Flat Roof Inspection Guide

Common issues to keep an eye out for on your roof.


Flat roofs require much different care than a typical shingled roof.

Even so, if they’re well taken care of they can last past the typical 15 year lifespan for a flat or low slope roof. This guide will show you:

  • Common issues to check for on your roof.

  • Signs that it may be in need of repair or replacement.

  • Easy steps you can take to care for your roof.

What issues should I look out for on my flat roof?

There are several things you should look out for that may cause damage to your roof or signal the start of a larger problem:

Common issues with flat roofs:

  • Drainage can be inadequate, causing water to pool and break down the roofing material

  • Leaves and debris can block drainage if they are not regularly cleaned from the roof

  • Roofing material can be installed incorrectly, leading to an increased chance of leaks

  • It’s hard to pinpoint leaks on a flat roof, as water can travel a long way underneath the roofing material.

  • Typical flat roofing material is not reflective or insulating, leading to higher cooling bills in the summer and higher heating bills in the winter


How will I know if my roof should be restored or replaced?

When roof replacement or restoration is overdue, it’s common to see aging or damaged roofing material. Depending on the material used for your flat roof, the following signs show your roof should be replaced right away.


TPO roofing

TPO roofing looks like a large white sheet of thick vinyl with seams every few feet. You can tell this type of roofing is getting old if seams are coming apart or you can see fibers or cracks in it. TPO roof are made with flat insulation board covered with a vinyl-like membrane. When that membrane wears down or is torn it is no longer waterproof.

You’ll also want to look out for:

  • Roof patches indicate that there may be complications from prior leaks in the roof.

  • Tears or holes in the material. Even small tears can let in enough water to cause issues.

  • Damaged flashing around pipes or vents leading into the roof.

  • Excess pooling water or obvious leaks. Your roof should be free of water 48 hours after a rainfall.

  • Humps or large bumps underneath the roof liner. These come from improperly secured insulation boards that pop up as the building expands and contracts from hot and cold weather.


EPDM roofing

This type of roof is made from black sheets of rubber that are glued together. When it gets old, it will dry out, crack and may look like “alligator skin”. You may also see seams that pull away from each other - they are held together with glue which can fail in as little as 5 years after the roof has been installed.

You’ll also want to look out for:

  • Roof patches. Patches are not very effective with this type of roofing and tend to fail relatively quickly due to issues with gluing rubber to rubber.

  • Damaged flashing around pipes or vents leading into the roof.

  • Excess pooling water or obvious leaks. Your roof should be free of water 48 hours after a rainfall.

  • Air bubbles. Rubber contracts and expands over time. Air bubbles show that the sheets are pulling away from the surface of the roof and indicate that nearby seams may be compromised.


GRAVEL (AKA. Built-up or Tar & Gravel) roofing

Gravel roofs are made of a black membrane covered in tar and gravel. Gravel will wash off over time and will expose the membrane underneath. Look for cracks in the membrane or patches with less gravel than the rest of the roof.

You’ll also want to look out for:

  • Roof patches. Patches will not repair a damaged membrane underneath and show that the roof may have leaked previously.

  • Gravel piles at the bottom of your downspout. This indicates that the membrane may be exposed on the roof.

  • Damaged flashing around pipes or vents leading into the roof.

If you’ve noticed any of these problems, it may be time to replace or restore your roof.

What steps can I take to care for my roof?

There are a few easy steps that you can take to make sure your roof is going to protect your home:

  • Check the roof drains every spring, summer, and fall. If they’re clogged, water can’t drain off of your roof. The longer water sits on your roof, the more likely it is to find a leak point.

  • Check the seals around pipes that enter the roof. These usually wear out long before the rest of the roof & can be easy to repair.

  • Inspect the entire roof yourself once every year. We put together a printable PDF that shows you how - download it here.

  • Get a professional inspection if you haven’t had one in a few years. Often a trained eye can spot a leak point before it leaks long enough to damage the interior of your home. We offer inspections for free if you’re in need- you can schedule one here.

So I might need a new roof… how should I pick a roofing professional to replace or restore my roof?

  1. Check out what their customers are saying about them.

    • Many roofing contractors run fly-by-night operations and travel around the country knocking on doors, using high pressure sales tactics to pressure homeowners into paying for work they don’t need. Others are unprofessional and won’t return your calls, don’t provide thorough quotes, and won’t guide you through the process. Check their reviews on Google and sites like Houzz to see if there are any red flags you should be worried about.

    • The fact that companies like that exist is why we started Rolling Hills Roofing. We believe that homeowners in the Moscow / Pullman area deserve better. We aim to make every roofing job easy for homeowners with a thorough and no-pressure inspection of your roof, and thoughtful and ethical guidance on what is best for you personally.

  2. Make sure they are registered and insured.

    • If an accident happens and their company doesn’t have the proper insurance, you would be held liable for the cost of medical bills and damages. Your roofer should be able to provide a copy of their license and will be upfront about their registration and any certifications they hold..

    • Rolling Hills Roofing is fully licensed and insured, As a GAF Certified Contractor we’re trained with up to date industry information on the best way to restore or replace your roof. You can rest easy knowing that the job will be done quickly and safely by qualified professionals.

  3. Make sure they offer an extensive warranty on their work.

    • If your roof leaks or something goes wrong in a few years, your roofing company should come out and fix the issue free of charge. Make sure that your roofing company backs their work and acts with honesty and integrity.

    • We offer a 10-15 year warranty on all of our flat roofs. As soon as we work on a roof, we “own it” and hold ourselves responsible for the quality of our work and the safety of your home. If any issues arise with your new roof, we will come out and make things right.

Hi, I’m Nethaniel, owner of Rolling Hills Roofing.

After over a decade working as a General Contractor, I was so sick of working with terrible roofing companies that I started my own.

We will provide amazing service and make your roof replacement or restoration as stress-free and straightforward as possible. We promise to:

  • Answer the phone

  • Call you back if you leave a message

  • Make it simple to schedule an appointment

  • Educate you on what is best for your situation

  • Make a roof easy to afford with financing options

  • Communicate respectfully and cheerfully throughout the project

  • Install a high-quality roofing system on your home or business

  • Provide a rock-solid warranty on any of our work: 10 to 15 years on our flat roofs.

    If you have any questions at all about the health of your roof, give me a call at (208) 301-6173 or click the button below to send me an email.


“My flat roof had previously leaked and caused damage inside. I needed to restore it badly and reached out to Rolling Hills Roofing and the guys out of Lewiston.

Both companies were responsive and gave me a quote. But Nethaniel, with Rolling Hills Roofing took the time to show me pictures from the roof, listen to my concerns, and explain exactly what my options were. I felt really good hiring Nethaniel even though his product was a little more expensive than the other guy. Jesse, Paul, and the rest of the crew worked very hard every day. They talked with me about the process and explained things to my grandson, Thomas. They took pictures and showed me.

I totally trusted all of their integrity and loved having them at my home so much that I miss them now that my roof is done!

Nethaniel answered his phone or called me back every time I called with a question. He came by to check on the final product and even had his guys come back to make sure it was up to his quality standard.

Don’t even consider other flat roofers on the Palouse. These guys are the best. Highest recommendation.”


Colista Mclean,



What should I do next?

We want to help you with a thorough inspection of your roof so you can feel safe and comfortable knowing your roof is leak free. It’s a quick and easy way to know that you won’t have to worry about the safety of your home.

  1. Schedule a consultation today - it's easy and free! Just click the button below.

  2. We’ll complete a thorough inspection of your roof and will provide detailed and honest feedback on what we find.

  3. We'll educate and guide you to make the smartest, most cost-effective decision for your personal situation. 

  4. We'll complete the job - with quality and efficiency, guaranteed. Our flat roofs come with a 10 to 15 year warranty and can be installed quickly and quietly in only a few days.

What else can I do to protect my home from water damage?


1. Learn more about how to care for your roof


2. Download your roofing self-inspection checklist


3. Talk with us about your specific situation

PS. We’re glad that you care about your home and would consider working with us. If you’re not sure if your home really needs a new roof, please give us a call for a quick talk about your situation. If money is an issue, we offer financing and will work to make sure keeping your home safe won’t break the bank.

We never use high pressure sales tactics and aim to be the most honest and ethical roofing company out there. That means helping you make a smart decision for your situation - even if it means you won’t need a new roof.

Our phone number is (208) 301-6173. We hope to hear from you soon.


Rolling Hills Roofing

“We Make Roofing Easy”"