7 Tips to Keep Your Commercial Flat Roof Like New
A big part of our business is in commercial roofing. This includes installing, diagnosing, and repairing flat roofs.
Over the years, we have seen our fair share of problems with flat roofing and when repairs become unmanageable – leading to the need of replacing a flat roof – it always points back to how much, and how regularly the maintenance has been done.
Some commercial building owners may not have the time to examine their roof, but its well worth the time, just as with any roof, to do regular maintenance and repairs.
Flat roofs don’t have the pitch, or much pitch, to allow water to run off. As a result, they are much more prone to leaking. If you keep regular tabs on it, you’re more likely to catch a leak before it reaches inside the structure. Whether it’s your home or your business, it’s best to know these tips to keep up on maintenance for your flat roof:
Commercial Flat Roof Maintenance Tips
- Look for little puddles – or ponding – after a rainstorm.
Any ponding can lead to cracks and leaks in the roof and structural problems. Hopefully, your roof has ways to combat ponding like scuppers, drain sumps, or an automatic pump and overflow drains. However, don’t just rely on those things without going to check periodically.
It is worth it to see what your roof looks like when it gets a large volume of water. Catching a problem fast will save you money. If you’re noticing ponding happening often, it’s time to call your roofing company.
- Take care of extreme snow build-up quickly.
Snow and ice can wreck a pitched roof – and the house underneath if it’s not properly dealt with, but it can really wreak havoc on a flat roof fast. Ice is the worst, as it can cause the material to split and crack under extreme weight and temperature fluctuations.
Remove the snow from your roof as soon as you can – or have it removed. We always recommend having a professional come to remove the snow and ice. Snow + Ice + roof = not a good combination.
- Check for pockets of air.
Pockets of air or blistering right beneath the membrane are cause for concern. They won’t hurt your roof as they are, but they tend to crack or tear and whatever is underneath gets exposed to the elements.
Rain, snow and especially sun beating down on it every day will tear away at that exposed place very quickly. Keep an eye on the blister and call your maintenance company as soon as it pops so it can be repaired.
- Examine the fasteners.
If you roof is applied with fasteners, you need to make sure they are still firmly attached. Watching for any loose ones will save you money. These things get loose over time with the normal wearing process of the roof. With a quick reinstall, your roof will be back to keeping the water out.
- Scan for splitting.
If you roof is splitting – meaning the membrane actually has cracks in it that are coming apart – it probably means you haven’t been doing the maintenance you were supposed to do. This is not a good sign.
The membrane cracks because of ponding and freezing and thawing over and over again. The cracks usually appear by the joints of the membrane: where the pieces are joined together. If you can see and feel them and they feel spongy, it’s time to call a roofer quick.
- Have debris and dirt removed.
Debris and dirt left on the roof is a quick way to increase wear and tear and encourage all the bad stuff you don’t want to see. Part of regular maintenance is cleaning off any dirt and debris and it’s something your roofing company would include with part of your maintenance plan.
- Keep trees at bay
Keep an eye on any trees around your roof. As with any other kind of roof – branches that are hanging too low can scrape and contribute to the wear and tear on your roof. You need at least three feet of clearance between any tree branches and the roof.
You can see why keeping a flat roof in top shape is a big job. Sometimes it’s hard to be the owner of a high-maintenance building. However, keeping it maintained will prevent headaches (and wallet aches) from having to replace a commercial flat roof too soon.
If you need a new flat roof or a new maintenance plan for your current roof, call us today.