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Water drainage is essential to protect your commercial flat roof from damage, ponding water and leaks
How Does Water Drain Off A Flat Roof?
Commercial flat roofs will always require a specific drainage solution to properly evacuate water from its surface. Without proper drainage, standing water can accumulate and cause damage to your commercial roof, which can eventually affect the structure of the commercial building itself. Therefore, installing the best drainage solution for your commercial flat roof’s design will establish that your commercial property will be protected from water damage for years. Flat roofs are very popular on commercial buildings, however, in recent designs, they also have an appeal and an increased usage in residential homes. They have many benefits, for instance, flat roofs are more resistant to persistent environmental climates and can be used to increase your livable space. When it comes to flat roofs they require a different installation approach compared to other roofing systems. The reason being that the surface of the roof is prone to rainwater accumulation. This means that there can be an excessive amount of leaks and water damage if a drainage solution is not properly installed. A professional commercial roofing contractor will be able to help with all your flat roof needs, as well as recommend the best drainage solution for the property.
As we know, flat roofing requires a different approach which leads to the challenge of ensuring that there is proper drainage. Heavy rain, snow, sleet and hail are common forms of weather conditions that can have a damaging effect on your residential or commercial flat roof. The reason is that when each of these weather conditions lands on the roof it has nowhere to go, which ends up creating damages and leaks. Having a strong drainage solution in place is very important because if you don’t utilize a proper drainage solution, water will quickly pool on your roof and put unnecessary stress on your building’s foundational support. Flat roofs lack the gravitational drainage help that sloped roofs acquire. Flat roofs need a built-in drainage system to help remove moisture and debris. Poor drainage can lead to serious issues with flat roofing, from leaks to structural damage. There are several drainage solutions available for flat roofing systems and knowing what solution will work best for your commercial flat roof is critical.
By using interior drainage systems, the water that ends up on your roof will effectively be directed away from the flat roof. For the water to be directed to an appropriate drainage point, the internal drain pipes run through the ceiling and walls of your commercial property. The water will flow through the pipes to the ground below without causing any damage to the roof when the drainage system is put in place. Interior drainage is known to work well, placing drains across intervals near the middle of the roof that leads first inside, then through a series of gutters. It’s efficient at reducing the amount of accumulating water that would otherwise be trapped on the flat roof. Many may not realize that in order to prevent any debris from getting trapped inside an interior drain, the interior drainage system is equipped with strainers. The strainers need to be working properly and nothing should be able to get through. When it comes to cleaning exterior gutters it could be very time-consuming. Luckily because of your strainers, this can be avoided.
The most pleasing part of the interior drains is that they are hidden from the outside view of your buildings. This gives your property a seamless, cleaner and more attractive look that’s perfect for both residential homes and commercial buildings. However, while interior drains are stronger and more protected because they are located on the inside of the building, if anything happens, if anything does go wrong with them they can require more effort to solve an issue if something arises. Therefore, calling an experienced commercial roofing contractor is your best bet.
The benefits of this drainage system is that the walls and foundation are protected from water damage, while the pipe system that is used is protected by the roof and walls of the building. This reduces the risk of cracking or freezing of the pipes, and the interior drain systems are completely customizable to your project and by being hidden can improve the curb appeal of your home or commercial building. However, there should be some considerations when it comes to the disadvantages of this system. Interior drains are one of the most expensive flat roof drainage systems. The drains and pipes can easily become clogged with debris and require the installation of strainers in the drains in order to prevent the debris blockage. This also requires you to routinely check the system for debris buildup.
One of the most popular drainage systems for the average roofing system is guttering. Many roofs already have some form of gutter system already installed. It is the go-to solution when first considering drainage on a property. Gutters are able to catch rainwater as it rolls off the edge of the roof and diverts the water into a downspout that dispenses it a safe distance from the foundation of the building. This prevents the water from rolling off the roof uncontrolled and running down the side of the building which could damage the siding, windows, and foundation. Flat roofs need to be pitched or sloped towards the gutters to be effective.
There are a couple of disadvantages to using gutters on flat roofs. Gutters need consistent cleaning throughout the year because of the gathered debris that can block the flow of the water. If this debris is not cleared out, the water will overflow and run down the side of the building. Gutters are also susceptible to damage from severe weather, ice, and heavy debris. Sometimes, even with a raised pitch directing water towards the gutters, there can be adhesive or tar build-up near the edges of the roof that prevent the positive flow of water into the gutters. This can cause water to accumulate and pool on the rooftop, which can be detrimental to your roof’s health. It is important to weigh these disadvantages against the low cost of gutters before making a final decision.
Roof scuppers are similar to gutters in that they’re installed on the edge of your roof, however, the way they work is a bit different. Unlike gutters, which collect water and lead it out through a downspout, scuppers work to primarily expel water out away from the roof. They’re a bit longer and more strongly angled downwards so that gravity helps to push the water off your roof with the momentum needed to keep the walls and siding dry. This momentum also ensures that the foundation of your building isn’t exposed to excessive amounts of water.
The benefits of flat roof scuppers are that they are cost-effective, easy to maintain, large/wide scuppers rarely (if ever) get clogged by debris, and well-designed scuppers can enhance the aesthetics of the home or commercial building
While scuppers are generally one of the best drainage solutions for flat roofs, there are some disadvantages to take into account. Any downspouts that are installed below the scuppers for drainage are vulnerable to clogs and must be checked regularly for debris. Scuppers can also be ineffective for heavy rain and snowmelt, and they are far less effective on a flat roof with little to no pitch to guide the water to the edges. Scuppers must be cleverly designed for the best effect.
Tapered roof insulation is an efficient way to eliminate ponding water on a flat roof. It can easily be cut, fit and installed in a way that moves ponding water towards the existing drains, scuppers or gutters. However, tapered insulation is not cheap. Adding a tapered insulation package will substantially increase the price of your flat roofing project. If your commercial roof lacks proper drainage slope, tapered insulation may be the answer. The purpose-cut insulation effectively directs water to the drains and keeps it from ponding at various points along the way. The insulation can be installed as needed to keep your flat roof drains operating effectively year after year. The four-way tapered insulation system is most popular for commercial low slope or flat roofs, but the two-way tapered insulation may also be taken into consideration. You can work with an experienced local commercial roofing contractor to find the best-tapered insulation design.