If you own a flat roof whether it’s on a garage, extension or other structure, it needs an effective waterproofing system to protect the structure underneath. If the underlying structure of the roof is exposed to constant weathering and water, it will soon start to deteriorate, resulting in rot to the underlying structure including decking and joists. This can result in costly repairs or in the worst case a completely new roof. Waterproofing a flat roof can be achieved using three techniques. The method that you choose will depend on a number of factors such as the size of the roof, your budget, the environment and the type of structure that needs waterproofing.

One of the most common methods of waterproofing a flat roof is to use a reinforced bitumen membrane. This would involve installing between two and three layers of a bitumen based material across the surface of the roof which will then be bonded together using hot bitumen. The bitumen coating is then combined with a polyester type material to create a waterproof material on a roll. Once this has been formed it can then be laid across the insulation on a flat roof or across the decking if the design is for a cold flat roof.

The waterproof membrane can then be fixed to the roof using a series of different techniques.

Technique 1 Pour and Roll – When it comes to this method, a reinforced membrane will be rolled out over the surface of the roof. Hot bitumen is then applied, and the two materials form a secure and watertight bond.

Technique 2 Torching – This will require the use of a gas torch and involves heating the membrane to melt the bitumen and form a strong and waterproof seal.

Technique 3 Cold application – An adhesive is applied to the surface of the roof before the reinforced bituminous membrane is slowly unrolled, making sure that the roof is properly sealed.

Technique 4 Self Adhesive – The final technique is the use of a very strong adhesive using a release paper that is applied to the bottom of the membrane and then it is applied to the roof. Once the paper has been removed it can be later bonded into position.

Liquid waterproofing involves the application of a special coating to ensure that the full surface of the roof is properly weatherproofed. On a Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) system, the waterproofing will use a rigid polyester resin with a glass fibre reinforcement. This system must be used in combination with an approved OSB decking system to meet current UK building regulations.