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The 7 Most Common Flat Roof Problems

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 22, 2021 4:43:34 PM / by Krystal Coddington

Krystal Coddington


A flat roof is one of the most popular roofing options for commercial buildings. Even though there are plenty of pros to having a flat roof, there are also some unique problems that often come along with this type of roofing system. For this reason, it’s so important that business owners, property managers and others alike are able to recognize potential complications that can arise. Identifying these problems early will often save you thousands of dollars in repair costs (not to mention a number of other headaches that come along with roof damage).

Need some help with staying on top of your roof maintenance?
Contact The Original Roofing Company for assistance today!

What Threats Does Your Roof Face?

The lifetime of a flat roof in Las Vegas will vary depending on a number of factors unique to Las Vegas. As you can probably guess, the city’s desert climate presents many threats to your roof. Take a look at some of the others that your flat roof might face: 

  • Quality of original workmanship and building materials
  • Drainage issues that go unfixed
  • Extreme heat (can cause cracks over time)
  • Day and night temperature changes (expansion and contraction causes cracks)
  • Excessive dryness

    7 Common Flat Roof Problems to Watch For

Now that we have covered some of the general threats that your roof might face, let’s dive further into the most common problems that often occur with a flat roof. Keep in mind, by having a better understanding of these common issues, you will be more equipped to proactively manage the flat roof of your commercial building. Some of these issues are preventable, while others are out of your control and will require careful monitoring over time. 

Pooling or Standing Water

Pooling or standing water is the water that accumulates on your roof that doesn’t drain within 72 hours. In most cases, this issue occurs because your roof is too flat. There needs to be some level of slope so that the water can make its way to a drainage spout. If you run into this problem, there is a good chance that your building will end up with serious structural damage to your building if the issue is not fixed fairly quickly.

Blistering or Alligatoring

Blistering (sometimes called alligatoring) is a common issue for Las Vegas flat roofs. This is when the roof’s membrane pulls away from the layer that is below it (like a blister). Extreme heat during the day will make moisture in the membrane expand. Damage in this case is most often related to cracks that are formed from the membrane movement.

Blistering or Alligatoring

Thermal movement occurs when your roof expands and contracts with the daily heating and cooling cycle. This is a major problem in Las Vegas, where extreme temperature differences can occur within a single day and across the year. As you can imagine, this kind of regular movement of the roof eventually causes cracks that will allow water to leak into your building.

Roof Buckling

The membrane on a flat roof is one single piece, which means it can warp over time as your building settles into place. Once your roof’s buckling becomes visible to the naked eye, it has reached the end of its life. If the roof is buckling to an extreme measure, it could fall through the building, potentially causing serious harm to those inside.

Separated or Exposed Layers

When a membrane layer of your flat roof becomes separated from the layer below it, your building becomes exposed to leaks. This problem typically occurs due to standing water and is similar to blistering; however, separated or exposed layers may not always be as visibly obvious. For this reason, it’s a good idea to bring out professional roofers for regular roof maintenance check-ups to help you spot exposed layers before they turn into a larger problem.

Low-Quality Flashing

Flashing is designed to direct water away from critical areas of the roof. If your commercial roof installation was improperly equipped with low-quality flashing, there’s a good chance that water is collecting in all the wrong spots. As you might imagine, the damage from this issue can be wide ranging depending on how poorly your flashing was installed.

Cracks in the Roof

Cracks can occur on a flat roof for a variety of reasons that we mentioned above. Whether it's from pooling water, blistering, thermal movement, or roof buckling, cracks are by far one of the most common problems that you will run into with a flat roof. Again, without regular roof maintenance, water will find its way through these cracks, causing damage over time to the inside of your building.

Got Flat Roof Problems? Give Us a Call!

As you can see, if you neglect to maintain or repair your roof, there are a number of serious complications that can occur — with many of them leading to extensive (and expensive) damage to your building. You can avoid these common flat roof problems by scheduling roofers in Las Vegas to perform regular maintenance check-ups on your roof. A proactive approach to commercial roofing maintenance will give you peace of mind and save you some serious headaches. 

Krystal Coddington

Written by Krystal Coddington