How To Quickly Fix a Leak on a Commercial Flat Roof

by | Dec 26, 2023 | Flat Roof Repairs, Tips and Techniques

Commercial flat roofs can form leaks for a variety of reasons including acts of nature and third-party damage. This brief guide is intended for property managers and building owners who are looking for a quick fix to this situation.

Leak Causes

Most roof leaks are caused by acts of God or third-party damage.

  • Acts of God involve natural elements like wind, ice, snow, and rain causing damage to your roof.
  • Third-party damage typically entails individuals like HVAC technicians or mischievous neighborhood kids throwing things on the roof and damaging it.

Leaks of this nature are generally puncture-type leaks which can be easily remedied via caulking.

Puncture-Type Leaks

Child Throwing Stone on Commercial Flat Roof |

If you have a simple puncture type-leak that needs sealing, an effective DIY solution is to use caulking.
Here is a quick three-step process:

  • Choose a high-quality, water-resistant sealant-type caulk suitable for flat roofing applications. Refer to manufacturer guidelines for the best product.
  • Wipe the puncture area with a rag to clean and dry it.
  • Apply a liberal amount of caulking to the hole and feather it out with your finger. This will temporarily seal the puncture until it can be permanently sealed by a roofing professional.

Considering the extreme weather conditions in the Northeast and Philadelphia area, it is important to choose a caulk with proven durability. This helps extend the lifespan of the temporary fix until a professional can permanently address the issue.

Workmanship Leaks

Snow and Rain on a Commercial Flat Roof |

If you have a leak that has been occurring since the roof was installed, that’s usually a workmanship problem and is much harder to solve on your own.

Leaks that have persisted since the roof was installed typically stem from workmanship issues encompassing how the membrane was installed, possible flashing problems, and/or penetration details. Unlike puncture leaks, leaks of this nature require professional inspection and intervention. There is no point in attempting a DIY solution.

In Summary

In summary, it’s possible to implement a quick DIY fix for flat roof puncture leaks using caulk and a feathering motion. It is best to consult with a professional flat roofer for a permanent solution and for situations where you have persistent leaks tied to workmanship issues.

Expert Advice

Whether you’re a beginner, need advanced information about flat roofing topics, or a refresher,  this is where you can learn everything you need to know about commercial and industrial flat roofing.

Contact us for more information or pricing.




Jared Van Vranken is Vice President and lead estimator at Flat Roof Solutions in Malvern, PA. Jared has directed the installation, repair, recovery, and replacement of commercial flat roofs for more than a decade at Flat Roof Solutions. He guides clients in selecting the best roofing materials for their needs and budget.

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