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How Does a Flat Roof Drain? Understanding the Basics

How Does a Flat Roof Drain? Understanding the Basics



As a property owner, you may be familiar with the basics of roofing — but do you know the ins and outs of how a flat roof drains? A functioning drainage system is essential to maintaining your building’s integrity and protecting it from potential damage.

That’s why understanding how a flat roof works will help you better maintain your property.

Flat Roof Drain

Here is flat roof draining explained by Colony Roofers. But before anything else, let’s understand what a flat roof is.

What is a Flat Roof?

A flat roof is a roofing system with a very slight slope or no slope. It is typically used on commercial properties but can also be found on residential buildings.

The primary benefit of a flat roof is its ease and low-cost maintenance. There are various flat roof systems, including built-up roofs, single-ply membrane roofs, and modified bitumen membranes.

Also Read: When Should I Schedule Deep Carpet Cleaning?

Why Is Draining Important For Flat Roofs?

Unfortunately, the design of flat roofs makes them susceptible to water pooling, resulting in leaks and other damages. This happens because they lack a slope, thus preventing gravity from carrying the water away.

For this reason, flat roofs must be equipped with a drainage system capable of removing all the water that accumulates on the roof.

How Does a Flat Roof Drain?

Now that you understand the importance of drainage let’s talk about how flat roofs drain. Here are the most common drainage systems:

  • Gutters

Similar to pitched roofs, a flat roof can be equipped with gutters. These collect water from the roof’s edges, channeling it to the downspouts that will move it away from the building. Before going for this drainage option, understanding its Pros and cons is essential.

Pros of Gutters on Flat Roofs

– They are relatively inexpensive compared to other alternatives

– They can direct water away from the building, preventing damage caused by pooling

– They are easy to install

Cons of Gutters on Flat Roofs

– Are susceptible to clogging, potentially leading to overflows, leaks, and damage.

– May require frequent maintenance. Otherwise, they can pull away from the fascia boards, causing leaks and roof rot.

  • Scuppers

Scuppers are a popular choice for flat roofs, as they can be designed to fit any size or shape of the roof. Essentially, these are outlets in parapet walls that allow water to flow off the roof and directly away from the building.

Scuppers are frequently linked to downspouts to channel water away from the property.

Pros of Scuppers on Flat Roofs

– Provide efficient drainage.

– Cost-effective.

– Easy to maintain and rarely clog.

Cons of Scuppers on Flat Roofs

– Are ineffective during heavy storms.

– Their downspouts require regular maintenance.

  • Interior Drains

Interior drains are another common flat roof draining system. This consists of a system of pipes below the roof’s surface that removes water from the roof and drains it away from the building.

This type of drainage system is common in large buildings but can also be found in residential buildings.

Pros of Interior Drains on Flat Roofs

– Due to their interior location, pipes in interior drains are protected from severe weather.

– They can be customized to enhance a home’s curb appeal.

– Effective in preventing water from pooling on the roof.

Cons of Interior Drains on Flat Roofs

-More costly to install compared to other flat roof drainage solutions.

– More costly maintenance.

-Requires regular maintenance to prevent clogging in the system.

Also Read: What You Should Know About Water Damage?

Which Drainage System is Right for Your Flat Roof?

When correctly installed, any of the three solutions discussed above can work. However, the ideal solution for your flat roof will depend on several factors, including your budget. It is best to consult a professional who can evaluate your needs and help you choose the right system for your specific situation.

Ultimately, having the right drainage system in place is essential for protecting your flat roof and ensuring it can last for years.

Flat roofs are pretty common for commercial buildings and now, even residential homes. If you are considering a flat roof for your property, drainage is a crucial factor to consider. It’s also important to carry out regular maintenance and inspections on your roof’s drainage system.

Leaving dirt, debris, and animal droppings to accumulate in your drainage system can render it useless and compromise the integrity of your flat roof.

But with the basics discussed above and qualified roofing contractors by your side, you can enjoy all the benefits of a flat roof minus the buzzkills

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