Why Is There Ponding Water on Your Flat Roof in Sugar Hill, GA?

Flat roofs are a staple for many commercial buildings, but the style is also gaining popularity with homeowners. Unfortunately, a common downside with a low-sloped roof is water pooling on the surface. The design of these roofing systems should accommodate drainage, so why is ponding water on flat roofs such a common problem?

When residents need a reliable roof replacement in Sugar Hill, GA, they turn to Adams & Sons Roofing. As a respected roofing company with over 40 years of industry experience, Adams & Sons Roofing understands the complications stagnant water can have on a roof. In the post below, they explain the most common causes of flat roof ponding and the best methods for correcting flat roof ponding problems.

Causes and Solutions for Flat Roof Water Accumulation in Sugar Hill

Ponding refers to water collecting on a flat roof with little to no slope. Unlike pitched roofs, which allow water to flow down the structure and collect in gutters to flow away from the building, flat roofs must have special drainage systems and construction to prevent excessive water accumulation.

Ideally, rainwater and snowmelt should drain or evaporate within 24 to 48 hours. Anything longer than that is ponding. 

Unfortunately, too much stagnant water on a flat roof can cause many problems. The weight of the water could put undue strain on the roofing structure, potentially causing sagging or a collapse. The water could also cause premature degradation of roofing materials and increase the risk of a roof leak. 

Addressing ponding water on flat roofs can be difficult if you're unaware of why the problem occurs. Consider these common reasons for ponding water on flat roofs and what you can do about them.

Improper Drainage

If you're dealing with flat roof drainage issues, you likely have water collecting on your building. Poor drainage is one of the main reasons for this problem. Despite a flat roofing system having little to no slope, a sufficient drainage system should allow water to flow off the roof instead of building up on its surface. 

One way to ensure a flat roof has a good drainage system is to install a flat roof with positive drainage. Positive drainage occurs when the roof design has graded or mildly sloped areas to force water to flow toward drains and away from areas where pooling is most common. 

Installing roof crickets is another way to minimize pooling and divert water to drains. Crickets are wooden structures that you could install against chimneys, HVAC units, and other roof protrusions to prevent water accumulation around those vulnerable areas. 

Bad Roof Design for a Flat Roof

Flat roofing systems are more complex than they appear. Poor design and improper installation can result in ponding and other complications.

The design of a flat roof is integral to its ability to avoid excessive ponding. According to the International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants, flat roof designs should account for maximum estimated ponding loads to ensure sufficient drainage. For some roof drainage systems, the water level above the drains or scuppers must be thick enough for the drain to increase its discharge rate.

However, a poor roof and drainage design could lead to serious problems. The weight of the standing water could cause the roofing structure to sag or curve downward to accommodate the water weight. This creates a cycle of more standing water, creating a deeper sag until the roof deck collapses.

If the roof design doesn't complement the building layout and actual roof shape, the entire system could have problems. It's best to work with an established roofing company to install, replace, or repair your building's flat roof to ensure the architectural plans and project execution are perfectly in sync.

Building Age

Despite having a solid roof design and installation, roof sagging could still occur simply because the building is old. Over time, the foundation of a home or residential property will settle. Sometimes that settling occurs unevenly, which contributes to roof ponding if the uneven shift causes water to settle too far away from drains. 

You cannot plan for roof sagging and foundation settling when constructing a building. It's a natural occurrence that takes place over several years. So, if your home or business is older, its flat roof may have a ponding issue. 

Compressed or Crushed Insulation

Depending on the type of flat roof your Sugar Hill building has, it might not have enough strength to withstand weight. Consistently walking on the roof or installing HVAC equipment and other heavy items could compact the roof's insulation. As a result, water will accumulate around those low spots. 

Avoid putting things on your roof if its design doesn't accommodate heavy loads.


People and businesses often install HVAC units on their flat roofs because of the ample space they provide. However, the equipment could cause a water ponding problem if it is too heavy for the roof to support. Over time, the equipment could weigh down the roof around its location, causing water to pool around the dip it creates. 

HVAC leaks from condensation or refrigerant could also be problematic. Even if the water drains slowly, the heating and cooling unit could add to the moisture, causing further roof degradation, water damage, and leaks.

To address this problem, you should hire an HVAC professional to assess your unit, repair leaks, and reroute normal condensation. You might also need a roofing company to install crickets to divert water from the equipment.

Get Help Managing Water Pooling on Flat Roofs in Sugar Hill With Adams & Sons Roofing

Addressing and preventing ponding water on flat roofs are the best ways to keep your property's roofing system in Sugar Hill, Georgia from wearing down prematurely. Thankfully, the professionals at Adams & Sons Roofing have decades of experience repairing and replacing roofs throughout the area. This five-star roofing company can help with everything from fixing flat roof drainage problems to consulting clients about new roof costs for replacements. For an appointment with Adams & Sons Roofing, contact them online today.