The Importance of Drainage For Commercial Flat Roofs

Flat roofs are a popular choice for commercial buildings in Ottawa. They are cost-effective, give design flexibility and offer roof space for other purposes such as storage, utilities, or emergency exits. However, to get the best out of flat roofs, they require a considerable amount of care and maintenance.

Typically, flat roofs are prone to water damage due to poor drainage. While slanted roofs rely on gravity to ensure water flows off the roof into gutters, flat roofs solely depend on a drainage system. This means any problem with the drainage system can quickly lead to pools or leaks, which damage the roofing material and even cause safety hazards. This can be quite an expense for building owners, but it is possible to reduce these costs with the proper drainage.

You need a specific drainage system for your flat commercial roof. It’s highly recommended you use a professional Ottawa roofing company to have it done correctly, or you may end up with loads of repairs. With a professional flat roof contractor, you get the experience and skills to fix any lack of drainage and help the roofing system last much longer.

But why is drainage so important?  

The Importance of Proper Commercial Flat Roof Drainage

Commercial Flat Roof

Whether you have a flat or slightly pitched roof, gravity does not move the water from the roof down to the ground. Hence, the roof needs a drainage system to carry the water away from the building to prevent ponding that leads to leaks. The most vulnerable part is the caulking, which can cause tiny cracks resulting in leaks. 

During winter, sub-zero temperatures and snowfall increase the load, and when the thawing process begins, inadequate drainage can result in leaks.

Another hazard is the vents or chimneys, which provide water access points.

Hence, you need to monitor these points regularly to prevent water leakage resulting in structural and foundation problems. 

Problems Caused by Standing Water

Standing water on flat roofs results in many concerns leading to costly repairs if not identified immediately:

Water Ponds

When the drainage gutters or scuppers fail to carry away the rainwater, it accumulates on the rooftop in the form of puddles. Eventually, small puddles grow into deep pools of water that cause a lot of damage.

  • Standing water has lots of weight that puts extra pressure on the roof. If your roof is already weak, the water can easily puncture it, making it more vulnerable to leaks. Also, without any secondary drainage system in place, you may end up with a flooded building.
  • Standing water becomes a breeding ground for mosquitoes and birds, which carry diseases and cause structural damage such as blocked chimneys. It also becomes a haven for mould, fungus, and algae that further damage the roof.
  • Ponding water also erodes the roofing material on flat roofs. It reduces the lifespan of rubber membrane roofs, which crack due to prolonged exposure to water. You may even lose the warranty provided by the manufacturer.
  • If your roof already has some wear and tear, the water can seep through the building structure and damage the load-bearing walls.
    Slippery surface, discoloration, and material erosion are just some other issues that can occur.

Without a working drainage system, the list will only keep growing, endangering both personal safety and property.

Bird Problems

Birds build nests on any rooftop, and standing water invites them to move in and nourish themselves. So, you need to ensure your roof is uncomfortable for them to move it. Especially doves, as they become messy and carry diseases with them. 

A Breeding Space For Mosquitoes

Standing water is a breeding place for mosquitoes when the temperatures warm up. As with birds, mosquitoes carry diseases, and they are an annoyance.  

Plant to Fungal Growth 

With a wet roof, you do not only have bird and mosquito problems as plants also grow and become a problem. The plants can clog the drains creating pools of water standing and developing leaks—furthermore, these plants form breeding places for moss, mildew, and mould to form. 

Water Leads to Wear and Tear 

The concerns mentioned above are only part of the problem with ponding water. The water penetrates the membrane system, and the roof erodes with time leading to significant damage. Hence, it shortens the rooftop’s lifespan causing both roofs to foundation damage. 

Hire an Expert Commercial Flat Roof Company Today 

You can avoid such potential disasters by hiring a reliable commercial roofing contractor like Vanity Roofing to install and maintain the best drainage system for your flat commercial roof. We have been providing exceptional roof installation, repair, and replacement services in Ottawa for more than two decades. We have extensive experience in commercial roofing projects in the Ottawa area. Don’t hesitate to contact our commercial roofing team to get your free flat roof estimate today.