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How To Sell a House With a Flat Roof?

Property Saviour » Buying » How To Sell a House With a Flat Roof?

In this article, we will cover potential hurdles you must overcome to achieve a successful sale.  

Alternatively, there is a quicker way to sell to a cash buyer.

Table of Contents

What is a flat roof house?

A flat roof house is a type of house where the roof is level rather than pitched, making it a non-standard property.

This can complicate the buying process compared to standard houses with brick or stone walls, pitched roofs, and slate or tile roofing.

What is a flat roof extension?

A flat roof extension is a type of building that can be added to the rear of your home. It is usually constructed from concrete, but some may be made from tiles or slates.

Sometimes, only a part of a house may have a flat roof, known as a flat roof extension. Many opt for this option as it tends to be more cost-effective.

Trying to sell a house with flat roof
Insurance cover for flat roof repairs is limited to damage caused by specific events like storms with excessive wind and rain.

What are potential flat roof house problems?

Flat roofs often face a common issue of rainwater outlets getting clogged, usually due to leaves and debris being blown in by the wind. This blockage can lead to drainage problems and potential water damage. Regular maintenance and clearing of these outlets can help prevent such issues from arising.

While many flat roofs serve their owners well, there are several potential issues with flat roofs. The most common issue with flat roofs is leaks.

While many properties may suffer from leaky roofs, flat roofs, due to their structure, provide no safe path for water to run off. The water typically goes straight down into the roof itself.

Other issues include:

  • Mould and fungus
  • Watermarks
  • Growing vegetation
  • Pooling water
  • Snow build-up
  • Cracks
  • Incorrect roof angle worsening water pooling problems
  • Flashing pulls away from the edges as asphalt expands and contracts with changing temperatures.

Do all flat roofs leak?

Flat roofs can sustain damage leading to leaks, whether they are built-up, modified bitumen, or single-ply roofing. Leaks can develop due to a major impact, pooling water, or wear over time causing blistering or cracking.

Are flat roof repairs covered by insurance?

Insurance cover for flat roof repairs is limited to damage caused by specific events like storms with excessive wind and rain.

The age of the flat roof, usually considered ‘old’ after 10 years, also plays a role in determining cover eligibility. Wear and tear due to general ageing is unlikely to be covered by insurers unless linked to storm effects.

Why is hard to secure a mortgage on a flat roof house
Flat roof properties are often classified as non-standard, which can pose challenges when trying to secure a mortgage.

Why is hard to secure a mortgage on a flat roof house?

Flat roof properties are often classified as non-standard, which can pose challenges when trying to secure a mortgage.

Lenders and insurance companies view them as higher-risk properties, potentially resulting in higher interest rates if you can obtain a mortgage.

How often do flat roofs need to be replaced?

Flat roofs typically last between 15 to 30 years, with the exact lifespan being influenced by the materials used and the quality of the installation.

Regular maintenance and inspections can help prolong this lifespan; however, there comes a time when repairs become less cost-effective compared to a complete replacement.

What maintenance does a flat roof need?

A flat roof should be inspected at least twice yearly. In autumn, the inspection is to ensure that the roof is clear of leaves, dirt, and debris, that outlets are not blocked, and that the roof is free-draining.

In spring, the inspection is to discover and rectify any damage due to weather.

How do you maintain a felt flat roof
Flat roofs should be regularly maintained to prevent problems from occurring. Maintenance is a classic case of "prevention is better than cure."

How do you maintain a felt flat roof?

Flat roofs should be regularly maintained to prevent problems from occurring. Maintenance is a classic case of “prevention is better than cure.”

One of the most common problems that can arise with a flat roof is blocked rainwater outlets. This blockage often happens when leaves and debris are blown into the outlets by the wind.

Using leaf guards can help delay the accumulation of debris in the rainwater outlets. However, the best course of action is to contact a local roof contractor to carry out the necessary maintenance work. This work typically involves roof sweeping, which helps keep the rainwater outlets clear and prevents any unnecessary issues with your flat roof.

Common flat roof problems to look out for include:

A Buildup of Vegetation

Any moss, fungus, or weeds growing on the surface of a flat roof are telltale signs that there has been a buildup of water on the roof’s surface.

Watermarks on the Roof’s Surface

If you notice patches of lighter or darker shades on your roof, it indicates that there have been large pools of water on the surface that have since evaporated.

Large Pools of Water on your Flat Roof’s Surface

If you notice large pools of water on your flat roof, it’s a warning sign that requires immediate inspection. The presence of these pools means the water will need to find a way out, often through your roof, potentially causing leaks. It’s crucial to address this issue promptly to prevent further damage.

A Buildup of Debris on the Surface

When it comes to managing the issue of leaves and debris clogging rainwater outlets, regular maintenance is crucial. This maintenance may involve sweeping the roof to prevent blockages. Keeping up with this maintenance routine can help avoid potential problems down the line.

Not a steep enough angle on your Flat Roof

Flat roofs should have a slight gradient for water drainage, ideally between 1 in 40 and 1 in 80. This gradient may not be easily visible, so using a spirit level to check is recommended.

Punctures in the Roof’s Surface

When adding anything to your flat roof using nails or screws, be mindful of puncturing the surface of your roof covering. This may compromise the integrity of your roof, leading to an increased risk of leaks and potentially voiding any roof guarantees.

Blistering on the Roof’s Surfaces

Blistering on a flat roof appears as bubble-like patches, signalling a potential issue. It is crucial to have a roof contractor inspect the roof promptly to prevent water infiltration through potential holes. If left unattended, the bubble may burst, compromising the roof’s integrity.

Rusted and Missing Nails

Nails are rarely seen on modern flat roofs, but they were commonly used on older properties during roof installation. As these nails start to rust or fall out, they can create openings for water to seep into the roofing system, potentially leading to leaks.

This can cause water damage and compromise the integrity of the roof. Regular inspection and maintenance can help identify and address such issues before they escalate.

Poor Quality Roof Repairs

Sometimes, roofs are patched up quickly and unprofessionally to save on costs. Keep an eye out for areas of the roof that do not match the rest of the roof covering material. Also, watch for roof sections where excess silicon has been used, and untidy finishes are visible.

Stretching and Cracking Around the Joints and in the Corners

EPDM rubber roofs often develop cracks and tears as they age. These issues are typically caused by the waterproofing layers drying out, stretching, and becoming brittle. This can lead to water leaks and structural damage if left unaddressed.

Subsidence Causing Cracks and Tears

Over time, all properties will experience some degree of movement. While this is usually minimal, excessive movement, such as that caused by a shifting wall, can result in stretching of roofing materials. This stretching may lead to the development of cracks and tears in the waterproofing membrane.

How often should you seal a flat roof?

It is a good idea to plan for a new coating every five years to ensure its integrity and continued performance. If your flat roof is less than five years old but you have noticed cracks or pooling water, then it is recommended to have it coated.

How often should you seal a flat roof
If your flat roof is less than five years old but you have noticed cracks or pooling water, then it is recommended to have it coated.

How to minimise flat roof repairs?

These are some of steps you can take to minimise roof repairs:

  • Having multiple water outlets to drain each roofing area is essential.
  • Leaf guards should be used for all outlets and regularly inspected to prevent blockages.
  • It is important to choose a reputable roofer with proper qualifications, insurance, and guarantees on their workmanship and materials.
  • Ensuring the correct design and installation of the joint between the flat roof and parapet wall is crucial to maintain the waterproofing membrane.
  • Easy inspection and maintenance access post-installation are vital for maximising the roof’s longevity.

Can you get a mortgage for a house with flat roof?

Yes, you can secure a mortgage for a property with a flat roof, but it can be more challenging compared to a loan for a home with a standard roof. Fewer mortgage lenders offer loans because the construction is considered higher risk.

Part of the reason lenders view these properties as riskier is because they fall under the category of ‘non-standard construction’.

One of the most concerning factors for lenders is that non-standard properties can be difficult to resell. This makes it harder for them to consider a flat roof property as a reliable security if they had to repossess it.

Sometimes lenders may not offer mortgages for these properties, while others might charge higher rates to offset the risk. However, it is still possible to find a competitive mortgage for a flat roof property, if you know where to look.

Should I buy a house with a flat roof?

Flat roof houses can present significant challenges, but many homeowners are happy with their flat roof properties. It’s important to consider the risks, such as higher mortgage rates and expensive repairs, before deciding if the property is right for you.

If you truly love the house, there’s no reason not to purchase one with a flat roof. Here are some pros and cons of flat roof houses compared to traditional pitched roof properties to help you make an informed decision.

Pros of buying a flat roof house

Cons of buying a flat roof house

The asking price might be lower

Mortgages are difficult to get or you will end up with a more expensive insurance cover.

Cheaper to replace

They have a much shorter lifespan and will need expensive repairs or replacing sooner.

Easier access

Several issues, mostly as a result of poor drainage.

Internal space is maximised

Watermarks as a result of pools and cracks are a cause for concern

Some people prefer flat roofs

Flat roof property is harder to sell.

How do you sell a house with a flat roof?

If you are considering selling a house with a flat roof, you should consider selling to a genuine cash buyer such as Property Saviour.

Unlike an estate agent, we don’t need to carry out a survey.  There are no upfront fees that are normally associated with a property auction and no delays.

We can make you an indicative offer within 48 hours, agree to pay your legal fees and complete the sale discreetly within 10 days or at your timescale.

Sell with certainty & speed

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  • The price we’ll offer is the price that you will receive with no hidden deductions.
  • Be careful with ‘cash buyers’ who require a valuation needed for a mortgage or bridging loan.
  • These valuations or surveys result in delays and price reductions later on.
  • We are cash buyers.  There are no surveys.
  • We always provide proof of funds with every formal offer issued.
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  • No long exclusivity agreement to sign because we are the buyers.
  • You are welcome to use your own solicitor. 
  • If you don’t have one, we can ask our solicitors for recommendations.
  • We share our solicitor’s details and issue a Memorandum of Sale. 
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