All roofs are very difficult to repair if they develop a leakage. However flat roofs are all the more difficult to repair. It is so because it is very difficult to find the leakage. If the roof is sloping then it is not at all difficult to trace the source of leakage because the slope on the roof makes the water flow downwards. But in the case of flat roofs there is no slope for the water to flow downwards and thus the leaked water may travel a great distance and direction from the source of the leakage. Hence it is not unusual at all to find water at a place which is far away from the source of leakage.
Finding the source of leakage
When you are looking for the source of leakage on a flat roof then you should always try looking for it when the roof is dry and cool because only then you will be able to inspect the roof carefully. Some of the common places where leakage develops are the flashing that is located near, and on the connecting points on the roof. You must always check the flashing very minutely and lookout for any loose pieces, gaps or cracks that may have formed. You must also insure that the flashing has been installed and integrated in such a way with other roofing materials that it causes the rain water to move in the opposite direction instead of flowing towards it.
If you notice that there is nothing wrong with the flashing and it is in perfect shape then you may have to look at other places to find the source of leakage. One of the places where you may find the source of leakages is the low area in the roofs where water may accumulate. You will see that they usually look like dirt rings and each one of them gradually becomes smaller as it reaches its lowest point. When you have found the lowest point you should minutely check the point for cracks, splits or holes that may be causing water leakage and thus be a source of it.
Another common place you must look for the source for leakage is the seams of the roof. It has been noticed that every time two different or similar pieces of roofing materials are joint together, the seam always turns out to be an automatic weak point where leaks are likely to form in the future. The seams are susceptible to forming cracks and splits with the passage of time. Even the best sealed and done up seams weaken and deteriorate. Hence you should never overlook any seams while you are searching for the source of water leakage.
If you see that in spite of your best efforts you have not been able to find the source of leakage on you flat roof then as a last resort you shall have to use a hose and water to find it. You should move in a very systematic way. You should start with one section and not the entire roof in one go. You should let the water run for at least 15 minutes without a break. The time factor is important because if you don’t allow it to run for at least 15 minutes then the water will not flow towards the source of leakage and not start leaking.
Hence if you are searching for the source of leakage in the flat roof then be prepared to have plenty of patience and pay a great deal of attention apparently minor issues. With this attitude you should be able to successfully locate the source of leakage in flat roofs.