Problems, Improvements and Insulation
Introduction to Independent Surveyors
1stAssociated.co.uk can provide help and advice with regard to building surveys, structural surveys, independent valuations, property surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects report, home buyers reports or any other property matters. As you can see from this flat roof article we use lots of sketches and photos as our clients have told us that the sketches and photos help them understand the reports. We, of course, like to meet you at the property during the survey and we are more than happy to talk to you about your property report. Please free phone 0800 298 5424 for a friendly chat.
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Flat roofs and flat roof problems
Are Flat Roofs getting better or are we just getting used to them?
Over the years the good news is that since the 1950's/1960's when flat roofs first started to appear in abundance we have got much better at producing materials for flat roofs however the bad news is that there is increasing pressure on tradesmen to work faster and faster and like many of the building trades, we don't come across roofers who have done proper time served apprenticeships very often. Having said that, we believe that flat roofs are generally becoming less problematic, we no longer expect to find problems when we get on a large flat roof.
Problems that we do come across when surveying flat roofs tend to relate to the following areas:
Original flat roofs
You may also find the following articles of interest:
Traditional cold felt flat roofs
Modern traditional cold felt flat roof construction
Modern flat roofs or warm roofs
Other types of modern flat roofs
As time progresses there seems to be more choice with regards to flat roofs. Some of the flat roof materials that we have seen in action are:
1. Mono-ply system which is a single rubber type roof very popular with developers
2. Fibreglass which is very popular with some roofing contractors
3. Rubber roof, older style
Difficult to view flat roofs
Photos of difficult to view flat roofs
Finding the leak
Unfortunately on older style flat roofs where they have had a felt and then a shingle covering it is very hard to see where the flat roof leak is when carrying out a survey. In this particular case we had to remove all the shingle before we can even see the flat roof felt and only then are we able to see a split in the flat roof. We had already made the decision to re-roof the entirety of the flat roof area.
Repairs to Asphalt roofs
We will cover this in a more in-depth Article.
Other problems with flat roofs
During this survey it became apparent that there were damp walls in the property. In this particular case although it looked like the render was causing the main dampness as it had come away, the biggest problem was where the roof was flat and had started to be absorbed into the wall. It was so flat in fact that moss was growing on that part of the roof.
You won't believe how many people use flat roofs as storage areas!
Flat roofs have improved?
Undoubtedly we believe that flat roofs are improving and manufacturers are getting to understand materials a lot better. As such we have modern high performance felts and also insulation being added to help thermal efficiency
Flat roofs and insulation
Traditional flat roof construction consists of a ceiling joist with a decking on top of it and then the felt being applied to this. You would of course have ceiling plaster below it but effectively it is only about 30mm to 50mm of material between you and the outside world. With the addition of insulation you can have various depths. In this case we were limited to 50mm by the detail with the pitched roof so in this case the insulation is 50mm thick so you can see you are doubling the thickness of material and in this instance you are adding a dense closed cell insulation which should reduce the loss of heat through the roof considerably.
We would comment that the jury is still out as to how successful flat roofs and insulation are. During our surveys we have come across instances where water has got past the felt and the protective roof covering and has got into the insulation and the insulation has become soft. With an insulated roof you now have the traditional ceiling joists, a decking, the insulation, a second decking and then the felt and of course again, the ceiling plaster.
You may sometimes see a vent in a flat roof or commonly you see vents to the perimeter of a flat roof. This is due to the increased heat that the properties have inside them and interstitial condensation being caused within the roof which will eventually rot it. To minimise this air ventilation is added.
Interstitial condensation defined
Condensation within the structure.
Vent to prevent dampness
Our final comment would be that often a good flat roof can be ruined by a poor quality flashing and poor detailing around the chimney or a parapet wall or a flue. We would also recommend lead flashings wherever possible. Unfortunately in the adjoining photo, whilst the felt work is fairly good the flashing is in felt.
Flue on new mineral felt flat roof
Felt roof with ponding and rucking
Can you spot what's wrong with this roof?
If you truly do want an independent expert opinion from a building surveyor we are happy to do valuations, building surveys, structural surveys, structural reports, engineers reports, specific defects reports, home buyers reports or any other property matters. Please contact us on 0 800 298 5424 to have a free of charge friendly chat with one of our surveyors.
We feel our surveys are quite unique, as they are written to your level of knowledge. The surveys include photos and sketches and definitions. The survey will also include an action required section and an estimate of costs in the executive summary. We are more than happy to meet you at the property whilst carrying out the survey to discuss any specific issues you may have or have a general chat about what we have found at the end of the survey.
If you are looking for commercial property, whether it is freehold or leasehold, we would recommend a survey as this will prevent dilapidations claims in the long run. You may wish to look at our Dilapidations Website at www.DilapsHelp.com and for Disputes go to our Disputes Help site www.DisputesHelp.com , both of which we have been advised are very helpful!
We hope you found the article of use and if you have any experiences that you feel should be added to this article that would benefit others, or you feel that some of the information that we have put is wrong then please do not hesitate to contact us (we are only human).
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