There are many types of roofing systems, but flat roofs require a unique set of skills and maintenance. They can essentially have a long life span, but only if they are properly managed.

Most people think a flat roof is just that…flat. Actually, they do have a pitch but it is less than 15 degrees, which still allows water to drain away.

Since you don’t want your flat roof to become a swimming pool, there are three main types of drains that are installed:Maintaining a Flat Roof

  • Gutters – The most common drain system used for all types of houses
  • Inner Drains – Many times located toward the center of the roof, they attach to pipes that drain the water down through the building’s roof.
  • Scuppers – Openings in the outer walls along the roof line that allow water to run through the wall via a metal box surrounding the scupper.

If you have a flat roof, you need to have an inspection a couple times a year to determine if roof repair services are needed. Many suggest having one in the fall and again in the spring. Keeping an eye on certain factors will help deter major repairs, as outlined in this post:

Tips on maintenance to avoid flat roof repair


Splitting can be caused by freeze thawing, stress or pressure, water ponding or simply poor workmanship.

PondingInstalling a Flat Roof Drain

Ponding will show as standing pools of water that do no drain or in dry conditions you will notice a concave area with a water mark surrounding it.


Blistering happens when air is trapped between the layers of felt or the felt substrate.

Find the full post here:  Tips on maintenance to avoid flat roof repair

When using an inner drain on a flat roof, if you don’t install it correctly you might end up with even more problems. Water can pool and debris can collect if the drain sits up even slightly higher than the roof.

The substrate is the underlayment to which the waterproofing membrane is applied. You have to make sure that there is a depression around the drain to promote water flow.

This video shows how you can manage proper drain installation:

Proper flat roof drain installation is an important factor for any commercial or residential structure. Choosing to have a flat roof in an area that gets a lot of torrential downpours isn’t a great plan, but the drainage system will overcome much of the lack of slope.

When you have your roof inspected and it’s time to update your current drain, the cost is always a worry for most folks. You would think that your insurance would help pay for such expenses, as it protects the asset from further damages.

However, the way insurance works doesn’t always make sense, as noted in this post:

Homeowners Insurance – Understanding Water DamageStorm Damage to a Roof

A homeowners policy covers water damage, but with significant exclusions and limitations. Typically a policy will pay for sudden and accidental water damage from inside water sources but will not pay for losses caused by water that finds its way into your home from the outside.

Read the rest of the post here:  Homeowners Insurance – Understanding Water Damage 

So, if you aren’t sure if you can afford the cost of fixing your roof and the drainage system, be sure to check with your insurance company first to see what is covered.