Learn how to maintain your flat roof effectively with our comprehensive guide. We address common issues like leaks and water damage, offering practical tips for prevention. Regular inspections and proper drainage are key to safeguarding your roof. Consider PVC roofing for enhanced durability. Schedule professional inspections every six months for added reassurance. Trust Prestige Roofing in Las Vegas for all your flat roofing needs.

Here are some Topics we cover:

flat roof in sunny weather with skylights and hydro insulation membranes.

Flat roof with skylight and hydro insulation membranes

Flat roofs are found on commercial roofs as well as on some residential homes and apartment buildings. They are popular for their ability to provide easy roof access to employees and service providers for such things as HVAC, communications equipment, and solar panels. They are also popular for their relative affordability. Like all roofs, flat roofs can develop issues over time. Due to their constant exposure to the elements, flat roofs have less ability than sloped roofs to shed water and debris. This extra exposure can lead to issues with the roofing material, including those within flat roofing systems, that should be addressed. Here are some of the problems that can occur over time with a flat roof.

Watch for these Flat Roof Issues

flat roof being restored by working plasterer.

A working plasterer on the roof.
Reconstruction of the building

Protecting Your Flat Roof from the Elements

Unlike a sloped roof that may not receive direct sunlight for parts or all of the day, a flat roof can’t avoid the elements. Hot sun, rain, hail, ice, and snow all beat down on a flat roof, making it vulnerable to wear and tear, and even water damage over time. Flat roofs are less able to shed precipitation, putting more strain on the roof system. While the materials on your flat roof are made to stand up to the elements, over time, especially if the roof does not receive regular maintenance, the roof will develop problems. Many problems can be fixed if caught early by your professional roofer. UV damage, for example, can be avoided by using UV-resistant flat roofing materials, such as PVC roofing, or treated by adding a reflective coating that acts as a barrier against the hot rays of the sun. This also helps to reduce the amount of heat entering the building.

Dealing with Leaks on Flat Roofs

Roof leaks are a common problem with flat roofs because drainage is more difficult on the flat surface. Water seeps into the roofing material, breaking it down and allowing water intrusion into the structure below. Your roofer will determine if the leak is locally repairable and, if so, patch it to stop further damage. He may also install better drainage systems where possible to guide water off your roof.

Pooling Water: Understanding and Managing the Risks

Pooling water, like leaks, is a product of the nature of the flat roof and the lack of easy drainage. Pooling water may cause water damage to the roof and the structure below and create issues, such as mold in the building’s attic, ceilings, and walls. It’s a good idea to regularly inspect your roof after a storm to remove pooling water. If the problem is persistent, your roofer may be able to offer solutions for improved drainage systems or other ways to manage the issue.

Preventing Algae and Other Growths on Flat Roofs

algae and water damage to flat roof on commercial building

damage caused by damp and moisture on a wall and flat roof

Standing water, rotting debris, and moisture that are not removed from roofing materials or the underlying membrane may develop growth of algae, mold, and even plants. This can be minimized with regular cleaning of the roof to reduce the possibility of biological growth taking hold. Regular roof inspections and maintenance by your roofer will help identify and correct problem spots before algae can grow and damage the roof.

Structural Movement: Maintaining Stability in Flat Roofing

Your flat roof naturally expands and contracts with changes in temperature that occur both outside and inside the building, with the heating and cooling of the interior. Over time, this movement can cause the roof membrane to buckle, crack, or split at the seams and around flashing. This opens up the roof to leaks and other issues. This natural process is addressed with proper maintenance to minimize damage, and replacing a worn-out roof when damage cannot be fixed due to age.

Dealing with Cracks and Blistering in Flat Roofs

Cracks in a flat roof can develop from structural movement and from pressure on the roof. This may be from people walking on the roof, the weight of heavy equipment that sits on it, accumulated debris, snow, and ice, or other causes. Cracks lead to leaks into the membrane below and should be sealed by your roofer. If cracking is extensive, a roof replacement may be needed.

Blistering

Blistering can occur when air or moisture get trapped under the membrane that lies across the roof under the roofing material. Blisters can be repaired by your roofer during maintenance to prevent them from bursting or expanding with temperature changes.

Ensuring Proper Flashing Installation and Maintenance

Structural movement, also known as thermal movement, will cause the lining of the roof to shift over time. This may expose the edges of metal flashing such as vents or even cause them to pull away from the roof, leaving gaps for leaks to occur. Regular inspections will catch these situations early. However, once a roof is too old, the damage to the underlying roof materials will be too severe to be able to correct the issues with flashing and a new roof is in order.

Managing Contaminants and Debris on Flat Roofs

Some commercial buildings, such as restaurants, may emit contaminants like cooking oils that settle on the roof and cause damage over time. Similarly, debris, such as tree limbs, leaves, dirt, and other materials, can cause physical damage from impact or through decay over time. The debris may harbor moisture that leads to damage to the membrane, creating leaks, mold, and other problems. Damage can be mitigated with regular cleaning of the flat roof surface.

Prevention and Repair: Strategies for Long-Term Flat Roof Maintenance

flat commercial roof seen during maintenance.

SAMSUNG

Whether you have a maintenance staff or rely on your professional roofer to maintain your roof, it is important to keep in mind some Tips for Flat Roof Maintenance. Carry out regular roof inspections and a maintenance schedule. The greatest benefit of flat roofing is that it is easily accessible and safe, making it simple for you to carry out regular cleanup to remove water and debris that accumulate, and to do a visual inspection for any of the above problems.

If you find any problems, call your roofer to carry out repairs. Prompt action to patch or seal the roofing material where there are problems, such as leaks, blistering, or punctures, will extend the life of your flat roof. This will also save you money from more extensive repairs down the road should the problem expand and cause damage to the building structure itself.

Whether or not your roof appears damaged, it’s recommended that you have a professional roof inspection every six months. Your roofer is trained to spot early and emerging issues and will care for your roof so that you can have peace of mind that you are getting the most from your investment in your flat roof.

Flat Roofing Installation and Maintenance in Las Vegas

commercial roof installation, worker on ladder

Prestige Roofing in Las Vegas has been installing, repairing, and maintaining flat roofs for business, government, and residential customers for over 25 years. We specialize in high quality, durable flat roofing using PVC, TPO, or KEE single-ply roofing membranes, which provide for energy efficiency, durability, and reliability, even in our hot Las Vegas sun.

We can help you keep your home or business flat roof problem-free and doing its job. Give Prestige Roofing a call for more information at 702-656-7536.

Learn all about roofers and what being a roofing contractor really means.

Custom copper roofing design elevated over luxury las vegas home

We’re all familiar with flat roofs, which are found on all types of buildings. But, is a flat roof the right choice for your building? Flat roofs are different from the more decorative sloped roofs found on homes and small buildings, but they have a lot of advantages in particular situations and may be the right solution for a new building. When a flat roof is the right choice, or when replacing an old flat roof, there are different types of flat roofing materials available to meet the needs of building owners and managers.

Why Flat Roofs?

Flat roof with skylight and hydro insulation membranes

Flat roofs have a number of advantages that make them the best choice for specific types of buildings.  Larger buildings and ones that need to have regular activity on the rooftop are ideal for flat roofs that are lighter, generally less costly to install and provide easy access.

One important factor to understand is that flat roofs are not completely flat. They are usually slightly sloped to allow for precipitation to drain off. Still, with drainage slower than on a higher slope roof, most flat roofs have to be regularly maintained in order to be sure that the roof material is kept watertight and sealed to prevent leaks and damage to the building below. Flat roofs should have a thorough annual inspection to look for problems and reseal surfaces damaged by UV rays or moisture.

Commercial Flat Roofs

Flat roofs are familiar to most of us on commercial buildings where convenience, accessibility, safety and cost are factors in choosing a flat roof solution. Most flat roof materials are lighter and less expensive than the materials used on more decorative sloped roofs. For large buildings, flat roofing is a much more practical solution, avoiding excessive weight on the building’s frame, and also lowering construction costs. Industrial, warehouse, retail, hotels and similar commercial buildings often have multiple HVAC and other systems installed on the roof where maintenance personnel must have quick access, day or night. Having a flat roof makes it much easier to access these roof elements for maintenance and repairs.  Air conditioners and other systems may be placed on the roof, saving valuable space within the building. And, for roofers and other workers accessing the roof, a flat roof means less chance of worker injury from a slip on a sloped roof.

High Rise Buildings

built up high rise flat roof with garden and tiled walkways
sky garden on rooftop of condominium with blue sky

Of course, flat roofs are also commonly used for high rise residential and office buildings in urban settings, where service access is also important. And, from a design and space optimization point of view, urban building roof space is cherished as outdoor space where occupants and guests enjoy access to sunlight and fresh air. High rise apartments, condos and hotels may even build out their roofs to include rooftop gardens, adding attractive lighting, eating areas and even areas for sports activities or a swimming pool. With a flat roof, design options are only limited by the imagination.

Flat roofs are also found in single family homes and other small buildings where climate, style, design and budget make them the right option. They tend to be most practical in areas like the dry southwest where there will be little rain and no snow load for the roof to handle. Flat roofs may be part of a green energy efficient home solution, with accommodation for solar panels or a green roof covered in living plants.

Top 4 Flat Roof Materials

Now that we know where a flat roof makes sense, let’s examine the differences between the four types of flat roofs that are commonly used.

PVC Membrane

PVC flat roof installation with roofer in hard hat cutting the PVC waterproofing material
Waterproofing and insulation at construction site waterproofing membrane preventing water penetration. Exterior vapor barrier for foundations and basements.

Both flexible and easily-customizable, a PVC membrane flat roof is constructed from what is known as a scrim, which is basically a flexible, heavy duty, non-woven polyester fabric that creates a bonded seal and is also fire retardant. The scrim is laminated in a UV-resistant PVC thermoplastic.

Lightweight in nature, a PVC roof will not add weight to the existing structure. As a result, PVC can be installed directly over an existing system. This means there is less material that needs to be dumped into a landfill.

PVC roofing is durable and highly reliable. It has the ability to resist high temperatures, dirt and strong winds.

Built-Up Roof (BUR)

Tar and grvel built up flat roof with skylights and HVAC systems
Flat Roof With Gravel and Skylight Windoows

The Built-up Roof, or (BUR) is a roof made essentially of hot tar and gravel. Layers of hot tar are applied between at least 3 layers of waterproof ply sheets. On top of this, a layer of smooth river stones or gravel are applied.

Ideal for commercial buildings, the biggest advantage of a BUR roof is that it is very affordable. Another plus is that a BUR roof is able to meet higher fire ratings than other roofing materials, as gravel is naturally fire-retardant.

Unfortunately, there are drawbacks to a BUR flat roof. The first is the telltale smell of asphalt, which many find undesirable. Messy to install, a BUR roof is also very difficult to remove. Tar and gravel make this type of roof very heavy in nature, which will put extra stress on the structure of a building.

Rubber Membrane

Historically popular, a rubber membrane, also known as EPDM, flat roof is both durable and lightweight. However, it should be noted that EPDM tends to be less puncture resistant than PVC. With that being said, the recyclability of both options is about the same.

One disadvantage of using a rubber membrane roof in a warmer climate is that it is naturally dark in color, making this choice more prone to absorbing heat.

TPO Roof

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefinis) is a blend of two different types of rubber. It is white in color, giving it an energy saving advantage as it reflects sunlight. This translates into dollars saved in cooling costs.

Very easy to install, a TPO roof can either be fully adhered or mechanically-attached to the deck of a roof. Extremely flexible, TPO’s versatility surpasses other roofing materials, without it losing its durability.

Low Slope Metal Roofing

gallery-copper-roof-16

For beauty, quality and design, none of these choices can approach metal roofing, a durable and decorative alternative to traditional flat roof materials. Metal roofing is highly durable and needs little maintenance. The beauty of copper, zinc and aluminum roofs is undeniable, and they all are highly weather resistant. They are also energy efficient, reflecting the rays of the sun for a cooler interior, and of course they are recyclable. Metal roofs are popular on homes and business looking to increase the beauty and value of the property. Metal can be formed into shapes to create unique, custom and beautiful roofs, roofing or standalone fixtures, overhangs, gutters and other elements that make your home stand out from the crowd.

Prestige Offers Flat Roofing in Las Vegas

No matter which type of flat or other roof you are considering, don’t trust just anyone to do the work for you. Find a reliable and trained professional roofer to help make sure your new roof is the right one for your building, and that it is installed correctly using the right materials to avoid costly damage down the road. For the best residential and commercial roofing services in Las Vegas, contact Prestige Roofing today for a free estimate.

New Commercial flat roof downtown Las Vegas business district

A roof is more than a cover for your commercial property.  The commercial roof that covers your building is its first line of defense against the elements, from wind and rain, to damaging UV solar radiation and freezing ice and snow. The most cost-effective way to help your roof last longer, and make sure it’s doing its job protecting your investment in the building and what’s inside it, is by taking a proactive approach with preventive maintenance. Here are some basic steps you or your maintenance crew can take to help spot and avoid roof problems:

Carry Out Regular Roof Inspections

Ask your maintenance guy to check on things such as:

  • Check the roof for signs of pooling or standing water, particularly after a strong or lengthy rain event. This is a potentially dangerous condition as it could result in leaks or weaken the support beams beneath the roof’s surface.
  • Ensure that rooftop vents or any equipment are well sealed to prevent leaks or wind damage when loose flashing is uplifted.
  • Keep trees around the property trimmed away from the building. Trees can produce debris build-up which could end up clogging the gutters and drains, and branches can fall and damage the building during high wind or freezing events.
  • Secure any loose objects on the roof, and periodically remove accumulating debris, such as leaves.
  • Watch for the appearance of bubbles on your flat roof, which is caused by too much heat or moisture. If left unattended, you will be risking wind damage or leaks.

Because of the region’s extreme heat and winds, engineers recommend professional commercial roof inspections twice every year in Las Vegas. Ideally, the semi-annual roof  inspections should be performed in the spring and fall after the end of the harsh weather seasons.

A roofing professional will inspect the roof for any gaps in the flashing. He will check on the condition of your gutters and downspouts. He will be able to give you maintenance tips and recommendations so your staff can be proactive in spotting and preventing problems. Your roof inspector will also point out any damage to your roof and recommend a solution. It is advisable to have a professional inspect your roof after a severe hailstorm or wind even though it appears unscathed.

Make Basic Roof Repairs

school rooftop with HVAc and other equipment

Simple repairs such as sealing of cracks could be performed in the course of the inspection. Other complex repairs or complete commercial roof replacement need to be scheduled in advance. Don’t neglect damage found during an inspection. Repairing minor issues right away will prevent them from developing into much costlier and more extensive damage over time. Broken seals or loose flashing, for example, can lead to long term leaks, mold, or ripping of roof materials so that large sections need to be replaced.

Add a Reflective Coating to your Commercial Roof

In addition to basic repairs, applying a reflective coating to your commercial roof helps withstand damages from the elements. White solar reflective coatings can help lower energy costs in the building as well as help protect the roof from UV damage. High-quality coatings are UV-resistant and can withstand Las Vegas’ extreme summer heat. A coating that has a significant amount of aluminum gives your roof a silver finish and also maximizes its reflective properties. Or, just a fresh coat of coat of liquid bitumen will help renew the roof’s waterproofing and UV protection. While some of this work can be done by your maintenance crew, consult with your roofer for the best solution for your roof’s particular needs.

Benefits of Regular Commercial Roof Care

  • It saves you money – with regular inspections and maintenance, your overall repair bill will be lower. You won’t be hit with surprise repairs that are worse because of years of neglect. Problems will be caught and fixed before they escalate.
  • Protect your warranty or insurance claim – most roofing brands will void their products’ warranty if a failure is as a result of poor maintenance. Moreover, should you file a claim for a storm-damaged roof, the insurer might be able to avoid payment if you have not kept up with its maintenance. Check your roof warranty and your business insurance coverage to be sure you understand your obligations for keeping the roof in good condition.
  • Lower risk factors – with regular care of your roof, any equipment you maintain on the roof is regularly checked, helping to make sure that malfunctions due to damage or debris are less likely. This also creates a safer working environment for your employees.
  • Less energy waste – not maintaining your roof and equipment drains your energy leading to inflated utility bills, and maintaining a reflective coating helps lower cooling costs in summer.
  • No surprise damages – major damages could disrupt your activities, destroy personal property in the building, like equipment, records and furniture, or even cause you to close down your business. Taking care of your commercial roof regularly warns you of any potential problems.

When to Call a Commercial Roofing Professional

Prestige Roofing crew working on a downtown Las Vegas commercial roof installation

While you may have been prudent in maintaining the roof of your commercial building, there are instances where you urgently need to call in a professional.

If you notice excess granules on your gutters and downspouts, it could mean that your roof has reached the end of its life cycle. Granule build-up implies that the roof has lost its texture and sturdiness, and might fold in or tear should there be a huge storm. If you notice the roof is sagging, it’s time to engage a professional.

Water stains on the ceiling could be as a result of an undetected leak. In such a case, a professional will be able to identify and remedy the situation.

Knowing your roof’s age helps you discern when it’s due for replacement. Most roofs are designed to last between 20 to 25 years. Keep an eye on its condition as it approaches this age, and prepare to replace it.

At Prestige Roofing, we will conduct a full assessment of your commercial, civic building, or residential roof in Las Vegas Valley, including a report on our findings.  We can work with your team to come up with a preventive maintenance plan. When it’s time for a replacement roof, Prestige is an experienced commercial roofer who can help you make the right choices for a new roof for your building. Contact us today at 702-646-7536 for a free estimate.

New shingle roof or tile roof on one story ranch home by Prestige Roofing Las Vegas

Selecting the right type of roofing materials for your new roof may seem like a daunting task. Installing a new roof is a big investment and an important decision, not only due to the cost of the new roof, but because your roof has a big impact. A new roof can increase your home’s resale value. It protects your home against the elements and helps you reduce energy use. The new roof should add beauty to your home and be functional, durable and aesthetically pleasing. In order to make the right choice, homeowners faced with budgeting for a roof replacement or a new roof should understand some simple fundamentals about different kinds of roofs.

Choosing the Right Roofing Material: 3 Key Considerations

Reclaimed tile roofing on two story home with high pitch roof in Las Vegas

There are a number of things to consider when deciding on what kind of roof material to choose. Here are some of the things that may impact the choice of roof for your home.

Climate

Your roof material should be compatible with the climate where you live. Here in the Southwest, tile is the dominant material. Cement or clay tiles are very durable and hold up to the very strong sun and heat of desert summers. Asphalt shingles, the most common low cost roofing used throughout the country, are used in the desert, but the high heat and sometimes rapid cooling, such as a summer rainstorm, may cause them to shrink, crack or warp. Metal roofs do very well in hot climates as they are durable and reflect solar rays away from the home, adding a cooling effect.

Metal and slate are good materials for cold and snowy areas, when combined with a pitched roof, as both shed snow well and resist damage. In areas with heavy winds, a flat roof can be a good solution. It must be installed by a professional roofer to make sure it’s properly laid out and secured so it isn’t subject to lifting and being torn away. For this reason, the best roofs in high wind areas will be of a material that is continuous without seams, such as a metal roof.

For a very environmentally-friendly roof, cool roofing has been developed over the last few decades to help homes and businesses reduce their CO2 emissions and cut heating and cooling costs. Cool roofs may just be roofs painted with white reflective coatings to reflect the sun. This category also includes solar roofs for energy efficient buildings, and green roofs that feature live plants that absorb and use the sun’s heat to improve the environment.

Slope or Pitch

High slope or high pitch roofs are used in heavy snow areas in order to help the roof shed snow rapidly. They also tend to be very attractive to the eye and can be selected for design reasons. They tend to be a bit more expensive to maintain, as access is of course more difficult. Tile, shake and slate are good choices for higher pitch roofs.

Metal roofing works well with low pitched roofing as it drains rainwater very well. Conventional shingles are not desirable for very low pitch or flat roofs because rainwater will tend to pool and permeate the shingles, causing damage to the home beneath.

Which Color Roof is Right for Your Home?

New gray tile roof by Prestige Roofing on single story rural luxury home in Las Vegas against natural mountain backdrop

Color and shading play an important role in choosing your new roof. By choosing the right color you not only create the style and look you want for your home, but you also help your home stay cooler during the hot summer months. Some things to remember when choosing the color and shade of your roof are:

  • Choose a complementing color to the exterior paint of your home, not one that matches.
  • If you are trying to achieve a traditional look, you can pair a gray or black roof with a home that has white exterior.
  • Make sure you check the color of shingles or roofing materials next to the exterior color of your home. Seeing colors in brochures will not look the same as when they are put next to each other.
  • It is always good to view your home as a buyer would when choosing your colors. Choose a color that provides your home with the best appeal to a range of potential buyers, usually a neutral color.
  • Consider your location and sun exposure. The rule of thumb is that the darker your roof color, the more it will attract the heat. Lighter colors tend to reflect heat and can help keep your home a few degrees cooler.

Looking to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency?

The hot summers and cold winters in Las Vegas and in many areas of the country can certainly increase your energy bills, so improving the energy efficiency of your roof may play a vital part in your decision-making process.

Metal roofs are a good choice for hot locales because they reflect the heat away from the home very efficiently. Clay and concrete tiles tend not to get hot themselves, so they are another good choice for hot areas. They can also be painted with a reflective coating to better block the sun. Popular asphalt shingles are the least efficient as the dark asphalt tends to absorb heat and radiate it into the home.

Other keys to energy efficiency are proper design and installation of your roofing system. Your new roof installation should include a layer of insulation with no gaps that might allow the transfer of heat into or out of the home. Generally, your new roof system should include a 1-inch layer of insulation and roof sheathing. Proper ventilation is necessary for insulation under your roof to remain effective, so make sure roof ventilation is ample and not blocked.

How Long Do You Expect Your New Roof to Last?

Custom copper roofing design elevated over luxury las vegas home

Two additional considerations when making an investment in a new roof are longevity and the amount of maintenance it will require over the years. Different roof materials have different qualities and lifespans:

  • Asphalt or Composition Shingles – Asphalt shingles are usually lowest in cost. Shingles come in a wide range of quality and colors allowing you to create your desired look. Although in the past, asphalt shingles generally lasted about 20-25 years in the desert heat, improvements in manufacturing have produced many shingle lines that will last in excess of 45 years.
  • Wood Shingles and Shakes – While they cost more than asphalt shingles, these are easy to install and lightweight. Wood shingles may last 15 to 25 years before they will need to be replaced. Shakes, such as the advanced material CeDur shakes that replicate the look of wood with more durability, may last as long as 50 years. CeDur shakes are also fire resistant and handle tough climates better than natural wood.

Vintage Las Vegas home restored with CeDUR shake roofing

  • Slate – Slate and slate alternatives are a great way to give your home a unique appearance. This option can be higher cost, but they provide for better durability, lasting 50-125 years or more. Slate has a Class A fire rating and also resists insects, rotting, and mildew which can lower the amount of maintenance and repairs that you may need to perform throughout the life of your roof.
  • Clay and Concrete Tiles – These types of roofs are most popular on Mediterranean-style homes. Tiles can be more costly than other options, and they are heavy so the roof structure must be appropriate for them. However, they have the same Class A fire safety rating and share the natural repellent properties of slate tiles.  Best of all, a well-built tile roof can last 50-100 years and generally require little maintenance.
  • Metal – Metal roofing, including copper, zinc and aluminum, is commonly chosen by those looking for a modern or custom design. They are prized for their all-weather qualities and energy efficiency, as well as for their durability. These type of roofs, while more costly, require little maintenance, are fire, rot and mildew resistant and will last between 30-100 years or more.

When you are ready to choose your new roof, Prestige Roofing can help you find the right solution to fit your home. We have been providing quality custom roofing to Las Vegas and Southern Nevada for over 20 years.  Contact Prestige Roofing to schedule your free consultation.