Flat roofs tend to scare homeowners. If you have a home with a flat roof or are considering buying one, you may worry that the roof will inevitably leak and be difficult to maintain. Although flat roofs need good care, with the proper attention, they can last for years and be relatively trouble-free. If you have a flat roof in your life, proper maintenance will remove most of the difficulties you fear.


The biggest drawback of a flat roof is the debris that it collects. Since there is little or no pitch on a flat roof, leaves, twigs, and other deposits end up blocking the gutters and scuppers, which can lead to water backup. Standing water can work its way through your shingles and into your home. Climbing up onto the roof and sweeping away all the matter several times a year is an easy way to prevent this problem. Also, since the roof is flat, it is a safe activity. You can give the surface a good brushing and not worry about pitching onto the ground below.

Trim Tree Branches

When trees near to the roof get high enough to scrape the surface, they can crack shingles or even pry them loose. Simply trimming your trees or having them trimmed before they get too tall can make all the difference in protecting your roof.

Replace "Bad" Spots

When you are up on the roof, look for areas where the roofing material is "blistering or mushy." You can cut out these areas and replace them, correcting the problem without replacing the entire roof. If you do not feel competent to do so, call the contractor who originally installed your roof for a quick fix.

Snow and Ice

If your home experiences frequent snow and thaw cycles, you will want to check and make sure ice doesn't "dam" the snow melt, creating standing pools of water. Winter inspections are no fun, but taking a peek after a snow melt may prevent a leak problem before spring hits.

Flat roofs are affordable and easy to install. They also are quite durable as long as you give them regular inspections and maintenance. Keep the gutters clean and the drainage open, and most problems will not materialize. Make sure to have damaged areas replaced promptly, as well. If you have any concerns about your roof, check in with your roofing contractor for a professional opinion.