Roof Inspections

“Roofing it right the first time!”


Roof Inspection: 10 Common Problems Found On Flat Roofs (Elastomeric Coated Roofs)

When Desert Sky Roofing inspects a roof, we are thorough.  We will identify problems found on the roof and then highlight them on our inspection form that we provide with our estimate for repairs.

Most of the problems with the elastomeric coating on flat roofs are easy to discover but some can be a challenge. When examining a flat roof, we look at the roof like we would a plastic ziplock bag that holds water.  If there is a hole, rip, tear in the plastic or a crack in the corner of the bag water will escape and leak out.  The same is true about your flat roof. If there is a rip, tear, crack, dry curl, lifted seam, pin hole, drip edge crack, etc. water can leak through into the roof paper and possibly into your home.  That is why it is necessary to identify the potential problems with your coating. Here are 10 common issues we find on the typical white coated or tan coated elastomeric roofs:

1)  Tears

Tears are the same as cracks. They typically happen where the roof heats and cools and expands and contracts which causes the materials to split or tear away.  These are usually patched with polyester fabric.

2)  Penetration cracks

A penetration is a protrusion through the roof decking that comes through the roof paper and into the top coating. An example is a vent pipe.  Penetrations often move causing cracks around the bases of the penetrations. These are usually repaired with roof coating or crack and joint filler.

3)  Drip edge cracks

These types of cracks happen on pitched roofs that end with a metal drip edge. The drip edge often cracks where it meets the roof coating causing it to leak onto the top of a facia board. These are usually repaired with coating, crack and joint filler, or polyester fabric patching.

4)  Peeling

This happens when the coating ages and lifts from the roof paper. Most often peeling will flake off when pressure washed but sometimes needs to be scraped before coating.

5)  Lifting seams

Roof paper overlaps when applied. Sometimes the seams lift and need to be addressed by coating, crack and joint filler, or polyester fabric.

6)  Interior scupper cracks

Scuppers are the #1 place for leaks. Due to heating and cooling the scupper materials expand and contract and cause rips or holes in the coating. These are repaired by patching, crack and joint filler, and polyester fabric.

7)  Backflowing scuppers

Where the scupper ends and water flows out, if it is not angled enough water can roll under the scupper and back into the wall.  These areas are usually filled with caulking, silicone, or some substance to keep water flowing backwards.

8)  Ponding

Some ponds are ok (usually less than ¼” in depth), but some should be addressed. There are a few ways to address them. The best is to fill the pond. Sometimes that is not the best answer because it can lead to damming up the water in another area. This is when using polyester fabric to reinforce the ponding area is a possibility.

9)  Jackstand cracks

Leaks can happen where the A/C jack stands meet the roof coating. The coating can open up and this can cause a leak.  Usually coating around them is best, but worst case is that the A/C will need to be removed and the entire area under the A/C patched and coated.

10)  Blisters

These are bubbles in your coating that can range from ½” in diameter to literally 6” or greater. They should be cut out and patched over the top. Sometimes it is feasible to use crack and joint filler instead of patching.


These are 10 of the most common problems on a flat roof.  Give us a call today and we will do a thorough inspection of your roof and provide you with a competitive estimate for repairs.