Thursday, March 26, 2009

What happens if we ignore roof leaks for some time?

Once a flat roof starts leaking, the inside damages will span from stained ceilings in the best case scenario to thousands of dollars in damages. Falling sheet-rock, electrical system damages, popping hardwoods and destroyed carpets, damaged furniture and home goods; these are only some of the outcomes of those leaks. Patching these leaky roofs may seem like the best solution, and the cheapest way out, but in reality, it usually proves to be the worst solution. Consider the following: the cost of patching the roof + fixing whatever damages the leak caused to the interior. Then, in 3-9 months, depending on the type of roof covering and quality of the patch work (which by the way, no contractor will ever warranty or uphold), your roof starts leaking again - maybe in the same place, maybe in a different one, but the process is irreversible. Patch is only a temporary fix and usually won't last, the roof will keep on leaking, and every time you patch it, you through away your money.

Majority of flat roof systems were not 'designed' with repairs in mind - best you could do to repair a flat roof was to pour some tar on the leaky spot. In fact, tar was pretty much the only feasible option. Unfortunately, after a short period of time you had to fix it again, as tar would dry up, crack and let the water in. New leaks would form elsewhere. So it was a constant repair, until a new leak begins and more money is spent. Such repairs are a perfect example of sunk costs, which cannot be recovered, and the fix lasts only a short period of time. After a series of such repairs, the owner would get sick & tired of it, and get a 'new' roof. Maybe a different type of flat roof, which unfortunately had the same inherited problems as the old one, but carried a different name and was made of different materials. Seems like a very sad situation for somebody with such a roof, doesn't it?

Many people are faced with a choice to either continue this cycle for the lack of other options, or to build a pitched frame roof with asphalt shingles on top of their flat roof and be done with it. However there are two problems involved here. First one - such an 'upgrade' is very costly and you would still have to re-shingle your roof every 12 to 15 years. The second one is more complex. While it might be pretty straight-forward process if you have a small, rectangular house, that is not always the case. Many houses have odd shapes, multiple levels and mixed pitched and flat roofs. Now, if you have a 200' x 100' factory, that task becomes extremely difficult to implement, and I will not even try to guess the costs involved.

Roof Leaks, Roof Repair, Roof Coatings, Liquid Roof

1 comment:

Brent said...

You can have your flat roof imaged and you will know where all the water damage is plus the leak without having to replace the whole roof.