Drainage Solutions for Flat Roofs

Posted by Roofco March 13, 2019

Flat roofs are great for outdoor living, rooftop gardens, aesthetics. These designs are durable and resistant to elements such as wind, hail, or animals. However, flat rooftops are not easy to drain. Water accumulates and does not drain automatically like with sloped designs.

Problems of Poor Drainage

Pooling can:

  • Cause leaks and structural damages
  • Damage to other roofing features such as chimneys and vents
  • Destroy caulking, tar, and other waterproofing elements
  • Lead to debris accumulation
  • Compromise the integrity of a building

If you go for a flat roof, here are three drainage options you can get from a reputable roofing repair company.


Gutters are cost-effective and also the most common solution for flat roof drainage. These structures direct water to a safe distance from the building through a downspout. When installed properly, gutters capture as much water as possible to protect your roof, windows, siding, and building foundation. However, there is a downside to using gutters. These waterspouts gather debris that can block your drainage system. You need to clean the structures consistently, especially before the rains start. If you live in areas with extreme weather, your gutter might not last long. You might want to consider the options below.


Roof scuppers are the openings at the edge of the roof that redirect water to the side of a building. You might also add a downspout to carry the water away from the building. This system is not only cost-effective but also efficient. With scuppers, there is no risk of debris accumulation as the openings are short. This makes them easy to maintain. Scuppers can also enhance your building if well designed. Although the scuppers are effective, they might be overwhelmed by heavy rain and snowmelt. Moreover, scuppers that come with downspouts may get clogged with debris. If your roof has little or no pitch, scuppers might not drain the water effectively.

Interior Drains

Drains are installed where most water collects. Usually, there are pipes installed below the roof where the drains direct the water to drainage points. You can also have the interior drains customized by your roofing company to enhance your building. Another advantage of these structures is that the pipes are protected from extreme weather by the roof and walls. The downside with Interior drains is that they more expensive than gutters and scuppers. In the long run though, interior drains will serve you longer than the other two options. You must also call a professional roofing repair contractor in the rare case that the pipes get damaged. And just like the gutters, the pipe system is prone to clogging by debris. Ensure routine checks to keep your drainage clear.

Enjoy the perks of a flat roof design by installing any on the above drainage systems. Just ensure that the drainage solution fits your budget, roof design, weather conditions, and maintenance needs. Also, optimize the gutters, scuppers, and interior drains by doing routine checks and engaging a reliable roofing repair company.