How long does a flat roof last?

There are a number of factors to consider when installing a new roof – but none more important than the durability and longevity of the roof. You will want to make sure that it has been constructed using quality materials and that it is going to last for many years to come. However, different styles and different types of roofs differ when it comes to their projected lifespan. With that being said, below, we are going to take a look at how long flat roofs last in further detail.

How long is your flat roof going to last?

You can expect your flat roof to last up to 25 years in most instances. However, for this to be the case, you need to choose a reputable company for the installation and then you need to take the required steps to maintain your roof properly as well. A lot of the roofing companies will provide you with a guarantee on your flat roof, and this can often be as long as 20 years, so this gives you a good indication regarding how long they expect the roof to last.

However, do keep in mind that there are certain things that would make your guarantee void, so you do need to make sure that you maintain and care for your roof and that you do not do anything that would compromise the lifespan of it.

What factors impact how long your flat roof will last?

As you can imagine, there are a number of different factors that are going to impact how long your flat roof lasts. For example, the roofing materials that are used for the project are going to have a massive impact. Furthermore, the experience and the skill of the professionals working on the flat roof installation make a big difference as well.

Insufficient Drainage

One of the biggest issues with flat roofs, which can compromise the lifespan of the roof, is poor drainage. This is especially the case when you compare flat roofs with pitched roofs, which are much more common today. When you consider the fact that it does rain quite a lot in the United Kingdom, it is not difficult to see why this would be a problem.

With the typical pitched roof style, the water is simply going to run off the roof. However, when you have a flat roof, the water can pool and become trapped, and this can result in the structure being compromised. The water can then end up penetrating the roof and it can enter your property’s structure, which can cause a lot of damage, and it is certainly not the cheapest to repair. This is why you need to make sure that a flat roof is appropriate for the task at hand and that you consider drainage carefully so that something like this does not happen.

There are a number of flat roofing products that are designed for the UK weather and resistant to poor drainage. The ICB Alwitra VSK Single Ply product is not negatively affected by sitting water, in fact it was originally designed for tanking swimming pools, which makes it a perfect solution for UK roofing. The ICB Alwitra waterproofing product also gives long term reliability through heat welding of homogeneous membrane.

As mentioned, with some flat roof products, ponding can become problematic if drainage is insufficient. It may be recommended to increase the falls of the roof to assist with this. It is actually aBuilding Regulation (Part H) that adequate provision is made for rainwater to be carried from the roof of the building. There are British standards (BS 6229 and BS 8217) that ensure flat roofing is designed with the falls required (1:40 to ensure a finished fall of 1:80).

Ponding on a Flat Roof

As a result of poor draining, your roof may experience ponding (the pooling of water on the roof. This wouldn’t be a problem for a roof that has been installed correctly as it the pooled water will be drained away or even evaporate before it can cause any damage.However if your flat roof has uneven areas, an insufficient slope, or drainage issues, the ponding water doesn’t dissipate. This can lead to the following problems that will reduce the lifespan of your roof.

  • The degradation of roofing materials used – particularly on felt roofing.
  • Extra weight to the load bearing structure which can cause structural damage.
  • If the ponding water sits on top of a join or a seal, this can cause the seal to lift, allowing water to pass through and compromising the integrity of the roof.
  • The growth of moss, algae and debris to collect, providing a great environment for unwanted insects and other wildlife.

To prevent ponding your roofing contractor will ensure outlets are unblocked and If water ponds/does not drain, they can create a sump in front of the outlet or create falls to allow water to drain.

Choosing a quality roofing company is a must

Last but not least, if you want to make sure that your flat roof lasts for as long as possible, you are going to need to select a quality roofing company. There are many different roofing businesses across the UK today, yet they do not all provide the same level of quality and service. Regardless of the materials used, a poor choice of roofing contractor can cut the lifespan of your roof significantly.

Therefore, it is critical that you narrow down your search effectively. You should also make sure that you check out the guarantee that is provided with the roofing construction, as this provides you with the perfect indication regarding how long the roof is expected to last.

It’s advisable to pick a roofing contract that:

  • Is registered with a regulating body such as TrustMark or the NFRC Competent Person Scheme. Designed to protect consumers, these schemes ensure that roofing contracts have to undergo a number of rigorous inspections and checks. These checks can range from
    Criminal background checks (to ensure that the company has no outstanding legal issues)
    On-site checks to establish whether a contractor meets all health and safety requirements as well as building regulation requirements and finally
    Customer service checks, ensuring that customers can contact the contractor and that they have an office and established customer service practices.
  • Has the correct insurance. A reputable provider should have at least public liability insurance to give consumers peace of mind in the event of an accident as a result of their workmanship.
  • Offers a 25 year warranty – if you want to guarantee that your flat roof lasts up to 25 years, choose a roofing contractor who offers a 25 year warranty to cover you in case of any major damage, or if the roof is compromised in any way.

Make sure the company you choose has plenty of experience in the industry, and ensure that they have a good reputation by reading the reviews that have been left by customers who have already used their services before.

You can also take a look at some of the photos of the roofing work that the company has carried out in the past, as this will help you to get a good understanding of the level of quality they provide.

If you’re looking for roofers in Surrey, we can provide a no obligation quote for your roofing project. We offer a 25 year warranty on our flat roofing and pitched roofing work. We’re also accredited by a number of bodies such as Trustmark, and Competent Roofer and have a number of 10 out of 10 reviews on Checkatrade.

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I was recommended to this company and was not disappointed. From the prompt inspection of the roof damage to sending me the quote (the following day) they were extremely professional, informative and friendly. The work carried out was of a very high standard and was completed within the timeframe they had quoted.I would definitely use them again and would have no hesitation in recommending them.
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