Our offers 5% off on senior Veteran Discount

Our offers 5% off on senior Veteran Discount

Get In Touch
(412) 353-5660

5 Common Challenges With Flat Roofs And How To Tackle Them

Posted on : February 17, 2024

5 Common Challenges With Flat Roofs And How To Tackle Them

Flat roofs present an array of challenges for homeowners. These issues cause an increase in maintenance costs and can even impact the integrity of your home if they’re not addressed in time. Fortunately, you can take several steps to combat these challenges.

At McClellands Contracting and Roofing LLC, we aim to explain flat roofing concerns and share practical solutions for those problems with you. Get ready to find out how to maintain the longevity and functioning of your flat roof with this blog post!

An Overview Of Flat Roofs

It’s important to understand that flat roofs are not completely flat. While flat roofing systems have a slight slope to stimulate proper drainage, the slope is not noticeable like it is with low-slope roofs. Designing the right slopes and angles for the proper installation of the roofing materials is necessary to prevent most issues with flat roofing systems.

Also Read: Are Low Slope Roofs The Same As Flat Roofs?

Solutions For Flat Roof Problems

The issues that occur vary from common, like leaks and moisture damage, to more major problems, such as deterioration of roofing materials caused by harsh weather conditions.

#1 Water Puddles

Water Puddles

Accumulation of water is the leading cause of algae, mold, and leaks on a flat roofing system. This happens due to inadequate or poorly designed drainage systems, leading to stagnant water collecting on the surface after heavy rainfall or melting snow. Here’s what you can do about water accumulation on your flat roof.


Ponding can be prevented through:

  1. Proper roof slope and angles for efficient drainage.
  2. Roof and gutter cleaning after heavy downpours.
  3. Use of tapered insulation to improve water runoff.

Utilizing these tips could help alleviate issues with ponding water considerably. For more information on proper flat roof drainage, read our blog post “Guide to Flat Roof Drainage Systems for Disposing of Roof Runoff.”

#2 Leaks And Moisture Damage

Leaks And Moisture Damage

Leaks are one of the most common inconveniences associated with flat roofs. Due to their almost flat design, it’s important to ensure effective water runoff with proper drainage design. Otherwise, excess water on the roof can lead to moisture damage.


To tackle this issue effectively:

  1. Install high-quality waterproof membrane: A correctly installed quality waterproof layer could be your initial defense against any potential leaks.
  2. Enhance your roof drainage system: Improving the design of your drainage system also aids water runoff, therefore minimizing pooling water on the roof, which could lead to leakage.

#3 Deterioration Of Roofing Materials

Deterioration mainly refers to how flat roofing materials weaken due to prolonged exposure to a variety of elements like UV radiation or repeated temperature fluctuations.


There are several ways you can mitigate this:

  1. Regular roof inspections are vital for the early detection of damage. Therefore, it prevents further escalation by catching issues with the materials early.
  2. The use of high-quality, long-lasting roofing products suitable for your climate is an investment worth considering as they provide extended protection against extreme weather conditions.
  3. Prompt repairs or replacements could keep your rooftop in optimal condition, reducing overall maintenance costs over time.

#4 Ice Dam Formation

Ice Dam Formation

The potential damage inflicted by ice dams can range from mild leaks to structural damage if left unnoticed.


Combatting ice dams involves:

  1. Ensuring proper ventilation that helps maintain even temperatures across the roofing surface, therefore minimizing the change of ice dam formation
  2. Installing heating cables along the roof’s edges to reduce ice formation
  3. Installing an additional ice and snow barrier around the roof’s edge to aid in preventing moisture seepage from melting ice.

#5 Short Lifespan

Flat roofs can face premature deterioration, leading to a shorter lifespan than expected. This can be due to various factors, such as subpar materials, improper installation, or lack of maintenance.


  1. Invest in Quality Materials

Opt for high-grade roofing materials that are specifically designed for flat roofs and are known for their durability. Investing in quality upfront can significantly extend the lifespan of your roof.

  1. Professional Installation

Make sure your roof is installed by a well-established contractor that understands the intricacies of single and double-ply membranes, and other options like built-up and modified bitumen roofing systems. Proper installation techniques can prevent premature wear and tear, ultimately prolonging the roof's lifespan.

  1. Regular Maintenance

Implement a preventive maintenance schedule that includes inspections and repairs as needed. Prompt identification and addressing of issues can prevent minor problems from escalating into major ones, thereby extending the overall lifespan of the roof.

  1. Weatherproofing Measures

Enhance your roof's resilience against the climate by applying weatherproof coatings or sealants. These additional layers of protection can shield the roof from harsh weather elements, helping to extend its longevity.

While understanding these challenges might be half of the battle, knowing what causes these issues in the first place will give you an edge in maintaining your flat roofing system effectively throughout its lifespan! 

So, let's understand the major sources igniting these issues, starting with the impact that harsh weather has on flat roofs.

Major Causes Of Flat Roofing Problems

Flat Roofing Problems

Unpredictable changes in weather can cause flat roofs to strain, affecting their long-term performance.

Harsh Weather Conditions ⛈️

From summer sun to winter storms, the weather can shorten the lifespan of flat roofing materials if they aren’t installed or maintained properly. Repetitive freeze-thaw patterns lead to material contraction and expansion that can significantly weaken the roof’s structure and the ability of the roofing material to provide the proper protection.

Poor Installation Practices 🛠️

A poorly installed roof is often vulnerable to various complications such as leaks, ponding water, or roofing material deterioration. Hiring an experienced and reputable flat roofing contractor for the installation is necessary to avoid errors during the process.

Lack Of Regular Maintenance 🧹

Neglecting routine maintenance tasks like roof cleaning and occasional inspections can allow minor damage to become worse, leading to expensive repairs later on. A well-maintained roof shows efficient performance throughout its service life.

Always remember that an expert’s guidance will bring immense value when dealing with complex issues with flat roofs. 

The Importance And Benefits Of Hiring A Good Flat Roofing Contractor

Hiring reliable professionals who thoroughly understand your local weather can simplify your flat roof maintenance tasks! 

Expertise and Experience

A reputable flat roofing contractor will have the expertise and talent necessary to work with various types of roofing materials and designs efficiently. They are very familiar with the unique challenges and requirements associated with these roofs, ensuring that the job is done correctly the first time.

Quality Workmanship

Hiring a skilled team of professionals means you can expect high-quality workmanship. They will use appropriate and durable materials so that the roof gets installed or repaired to the highest standards. This minimizes the risk of leaks, damage, and other issues with flat roofs.

Compliance with Building Codes

Local roofing contractors are well-versed in the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code (PA UCC) and community regulations. They will ensure that your flat roof complies with all relevant codes, permits, and regulations, avoiding any legal issues or fines down the line.


Roofing projects can be dangerous, especially when the weather is not favorable. A reputable contractor will prioritize safety measures, including using proper equipment, techniques, and safety protocols to protect the roofers from accidents and your property from damage. They may also have solid insurance coverage in case of an unfortunate incident to compensate you for the damage.

Timely Completion

Hiring a reliable contractor means your flat roof repair or installation is more likely to be completed on time and within budget. They will have the necessary resources and manpower to stick to the agreed-upon schedule, minimizing disruptions to your daily operations or living arrangements.

Warranties and Guarantees

Reputable contractors may offer good workmanship guarantees and material warranties for more protection. This will provide you with peace of mind since you’ll know that you're covered if any issues arise after the project is completed.


While hiring a good flat roofing contractor may come with a higher labor cost than that of a handyman, it can ultimately save you money in the long run. Their expertise and quality workmanship can help prevent expensive repairs or premature replacements, extending the lifespan of your flat roof.

Enhanced Property Value

A well-maintained and properly installed flat roof will boost your home's market value and aesthetic appeal. Hiring a good roofing contractor ensures that your roof not only works well, but also looks beautiful.

Now you know about the common solutions for flat roofing problems and how professionals can help you prevent these issues. So, take the right steps from the start to avoid unnecessary expenses, risks, and damage.

If you need help with your flat roof in Pittsburgh or the surrounding area, call McClellands Contracting and Roofing LLC for expert advice and services.

Most Trusted Flat Roofing Services In Pittsburgh, PA

At McClellands Contracting and Roofing LLC, we’re always ready to help our fellow homeowners by providing quick, honest, and high-quality roofing services within their budget. We specialize in flat roof installation, repairs, and replacements and work with some of the top manufacturers in the industry that offer solid warranties. Our talented team makes sure the job is done right the first time, so if you are looking for flat roofing services in Pittsburgh or a nearby area, you can trust us for the best results! Call us at (412) 353-5660 to schedule a free consultation with one of our flat roofing experts and discuss your needs and budget.

Schedule A Consultation

Footer Form

By submitting, you allow McClellands Contracting and Roofing LLC to contact you by phone, email, or text for more information. You can opt-out at any time. We will never share your personal information with third parties. Standard message/data rates may apply, and your consent is not tied to making a purchase.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Instant Quote Icon


Get a quote for your roof in under a minute!