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How can I prevent monsoon storms from damaging my flat roof and causing my ceiling to leak?

The best way to prevent a leak is to know if your roof
has a problem before the wind and rain begin. Don’t wait
for water marks to appear on your ceiling before
inspecting your roof to see if it can hold up during a
storm.

Climb up onto your roof (or ask a roofer to do it) and do
a visual inspection of your roof a couple of times each
year and after every big storm. If you don’t feel safe on
the roof, there’s no shame in hiring a professional, who
will know how to navigate the dew and frost that can
collect up there on cold Arizona mornings and any moisture
that can make a roof slippery.

Here is what to look for during an inspection of a foam
roof or a built-up/asphalt roof, which are the two most
common types of flat roofs in Arizona.

1. Locate every roof penetration. Look around the chimney,
vents, skylights, walls, flashing, air conditioning elbows
and stands, antennas and support wires, and satellite
dishes.

2. Remove any build-up of dirt, leaves or pine needles
around drains, scuppers or crickets that would cause
pooling and keep water from draining off the roof.

3. Trim tree branches away from your roof.

4. Check for damage or holes in the areas where your flat
roof joins a tiled or shingled roof.

5. Inspect the outside edges of the roof for loose roofing
material or drip cap flashing.

6. Look for cracks along the seams of rolled roofing.

7. Search for holes pecked by birds in foam roofing.

8. On a territorial-style home with stucco parapets, judge
how well the stucco on the top and backside of all the
parapets is holding up. Cracked stucco or a poor flashing
job between stucco and roof material are common problems
that can lead to leaks.

Once you discover your roof’s weak spots, patch them. You
can do this with some common tools and supplies. Rosie
recommends:

• Henry 208 Wet or Dry Patch Roof Cement in a tube
(use in caulking gun)

• Henry 204 Plastic Roofing Cement (1 gallon or 5
gallon sizes)

• Henry 183 Reinforcing Fabric (used in 3 coursing
repairs, for large cracks)

• VIP caulk

• Caulking gun

• Broom or brush

• Air compressor (if available, to blow out the area
before repairing)

• Putty knife

• Work gloves

• Old clothes

• Goop hand cleaner (or other strong cleaner)

• Rags

• Spray paint (optional, to paint over your repairs
on vent stacks)

Make sure the area you are repairing is clean and dry
before you apply any of these products. Performing regular
preventive maintenance with the correct will extend the
life of your roof.

A tip: If your roof is relatively new, check with your
roofer before doing any repairs yourself. Unauthorized
repairs could void your warranty.

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Rosie on the House