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A Comprehensive Guide to Flat Roof Drainage Systems: Ensuring Proper Water Management

Proper drainage is one of the common issues that flat roofs suffer. These roofs can experience ponding water problems without an effective drainage system, which might result in leaks and structural damage. So, an adequate drainage system is required for proper water management, which ensures the longevity and performance of flat roofs.

In this guide, we will discuss different types of drainage systems to ensure proper water management.



Rain gutters are the most common drainage system used for all types of roofs. They are installed along the roof's perimeter to gather water and direct it away from the structure. These are very helpful for managing enormous volumes of water or for aesthetic reasons.

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  • Easiest types of drain systems to get and install

  • Prevents an uncontrolled stream of water from dropping from the roof

  • Safeguards window and door openings

  • Can prevent water from gathering and pooling close to the building's foundation


  • Require regular maintenance and cleaning throughout the year-long

  • Gutter brackets can make them difficult to clean

  • Gutters may become brittle and crack over time. Also, the weight of water or wet leaves can cause the brackets to give way under pressure.

  • In winter, when ice builds up in the gutters, it creates a barrier that can lead to cracking and other structural damage.

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These drains are positioned at the base of the roof and linked to a network of pipes that take water away from the structure. They are made with strainers or grates to avoid debris clogging the system.


  • These drains won't freeze up, crack, or malfunction in the cold like gutter systems do. The structures and walls naturally shield the pipes from the elements.

  • These drains can be customized to improve your structure's visual appeal and aesthetics.


  • These are the most expensive drainage systems.

  • A professional technician is required to maintain and repair these drain systems.

  • Regular vigilance prevents debris buildup on flat roofs with inner drains. Even a small amount can cause clogging, resulting in standing pools of water.

  • Ensure the roof has a sufficient number of drains proportional to its size to avoid water buildup issues.


In simple terms, scuppers are openings in the outer walls or curbs positioned along the roof line. They allow water to flow through the wall, enclosed within a protective metal box. When properly designed and installed, scuppers offer excellent value and efficiency in draining water from your flat roof, making them a preferred choice.


  • Low cost

  • Easy and minimal maintenance required

  • Large and wide scupper prevents clogging issues.

  • The roof remains clean as leaves and debris easily wash away or are blown off.

  • Instead of water pouring down the side of the building, it shoots out and away from it.

  • Custom scuppers can add architectural appeal to roof lines.


  • Connecting scuppers to downspouts or gutters can cause clogging. Therefore, excluding them from the system is often better to avoid such issues.


All these three systems are an effective choice for flat roof drainage only if you have the correct design, installation, and maintenance.For more information about proper drainage for your flat roof, contact us at Wolfenburg Roofing.

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