Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Bituminous sheet flat roofs



Flat roofs are usually seen as inferior to pitched roofs, yet can be found on many of Scotland’s traditional buildings – tenements in particular. A flat roof should perform adequately for many years if regularly maintained and repaired.

Flat roofs pose different problems to pitched roofs. They don’t shed water as well, so any defect can quickly become serious. Yet because the inspection of flat roofs is sometimes difficult, they may not receive the attention they require.

Bituminous felt is the most common waterproof covering used on flat roofs. Lead flashing is used to prevent water getting into the junctions between the felt and other roof elements such as masonry walls or parapets.

Common causes of flat roof problems include:

  • roof surface problems
  • damaged parapet walls or skirting
  • deterioration around vents and flues or roof lights

Patch repairs will often be all that’s needed to keep your roof performing at its best. Serious surface problems may mean it’s necessary to resurface the entire roof.

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