Houses and commercial buildings with flat or low slope roofs typically have some type of rubber membrane roofing as opposed to more traditional types. These roof types are intended to be able to take on sitting water, unlike others, separating them from the rest and making them the best option for flat roofs.
Rubber membrane roofs are typically installed in large rolls and attach to each other at the seams using some type of adhesive. The seams of these roofs are crucial to keeping the building protected and safe. Every now and then a seam may lift or take on some other form of damage. Today we will be talking about what leads to seams coming apart, as well as what some of the repair options are for them.
At Liberty Roofworks we believe that all home and business owners should have accessibility to reliable and informative roofing information. Being educated on the roofing process allows you to make the best-informed choices for your home or business. It also helps you avoid any scammers and know what red flags to look for in advance. That is why we created our Learning Hub, our blog where we post new roofing-related content every single week on a variety of different topics. Check it out!
Why can cause roof seam damage?
Rubber-like membrane roofs in general such as TPO roofs tend to last a long time and usually take on minimal damage. However, when damage does happen it usually is at the seams of the roof. One of the ways that seam damage can occur is if the roof is installed incorrectly. This can range from a human error to just a botched roof job. If the seams are not installed correctly, they will lift and separate over time and can cause damage to other areas of the building. That is why it is always so important to hire a reputable roofing contractor to install your roof. It may seem tempting to DIY some roofing projects, but any error can lead to damage which will cost you more money down the line.
If there is any flaw in the seams, that means that water can get under them and cause damage. During the winter months if that water freezes it will expand and ruin the seams even more and leave your roof even more prone to damage. Even the slightest error or gap in any roof seam should be addressed right away. The problem will only get worse over time,
The age of a roof also plays a part in the condition of its seams. Older roofs or roofs on their last leg will start to have issues with their seams. At that point, the only option is to replace them since the issue will just keep occurring. In other words, don’t throw money at repairs for an extremely old roof.
How are damaged seams repaired?
When seams are damaged, there are a few ways that they are commonly prepared. The longer seams are left open at any point, the more water can find its way in. When that happens, the insulation of your roof gets exposed to water and takes it on. If a limited amount is exposed, one common method to fix it is to install a layer of silicone roofing. Silicone roofing can be best compared to a band-aid, it hides the issue and prevents it from getting worse.
Sometimes the roof may be too far gone. This happens when the insulation is exposed to water for too long. In these cases, the best and oftentimes only option is to replace the entire roof. If the roof is already old and on its last leg, this may not seem like a big deal. However, if your roof is still newer then you did not get your full money’s worth and are stuck making another investment. That is why it is important to have routine roof inspections and address any issues as soon as possible.
The only way to know what repair approach is needed for your roof is by having a reputable roofer come out and perform an inspection. They can then perform tests on your insulation and thoroughly check your roof to determine the best way to approach the issue. Never try to fix a damaged seam yourself because though it may seem fixed to you, it could very likely still cause issues and worsen the situation.
Wrapping it up
Rubber membrane roofing systems are amazing for buildings with flat or low-slope roofs. If you are considering having this type of roof installed or replaced it’s important to be sure that the company you hire has experience installing this roof type. Any failure in the installation process, especially at the seams, will lead to serious damage.
Remember, if at any point you notice your roof seams separating or lifting, address it right away. Failure to do so will result in damage and can even lead to needing a whole new roof installed and insulation replaced. We hope that you now have a better idea of how the seams of these roofs can be damaged, and what some of your options are once they are.
We are here to help!
At Liberty Roofworks we understand how important a roof is to a home and business. That is why we take only the best care of each one we work on. With us, customer satisfaction is a guarantee. That is why we are sure to keep our customers up to date on the roofing process as it happens, informing them along the way. With over 20 years of professional roofing experience under our belts, this family-owned and operated business is equipped to handle any roofing job, big or small. We work on residential roofs, and commercial roofs, and even offer solar panel installation as a service.
All of our roofers are professionally trained, licensed, and insured, ensuring that only the best are working on your home. We are no strangers to rubber membrane roofs and know the importance of installing them correctly, especially at the seams. Are you in need of any roof work or are considering a rubber-membrane roof? Please contact us and we will be more than happy to send over one of our professional contractors to conduct a roof inspection. They will then go over their findings with you as well as go over what your options are and answer any questions you may have. With us, roofing is easy!
Frequently Asked Questions about Repairing Seams on Flat Roofs
We just talked a lot about membrane roofing and it may seem a bit overwhelming. It is perfectly normal to have some questions right about now. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions we get about seam damage and rubber-membrane roofs along with our responses. If your question is still not answered please contact us and we will personally answer it for you.
Q: How are the seams of a rubber-membrane roof such as TPO roofing connected?
A: The seams are formed using some type of adhesive. This can range from using heat all the way to various glue-like adhesives. To find out exactly how your seams will be sealed, contact your roofer directly ahead of time.
Q: Why do flat roofs need roof types such as TPO?
A: It really all comes down to the weather. Buildings with a normal or high slope allow rainwater to run down them completely during storms of any size. However, flat or low-slope roofs do not have that ability. Instead, the rain would sit on the roof until it dried up in most cases. Traditional roofing materials such as shingles are not designed for this and would be ruined. Rubber-membrane roofs such as TPO roofs are designed to take on water without it causing any damage to the roofing material.
Q: How long do TPO roofs last?
A: When installed correctly, TPO roofing can last anywhere from 20 to over 30 years. As long as they are maintained and have routine inspections, TPO roofing can last a long time and is definitely worth the investment.
Q: Why should flat roofs be sealed?
A: It is recommended that a flat roof is sealed every 5 years for the best results. Over time the sealant may wear down and lose its effectiveness, so having it resealed every few years can keep it fresh and current. This tends to be part of the routine maintenance that is needed for these roof types.
Q: I don’t like how rubber-membrane roofs look, can I get asphalt shingles installed on my flat roof?
A: While yes you technically can, it is not recommended at all. Asphalt shingles are not designed to take on any sitting water for periods of time and will not last very long. Installing asphalt shingles on a flat roof will result in many replacements and a lot of money spent. Membrane roofs will keep your roof and home safe from the elements.