In the UK, we like to incorporate flat roofs into properties, and the single storey extension is a hugely popular home improvement. Since the mid-1940s, architects have experimented with flat designs, although they didn’t become commonplace until the 1960s when we started using them in garages and extensions.
Many of the roofs fitted fifty years ago were susceptible to catastrophic problems; leaks, decay, collapse and condensation were rife. Thankfully, modern flat roofs are extremely reliable, but you may still notice problems with your own.
Flat roofs are usually made from felt, a material that resists moisture extremely well providing it’s intact. If installed properly, a flat roof could theoretically last for 50 years. But we rarely see old roofs perform well for this long, and leaks are incredibly common. In most properties, flat roofs over 10 years old should be surveyed.
Problems start when a roof picks up a hole or tear, and moisture starts to seep slowly into the layers. To let in moisture, there only need be a miniscule hole in one place; once this appears, the rot literally sets in.
Condensation is the number one flat roof killer in the UK, and it’s made more likely by our climate and lifestyle; homes are warm, and the weather is usually cool and wet. If your roof lacks adequate ventilation, you will start to get condensation that will cause the timber to rot away.
We also see lots of damage from sagging, where liquid or ice collects in one area. It only takes a tiny hole – a millimetre or less in diameter – to cause complete disaster in this scenario.
When it’s time to re-do your roof, we will install a completely new structure that meets today’s building regulations. It will be insulated more effectively, so your energy efficiency rating is higher, and we can make the roof stronger. We can also re-felt the roof if a leak has occurred, and use lead or fibreglass in its construction.
Today’s flat roofs are constructed with an open space between the ceiling and the timber framework (decking), which ensures moisture cannot take hold in the roof. Watertight membranes made from fake rubber reinforce the roof’s ability to repel water, and we use marine plywood – a special type of decking material that’s waterproof, unlike chipboard.
In addition, our flat roofs are rarely flat. We now install them with a shallow gradient so that water drains away and does not pool on the surface. This makes it less likely that water (or ice, or snow) can weigh down on the roof and cause it to sag.
Call in the Professionals
To comply with building regulations, and make sure your roof is guaranteed to last, consult South Thames Roofing in Surrey. Our expertise and knowledge ensures that your roof will be replaced to the highest standards, free of damage and decay, and resistant to moisture and punctures.
Whether you need a complete roof replacement, or a survey of an existing roof, call us today to discuss your flat roof requirements.