Both commercial and residential roofing systems play an integral role in protecting the building underneath from the elements. Commercial roofs in particular are very complex, with many individual components that all need to be in good condition at all times to ensure the roof performs as expected.
That’s why it’s important to conduct regular roof inspections. It’s through these routine checks that your building manager or maintenance crew can get a closer look at your commercial roof, assess its status and arrange for any necessary repairs. If you have a solid roof maintenance plan, the chances of overlooking problem areas are slim. So make sure to discuss the details of your roof maintenance program with your building manager and chosen roof maintenance contractor.
It’s always best to consult experts regarding this matter. This will assure you that all aspects of your commercial roof will be covered. To give you a few pointers on what you should specifically watch out for during roof inspections, here are some signs that could indicate your commercial roofing system is in trouble.
Signs of Roofing Issues
1. Ponding Water
You’re probably well aware that moisture is a top enemy of any roof system. Ponding usually occurs in flat roofs that lack a proper drainage system. For instance, a problem in the drainage system, such as a blockage, can prevent rainwater from escaping the roof. This then creates ponding, which can potentially lead to structural failure of your commercial roof if left unchecked. The presence of water on your roof can accelerate its aging process through chemical leaching and increased UV exposure.
In such cases, don’t pin too much hope on your roof warranty. As the owner of the building, it’s your responsibility to keep the roof in good condition — and this includes maintaining proper drainage for your roofing system. Failure to clear the drains, for example, may be considered by insurers as negligence on your part, rendering your warranty void.
2. Moisture on the Ceiling
Water stains or condensation on the ceiling does not always necessarily mean there is a leak in your roof. Sometimes this can be caused by a plumbing or HVAC issue, so it’s recommended that you locate the source of the “leak” first. If the condensation occurs on the ceiling of the top floor of your building, it’s highly likely that this is a roof leak. Hire an expert to investigate the leak. This way, you can ensure that you are applying the right solution to the problem. Leaks can be tricky sometimes, so you have to be 100% sure about what you’re dealing with to avoid wasting money on the wrong solutions or exacerbating the problem.
Rot may appear in unused or restricted areas in your building due to an undetected roof leak. Areas of the building that aren’t normally visited or used by tenants can harbor leaks that go unnoticed. It takes time for signs to become obvious, so the problem is often left unaddressed, gradually worsening over time. When leaks are ignored for a long time, they can eventually cause rotting. During your inspection, don’t forget to check these little-used sections of your building.
4. Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew are generally indicative of moisture problems. These can usually be found on or behind walls, and they can sometimes be mistaken as a result of plumbing or ductwork issues. Again, consult experts before jumping to conclusions. Make sure that you’re addressing the real source of the problem. Otherwise, these symptoms will show up again and again.
5. Wear and Tear Due Neglect
Your roof will suffer from wear and tear as it ages, and that’s normal. However, if your roof is still relatively new, you should watch out for wear and tear due to maintenance neglect. For example, if you don’t clean the drains in your roof regularly, they will likely get clogged over time with leaves and other organic litter. When you ignore this issue, it can create soil conditions that could encourage the growth of weeds. To avoid this kind of scenario and to prevent roots from eventually penetrating the roof membrane, make sure to clean the rooftop frequently. Also, don’t forget to check your roof after a severe storm. Look for storm damage, punctures to the membrane or foreign materials that could cause trouble for your roof.
If your building has a swimming pool on the rooftop, make sure that you have a proper maintenance program for this structure too. Pool liners, drain lines, surrounding pool decks and other areas or components connected to the pool must be checked thoroughly, at least twice a year. The pool could be a potential source of major leaks and water infiltration, so you should be extra careful about keeping it in good shape.
If you’re purchasing a property with a rooftop pool, ask to see the construction documents and other relevant information. Have an expert look into it, and make sure the pool was properly constructed. Find out if a secondary containment is in place and what type of containment it is. Also, inquire about previous pool maintenance activities, such as inspections and repairs. If they have documentation for those, try to get copies. Of course, don’t forget to ask about the current condition of the pool.
Roof Maintenance Tips
When checking your roof for possible issues, don’t forget to conduct inspections inside the building as well, as some warning signs may appear on interior walls and ceilings. Apart from that, you should also consider examining the areas around the windows and door openings. Specifically, look for warping, rotting or unexplained wetness. Take a look at the roof deck as well — watch out for signs of moisture.
Commercial roofs are designed to withstand various elements and even severe storms. To deliver excellent performance, they need to receive proper maintenance regularly and repairs as needed. It usually helps to have a reliable contractor take care of these things for you. They can ensure that all aspects of your commercial roof will be covered, so you won’t ever have to worry about missing some minor damage or small leaks. You may also want to consider scheduling their maintenance services throughout the year. This way, you can be sure that you won’t forget when it’s time for roof maintenance.
Aside from doing the actual maintenance routine, roofing professionals can also help you draw up a roof maintenance plan. Of course, roof maintenance programs have basic components, which you can use to guide you during routine checks. However, you should also keep in mind that your roof may have other unique requirements that should be noted. Work closely with your contractor to come up with a customized maintenance plan that meets the specific needs of your building.
KLIM Roofing & Construction is committed to providing excellent services to every customer. This enables us to deliver quality results and meet or exceed expectations. Thanks to our decades of experience, we have the skills and know-how to handle any project. Call us today at (424) 204-8922 to learn more about how we can help you.