Although most commonly linked to industrial or commercial buildings, flat roofs are becoming popular options in home construction. Due to their ease of maintenance and sturdy construction, the benefits are easy to see. However, settling and improper construction can cause your flat roof to hold water. This standing water on your flat roof, known as a ponding roof, increases your risk of leaks, water damage, and mold growth. Thankfully, eradicating the problem is possible. With this guide, you will understand the dangers of standing water and learn how to restore your flat roof back to a functional and healthy state.

The 411 on Ponding

While surprising, a properly designed flat roof should not actually be flat. To ensure water will flow off of your flat roof, it should be built with a slight incline of at least 1/8 inch per foot. Unfortunately, you may not realize your flat roof lacks this slight incline until water begins to pond.

Rebuilding your flat roof to include the incline is effective for stopping the ponding, but that can be a costly and overwhelming project. Even though your roof does not have the necessary incline, rain, sleet, snow, and other sources of moisture must drain off your roof in some manner. Updating your existing roof with gutters and drains can prevent further ponding.


Most traditional roofing systems will use aluminum gutters for effective and efficient drainage from the roof. Your flat roof will also require a gutter system, reducing the risk of ponding.

Be sure to install gutters on each corner of your home's roof and nearest the roof location where the water is ponding. To prevent clogged gutters, consider a seamless system with gutter guards.

Adding rain gutters to your flat roofing system is an affordable and effective option for improving drainage. A traditional system uses multiple sections of aluminum gutters, but each section requires a seam. Debris and moisture will easily trap in each of these seams, blocking your gutters and preventing drainage off your flat roof.  To reduce your chances of ponding, add value to your home, and prevent roof damage, consider installing seamless gutters.


Scupper drains are also beneficial for flat roofs that are showing signs of ponding. Scuppers are similar to gutters, running along the exterior of your roof, draining water off the roof's side, over a flashing, and down a downspout.

If you are dealing with a more severe case of ponding, your flat roof may require an internal drain system. Constructed out of aluminum or copper, this series of pipes run from the roof, through the house, and out into your local sewage system.

The internal drain system catches debris, such as leaves, pine straw, and other debris, into a trap before it runs off into the sewer.

Maintaining a flat roofing system does not have to be challenging. With this guide and a contractor's help, you will understand the dangers of ponding and learn the best manner to prevent future standing water.