Apartment Roofs: What You Need to Know

Snow, storm, sun, and wind all take their toll on your apartment roof, be it flat or sloped. For condo and apartment building managers, maintaining an up-to-date, safe roof is a job of its own. You must consistently assess an apartment roofs condition, identify any issues that need to be addressed, and keep up with regular maintenance.

Flat roofs, specifically, need special attention because in the Durham Region or anywhere in Canada for that matter, the angle isn’t steep enough for snow to slide off easily. Water can also pool in places on the roof and cause wear and tear issues. Whether it’s maintenance or even just apartment tenants, the underlying surface is subjected to extra wear and tear, adding to the need for routine maintenance. If left unchecked, flat apartment roofs can suffer from leaks, water damage, and other structural issues.

Looking for a flat roof specialist for your apartment or condominium? We do flat roofs in our sleep!

Non-Negotiable Roof Maintenance Routines

No matter what kind of apartment roof you have, there are non-negotiable maintenance routines that must be followed. These include:

  • Regularly inspecting the roof for any signs of deterioration, such as cracks, blisters, or tears.
  • Checking the flashing and sealants around chimneys, vents, and other fittings where water may collect.
  • Checking gutters and downspouts for proper drainage.
  • Cleaning the apartment roof of debris, such as leaves and twigs.
  • Repairing any damage from storms or other events.
  • Sealing any cracks or holes that may lead to water leaking through the roof.
  • Inspecting the roof for signs of pests or animals that may be living on it.
  • Checking for any signs of mould, mildew, or fungus growth.
  • Ensuring proper ventilation of the roof to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Replacing any metal fasteners or flashing that may be loose or corroded.
  • Coating the roof with a sealant or protective layer to prevent further damage.
  • Checking for any accumulated water that may be pooling on the roof.
  • Making sure that all drains are clear and unblocked.
  • Remove any mildew or moss that may have accumulated.
  • Keeping records of all maintenance and repairs performed on the apartment roof.
An apartment roof in the sunset

Maintaining a roof may cost some money upfront, but it is often cheaper than extensive repairs or replacements that may be necessary down the line. When you prioritize regular maintenance and invest in quality materials, you will not only extend the life of your apartment roof, but you’ll also ensure the safety and comfort of all those within.

Signs Your Condo Roof Needs Replacement

You may not give much thought to your condo roof until something goes wrong. But, as a homeowner, you must stay mindful of the condition of your roof, as it is the first line of defence against the elements. When you fail to do timely maintenance and repair, you may have to replace the roof altogether. Some signs that your condo roof needs replacing include the following:

1. Age:

The average lifespan of a flat roof is between 15 to 25 years, but this depends on the quality, materials used, and installation. As the roof approaches its expected lifespan, indications of age and wear may begin to appear. This includes cracking, bubbling, or blistering of the roof’s membrane, which indicates the need for repair or replacement. 

If you’re unsure about the age of your roof, it may be wise to consult a professional. CD Roofing can provide a detailed inspection of your roof and let you know if it needs to be replaced.

2. The flashing is separating from the Roof

Flashing is a thin sheet of metal used to protect vulnerable areas of your roof, including where it meets walls, skylights, chimneys, and other roofing structures. If the flashing is separating from the roof, it could indicate a more significant underlying issue. This could be due to improper installation, age, or weather conditions.

3. Pooling water

When the material used to waterproof the roof begins to shrink, it creates gaps in the roof’s membrane that can cause puddles to form. This not only increases the risk of leakage but can also compromise the integrity of the roof as a whole. Regular pooling after rain or snowfall is a sure sign the roof needs repair or replacement.

4. Water spots on the interior ceiling

Maybe you’ve seen water spots on your apartment ceiling and thought it was just a one-off occurrence of condensation from the aircon system. But the spots have become larger and extremely discolored. Large spots indicate there are leaks, and when there is a significant amount of water that’s getting in, roof replacement may be the best option.

5. Sagging or Dips

If you’re up on the roof for inspection and see any sagging, dips, or low points in the roof, it could mean that the decking has rotted or been compromised. This is an indication that water has gotten to the underlying structure, and repairs won’t be enough. A roof replacement is likely the only solution in this case.

For pitched roofs, some signs that indicate a roof needs replacement include:

  • extensive algae growth
  • deteriorated shingles
  • missing or curling shingles
  • cracking seals
  • granules in gutters
  • loose fasteners
  • visible light from inside the apartment
  • rotting roof boards
  • blistering or cracking of materials
  • missing flashing and vent covers
red and white flat roof condos
Image by Christopher Amend from Pixabay

Why Do Most Buildings Have Flat Roofs?

1. Usable space

Flat roofs are the ideal choice for apartment and condominium buildings as they offer a large, usable space. It provides an area that can be used to mount electronic equipment such as air conditioning units or satellite dishes. They are ideal for owners who want to create a rooftop garden, playing ground or lounge area.

2. Less Expensive

Flat roofs are generally cheaper than pitched roofs, making them a great option for apartment buildings where the budget is of utmost importance. They take less time to install as they require fewer materials and involve less labour.

3. Flat roofs aren’t really flat

It might be easy to assume that flat roofs are completely level, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, they are slightly pitched to allow drainage of water and snowmelt.  This angle is typically 1 to 10 degrees, making it unnoticeable from the ground.

Final Thoughts…

Maintaining apartment roofs can be a difficult task, but with regular inspections and maintenance, it can be done. Paying attention to signs that indicate your roof may need repair or replacement can save you time, energy, and money in the long run. 

At CD Roofing, we are experts in apartment roofs, from repair to maintenance, and replacement. Schedule an appointment with our team today, and let us help you ensure your apartment building has a strong, durable roof.