• When is the best time to upgrade your flat roof?

    June 16 2017

    The answer to this is not ‘when it’s leaking!’ The key to taking care of any roof is regular surveys and inspections. If your flat roof is a GRP (Glass Reinforced Polyester) construction, like Topseal Direct Lay, then the chances are that it will last you for over 20 years and will be virtually maintenance free. If your flat roof is made from traditional materials such as Asphalt or Felt, then it is more likely that it will need regular inspections and ongoing maintenance.

    Here Allan Frizzell, our Technical Manager, gives his top tips on the best time to upgrade or replace your roof.

    1. Before the winter sets in…

    There’s nothing worse than getting into the colder, wetter months and finding lots of problems with your roof. Autumn is the most likely time when some flat roofs can be damaged by storms, either by flying roof tiles, branches or lose masonry dislodged during a gale. It is a good idea to check the roof after a storm to see if there are any foreign materials, such as roof tile and masonry. If there are, then you need to closely inspect if it has damaged the waterproof covering. Sometimes, even a microscopic hole in this covering, which is invisible to the naked eye, can let water into the roof structure, so you may need a detailed survey.

    Business owners and building occupants are often reluctant to completely refurbish a flat roof as the perception is that it will be costly, inconvenient and may mean the building will be ‘out of bounds’ for some time until the work is completed. This can cause difficulties for schools because the flat roof might be a main building or teaching area and simply can’t be taken out of service during term time.

    However, with innovative new GRP systems like Topseal Direct Lay, the issue of inconvenience is taken away as the new roof can simply be laid over an existing flat roof. This means that the building can remain fully operational throughout the replacement and there is minimal inconvenience to the building’s occupants. It is particularly important if the building is required for use by members of the public – for example, health and leisure facilities often have flat roofs, as do schools and council offices.

    2. Before a flat roof starts leaking in several places…

    Facilities managers should view any aged flat roof that has an asphalt or bitumen covering as a potential issue and have a plan in place to upgrade it before it leaks. If regular inspections on these kinds of roofs are not carried out it often leads to serious leaks that have the potential to be more costly than carrying out an upgrade. If a flat roof is leaking in one area, then repair and maintenance could be an option. At this stage, maintenance managers should carry out a survey of the roof condition, this includes looking at any damage to the surface covering, such as holes, tears and worn areas. And it is often not the oldest flat roofs that can have the most problems.

    If a flat roof has not been installed properly, or has a lot of foot traffic, it can dramatically reduce the life expectancy of the waterproof covering. Surveying the condition of the roof will allow you to evaluate whether the damage can be easily and inexpensively repaired and whether by carrying out the repair this will provide a long term solution to the problem – rather than a temporary fix. If a roof looks to have a problem in more than one area, then it would be worth considering a refurbishment roof covering.

    3. Before you spend a lot on maintenance….

    You need to make sure that money spent on roof repairs and maintenance is allocated wisely. The cost of constant maintenance to a roof can become expensive when you factor in both labour and materials.

    Maintenance teams, particularly for local authorities, report that roof repair is one of the major cost and time burdens, especially during the winter months, resulting in constant call-outs, even after repairs have been carried out. This can easily run into thousands of pounds of lost time and expense every year.

    If you do decide on a refurbishment flat roof covering, then one of the major advantages of Topseal Direct Lay system is that we provide a complete supply and installation service.

    This means we have a network of fully trained, competent installers who we recommend to carry out the work - and their workmanship and performance comes with a 20 year guarantee.

    If you would like a free no-obligation quotation for your flat roof, simply call a member of our technical team on 08000 831 094 or visit the website www.topsealdirectlay.co.uk

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