Your Guide to Lafayette Roof Repair for Flat-Roofed Homes and Commercial flat roofs.
A good Lafayette roofing company is an essential contact if you live in the area with a flat-roofed home. While not strictly as flat as you might think, the shape and design of flat roofs make them susceptible to certain types of damage that gable roofs may be able to withstand more readily.
With there being an abundance of flat roofs in Lafayette, we’ve put together this guide explaining some of the key characteristics of flat roofs, the typical damages that they might sustain, along with the process and costs of having them repaired or replaced.
Lafayette Roofing: Roof Characteristics
Before diving into all the details of the roof repair Louisiana has to offer, you should understand some of the basic ins and outs of flat roofs in general.
Flat Roofs are Slightly Sloped
While the name suggests that flat roofs are completely flat, this is not actually the case. Properly crafted flat roofs are actually built with a mild slope in them, sometimes as little as a quarter inch per foot. Without this slight slope, the flat roof would be much more likely to sustain water damage in less time, as rainwater would puddle, creating low spots that then become worse and worse over time.
With the levels of rain in Louisiana, it’s vital that your roof is properly installed with a decent degree of sloping, as fixing low spots on flat roofs can be a costly and arduous experience.
Flat Roofs Require Proper Drainage
While the slope will help with getting water away from specific spots on flat roofs, having a good drainage system is equally important for its upkeep. Whether this means that water is drained away from the roof with gutters and downpipes, scuppers on the perimeter walls, or internal drains built directly into the surface of the roof, it’s absolutely essential to ensure your roof lasts as long as it can.
Much like if the roof is built without sufficient sloping, a flat roof without proper drainage channels will cause water to pool together. Along with this, poorly installed or maintained drains can become clogged, which can lead to backups and further water damage.
Flat Roofs can be Made from Various Materials
There are actually a number of different options when it comes to flat roof materials, each with its own benefits and drawbacks. Each of the materials can be bundled into one of three main categories - single layer membranes, modified bitumen, and built-up roofs (BURs). It’s also worth noting that most flat roofs have a similar lifespan of around 20 years, regardless of their materials.
BURs (built up roofing)
BURs are the classic construction for flat roofs, being used for years and years now. This form of roofing is made from layers of asphalt and felt, coated with bitumen, which is a viscous, semi-solid form of petroleum, then usually topped with granules, much like shingles. As the years have gone by and petroleum has become a more limited, expensive, and controlled resource, roofers have been stepping away from BURs where possible.
Modified Bitumen Roofs
Modified bitumen roofing was the natural progression from BUR technology, improving the durability of the latter by introducing layers that had been reinforced with polymer to the equation. The use of thermoplastics and synthetic elements reduced the dependence on traditional bitumen, while also offering more options for installation.
Single Layer Membrane Roofs
Single layer membrane roofs are the most modern form of flat roof material, being considered a convenient choice for installation as they’re laid down as one single layer. They’re known for their rubber-like flexibility, along with their ability to withstand temperature changes.
These roofs are made from a variety of different synthetic materials, including:
● Neoprene or polychloroprene
● Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)
● Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
● Chlorinated Polyethylene
● Polymer-Modified Bitumens
These roofs are attached to structures with either solvent welding, adhesives, or simply by being weighed down with ballasts made from river rock.
By understanding the different forms of flat roof materials, knowing which your roof is made from, and which you’d rather work with in the future, you have a good jumping-off point for discussions with your Lafayette roofing contractor.
Lafayette Roofing: Common Flat Roof Damage
Now that you know what a flat roof is likely to be made of, it’s also important to understand the potential damages that your roof could suffer from.
Pooling Water, Leaks & Moisture Damage
Roofs are our home’s barriers against the elements, which means they’ll bear the brunt of most of the rain that falls on our houses. On flat roofs, there’s a lot more potential for water to pool in one place, which is a self-exacerbating issue, as the start of the problem will only lead to more of the same.
This makes leaks, dips, and water damage a fairly common problem, which can only be avoided with regular checks and maintenance. If a leak or water damage gets through to the structure of the roof, then you risk the ceiling caving in, so make sure to be diligent with your checks. If the flashing of the roof becomes damaged or compromised, that also means that your roof is now more susceptible to water damage.
Most commonly seen on asphalt roofs, alligatoring is when the materials have started to crack and blister over time, resembling the scaly hide of an alligator. This is simply a symptom of age and general wear and tear and sadly means that your roof is past the point of no return and will require a replacement.
Cracks & Buckles
Because flat roofs are generally laid down in one large piece, a crack or buckle in the surface is more dangerous than one sustained by a shingle or two. A house may stay in one place, but over the years it will shift and settle in response to the passage of time and external factors, which will eventually cause parts of the roof to buckle, meaning it’s time for a replacement.
Likewise, excessive pressure on one part of a roof can lead to a crack, which is a sign of a serious compromise to the structural integrity. Much like with buckling, a crack means it’s time to get a new roof installed.
Lafayette Roofing: Cost of Replacing a Flat Roof
If you’ve noticed any of these signs of damage, then it’s likely that you need a flat roof replacement or at least some repairs. We’ve collated some of the average costs associated with flat roof repair and replacement, so you can know what to expect when you move into your flat-roofed home.
When it comes to repairing less serious damage on a roof, you can generally expect that the cost will be somewhere around $700, with the lowest repairs costing around $300 and the top end being about $1,100. However, while repairs are relatively inexpensive, it’s worth noting that a repair isn’t a great choice for an age-related issue, as a full replacement is likely to be imminent anyway.
If you get your flat roof replaced, you can expect to pay for a variety of services, although some roofers will likely consolidate the costs in the case of larger projects.
Firstly comes the cost of removing the damaged roof, which can cost anywhere between £1,000 and $5,500 depending on the size of your roof. Then comes the cost of the materials, which will cost anywhere between $5 and $18 per square ft, depending on which you choose to work with. The labor will likely cost you $50-80 an hour, so the total cost of the roof replacement will be largely impacted by the square footage of your roof.
With everything taken into account, you’re likely to pay somewhere between $3,100 and $9,600 for a roof replacement, granted that you don’t have a massive property. In some cases, flat roof installments can cost up to $14,000.
Lafayette Roofing: Final Thoughts
When it comes to roof replacements and repairs in Lafayette, you need to be in contact with a good, reputable flat roofing specialist. With our hot summers and heavy rainfall, the roofs here take a lot of punishment, so you need to be able to call someone who knows how to level a flat roof at a moment’s notice.
Just remember that while a repair might be easier on the wallet in the short term, it may not actually be the wisest decision if your roof has suffered from real damage. A replacement is an investment that will last you a lot longer than a patch job.
Get Financing for your roof replacement here.
Hibbard Roofing is one of the top roofing contractors in Louisiana. Contact us for a free inspection & consultation to kick off your roof replacement project!