3 Common Issues Affecting Roofs Of Multifamily Buildings


If you own a home, you may understand the signs that your roof is in distress. For example, a leak in the attic or shingles that are falling off the house onto the ground are surefire signs that your roof needs to be inspected and repaired. Unfortunately, if you own an apartment building, duplex, or condominiums, you may struggle to know when your roof is in distress. Thankfully, help is available for inspecting, maintaining, and repairing your roof. This guide will help you understand a few common issues that affect the roofs of multifamily properties.


In most cases, your multifamily property has a flat roof. Even though it may appear flat, a properly installed flat roof should have a bit of a slope, ensuring that water and debris flow off the roof, down the property, and away from the home if there are proper downspouts and gutters installed.

In some instances, the slope may not be sufficient, which can lead to ponding—one of the most common problems affecting apartment building roofs. There are many dangers associated with ponding on your roof. Ponding places excess weight on the roof, and the moisture can decay and rot your shingles and roof underlayment. If the moisture freezes when temperatures start to drop, even more weight will be added to the roof, increasing the risk of leaks.

Standing water also leads to mold and algae growth, which would require extensive cleaning. Mold and algae also lead to allergies and respiratory problems. Without immediate intervention, mold and algae spread quickly, affecting the structural integrity of your shingles and roof membrane.


Most people are surprised to hear the term "alligatoring," but it is a real problem that seems to affect roofs. Even though it can affect all roofing surfaces, alligatoring is very common in asphalt roofs.

Alligatoring is the term that refers to the bubbling and cracking of the roof's surface, which can occur on roofs with traditional asphalt shingles or even rubber roofing shingles. The bubbling and cracking make the roof's surface look similar to the surface of an alligator's skin, giving the condition its name.

In most cases, the heavy exposure to the sun's UV rays and the heat will lead to this bubbling and cracking. There is no way to avoid the alligatoring, unfortunately, since blocking the roof's exposure to the sun is impossible. However, if you are noticing this distress, make sure to address the problem immediately to avoid further damage and costly leaks. Replace any areas of the roofing shingles and roof membrane that are showing signs of alligatoring.


The flat roof of your multifamily properly may also be at risk of buckling. If you have an asphalt roof, the underlying membrane is also constructed out of asphalt.

While durable, the membrane may shift as your apartment building, duplex, or condo settles. Even light settling can cause the membrane to buckle as it shifts. If your membrane is soaked with moisture or cracked because of another roofing problem, the buckling will be even more severe, quickly leading to leaks inside the apartment building.

It is important to note that a buckling roof cannot be repaired. Unfortunately, buckling is considered severe damage that must be addressed immediately. Contractors will recommend replacing multiple roofing components including the membrane and shingles to ensure the roof (and therefore, the building) is safe.

If you own or manage a multifamily property, understanding the issues that can affect the roof is key. This guide explains a few of the most common roofing problems affecting apartment buildings. For more information, contact an apartment or residential roofing professional.


12 September 2019

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