3 Important Things to Understand about a Flat Roof
what to know about a flat roof system, Kansas City, MO

3 Important Things to Understand about a Flat Roof

what to know about a flat roof system, Kansas City, MO

If your Kansas City commercial building has a flat roof, it’s vital to understand the distinctive characteristics of this type of roof system and how it functions. Here are three important things you need to know:

Flat Roofs Actually Have a Slope

If your roof is designed properly, it’s not really flat but rather “low slope.” The slope can be as little as 0.25 inches per foot and hardly noticeable, but this minimum 1/4:12 pitch is essential for rainwater to drain off the rooftop. If the slope isn’t adequate and water puddles on the roof field, the added weight can compress the underlying layers and form a low spot that makes the ponding problem worse.

If slope issues and low spots aren’t addressed, standing water can degrade the roof covering, and it can easily enter the roof system through any defects. Over time, it can ruin the insulation, weaken the roof structure, deteriorate the decking, corrode the building’s electrical and HVAC components and cause interior damage.

Flat Roofs Aren’t All The Same

Flat roofs are custom fabricated during installation, so each one is unique. There are also a number of different materials that can be used to create a flat roof, including multi-ply BUR or modified bitumen membranes, and single-ply membranes like thermoplastic PVC and TPO, or EPDM rubber.


Each roofing material has specific maintenance and repair requirements, so it’s essential that repairs are done by a contractor who has experience working with your particular type of roof, otherwise you may end up facing unexpected repairs or a premature flat roof replacement.

Flat Roofs Need Good Drainage Systems

An effective, properly-maintained drainage system is crucial to keep your flat roof watertight. There are three types of drains commonly used on low-slope roofs:

  • Gutters installed around the roof edge and connected to downspouts.
  • Scuppers, or drainage outlets installed through the perimeter or parapet walls.
  • Internal drains that are integrated into the roof field, often in the center, and connected to drain pipes running down through the building.

If the drains on your roof aren’t positioned properly or installed correctly, or they become clogged with debris, rainwater can back up or pool on the roof field, and this can lead to membrane degradation or water intrusions into your building.

If you need expert flat roof replacement, repair or maintenance services for your Kansas City commercial property, contact us at Bill West Roofing.

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