All About Roofers Press News

What are common problems with built-up roofing?

Aug 23

Whether obvious or not, roof problems can be a significant expense and a hassle. Roof repair roofers analysed our records to determine which roof problems were most prevalent and what conditions could lead to premature failure or reduced service life. 


This guide is not intended to be a diagnostic tool but rather an informational list of the most common problems managers and building owners face.


Roof leaks can happen with any roof. There are many reasons why leaks might occur. BURs can experience leaks from flashing details not properly fastened during installation. A BUR system can lead to problems for owners. Ninety-five percent of leaks are at flashing details, where the membrane is terminated or disrupted.


Also, we have found that torch-applied modified bitumen roofs can leak from flashing 7not correctly installed. Mod bit installation problems such as inadequate head or backwater laps can also allow for moisture infiltration. If the roof field is not installed in a way that allows water to flow into the lap, water can seep under the membrane. 


Backwater laps can lead to roof failure, leaks, and blisters. Modified bitumen roofs that are cold-applied can be prone to moisture infiltration. Also, poor storage practices can lead to roof leaks and adhesive failure.


Poor seams on single-ply membrane roofs can lead to leaks. Single-ply membrane roofs must have strong seams. If you don't have them, you won't have any. The membranes will retain water. Single-ply roofs should have their seams properly heat-welded.


Failing to install a roof system can dramatically increase the chance of problems and decrease life expectancy. Poor quality is one of the most common problems and causes of roof problems. Installing a BUR system can prove challenging if you don't make the necessary preparations. Crews who do not allow the sheets to relax before installing torch-applied mod bits can cause problems.

A quality installation requires material preparation. Installing sheets that aren't relaxed or installed at the wrong temperature can cause wrinkles, fish mouths, and contraction of sheets or blisters.


There are many reasons not to neglect your roof, including business continuity and financial reasons. A lack of education is one of the significant problems in roofing. To prevent warranty voiding, certain maintenance levels are necessary. Routine inspections are necessary. 

Routine inspections are necessary to identify and address apparent problems such as ponding water, vegetation growth, or a piece missing from the base flashing. Resolving minor issues before they become significant problems will increase roof life and reduce headaches and costs. 


A common problem with all types of roofs is what we call "incidental ponding." This is water removed from the roof and has a better chance of functioning as it should. Tapered insulation or crickets should be used to enhance the dead-level roof's slope. 

BUR and asphalt-based mod bit roofs can be damaged by UV rays combined with ponding water. Hot bituminous roofs require careful mopping. Incorrect mopping can cause voids in the membrane and block drains. This can lead to ponding water that damages the roof.

Be aware that roof repairs should not be made in haste. HVAC units that do not have condensate drain lines may be the cause. Roof Repair Pittsburgh inspects every HVAC unit thoroughly before any repairs to ensure we treat the symptoms and the source.


Foot traffic damage can cause problems for all owners, but it is more common for single-ply systems. High-traffic areas can pose a problem for punctures. Roofers like to create walkways and extra layers of membrane.

Heavy construction traffic and scrapes can also cause punctures and cuts to the membrane. This can lead to premature roof membrane problems and could void your warranty.

If proper precautions are not taken, any roof system's performance can be compromised by adding new equipment or penetrations to an existing roof. Adding or removing penetrations from a metal roof can be catastrophic. Sometimes, you are left with a compromise and much more caulking and sealants. Metal roofs move a lot. Metal roofs move a lot. You will probably have problems if you don't have the caulking to fix it.