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With the correct installation by asphalt specialists a mastic asphalt roof should last for at least 25 years. This lifespan can be increased further if annual maintenance work is carried out and solar reflective paint is applied to the roof. The reason solar reflective paint is so beneficial to the roofs lifespan is discussed here:
Many causes of an asphalt roof failing early are not asphalt related problems at all. The above post discusses the asphalt related problems and how to protect against them.
Some of the non-asphalt related problems which occur on any flat roof include oil spillages, lack of a damp proof course, poorly installed lead flashing and poor maintenance.
Many flat roofs in commercial settings have air condition units positioned at various locations. Often works are carried out on these units and the tradesman working around these units unknowingly spill various oils on to the mastic asphalt surface unaware it causes damage to the asphalt. This can easily be prevented by trades working on these units taking precautionary steps to eliminate the risk of this happening.
As mentioned in the blog post mentioned above it is beneficial to cover the asphalt underneath the lead flashing and the lead flashing itself in solar protective paint to prevent slumping. This is not what we are talking about here. Mortar which is pointed to the lead flashing between the flashing on the wall can bread down. This causes the lead flashing to pull down and the weight pulls from the chase. This creates a void between the asphalt roof and the wall. The problem with this is now there is an area where water ingress can occur. Note this problem is nothing to do with the asphalt it would be a problem no matter what flat roofing system was in play.
It is common to see coping stones on flat roofing. All coping stones should have a damp proof course (DPC) underneath these stones to stop damp occurring. However, this is not always the case especially on older roofing. The problem with this is when the mortar breaks down, water ingress occurs. Again, this is not a problem with the mastic asphalt itself but it is a general flat roofing problem which could easily be prevented by the installation of a damp proof course.
Perhaps the most overlooked issue with roofs is poor maintenance. Just by getting an annual maintenance check you can stop 90% of problems developing and add years to your roofs service life.
If a roof is not maintained problem such as the breaking down of mortar your roof can suffer water ingress and suffer from a much shorter lifespan.
Also, gutters can become clogged with debris and vegetation, which can lead to water not draining from your roof properly. The result of this will be a ponding of water on your flat roof. If there are any small cracks or split in your roof, your property will suffer from water ingress.
All of these problems can be easily solved with one annual maintenance check per year which will include the clearance of all debris from your roof.
As you can see there are various ways problems can occur on a flat roofing system. And the result can be is a roof lasing a lot less time than it should. Remember there is a distinction between an asphalt roofing problem and a genuine flat roofing problem. Just like there are GRP roofing problems and general flat roofing problems.
If you would link to arrange a maintenance check or if you do think you have a flat roofing problem which could cause your roof to fail prematurely we have a specialist flat roofing team who can help you with any questions you may have. You can get in touch with us through this website or call us on 01277 375 511.