Why Are My Flat Roof Seams Pulling Apart?

Every roof, like everything we create, has its weak spots; or at least points that are weaker than the others. In this case we are talking about the flat roof seams, the places where different sheets of rubber come together. There are different reasons they can come apart, and different solutions for each problem. 


A Roof That Holds Water

One potential problem is when a roof holds water. We don't mean a puddle here or there, which is normal, but a roof that has a small pond on it in a regular basis. This can be seen in the photo above. The reason this is a problem is mainly a consequence of winter. This water can freeze and as water freezes it expands. As the water expands it can cause the seam to come apart. 

Once a flat roof seam has come apart for this reason the leak will be persistent, because there is a puddle there consistently. Now the only place it can drain is the opening that it created the past winter! There is also, as always, the possibility that the insulation will become wet and hold water as well.

Proper Drainage

This brings us to the next point, that roofs need proper drainage. This is aomething that the architect or engineer who built the buidling should have worked into the plan. But not everything that should be done is done, and buildings can also shift over time. It is however quite simple to add a drain to a roof. We simply need to be told where it needs to go, and we will cut the hole and properly flash it in. 


Coming Apart at The Seams

The other potential reason that a flat roof seam can come apart is that it wasn't installed properly in the first place, or that it has simply gotten old. Not all roofing companies are created equal, and it is far from impossible that an inexperienced crew or contractor improperly adhered a flat roof seam. If found early enough, the problem can be fixed by hiring a competent roofer to re-apply the seams properly. 

The Industry Has Evolved

The flat rubber roof industry has only existed at all over the last 40 years. In that time major advancements have been made in rubber quality, adhesives technology, and procedure. Until less than a decade ago there was a style of adhering flat roof seams that used an adhesive that was similar to contact cement, a product that required both sides of the flat roof seam be brushed with adhesive, and after air drying pressed together. It was the best we had at the time. Today's primer and rubber is advanced far beyond that earlier version, and is so strong it will outlast the roof. 

What You Need To Do

As with all roofing problems, this one will only become worse if allowed to continue. Don't hesitate, contact a competent roofing contractor today to find the best solution to your problem. 

Brian Lyman