Should I worry about my flat roof?

Home insurance application forms ask if your home has a flat roof, and if it does what percentage of the total roof is flat. Insurers clearly see a flat roof as higher risk than a sloping – or pitched – roof. Why?

Historically, flat roofs have led to more claims. Techniques for laying a flat roof have improved a lot in the last decade, and a new flat roof can now be expected to last for more than 20 years, but previously that wasn’t the case. As a flat roof reaches the end of its effective life, the chances that damage occurs to it, or to the rooms below it, increases. So if you have an old flat roof, and if you can access it safely, it is a good idea to check for damage regularly, so you can spot any problems before they become serious.

It is important to use your flat roof in the way it has been designed – if you want to use it as a terrace then make sure the surface installed is tough enough to withstand footfall and any furniture placed on it, and that the railings don’t damage it.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Graham Ripley says:

    Typically a flat roof is not flat but has a small “pitch” to disperse rainwater etc. However unlike a fully pitched “normal” slated roof, traditionally the flat roof surface material is often coated with bitumen, or tar etc and topped off with loose or impregnated gravel.

    One of the problems with these surfaces, especially those built many years ago, is that they are prone to expansion/contraction by sunshine/cold and after a few years can crack and let in water. The source of ingress can be hard to detect.Water damage insurance claims are more likely.

    Also there is a view from some insurers that flat roofs make access easier for burglars!

    If your flat roof is say less than 30% of the whole most insurers do not consider this to be an enhanced risk but the higher the percentage above this then the more expensive premiums may become.


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