Whether you are a commercial building owner, manager and maintenance person all in one, it’s up to you to stay educated about your commercial roof.
Since commercial roofing can experience several typical problems over time, you need to know what to look for and when the signs point toward a need for professional intervention.
Here’s a list of the four most common commercial roof problems we see time after time.
Top 4 Most Common Commercial Roof Problems
Blow-offs or Reduced Wind Uplift Resistance
One of the problems specific to commercial roofing is air pressure-related. Wind flows over the roof, causing the pressure above the work’s surface to decrease.
At the same time, internal air pressure from the building increases because of air infiltrating through cracks and openings in the building. This is a standard problem, not having to do with your building’s structure being faulty. This change in pressure results in the force being applied in an upward direction, known as “wind uplift.”
What you want is a roof that is wind uplift resistant. If your roof’s seams weren’t fully cured or if the seams were exposed before they were cured the wind uplift can cause damage to the roofing system.
The same thing could happen if your roof has too few fasteners in the base sheet or improper gravel embedment. High winds can blow caps off of chimneys and vents as well, allowing water to flow into the pipe.
Problems With Flashing
Flashing is an all-important part of your commercial roof. It gets installed on walls, curbs, and around any protrusions like pipes or chimneys.
Flashing must be installed correctly to keep water away from the seams and joints in your flat roof. Most of the commercial leaks we see are the result of faulty flashing.
It’s not always the fault of the original installer, as expansion and contraction is a normal part of any roofing system interacting with the weather. Expansion and contraction will cause flashing to break eventually.
Another of the related elements of a flat roof is the pitch pans. These are used as a seal around pipes coming through a roof. They can be inadequately sealed or not properly maintained, resulting in water running down pipes and into the roof.
Of course, standing water is the most notorious problem for flat roofs. Also called ponding, this problem is due to clogged drains, poor roof design or poor installation.
While standing water, in itself, won’t immediately come through your roof, over time it can cause commercial roof failure. It could be due to not enough slope being included in the original design or poor mopping during installation. Your professional roofing contractor will investigate the source of the standing water before making repairs.
Accidental punctures due to storm damage should, of course, be fixed right away. However, even new penetrations due to additional equipment installation should be handled with caution.
Construction work can easily cause cuts and scrapes to the membrane and damage the underlayment. You can even get damage due to foot traffic in some flat roof systems. Care is needed not to tear the roof because of these procedures, and they can also void the warranty.
The bottom line is, anything you add or take away from your roof post-installation can have catastrophic results if not sealed properly. Consult a professional commercial roofing contractor before you add or take away equipment from your roof or subject it to heavy foot traffic.
Bringing it Home
You can protect your roof and your building from damage due to some of the most common commercial roof problems. Are you located in Southeast Michigan? Please call if you have any questions or concerns. We’re happy to help you solve your commercial roofing problems!
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