Not all roofs are created equal, and this is especially true when comparing commercial flat roofs to the type of sloped or pitched roofs found in residential roofing. Flat roofs are the most common roofs found in industrial and commercial buildings.


Even if you know everything there is to know about how a sloped residential roof works, a flat roof is fundamentally different and has completely different needs. Rather than asphalt shingles, flat roofs typically use either tar and gravel or protective membranes to prevent water and air infiltration.


Our commercial roof repair contractors at A-Plus Roofing in Burnsville specialize in installing and maintaining commercial flat roof membranes. In this post, we’ll discuss some of the most common causes of commercial roof damage and how we can help protect your roof when they occur.

1. Inadequate Maintenance

The main reason for commercial roof damage is perhaps the most predictable. A commercial flat roof can last many years when it's adequately maintained. This is especially true when a commercial business schedules regular seasonal inspections and maintenance.


However, one of the most common causes of commercial flat roof damage is lack of maintenance. This is especially common with gravel roofs where the roofing materials are often displaced due to the elements and unable to protect the roofing material below.

2. Impact Damage

Strong winds and summer storms can hit hard in Minnesota. The impact of falling trees and debris can take a toll on a commercial flat roof over time.


Using our infrared inspection, we can identify areas of concern where water or air infiltration might occur due to previous impacts.

3. Weak Spots Around the Chimney and Exhaust

The pipes and vents on a commercial flat roof are important in maintaining a building’s exhaust and plumbing. However, they also represent weak spots on a roof.


For commercial flat roofs that use tar sealant rather than a membrane, they need to be checked each year.

4. Natural Aging

When flat roofs have a protective membrane such as TPO covering them, they’re almost indestructible. However, flat gravel roofs are subject to the natural aging process.


So if your roof has an aging tar and gravel roof, it might be time to upgrade to a durable membrane option.

5. Installation Issues

Unprofessional or wrong flat roof installation could lead to roof damage. Flat roofs require expert skills to get the installation done properly. Poor installation could lead to leaks and other roof issues.


Sometimes, damages from installation issues are hardly detected early enough. This is partly because flat roofs are mainly used on commercial buildings, which are used mainly during office hours.


For roof damage resulting from installation issues, you should seek the services of a commercial roof contractor for expert repairs.

6. Loose Collars or Flashing

Flashing is meant to deflect water from some roof areas such as HVAC, drains, and vent pipes. When the flashing on a flat roof gets weak, it loses the ability to perform optimally, leading to water damage.


To avoid flashing-induced roof damage, you should pay attention to your roof elements like pitch pans, flashing joints, and pipe boots. These are areas of the roof surrounding penetrations and can easily cause roof damage if not properly cared for.

How Frequently Should a Flat Roof be Inspected?

Plan to have your flat roof inspected by a professional at least once a year. But, as a precautionary measure, you can also perform occasional visual checks on your flat roof.


The professional inspection should ideally be performed in the fall, before the arrival of Minnesota’s harsh winters.

Your Flat Roof Inspection Checklist

The following things should make up your flat roof inspection checklist:


  • Check for leaks
  • Look for obvious surface deterioration
  • Look for blocked drains
  • Verify any obstructed HVAC vents
  • Look for fungus or mold
  • Examine the structure inside for any damage

Contact our Rubber Membrane and Commercial Roof Installation in Minneapolis

If your commercial business is located in a facility with a commercial flat roof, protecting that roof is key to protecting your business. Investing in a protective membrane such as a Duro-Last roof will help protect your roof against winter weather, extreme temperatures, mold, and UV damage.


At A-Plus Roofing, we service and install TPO, Duro-Last, and rubber membranes on commercial flat roofs. We can also use our infrared technology to determine if your roof is damaged or require repair. Speak with a member of our team at 952.894.5435 or contact us to schedule your flat roof inspection.