Belzona International explain why polymeric membranes are increasingly displacing traditional materials used for the repair of flat roofs.
There are plenty of reasons why the flat roof is the predominant style for many industrial and commercial properties around the world.
Primarily, they are one of the least expensive options for roofing which is an important consideration when large surface areas (including the tops of high-rise blocks) are involved.
Flat roofs are also often associated with a more modern aesthetic.
Additionally, they allow for easy access and location of equipment and HVAC plant - which aides future maintenance and repair work.
However, keeping any type of roof watertight and well preserved can be a difficult task, and flat roofs often present additional problems.
When flat roofs have an insufficient drainage gradient this can encourage water to collect in pools and produce undesirable outcomes associated with weathering, vegetation growth, corrosion, and ultimately water ingress through vulnerable roof sections. It has been posited that 90 per cent of a roof’s problems can be attributed to only 10 per cent of its area - and, notably, joints, seams, glazing bars, skylights and gutters.
Any impact is exacerbated by the inevitable movement of buildings -whether it is caused by thermal expansion, contraction, or wind, as it often manifests in these weaker areas and causes gaps or lips which remain exposed and unprotected.
Repairing flat roofs safely and without causing further damage can therefore become a difficult task involving re-covering which in turn often results in additional problems associated with the need to deploy heavy equipment or flamework applications, long application times, and even potentially dangerous working environments.
Common repair options will also often involve the use of materials that are suitable for large applications but difficult to apply to irregularly shaped surfaces (typically, single-ply membranes); and materials which are specifically designed for application in small, complicated areas but compromise adhesiveness (for example, roof tape).
More sophisticated, contemporary roof repair methodologies include the deployment of polymeric membrane systems that will often be tailored for different climates and environments and prioritise any combination of weatherproofing, waterproofing or UV-shielding properties.
As liquid-applied systems, membranes can quickly encapsulate even complex roof contours, whilst providing a seamless finish that gives long-term protection.
Moreover, the technology behind them is based on decades of experience around the world, with a repair resin usually used as a filler for any cracks overcoated by polymeric material.
Polymeric materials are also useful for preventative maintenance planning, as they are often accompanied by long-term performance warranties that reflect anticipated building lifecycles and allow facility operators to save time and money by not having to pay for frequent reapplication.