The World at Your Fingertips

Articles & Blogs

5 Low-Pitch Roof Problems and How to Solve Them

As it pertains to low-pitch roof problems, a little prevention goes a long way in terms of stopping some potentially huge long-term roofing issues. The vast majority of the most serious low-pitch roof problems aren’t caused by anything extremely complicated, but rather by more simple issues, such as poor maintenance and improper installation.

A new roof will obviously encounter far fewer low-pitch roof problems than an older roof. But regular repairs and inspections by professionals, like those at Interstate Roofing, can be an incredible help in keeping your roof in excellent shape for a significantly long period of time.

So, what are some of the most common low-pitch roof problems that you may encounter?

  1. Leaks

There are many low-pitch roof problems you may experience, but leaks are unquestionably among the most unpleasant. Anytime water enters a building, it can cause immense damage to not only the building itself but also to what’s inside. Both have the potential to force very expensive repairs upon the owner.

Leaks may occur as a result of poor installation, adhesion failure at the seams, or bad flashing. You may even see a leak that occurs along the flashing details if the roof is built up. If the roof is hit with thermal shock or any kind of physical damage, it can greatly increase the odds of a leak.

If you own a building with a single-ply roof, you must have good seam adhesion and proper lapping if you wish to avoid leaks. Regular maintenance and repairs will help decrease the chances of leaks occurring. If you’re forced to deal with a leak, you should call an experienced contractor who can address the leak in the short-term while developing a course of action to prevent more leaks in the long-term.

  1. Wind Damage

Open seams, adhesion failure, and poor flashing can all increase the potential for roof damage caused by strong winds. A forceful wind can cause billowing, tenting, or even roof blow-off if it catches loose flashing or an open seam.

Even if the seams are fully intact, a strong wind may still be able to greatly damage a single-ply roofing system. If the membrane loosens from the substrate, the odds of a tear or puncture go up dramatically. This may be caused by a maintenance or installation issue, but it could also be due to cold adhesives that don’t cure properly being exposed to strong winds or a rainstorm. This type of damage can be incurred by single-ply roofing systems but also built-up roofs.

In order to fix it, you need an experienced contractor. They will put together a specific system to guard against the wind uplift in the area of the building and advise you regarding a preventative maintenance program that can help you avoid future problems.

  1. Improper Repairs

Be careful. It’s possible that in attempting to fix low-pitch roof problems or avoid them in the future, you may expose yourself to roof damage. How is that possible? Simple: if the work is done poorly, it could make matters worse for your roof. For example, if sub-par or the wrong products are used to patch or seal your roof, that can far too often do more harm than good.

In addition, if applied incorrectly, construction adhesives can reduce the life of a roofing system and hurt its membrane. This generally happens when said adhesives are used with roofing systems that aren’t compatible with them.

A bad contractor might cut corners and make cheap repairs, which is precisely why you must be very careful about who you hire to take care of your roof. This can all be avoided if you choose a contractor with manufacturer approval and experience. They’ll know to use the right membrane materials to make repairs. If you hire a contractor who fits that criteria, you can put your mind at ease because you can be confident that you have a contractor handling the issue who has dealt with this problem many times before and knows how to fix it successfully.

  1. Punctures

The large majority of punctures take place in high-traffic areas, but the risk of one happening can be reduced significantly by the installation of sacrificial membrane layers along specified walkways and paths. If a new roof has been installed, foot traffic on the roof should be limited to avoid accidental punctures. The roof must also be carefully inspected following any type of major storm so that problem areas may be identified and the roofing system can be repaired.

When you hire a contractor, make sure they put together a high-quality preventative maintenance program for you so that punctures can always be quickly identified and addressed. You should also require any contractor you hire to maintain a log with a clear record of all actions they perform so you can hold them accountable in case they either fail to properly fix a puncture or actually cause a puncture themselves.

  1. Blisters and Ridges

Because of the way they are constructed, built-up roofs are the most likely kind of roofing system to develop blisters and ridges, particularly when the system is installed by an inexperienced contractor. You may not have to give a small blister your immediate attention, but if you encounter a large blister or ridge underneath lap areas, you must get it taken care of immediately.

Blistering may occur in situations where the substrate got wet while it was being installed, where membranes were improperly torched, or where a cold-applied bitumen system was poorly applied. Blisters won’t generally leak unless they break, but if you ignore them, the blister could eventually get to the point where it’s on the verge of breaking, so it’s important to have an experienced roofing professional inspect the roof and come up with a robust prevention plan.