5 Common Issues with Flat Roofs

A commercial flat roof is a common sight on buildings of all shapes and sizes.

While they offer many benefits, they also present unique challenges that building owners and property managers must address to ensure their long-term performance and protect the building owner's investment.

Flat roofs have several benefits when installed on commercial buildings.

Their design makes them ideal for placing equipment to keep commercial buildings running smoothly—bulky items such as telecommunications and HVAC components. Flat roofs are also more cost-effective and can be installed more efficiently.

That said, commercial flat roofs do have their share of issues.

In Hudson Valley, New York, we are presented with a unique set of circumstances that affect flat roofs, such as weather extremes.

In this article, we'll take a look at the top five issues that can affect commercial flat roofs in Saugerties and what you can do to address them.

5 Common Issues with Flat Roofs

Issue #1: Flat roofs are susceptible to leaks

Flat roofs are vulnerable to leaks, which property managers and building owners must keep an eye out for. This is mainly because, without a slope, water has nowhere to go but down and under the membrane.

Roof leaks can appear minor at first, but they can rapidly grow into much bigger problems, leading to property and structural damage, if left unchecked.

Solution: Ensure the roof is properly sealed and waterproofed at all seams and edges. Regularly check for any signs of leakage, and immediately call a commercial roofing contractor for repair. The best way to prevent leaks is by having a regular maintenance schedule in place for your commercial flat roof. This should include inspecting the roof for any damage, repairing tears or holes as soon as they're found, and keeping gutters and drains clear so water can flow off the roof properly.

Issue #2: Flat roofs are susceptible to damage from exposure

All flat roof concerns can be traced back to one thing: exposure

Some roof damage is unavoidable since a structure's roof is continually subjected to weather and environmental situations.

Even if the most durable roofing material is utilized, it will succumb to exposure to the elements and need repair or replacement over time.

When a structure is exposed to the elements, it is prone to various issues due to this exposure.

Sun and heat exposure, lightning strikes, cold temperatures, hail, and wind or debris damage are all potential causes of flat roof damage.

Solution: The best way to protect your commercial flat roof from exposure is by installing a proper roof insulation system. This will help keep the building cooler in summer and warmer in winter, preventing thermal shock that can damage the roofing membrane. You may also consider having a lightning protection system installed in your building. And finally, make sure you have a quality roof coating system in place to protect the roof from UV damage and weathering.

Issue #3: Flat roofs are prone to pooling or ponding water

One common issue with commercial flat roofs is ponding water.

This happens when rain, snow, or ice accumulates on the roof and does not drain properly, often creating a puddle or pond. The water can then leak into the building, causing damage to ceilings, walls, and insulation.

Most flat roofs are slightly sloped and directed toward a drainage system.

However, water, snow, or ice may build up over time, and standing ponds can develop. The weight of the accumulating water may cause the roof to sag, resulting in a leak.

Solution: To prevent this from happening, it is essential to have a well-designed drainage system in place for your commercial flat roof. This should include proper gutters and downspouts that direct the water away from the building. The roof should also be sloped slightly for efficient water runoff. A high-quality, waterproof roofing sealant like Prokol MonoSeal can also help to ensure that your roof has a solid defense against water leaking through and causing further damage.

Issue #4: Flat roofs may experience blistering, holes, and tears

Flat roofs may experience damage from blistering, holes, and tears. This is often the result of exposure to the elements, as mentioned above.

The most common locations for these issues are around protrusions. Areas like around vents or chimneys, at seams and edges, and in the regions that have been patched or repaired in the past are especially susceptible.

Blistering, as well as other surface problems like "alligatoring," can affect flat roofs. Alligatoring refers to a flat roof membrane that has deteriorated to the point that it appears scaly.

Blistering is the formation of bubbles or pouches on the roof surface. Both of these problems result from the roofing membrane being stretched too thin, and they can lead to tears, punctures, and leaks.

Solution: To prevent blistering, punctures, and tears, it is crucial to keep your commercial flat roof in good condition by having it regularly inspected and maintained. It is also important to properly seal and waterproof all seams and edges on your commercial flat roof. A high-quality roof coating system can help protect the roof from further damage. If you detect any of these conditions, fix them immediately to avoid additional damage. A professional roofer should seal any tears or perforations that may form due to the damage.

Issue #5: Flat roofs are susceptible to biological growth

Another common issue with commercial flat roofs is biological growth.

This can be caused by a variety of things, including improper drainage, standing water, and the presence of algae, moss, or lichens.

These organisms need moisture to grow, and they can often damage the roofing membrane or insulation.

Solution: The best way to prevent biological growth is to keep your commercial flat roof in good condition by having it regularly inspected and maintained. You can also use a biocide or fungicide to kill any moss, algae, or lichens that may be present on the roof. With a preventative maintenance schedule, a professional roofer should also clean the roof periodically to remove any built-up dirt, debris, or organic matter that can contribute to the growth of these organisms.

Commercial Flat Roof Services

MM Dynamic is a full-service commercial and industrial contractor providing expert installation, maintenance, and repair of commercial flat roofs.

We have been serving the Hudson Valley for many years, and we are dedicated to providing our clients with quality roofing services that meet their needs and budget.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, please don't hesitate to contact us today.


Commercial buildings normally have flat roofs, but because they are flat, they are prone to common problems. 5 common problems with flat roofs include:

  1. Flat roofs are susceptible to leaks
  2. Flat roofs are susceptible to damage from exposure
  3. Flat roofs are prone to pooling
  4. Flat roofs may experience blistering, holes, and tears
  5. Flat roofs are susceptible to biological growth

Experiencing any of these issues? Read our article on how to fix them!

MM Dynamic

11 Satten Ln
Saugerties, NY
(845) 466-0064

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