Key Flat Roof Maintenance Tips for Schools and Multi Academy Trusts

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Yorke Gilmore


Yorke Gilmore - Flat Roofing Specialist

Flat roofs are extremely common in schools and multi-academy trusts. However, although there are many benefits to this type of roof, its unique design means that you need to make sure you carry out adequate maintenance and regular inspections to ensure it lasts for a long time without incidents occurring.


Why Regular Inspections Are Important

Regular inspections ensure that potential safety concerns are found and fixed early before they escalate into potentially catastrophic situations. Flat roofs can suffer from leaks, drainage problems and structural damage, so because of all this, regular inspections are a must.  

During regular inspections, checking out the condition of the roof is very important. In particular, inspectors often check for any signs of cracks, blisters, loose seams, and other damage.  

To ensure the health of flat roofs, you should establish a regular inspection schedule. Inspections should occur at least twice a year to assess the roof's condition after experiencing different weather conditions. Severe weather events such as storms, heavy rainfall or extreme temperatures can negatively change the durability of flat roofs.


Clear Debris

Flat roofs, due to their design, are more susceptible to accumulating debris, such as leaves, branches, dirt, and sports equipment. This can cause a few issues.  

For one, flat roofs are designed with drains placed in strategic positions to help with water drainage. But, if these drains become blocked, ponding can occur. What’s ponding? Ponding is the pooling of water on the roof's surface that fails to drain within 48 hours, and this can cause structural stress and water damage, affecting its strength and longevity. 


Ensure Proper Drainage

To ensure proper drainage, regular inspection and maintenance of gutters and pipes are crucial. Periodically removing debris and checking for any signs of damage, such as leaks or corrosion, can help identify potential issues before they escalate.  

In addition to keeping gutters and downpipes clear, regular cleaning is equally important when it comes to drainage on flat roofs. Even if the gutters are initially clear, they can accumulate debris over time due to wind, nearby trees, and other environmental factors, as we explained earlier.


Addressing Ponding Water

As we’ve mentioned, ponding water can be a big danger to affecting your flat roofs.  

This water can gradually degrade the roofing membrane, leading to a variety of problems such as leaks, structural damage, and even mould growth.  

But there are ways to fix this.  

Flat roofs should have a slight slope to allow water to flow towards the drainage outlets efficiently. Adjusting the falls by introducing cut-to-falls insulation or a slight pitch in the deck ensures that water is directed towards the outlets and prevents ponding that will occur on a completely flat roof.  

Installing internal gutters is another effective solution, as these internal gutters are designed to collect and redirect water to the appropriate drainage outlets, preventing it from pooling on the roof.  

Sometimes, the existing drainage outlets may be in a bad position, or there simply aren't enough of them, contributing to ponding. In such cases, adding more drainage outlets can help.


Why Maintaining the Roof Membrane is Important

The roof membrane, whether it's made of bitumen, PU liquid, or single-ply material, plays a vital role in protecting the building from the elements. Let’s talk about these different roof membranes here:  

Bitumen is a great choice for high-quality roofing. However, over time, bitumen can experience wear and tear, so regular inspections are important to find signs of damage and get it repaired.  

PU liquid is a fantastic, flexible option. Nonetheless, these may require periodic reapplication of protective coatings to maintain their effectiveness.  

Single ply is the material of choice for many wanting something highly durable for their flat roofs. But they are susceptible to punctures and tears, which can compromise their integrity.  

Ensuring the roof membrane is maintained, no matter the material used, is essential.


Addressing Leaks Immediately

Leaking roofs can cause water stains on walls and ceilings, compromising not just the look, but also the structural integrity of the building. Mould thrives in these environments and poses health risks to students and staff.  

Schools and multi-academy trusts should implement a clear and efficient reporting system for roof leaks. This can involve designating a specific point of contact or creating an online platform where leaks can be reported promptly.  

Once more, inspections by qualified roofing professionals are essential. They will look at these leaks or weak areas that have been reported, identify areas prone to leaks, and recommend necessary repairs or maintenance.


Consulting with Roofing Professionals Like Bailey

Roofing professionals have a deep understanding of roofing materials, designs, and maintenance techniques specific to flat roofs. Collaborating with reputable companies like Bailey allows schools and multi-academy trusts to use experts dedicated to addressing their roofing needs effectively.  

From energy-efficient options to sustainable roofing solutions, we stay up to date with the latest industry advancements when it comes to flat roofs. With the necessary knowledge and tools to conduct comprehensive inspections, we can identify issues and help perform the necessary repairs to make your roofs safe once more.  

Interested in finding out more? Contact us today to arrange a meeting to discuss planned inspections of your flat roofs. Our experts are always glad to help!