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Silver Spring Roofing: Article About Flat Roofs

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Silver Spring Roofing professionals know that installing a flat or a low sloped roof requires a high level of workmanship. When they are properly installed, a low sloped roof may have a service life of two decades or more. However, just a small mistake during installation can lead to serious problems with condensation that may result in wood rot or mold.

Most leaks happen at flashings or areas where chimneys, plumbing vents and air conditioning units penetrate the roof. Many of these leaks are the result of poor workmanship or carelessness by other tradesmen who work on the roof. If flashing details are not engineered to endure thermal or other types of building movement, they will eventually break or crack and result in severe leaks in the building. Using sealants or caulking at joints or at flashing terminations is not enough to prevent leaks on a flat roof. A failure to install counter flashings or expansion joints can also lead to leak problems

A flat roof is not really flat. They should never be built to be 100 percent level. If they are built level, they will have a problem with ponding, standing water after rainfall, because there will not be enough of a slope for rainwater to drain away.

Even if a low slope roof is installed properly and it prevents moisture and precipitation from entering the building, condensation in the form of water vapor from inside the structure can enter the roof cavity and cause a dangerous mold problem in the fiberglass roof insulation, even though it looks clean to the naked eye.

Have a question regarding roofing, windows or siding? Please ask an expert from Seneca Creek Home Improvement of Silver Spring MD today.

When dealing with the underside of a flat roof, traditional rules about ventilation do not apply. The challenge in designing a properly ventilated flat roof stems from the fact that there is little to no chimney effect to attract exterior air into a vented space. If a flat roof just has soffit vents, the only reason why air would be forced into the vented space would be if an occasional wind gust blew against one side of the building, entered into the soffit vents, traveled across the room and then exited on the opposite side of the building.

Obviously, building owners would not leave the ventilation of their roof cavity to chance. For this reason, many commercial builders have designed crawlspaces for vented plenum spaces and then have installed vent fans or have built cupolas or some other form of vent tower to aid in air movement.

Low slope and flat roof designs are practical for most commercial buildings. However, since they are susceptible to moisture accumulation, extra steps must be taken to keep them stay ventilated and dry.

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