Flat Roof Maintenance Guide for Winter

From ice to rainwater ponding, winter weather can cause all kinds of problems for flat roofs in Pontefract. Whether you live in a character property or a modern build, unexpected leaks are the last thing you want during the cold winter months.

Maintenance is the key to avoiding flat roof issues and keeping your home warm, dry and energy efficient all winter long. Live in a house with a flat roof? Read on for our expert tips on how to stay on top of flat roof maintenance throughout the winter.

A quick guide to flat roof materials

Before we get stuck into maintenance tips let’s take a moment to spotlight some of the different materials you might find on your flat roof.

Roofing felt

Roofing felt is a budget-friendly option that’s found on many flat roofs in the UK. It consists of a foundation layer which is covered with a protective bituminous substance.

There are also ‘high-performance’ options available that are a little more durable. These are sometimes known as built-up flat roofing, as they have additional layers.

However, any kind of roofing felt is going to be quite high maintenance because the material is not particularly long-lasting.

GRP fibreglass

On the other hand, there are more long-term solutions like GRP fibreglass. Short for glass-reinforced plastic, this material is highly durable and resistant to weather. That includes not only rainwater, but also extreme temperatures like the cold of winter and the high heat from direct sunlight in summer.

These options do require some maintenance, which this article covers. But fortunately, you’ll find it’s a case of simple inspections and small upkeep jobs, rather than continual repairs to keep your roof functioning properly.

Why winter maintenance matters

Flat roofs come with a unique set of challenges, especially in the winter when Pontefract is pelted with rain, wind and occasional snow. Roof issues can quickly lead to serious structural damage, which is why it’s so important to stay on top of maintenance.

In most cases, a proactive approach to maintenance can help prevent major issues. If you do run into trouble, problems should be addressed as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Top flat roof maintenance tips

To keep your flat roof in prime condition and ensure it continues to perform throughout the winter, here are some essential maintenance tips:

Clear debris

Debris can quickly build up on flat roofs, which can block drainage systems and lead to water pooling. Both these scenarios can cause leaks. Prevent this issue by regularly removing leaves, branches and other debris from your flat roof.

Inspect for existing damage

Before winter sets in take the time to visually inspect your flat roof for any signs of damage. This could include cracks, blisters or loose seams. If you see any issues, it’s best to get them checked out by a professional roofing company.

Check flashing and seals

Flashing is a key component of any roof and designed to prevent water from seeping into vulnerable areas such as joints, chimneys and vents. It is typically made from thin, weather-resistant materials like metal – usually aluminium, copper or galvanised steel. Flashing can also be made from synthetic materials. Damaged flashing can cause leaks, so it’s important to keep it in good condition, especially during the wet winter months.

Monitor for leaks

Visible signs like dripping water or water stains on your ceiling are telltale signs your flat roof needs TLC. Act fast to prevent extensive damage. This is particularly important given that rainwater expands when it freezes. If the temperature drops, ice could make existing cracks worse through continual freeze-thaw action.

Consider snow removal

While heavy snowfall is relatively rare in Pontefract, it’s always a possibility. Snow can put extra pressure on flat roofs and cause all kinds of issues, from structural stress to the formation of ice dams. Some homeowners feel confident using a roof rake to remove heavy snow, especially around the roof edges and gutters. Others may prefer to call in a professional roofing company, especially after heavy snowfall.

Trim tree limbs and branches

Overhanging tree limbs can pose a risk during winter storms and potentially cause damage to your flat roof. Before the worst of the winter weather arrives consider trimming branches that extend over your roof. This will also help minimise debris like leaves and twigs.

Check any protrusions

It’s especially important to check areas where fixtures protrude from your flat roof. We’re talking about flues, chimneys or even skylights. Flat roofs are especially prone to leaks as water can pool around seals and flashing. A quick inspection is the best way to assess the condition of your skylights and determine if they’re winter ready.

Schedule a professional inspection

A professional inspection allows you to take a proactive, as opposed to reactive, approach to flat roof maintenance. Instead of waiting for problems to arise and then act, experts will help you identify and fix issues before they cause problems.

For example, a professional roofing company can advise on how regularly you need to clean your gutters. This will prevent blockages and leaks down the line, which inevitably cost more to fix than a simple gutter inspection and clean.

Call your local roofing experts

West Yorkshire winters can be beautiful, but it’s essential to take precautions to protect your flat roof from the elements. Whether you’re considering a simple flat roof inspection or something more technical like a repair, replacement or new installation, DPR Roofing is here to help.

We have the knowledge and expertise to ensure your flat roof remains in great condition and continues to perform throughout the winter. Call us on 01977 220016 or email [email protected] for an inspection and quote.