2018 Roof Covering Options for Youngstown Flat Roofs (And How to Care for Them)

roof covering for flat roofs options

Knowing what roof covering for flat roofs options are available in the market is an important step for every Youngstown business owner. However, the work doesn’t end by just familiarizing yourself with the roofing systems. Let’s say you have made up your mind. You want a particular roof covering but have you researched how to properly care for it? We all know that commercial roofing is a huge investment, thus, you have to maximize its use and protect it at all cost.

Related: Low Slope Commercial Roofing Materials: Guide to Find the Best Fit

Here at J&M Roofing, we are passionate about educating building owners everything about roofing. In fact, we have talked about roof covering for flat roofs options several times already. This time around, we’ll focus not only on the characteristics of these materials but also on their special needs. By exploring these special needs, you give it the opportunity to reach its maximum performance. If you treat your roof the right way, you will reap long-term benefits that will also support your business goals.

What are the Common Issues with Flat Roof Coverings?

worker installing a waterproofing membrane
A photo of a worker installing TPO, a single-ply waterproofing membrane.

Before we give you tips on how to properly care for your commercial flat roofing, let’s first identify the most common issues that they face. By knowing these, you’ll get an idea as to what the dos and don’ts are giving it a better chance to thrive despite its downsides.


First on the list is the noticeable difference when it comes to their lifespan. Flat roofs have relatively shorter life expectancy than those that are sloped. At most, asphalt shingles can last for up to 35 years and metal up to 50. However, in an average, some flat roof coverings only last between 10 to 20 years.

Pooling of Water

These roofing systems are installed on a relatively flat surface which could become problematic especially during the rainy or stormy seasons. Unlike sloped roofs, water has the tendency to pool and not drain completely (even if there are slight pitches to shed rainwater). If a puddle stays there for a long period of time, it can create more problems or prompt serious roof repairs.

Prone to Leaks and Moisture

In connection with the previous point, it then results in another problem which is leakage. If water isn’t properly drained away from the roof and the building, it can cause water-related issues like leaks.

Note that most flat roof covering materials are watertight. However, due to poor workmanship and improper installation, they don’t live up to the expectations. On the other hand, the good news is that there are minor leakage problems that are easy to resolve. Experienced roofers can help you come up with roof repair plans on how to deal with recurring leaks or prevent moisture.


This is a term used to describe a form of deterioration that is normally seen in flat roofing membranes. It’s called that way because the signs are similar to how an alligator skin looks like. You’ll spot alligatoring when there are cracks and bubbles due to the fact that the materials have lost their elasticity.

Flashing Problems

There are flat roofing membranes that can expand and contract over time due to UV ray overexposure and shifting extreme weather conditions. Once the flat roof covering has been affected, it can cause the flashing to loosen and pull away from where it is attached. This problem could lead to more issues like serious water damage.

How to Care for Your Flat Roof Coverings

Hot tar installation on a flat roof
Even when covered with layers of waterproofing compositions, your commercial flat roofs aren’t exempted to harmful external elements.

Flat roofing membranes as we know are less complicated to install and are cost-effective. Regardless of these benefits, investments are still concentrated on this part of the building. There’s a need to build a strong and sturdy roofing to make sure that it lasts for a long period of time.

Here are useful insights on how you can care for your commercial flat roof to prolong its life:

Develop a Roof Maintenance Plan

Nothing is more impactful than a maintenance. Without this process, you won’t be able to detect impending issues. Remember that the key is early detection. A saying goes, “prevention is better than cure”, which is also true for roofing.

In crafting a maintenance plan, take note of the most important elements to consider such as the schedule, climate, and feasibility (in terms of the possible interruptions).

Hire a Reliable Roofing Partner

If you want an effective maintenance program, it’s not enough that you have a plan in place. It’s even more important to partner with a roofing company that has the right skills and experience. A professional roofer can recommend strategies on how to keep your commercial flat roof in a good condition.

Installing TPO on a flat surface
Professional roofers are capable of handling tools to build your flat commercial roofing.

Be Vigilant

While you work hard every single day to meet your company’s goals and targets, don’t forget about your roofing. The best thing you can do as the head of your company is to form a team or at least assign a person-in-charge to take care of the roofing needs. There has to be someone to be on the lookout for potential threats like falling tree branches, debris, and other external elements.

You can also talk to your roofer what measures you can implement to minimize man-made damage like foot traffic. To avoid punctures, some roofing companies install mattings as an added layer of protection whenever they need to access the flat roof.

Wrapping Up – Roof Covering for Flat Roofs Options

There are different roof covering for flat roofs options. There are traditional roofing systems like built-up roof (BUR) or tar and gravel, and other asphalt-based compositions. You can also go for more modern synthetic membranes like PVC, rubber or EPDM, and thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO).

At the end of the day, it’s not all about the roof covering for flat roofs options. It’s equally important to seek continuous efforts in order to maintain roofing’s safety and performance. For this, you don’t have to do it alone. There are reliable licensed roofers who are ready to help.

Looking for a flat roof covering experts? You came to the right place! Get in touch with J&M Roofing’s team to build a long-lasting and sturdy roof that you deserve: 800-773-1616