Tag Archives: roof maintenance

What is Roof Decking? (Definition, Materials + Types) for 2023

What is Roof Decking Graphic

What is Roof Decking?

Roof decking is the material that lays between the structural components of a roof (joists and trusses), the insulation, and the waterproofing layers (coatings, roofing materials, etc.).

The roof deck is the section of the roof where everything else is placed. Because of this, it needs to be strong enough to hold weight and durable enough to cope with having some give.

Roof Decking Material

A wide variety of materials can be used for roof decking. This can include anything from wood to cement, concrete to steel. The material used depends on how much weight it needs to carry.

Other factors include the weight of any air conditioning equipment, rainfall in the area, and any potential snow build-up. Special features, something like walking decks or rooftop swimming pools or bars, may also be needed for extra support. 

Types of Roof Decking

Generally speaking, there are three different types of roof decking to keep in mind: tongue and groove, plywood or OSB sheathing, and plank sheathing. Understanding the different kinds can give you a good idea of what to expect out of each.

The type of roof decking varies based on whether you have a commercial or residential need. Residential buildings will likely use wood for the roof decking because it stands up to the weight of just about anything that will be placed on top of it.

Tongue and Groove

Tongue and groove decking is usually done with a 2×6 “tongue” formed on one edge of the board. This is meant to fit snugly into the “groove” in the adjacent board. This can be something of a challenge to replace as it is something that is not readily available in most lumber yards.

Generally, this is a highly durable and stout roof decking. It will only need to be repaired when it has had extensive exposure to moisture. Be sure to take a long look when going over your tongue and groove roof decking.

Plywood or OSB Sheathing

When it comes to plywood or OSB sheathing, you may have seen it before under the false term of Wafer Board. Builders began using this method because it has strength and longevity against splitting.

These methods became increasingly popular in the early 1980s and 1990s and are now almost exclusively used by builders across the industry.

There are a few points that you should definitely be aware of during the installation process. Make sure to install the boards using staggered vertical joints and ensure they are parallel to the ridge line.

The vertical joints that are between the boards have to be supported along the whole length and need to be nailed securely.

It is also vital to ensure that you have sufficient support with an absolute maximum of 600 mm between the two rafters. Those plywood panels should be installed with 3 mm spacing between each panel unless it has been stated differently by the manufacturer.

Plank Sheathing

Plank sheathing, meanwhile, is typically something that was used before plywood. Wood shingles are expensive when it comes time to tear down and replace them, so re-sheathing over the entire roof is a far cheaper method.

Plank sheathing is generally susceptible to distortion, thanks to weather changes. This can result in constant expansion and contraction that can wear down those planks over time, making them brittle with enough expansion and contraction.

It is also important to stagger your joint boards. When a number of those adjacent boards join on the same support or rafter, it can be possible for the deck to move due to all that distortion to a crack line in the singles. All the wood boards must be properly conditioned to maintain moisture equilibrium.

There should also be a sufficient number of fasteners to prevent any kind of buckling, and each board should be fastened with at least two nails in each rafter to ensure that it is held securely but without too much force.

Purpose of Roof Decking

Generally, your roof deck is meant to hold the fasteners to secure the roof. Sure, it can support foot traffic and the occasional snow load that will inevitably happen with any roof out there.

If that wood is compromised, it might not be able to provide the level of holding power that will allow the roof to last its suggested lifespan.

Having a proper roof deck is the foundation of any sound roofing system. The deck is meant to resist gravity loads and lateral loading from things like the wind and other seismic forces.

A proper roof decking will meet design requirements like component anchorage technique, deflection resistance, fire resistance, surface characteristics, and dimensional stability.

Assessing Your Existing Roof Decking

There are several reasons that property owners should be interested in the type of roof deck on the building and its condition. Among them are the following reasons:

  • Condition of the roof deck – is it detached, corroded, unsafe, or damaged? Has the deck been deflected or deformed to the point where it ponds water?
  • Stability – Can the deck handle a much heavier roofing system like a built-up roof membrane with a ballasted single-ply system?
  • Resistance – If the mechanical fasteners are going to be used to attach insulation or a single-ply membrane to the deck itself, will that deck be able to provide the necessary pullout resistance? Some single-ply systems require a more robust steel deck to meet wind design.
  • Removal – Can the deck sections be safely replaced or removed if necessary if the roof needs patching? In the past, removing and replacing deteriorated decking with metal decking and rigid roof insulation was common. This can actually be quite unsafe and is definitely not recommended. Instead, new form boards and galvanized wire mesh should be used. Ensure the galvanized wire mesh is attached to the existing wire near the patch’s perimeter. This is done for safety reasons.
  • Clearance – If the existing roofing is going to be removed all the way down to the deck and the tapered insulation or a sloped fill is going to be the way to solve the ponding problem, you need to know if the clearance at access doors, windows, and other equipment hatches will be imperiled.
  • PV Panels – What about adding PV panels to the building roof? If this is part of the plan, you must know how they will be attached to the structure.

The roof’s decking plays a critical part in supporting the overlaying material. The material itself is certainly important for keeping the elements away and holding up to the constant wear and tear that comes with exposure to the elements. Still, it doesn’t do its job with the proper roof decking.

Addressing Wooden Deck Problems

Ensure to properly ventilate your attic to eliminate any excess moisture that deck panels can absorb. This reduces the amount of shrinking and swelling the wood experiences, helping it last longer without turning brittle and breaking.

If that brittleness occurs, it can compromise the structural integrity of your roof, and you will have to have costly repairs or replacements done immediately to prevent any safety hazards.

Regardless of what style of roof decking you choose, you need to ensure that it is installed properly to get the proper weight support that your roof needs. Consider any additional snow weight if your area sees heavy snowfall so your deck does not bow and crack under additional pressure.

Much like the foundation of your building, the roof decking is the basis on which the rest of the roof operates. Without proper roof decking, your roof will eventually buckle under pressure and must be replaced.

Save yourself a lot of time and labor by ensuring that your roof decking is properly installed and rated to handle the weight on your roof. You can then focus on implementing the roofing materials needed to get the right roof for you.

In Conclusion

Roof decking is an essential component of the roofing system and one that should not be overlooked. From supporting roofing materials to securing the roof’s structural integrity, decking is somewhat of an unsung hero in the system’s design and implementation.

Additional functions of roof decking include weatherproofing, insulation, and ventilation, all of which impact the health and longevity of your roofing system.

Can You Put New Shingles On Top of Old Ones?

Can You Put New Shingles on Top of Old Ones


Yes, you can put shingles over shingles, but you shouldn’t. Other factors to consider include weight increase, surface defects, and the prevention of full inspections.

Why You Should Not Add New Roofing Shingles Over Old Ones

There are a few universal reasons not to reroof with new shingles. Here are things to check out if you are seriously considering adding your new roofing shingles over top of the old ones.

Why You Should Not Add New Roofing Shingles Over Old Ones

Shingles Add Weight

Your roof is likely graded for a very specific amount of weight. This is factoring in the shingles and potential snow that could also accumulate. When you add extra materials over the top, you only add weight to the existing structure.

This creates an issue regarding how much your current roofing structure can handle. If you overload the roof, there is a chance that it may not be able to hold up. When this becomes a possibility, there is a chance that your home’s structure is unsafe with the chance of a potential collapse.

Shingles are Designed for Flat Surfaces

Shingles are not meant to bridge over gaps, humps, or dips. This includes the stepped texture that is created by overlapping shingles. While some experienced roofers have tricks for laying new roofing shingles over the old, there is still a chance that they are curled, cupped, or misshapen.

These defects will then telegraph throughout the new layer. If you decide that you absolutely have to re-layer your roof, use laminated or dimensional shingles since they are thicker and offer staggered edge profiles that help to hide any high spots or dips that might be in the old roofing.

No Visual Inspection

Without that tear-off process, roofers cannot see what the decking underneath looks like. A roofer worth their salt will perform a careful inspection, known as a “walking” inspection, to look for spongy and problem areas. This allows them to make localized repairs before the re-roofing process.

When you hire a less-than-reputable roofer to do the job, they might not bother with this portion of the process. This leaves your roof susceptible to any damaged areas, which could permeate through the new layer of roofing shingles.

There is a litany of reasons why it is not a great idea to shingle over top of an existing layer of shingling simply. Understandably, some don’t want to fork out the upfront costs of new roofing installations, but it is beneficial to not roof over the older roof layer in the long run.

The reasons above should be enough to deter you from simply laying the new roofing shingles over top of the old ones but just know that there are even more reasons why it is not a good reason to do so. You might save in the short term, but it will definitely cost you in the long run.

Take the necessary precautions when laying down your new roofing shingles and, if at all possible, remove the previous layer before doing so. It will save you a lot of trouble in the end.

Is It Possible to Put Shingles Over Shingles?

Placing old shingles over new ones is only possible with asphalt shingles, also known as composition shingles. You cannot place a new layer over top of slate or wood, and you should definitely never mix materials like laying asphalt shingles over cedar shakes.

And perhaps the most important rule for laying new shingles over top of old ones is that the old roofing has to be in pretty good condition. If you are laying new roofing shingles over an existing roofing system with a ton of leaks or damage, you aren’t doing yourself any good.

There may come a time when your existing roof just isn’t doing what it should. Leaks, broken shingles, and a litany of other problems can creep up, bringing you to the conclusion that you need to make a change to your current system.

Why People Add New Roof Shingles Over Top of Old Ones

The biggest reasons people lay down new shingles over existing ones are convenience and cost. Keeping the old shingles allows you to skip the messy labor and disposal costs of a tear-off. Also, having multiple roofing layers can create problems all its own.

It is important to note that both of these have caveats. It isn’t as simple as putting the new roof over the top of the old; special prep work needs to be done to complete the new installation. Things like removing ridge caps, vents, and misshapen angles are just the tip of the iceberg.

In addition, you might still have to replace or add new flashing. This can sometimes be tricky to do over old roofing. And the fact is that while you might be saving tear-off costs, you really are just delaying the cost. When you have to start over with a new roof, you’ll just have to tear it off and start over.

Putting new roofing over the existing structure is a “pay me now or pay me later” scenario. You will save on costs in the short term, but you will eventually need to pay for the full cost of a new roof at some point.

Final Verdict

It might seem like an obvious benefit to having multiple layers of protection on your roof, but that is not automatically true. As a matter of fact, having multiple layers of shingles does not mean that your roof is any more waterproof than it may have been before.

As a result, putting new shingles on top of old ones is a bad idea and a bad roofing practice. Furthermore, it is unlikely to save you as much money as you project because of long-term complications and other mitigating factors.

Roof Flashing (Types + Techniques) for 2023

Roof Flashing Types Techniques

What is Roof Flashing?

Roof flashing is basically a thin material – typically a galvanized steel – that professional roofers will use in order to direct water away from the critical areas of the roof. Typically, it is wherever the roof plan meets a vertical surface, like a dormer or a wall.

Roof Flashing Near Wall

Roof Flashing Types

  • Continuous
  • Base
  • Counter
  • Step
  • Skylight
  • Valley
  • Drip Edges
  • Kickout

The Basics of Roof Flashing Installation

The flashing is installed to surround the features of the roof, like chimneys, vents, and skylights. Water should then run down the side of the flashing and wind up getting directed to the shingles instead of finding a way into the roof deck.

The Purpose of Roof Flashing

Without the roof flashing against those walls, water would slowly drip into the space between the roof and wall and even potentially into the home. So, what do you do when you find yourself needing roof flashing? Knowing the different types as well as the techniques to implement can be helpful.

Roof Flashing Types

  • Continuous Flashing. This is also known as “apron flashing” because it acts in a similar manner to an apron. It is a long, single piece of metal that is used to carry the water down to the shingles that lay below.
  • Base Flashing. There are some roof features, like chimneys, that require two pieces of flashing. This is to ensure that the rain always meets a flashing surface to direct it downward. Not only that, it is notoriously difficult to install flashing around a chimney.
  • Counter Flashing. This is placed opposite of base flashing, or above the base flashing. Counter flashing completes the team with the aforementioned base flashing.
  • Step Flashing. This is a rectangular piece of flashing that is bent 90 degrees in the middle. It is generally used for wall flashing. In this instance, multiple pieces of flashing will be installed as layers with the shingles to make sure that the water flows away from the wall.
  • Skylight Flashing. There are some skylight manufacturers that include flashing with their product, but others will require you to create it or purchase it separately. Knowing which option you have beforehand is helpful.
  • Valley Flashing. Any open valleys on your roof have metal flashing in order to protect this area, which is a critical area of the roof.
  • Drip Edges. At the edge of the roof, there is a thin metal flashing that allows water to drip off the roof without doing damage to the home or causing a pesky leak that can do further damage to the roof or home.
  • Kickout Flashing. Roofing contractors generally need something to bridge the gap where the step flashing comes to an end and where the gutter begins. This kind of flashing is used to direct water away from the wall and down into the gutter.

There are also a few different roofing materials that you need to be aware of. In the past, this would be lead or materials that were lead-coated. Now, professionals throughout North America have switched to one of three materials.

Roof Flashing Materials

  • Aluminum flashing is generally easy for roofers to form and it is also quite lightweight. There is one thing to note, however: aluminum has to be coated if it is going to be used with masonry and concrete since plain aluminum degrades and reacts when it makes contact with alkaline surfaces.
  • Copper roof flashing takes soldering well and is also malleable. Not only that, it is highly durable and tends to have a longer-lasting life. On the other hand, there is some discoloring into patina, which can vary based on the homeowner. Copper flashing is routinely found around chimneys.
  • Steel flashing is the most popular choice for flashing. In addition to aesthetic value, it is also malleable and, when galvanized, is corrosion-resistant.

There are building codes to be aware of that may call out a specific material. Have your roofing contractor look into this so that you can be covered in the event that a certain material is disallowed.

Identifying Roof Flashing Types

There are quite a few types of roof flashing; nearly as many as there are parts to the roof. Each roof feature requires protection, hence why there are so many different types of roof flashing.

Longer pieces of continuous flashing have trouble flexing as the home contracts and expand during the changing of the seasons. If left alone, it could warp or break and fail to keep that water out. If using longer pieces, they should have built-in expansion joints so that they can move as the home does.

Another benefit to two-part flashing is that when the roofing materials expand and contract with the weather, those two pieces can move, so the system stays secure.

So, how do you properly install roof flashing? Here are a few helpful techniques.

Roof Flashing Techniques

  • Step Flashing: The best instance for step flashing is where the roof face meets a wall. An example of this is where the dormer projects out from the roof. In a spot like this, it is entirely possible that water could flow down the wall and get past the shingles into the building down below.
  • Plumbing vent boot flashing: To put it simply, vent flashing has a cylindrical piece of flashing. This piece of flashing fits around the vent itself. These shingles are installed over the base or the boot. The height of the boot is meant to force water to run around the vent itself.
  • Counter Flashing: Counter-flashing is commonly used to flash chimneys and involves two flashing pieces. The first piece, the base flashing, is meant to sit around the base of the chimney. The second piece, the counter-flashing itself, finds itself embedded in the chimney’s masonry. This piece sits over the base flashing. It ensures the water doesn’t slip in behind the base flashing. Professional contractors generally use counter-flashing for a litany of other purposes, but it typically involves a second piece of flashing that is set off from the first.

Before you can learn to install that roof flashing, you need to understand the three primary techniques that are involved. Each one is different and can be suitable for different areas of the roof. There are also flashing types that tend to correspond with a specific technique.

Step flashing is the way to ensure that the water is properly directed away from the wall and that it winds up in the gutter. This is called step flashing because it is installed in – you guessed it – steps. This involves layers of shingles between so the water gets poured down each step and down the roof.

Sealant Types

The main key when installing roof flashing is to use a sealant. There are roofing professionals out there, generally of the old school variety, that still use nails while flashing. This works, but they still need to choose whether to nail to the roof plane or to the vertical wall itself.

If the contractor decides to nail to both, the flashing could deform under the pressure from shifting wood or brick. If you decide to use nails and nail only to the roof plane or to the vertical wall, the flashing can then stay in place while the other materials used in the construction contract and expand as the weather changes.

It is that weather change that can cause the most havoc. If the wrong materials are used or they are installed in an improper manner, that constant expansion and contraction can lead to the materials to bend and warp, making them more brittle until it finally breaks.

That is why roofing cement is generally accepted as the most common type of roofing sealant. This is because roofing cement is meant to create a waterproof seal. Roofing professionals can use a trowel to apply it evenly so that it adheres properly.

Protecting Your Roof

Ultimately, the installation of flashing and the application of a proper sealant are meant to protect your roof and its trouble areas from water and other damaging elements. Those hard-to-reach areas can be the first to go without proper flashing, so it is imperative for the life of your roof that you have to flash that will expand and contract with the elements and divert the water off the roof.

Those tough-to-reach areas can go unnoticed by amateur roofers who may not have the knowledge or experience necessary. Having a proper roofing contractor is necessary to ensure that those trouble areas do not worsen.

If not handled properly, areas around vents or the chimney could have a pooling of water. This water can do damage to areas of the roof, creating discoloration and even leaks. Those leaks can be a real trouble area if left unchecked, potentially causing structural damage if left unchecked.

A proper roof flashing can do wonders for protecting your roof from water damage and unnecessary wear and tear to those trouble areas on your roof.

Can You Live in a House While The Roof is Replaced?

Can You Live in a House While The Roof is Replaced

Key Takeaway

You can live in your house during roof replacement, but there are annoyances you will have to endure during the process. The most important thing is securing your pets and ensuring any outdoor furniture is out of harm’s way.

Roof Replacement: What to Expect

Whether or not you can stay home is the most obvious thing to consider when replacing a roof. The answer is yes… but there are some caveats that we will get into later.

The need to replace your roof can come for several different reasons. One of the most common is in the wake of a hefty storm. Rain and wind damage can lead to several parts of the roof that are broken, which means you have to replace the roof as a whole.

It could also be due to the age of the roof. If your roof has not been replaced in a long time, weather and age can take a toll on your roof, which can leave it less than effective in protecting yourself and the rest of your home.

Roof Replacement: What to Expect

Whatever the reason, there can come a time when you need to replace that roof and upgrade to something more effective and current than what you might have had. This doesn’t have to be a nightmare scenario if you choose the right roofing company.

But the one question you might have is, “Can I live at home while my roof is being replaced?” After all, if the roof is under construction, you might feel like you aren’t protected from the elements, so how can you live there while the roof is being worked on?

You Can Stay Home When Your Roof is Being Replaced

While it can be a sizeable inconvenience to your life, you can still live at home while your roof is being replaced. A roofing company worth their salt will take special care to ensure you are not inconvenienced during the replacement.

Roofers fully understand that you have things to do: raising the kids, household responsibilities, cleaning, taking care of the pets, and any other things that you might have to do.

Of course, you will want to know how long and when to wait for the roofing job to be completed, so you don’t plan any family gatherings or have friends over during the repairs, as that could cause inconveniences to the roofers.

FAQs About Staying Home During Roof Replacement

Should I Stay Home During Roof Replacement?

There are things that you will have to put up with, but as long as you follow a few safety guidelines, you should be able to do so without any major concerns or issues while replacing your roof.

How Loud is Roof Replacement?

The replacement process can be very loud, and depending on your noise tolerance, it might annoy you considerably. Take a listen for yourself:

Do Roofers Need to Come Inside?

It depends on where you are in the replacement timeline. There will be periods when the roofer must access the indoors to inspect the attic. But this is done before the replacement.

How Long Does Roof Replacement Take?

With a quality roofing contractor, the job should take a few days to complete, and you can still live and work about your home as normal. However, in some cases, a replacement can take up to 14 days (2 weeks).

How Long Does a Roof Replacement Take

Most roof replacement projects conclude in just a few days, but larger homes may require more extensive projects that can last up to two full weeks or 14 days.

Other Considerations During Roof Replacement

Keep Your Pets Secured During Replacement

One of the more important things to keep in mind during this process is to keep your pets secured during the entirety of the roof replacement. Because there are many new and different things happening, they may not adjust well to these noises and new people in the area.

If possible or necessary, you might want to take the pets out of the home during the repairs that are being done and then bring them back later. You will be thankful that you did it for both the sake of your pets and your sanity.

This might be a good protocol to follow with your kids as well. Make sure that they are not playing around the house while the roofing is being done, and make sure they know to only stay in the house or within designated areas so that they do not put themselves in harm’s way or get in the way of the roofers at work.

Cleanup Your Outdoor Area

For those with outdoor furniture or any items of value that might be outside, make sure to remove those items before the crew arrives. The last thing that you want is to have something damaged during the process that could have been simply stored away.

Anything that can’t be moved should be properly covered and protected to ensure that it is not damaged in any way. It can also help to make the roofing company aware of these things, especially if they are larger items that can’t be moved out of the way easily.

Another thing to remember is that the replacement process can be fairly noisy. While this is easier to deal with within your home because you are aware of it, your neighbors might not appreciate it very much. Give them the heads up that you have scheduled to have your roof replaced so that they can make proper accommodations for dealing with the noise during this time.

Coordinate With The Roofing Contractors

Ultimately, the roofing replacement process is more of a team effort than you might think. You need to work with the roofing company to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible and that everything is accommodated. When this isn’t the case, it can make for a rough and uncomfortable experience.

A proper, professional roofing company will take any and all special care to coordinate with you and let you know what is happening each step of the way. Safety is paramount in these situations, and if there is any major inconvenience that you may have to deal with, the roofing company will be sure to communicate that with you.

Since your roof is your home’s first line of defense, keeping it in the best condition possible is paramount. Keeping it in great condition is important for the investment that is your home and for increasing the equity of your home.

The right roofing replacement professionals will take the most care possible each step of the way and will communicate any issues along the way. It might not be the ideal scenario, but having your roof replaced does not have to be a massive inconvenience.

It might be a few days of things being out of the norm, but you will be able to move forward with a brand new roof that will protect you and yours for a long time to come.

Final Thoughts

While staying home during roof replacement is certainly possible, there are measures you must take to ensure a safe and relatively tolerable experience. Of course, you can avoid many of these headaches but staying with a friend or relative or at a hotel during the replacement process. Still, the choice ultimately comes down to your preference, alternatives, and budget.

How To Stop Water Pooling on Flat Roof (Tips + Hacks in 2023)

How To Stop Water Pooling on a Rooftop


To stop water pooling on a flat roof, do the following:

  • Flush drains of debris like dirt, branches, and twigs
  • Add more drain lines
  • Use a roof plaster to direct water toward the drains
  • Install roof crickets
  • Perform regular inspections and maintenance

Ponding water might not be an immediate threat, but if it is allowed to persist over time, that water can begin to wear on the roofing membrane. This leads to a decline in the membrane’s lifespan and can lead to things like leaks which can cause serious problems for the rest of the building.

Thankfully, there are a few different tactics that you can employ to resolve those ponding water issues on your flat roof. And it is important that you address this issue because of the aforementioned leak potential.

Flush Existing Drains

Like the drains that live in your home, drains on commercial roofs can eventually become clogged with debris. In more extreme cases, these serious clogs can actually lead to standing water becoming a mainstay on your roof.

To prevent that buildup of debris, try removing sticks, leaves, and any other rooftop debris from the drainage system of your building. Not only will this allow rain and melting snow to flow away from your building, but it will also prolong the life of your drainage system as well.

On its own, that debris seems harmless. But when it builds and builds, it can lead to various issues with not only your roof but the drainage system as well. Take those preventative measures, and you should not only see a longer life for your drainage system but your roof as well.

You can also hire a professional roofing service to come out and perform preventative cleanings on your drainage systems once or twice per year. That should be adequate to keep your drainage system clean and working optimally.

That bit of preventative maintenance might cost a little money in the short term but will save you a lot of time, money, and trouble in the long term.

Fix Low Spots

Despite the fact that they are called flat roofs, commercial flat roofs aren’t always completely flat. This is because there are subtle slopes on the surface of the roof that can come as a result of the installation process, weak spots in the roof, or a particular focus of debris or precipitation.

Additionally, qualified contractors understand how to slope a flat roof for drainage. These slopes are meant to facilitate drainage so that there is not a lot of pooling water on your roof. It helps to remove that extra water off to the edges of the building, where an external drainage system lives, or to designated internal drains that will carry the water away.

One of the flaws of these low spots is that water ponding can occur quite easily. When that happens, the drains can clog with debris and fail to do their job. This leads to a buildup of water that can cause damage to the membrane of the roof and eventually cause leakage.

How To Slope a Flat Roof For Drainage

A professional roofing contractor can fill those loose areas with a roof plaster to better direct that water towards the drains. Again, the goal is to direct as much water as possible to the internal or external drains that your building possesses.

Add More Drain Lines

If the current drainage system has issues with effectively removing water from your flat roof, there are a few things that you can look into in order to help the process along. Though it comes with additional costs, adding additional drains is one of the most effective ways to take care of this issue.

Flat roofs, particularly those in areas with high precipitation, will sometimes need additional drains to properly clear the water from the roof. Unfortunately, most building owners don’t realize this until they see that water ponding becomes a substantial problem in the wake of a heavy storm.

Most professional roofing contractors worth their salt can install extra drain lines or even widen the existing drains attached to your building in order to direct that excess water away from the rooftop.

Again, this is an extra cost, and most building owners will avoid this option. Still, it isn’t out there if there is a more efficient option than this.

Install Roof Crickets

When it comes to pooling on your flat roof, you might find that the water ponds in specific areas. These areas typically are near chimneys or around large vents. The best way to battle water ponding in these areas is to install roof crickets in those areas.

Crickets are ridged structures that have been designed to divert melted snow and rainwater around roofing obstructions like the aforementioned chimneys and vents. Because of their positioning or design, those obstructions may have a naturally difficult time draining water on their own.

Adding crickets to these obstructed areas can also help when standing water is typically associated with transitions between roof areas. If you are experiencing ponding water in other areas of the roof, crickets might not be enough. It is important to know how to drain water from a flat roof.

How To Drain Water From a Flat Roof

If most of the standing water revolves around those obstruction areas, installing roof crickets can be the remedy you have been searching for and answer your question about how to divert water on a flat roof.

Re-pitch The Rooftop

One issue that your commercial building roof could be having when it comes to keeping away ponding water is that the pitch was not properly designed or installed during the initial process. All roofs need some form of sloping to them, even if it is just subtle.

Without the right amount of slope, the water that builds during a storm won’t be able to drain and will, more often than not, lead to additional pooling across your flat commercial roof.

The process of re-pitching the roof might be a costly one, but it might also be the only way that you can solve consistent ponding issues on your commercial roof. It might be worth exploring other options first, but if you need to make the investment, there are far worse things to put your money towards.

Best of all, if you know what you are looking for, you can actually re-pitch the roof before a problem arises. Sure, noticing standing water is an obvious sign, but maybe you live in an area that has a lot of storms and want to take preventative measures.

Replace The Membrane

The membrane of your roof is the protective layer that keeps your roof safe from things like moisture getting into the roof, attic, or other areas of the building. When that moisture builds up in the structure of your building, it can cause substantial structural damage.

When the membrane becomes damaged – which can happen for various reasons, ponding water chief among them – it might be worth simply getting a new membrane for the roof. This is an option if the cost of replacing the roof is not an option.

Many membranes out there are meant to withstand ponding water, so it might be a blessing in disguise if you have to replace the membrane of your current roof with a more effective, modern version. An inspector will know how much ponding is acceptable on a flat roof.

Damaged Flat Roof Membrane

You can also perform preventative maintenance to ensure that the membrane stands the test of time. Bring in a roofing contractor to perform an inspection once or twice a year to ensure that the membrane is holding up and not worn or damaged in areas.

Compress Insulation

Another problem that can be combated with frequent inspections is compressed insulation, another potential cause of ponding water on your commercial roof. You can also have serious issues with your roof if that insulation is insufficient.

Compressed insulation is generally caused by heavy roofing equipment that rests on the insulation during installation. Also, repeated treading over the roof area can lead to indentations in your roof that can lead to pooling as well.

The message here is that you must ensure that the proper precautions are taken with the insulation and during any inspection processes. It is all too easy to damage the roof through these processes when some care could save you a lot of time and money.

Keeping your commercial business roof working optimally is one of the most important aspects of owning that building. That roof is the last line of defense you have from the elements, and it needs to work properly.

With preventative maintenance and a little attentiveness, you can keep your roof working the way it is meant to work. Don’t let ponding water become an issue for your business when you can use these tips to get rid of that pesky water.

Final Thoughts on Stopping Water Pooling on a Flat Roof

A flat roof comes with a lot of benefits. But there is one definitive downside to those flat roofs: pooling water. This is because flat roofs do not drain water as effectively as their pitched counterparts. Those pitched roofs have a natural slope where the water can run down, draining off the roof.

Because these roofs don’t drain water that well, they are prone to developing what is known as ponding water. Ponding water is known in the roofing community as water that stands in a puddle on the roof for more than 48 hours at a time.

There are several measures you can take to stop water pooling on a flat roof, including flushing the drains, adding more drain lines, installing roof crickets, and more.

4 Ice Dam Prevention Tips for Metal Roofs

Ice Dam

Key Ice Dam Prevention Tips

Minimize Warm Air: Identify and Seal Air Pathways To Your Attic

Measure Attic Insulation: Determine the R-Value of your Attic Insulation

Add Additional Floor Pads: Adding More Floor Pads Will Help Prevent Heat from Escaping

Ensure Ventilation: Ensure The Roof Includes Either Soffit Vents or One Foot of Gable Ventilation (or an Alternative Roof ventilation) Per 150 square feet of The Attic Floor

One winter issue that you may need to worry about, particularly if you have a metal roof, is what is known as an ice dam. An ice dam is where ice and water become trapped on a portion of the roof and catches any flowing water. This can be particularly bad for your roof.

Ice dams can cause a number of different issues for your metal roof. The water can get under the metal shingles, raising them up and leaking water down onto the roof below. This can cause heat loss as well as damage to your attic space as well as further structural damage to the wood surrounding that area.

What Causes Ice Dams to Form?

This occurs when the heat that is inside the house rises up to the attic space. There it continues to rise until it reaches the apex of the roof.

That warm air then warms up the top of the roof itself; this causes the snow that has built up there to melt, and that water runs down the surface of the roof.

When it reaches the colder edges that are at the bottom of the roof, that water then refreezes and forms a wall of ice (or a dam). That ice then traps additional water, causing icicles and additional ice and water to build up.

Preventing Ice Dams on Your Roof

So, what can you do to prevent those ice dams from building up and causing substantial damage to your metal roof over the winter? Here are a few helpful tips that can go a long way toward keeping your metal roof protected.

1) Minimize The Impact of Warm Air

The flowing of warm air really aids in the buildup of water, which then causes the ice dams to form. In order to prevent the ice dams from forming, you need to ensure that the warm air is kept to a minimum when flowing outward to the roof.

You can do this by first sealing the air leaks that can lead to the attic space. Locate those little pathways where the warm air can rise up inside the attic and make sure that they are properly insulated. This is an effective long-term solution to solving the ice dam problem that plagues so many metal roofs.

The first step is properly identifying those holes and then sealing them. You can use something like weather stripping to make sure that they are properly insulated and then make sure to seal all of the holes through which that warm air can escape into the attic.

2) Measure Attic Insulation

The next step is measuring your attic insulation so you can bring up the level of the attic floor if necessary. Most homes within a snow-belt zone will be required to have a level of attic insulation that is around R-49, as rated by Energy Star.

Older homes are generally not properly insulated, which means that you have to have additional floor insulation added to your home’s attic. To do this, you need to find out what the current level of insulation is in your attic.

You can grab a ruler and measure the height of the insulation in your attic and then multiply that height in inches by 3.14, and that will give you your attic’s current floor insulation R-Value.

If your level of insulation isn’t where it needs to be, you will have to purchase additional levels of energy-efficient floor insulation pads for your attic to ensure that it is properly insulated from the cold. This will help keep your roof from getting those annoying ice dam buildups.

Ice Dam Icicles

Icicles are just part of the problem with ice dams. You may have to buy floor insulation pads for your attic to insulate it from the cold.

3) Add Additional Attic Floor Pads

One of the most important things to do here is to ensure that you are not putting the insulation into corners where the attic floor and the roof walls wind up meeting.

This is because it can create something of a cold area near the edge of the roof; this can contribute to ice dam formation, and it can block the air in-flow as well.

That additional attic floor padding will help to properly insulate your roof so as to keep it protected and to keep that additional heat from escaping into the roof itself.

That additional insulation will go a long way towards preventing the buildup of ice and water, which leads to those pesky ice dams building up on your roof.

4) Ensure Proper Attic Ventilation

Next, make certain that your attic is also ventilated properly. First, you need to check to see if you have soffit vents installed. These are designed to drive cold air into the attic, and you will be in good shape if you have them.

If you don’t have soffit vents, then you will need to have gable vents installed as an alternative. Generally speaking, you want to have one foot of that gable ventilation or any alternative roof ventilation for every 150 square feet of your attic floor.

When you ensure that you have proper ventilation, you prevent the buildup of heat that can melt water and cause it to become trapped in areas of your roof, causing those troublesome ice dams to form.

It might be a bit of a hassle, but ensuring that those ice dams do not form can mean the difference between a properly functioning roof and one that can become damaged and cause issues with your roof.

Final Thoughts on Ice Dam Prevention

Prevent ice dams with these relatively easy steps, and you can ensure that your metal roof holds up during even the toughest of winters. The key points to remember are minimizing warm air, measuring attic insulation, adding more floor pads (if necessary), and ensuring proper attic ventilation.

What is The Lifespan of a Commercial Roof? (Updated for 2023)

Commercial Aluminum Roof

Key Takeaway

The lifespan of a commercial roof is between 10 and 40 years, with factors like climate and installation quality impacting its longevity.

The roof is one of the most overlooked yet essential portions of your commercial building. When it is working as it should, it is out of sight, out of mind. But when there are issues, you can’t help but notice them and nothing else.

Knowing how long you can expect your commercial roof to last can help you prepare for repairs or a replacement instead of operating out of panic. Roofing replacement or repair can cost quite a bit of money and is something that can be catastrophic without properly saving and planning.

How Long Should My Commercial Roof Last?

This obviously cannot be answered as several factors can play into the life of a commercial roof. It depends on when the roof was installed, how it has been maintained, what materials were used, the weather in your location, and other factors.

Generally speaking; however, a commercial roof can be expected to last anywhere from 10 to 40 years. Here are some of the materials that are typically used in the construction of a commercial roof.

How Roofing Materials Impact Longevity

While this isn’t the end-all, be-all list of materials used, these are the most common commercial roofing materials that are used and their expected lifespan:

  • Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer. This is known as EPDM and can have a lifespan in the range of 22 to 35 years.
  • Thermoplastic polyolefin. This is known as TPO, with a general life expectancy of 22 to 30 years.
  • Metal roofs have a general life span of 30 to 45 years.
  • Polyvinyl chloride. This is known as PVC and carries a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years.
  • Asphalt roofs have a life expectancy of 20 to 40 years.

The materials are just one aspect, though. Other factors play heavily into the life expectancy of a commercial roof.

Other Factors That Influence Commercial Roof Lifespan

When installing a commercial roof, these are just a few of the factors worth considering, as they can each play a large factor in the life of that roof. Again, these are based on expected life spans and are by no means a science. You could have all of these factors, and your roof could be fine for 40 years.


When you have a flat roof, it is far more likely that water will pool on the surface; this is just gravity at work (or not at work, in this case). When the water doesn’t flow down the roof and onto the ground, it will find its lowest point and stay there until it evaporates.

Low spots are often where the damage starts, and leaking is often the first sign of damage.


The installation process is perhaps the most important step. This is because any flaws that occur during the installation process can ultimately shorten the life span of any roof. It is essential that when you need a new roof installed that you choose a contractor that is reputable, well-qualified, and experienced.

Don’t automatically look for the cheapest option; it can be worth it to shell out a few more bucks to ensure that you get the necessary work done.


The attic space that lies just underneath the roof itself needs proper ventilation. This ventilation is key because it helps prevent moisture and heat build-up. This is especially important during the summer months when the hotter temperatures in the attic space and up on the roof will essentially bake the roofing materials.

That built-up moisture can ultimately lead to mold and rot, which can cause a whole other list of problems for your building.


Though it may seem like a huge hassle, routine maintenance and inspections on your roof can prevent those small problems from becoming far larger. It can be easy to neglect your roof, especially when there are issues.

It is imperative that you do not, under any circumstances, ignore those problems. They can lead to huge issues that can make your commercial building unsafe to be inside.

Weather & Climate

This is one of those factors that you kind of can’t help. Depending on the area that you live in, your building might be susceptible to higher winds, hail, heavy rains, or heavy snow. This kind of exposure to the elements can wear on a roof over a long period of time and really cut down on the expected life of a commercial roof.

Final Thoughts on Commercial Roof Longevity

When there are issues regarding the condition of your commercial roof, it is important to have a dependable roofer available. When there are issues with the roof, it can lead to huge problems and structural damage to the rest of your building. This is why it is important that you never, ever ignore problems that might be occurring with your roof.

The life of your commercial roof depends on all of the factors outlined above, each one having its own individual impact when it comes to the life of your commercial roof. Even though you can’t help things like weather and time, preventative measures can be taken to ensure that your commercial roof enjoys a long-lasting life. You can even take preventative measures yourself by simply checking your roof every once in a while to see if there are any leaks or damaged areas that might need attention.

The roof can feel like a hassle, especially when you know that there may be something wrong, but make sure that you take those steps to inspect the overall health of your roof. It is something you will be thankful that you did over time when you extend the lifespan of a commercial roof and hit those huge milestones instead of having to be replaced entirely.