damage and compromised roof integrity.

  • Solutions for Pooling

  1. Improved Drainage System: Ensure that the flat roof has an efficient and properly designed drainage system. Install gutters, downspouts, and scuppers to redirect water away from the roof surface.
  2. Sloping the Roof: Add a slight slope to the roof to facilitate water runoff. This can be achieved by using tapered insulation or by adjusting the structure during construction or renovation.
  3. Installing Roof Drains: Roof drains are essential in directing water away from the roof. Consider installing them strategically in low-lying areas prone to pooling.
  4. Regular Maintenance: Clear debris and blockages from gutters, downspouts, and scuppers to ensure proper water flow. Regularly inspect and clean these components to prevent clogs.

 Ensuring Effective Roof Drainage

  • Common Drainage Issues

Flat roofs are susceptible to various drainage issues, including:

  1. Clogged Drains: Debris, leaves, and other materials can accumulate in the drains, causing blockages and hindering proper water flow.
  2. Inadequate Number of Drains: Insufficient drainage points can result in water pooling in certain areas, leading to leaks and structural damage.
  • Solutions for Effective Drainage

  1. Drain Maintenance: Regularly clean and maintain drains to prevent blockages. Use drain strainers to prevent debris from entering the drains.
  2. Installing Additional Drains: Assess the roof’s size and slope to determine if additional drains are necessary. Properly spaced drains will ensure efficient water flow and prevent pooling.
  3. Internal Roof Drains: Consider installing internal roof drains as they offer better protection against weather damage and provide a cleaner aesthetic appearance.
  4. Professional Consultation: Consult a roofing professional to evaluate your flat roof’s drainage system and recommend appropriate modifications or upgrades. They have the expertise to identify potential drainage issues and provide customized solutions.

Preventative Measures for Flat Roofs

Prevention is key when it comes to maintaining a flat roof. Implement the following measures to minimize the occurrence of leaks, pooling, and drainage problems

  • Scheduled Inspections: Conduct regular inspections to identify any signs of damage, wear, or drainage issues. Early detection can help address problems before they escalate.
  • Prompt Repairs: Address any identified issues promptly. Repair leaks, seal cracks, and fix drainage problems as soon as they are discovered to prevent further damage.
  • Roof Cleaning: Remove debris, leaves, and other obstructions from the roof surface to promote proper water flow and prevent pooling.
  • Hire Certified Roofing Contractors: Engage qualified professionals who specialize in flat roof installations, repairs, and maintenance. They possess the necessary knowledge and experience to diagnose problems accurately and provide effective solutions.
  • Regular Roofing Contractor Consultation: Schedule regular consultations with roofing contractors to assess the condition of your flat roof and receive expert advice on maintenance and potential upgrades.
  • Consult an Architect or Engineer: Seek professional guidance during the design and construction phases of a flat roof to ensure optimal functionality and drainage. They can determine the appropriate slope, materials, and drainage system required for your specific needs.
  • Quality Materials and Installation: Utilize high-quality roofing materials that are suitable for flat roofs. Additionally, ensure that installation is carried out by experienced professionals who adhere to industry best practices.


Addressing common problems associated with flat roofs, such as leaks, pooling, and drainage issues, requires proactive measures and attention to detail. Regular inspections, proper maintenance, and prompt repairs are essential for identifying and rectifying problems before they escalate. Investing in a well-designed drainage system, using quality materials, and seeking professional expertise can significantly extend the lifespan and functionality of flat roofs. By implementing these solutions, property owners can enjoy a leak-free, properly drained flat roof that withstands the test of time and protects their investments.

Reach out to a roofing professional at 118-35 Queens Blvd Forest Hills, NY 11375 (718) 414-6067  https://www.nycrenovators.com to inspect your roof and address any issues.

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