4 Things to Know About Rooftop Penetration Installation

The last thing you want to think about with an expensive commercial roof is poking a hole in it. However, roof penetrations are sometimes necessary for other functions in your building. Here is everything you need to know about installing rooftop penetrations the right way.

1. There are many reasons to penetrate a roof. In general, the quality of a roof is partially determined by its ability to hold up when things try to penetrate it. No company wants a tree or a chunk of softball-sized hail crashing down through its roof, but there are types of penetrations that can add utility or value to your building. Here are just a few types of intentional roof penetrations.

  • Chimneys—If you plan to put a fireplace in your building, you’ll need a chimney to help empty the smoke from a fire.
  • Skylights—Skylights can dramatically improve the natural light in your building without taking up valuable wall space.
  • Exhaust Fans—Exhaust fans can help remove steam, odors, or other unwanted pollutants in your building’s air.
  • Vents—Vents suck out moisture or pump air to provide ventilation to a building.
  • HVAC Systems—Large commercial heating and cooling units are often kept on a building’s roof, and a penetration will be needed to bring the warm or cool air inside the building.
  • Solar Panels—Large solar units for a commercial building are best fastened to a roof using anchors, which put small holes into a roof.
  • Pipes and Drains—Some complex pipe systems may be kept on a building’s roof and need entry into the building.

2. Penetrations are best installed during construction. Planning out roof penetrations during construction will save work and time in installing them. A dedicated roofing company will be able to work with other construction specialists to find the best spots for your penetration and to customize the roof’s construction to best accommodate it.

3. Retrofits are possible with penetrations. Not everything about a commercial building can be planned right from the outset. If you wind up needing a roof penetration down the road, you can retrofit your roof, but this is when most things go wrong. Penetrating a roof that’s already constructed requires puncturing your “building envelope,” which refers to the materials that seal a building off from the elements. After installing a roof penetration, this envelope needs to be properly re-sealed to protect the building. Poor craftsmanship at this phase can cause disastrous damage, which brings us to our final point.

4. Use a professional roofer. An HVAC contractor or a skylight installer might tell you that they can penetrate and reseal your roof themselves, but only a specialized roofer knows the best ways to prevent leaks from entering your building. Penetrations are complicated, requiring special metal flashings and seals that few other construction contractors are trained in using. Improper installation can result in corrosion or leaking around the penetration and can result in costly repairs down the road.

If you want to get your roof penetration installed right the first time, contact Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. today. Our full-service roofing approach offers everything you need for your roof penetration from installation to maintenance.

The Importance of Hiring Qualified Roof Technicians

As a commercial business owner, you’re committed to the upkeep and maintenance of your building and building systems. You schedule yearly HVAC inspections, keep a close watch on energy use, take out any necessary insurance policies, and fix any problems as soon as they arise. Once problems have been identified, though, it’s up to you to locate and employ a conscientious contractor to address problems quickly and effectively. With so many options to choose from, you can quickly feel overwhelmed by the process of selecting a company or individual to service your building. This can be especially true when it comes to commercial roofing. A properly installed and maintained roof can save you thousands of dollars in energy savings and prevent major costs from water ingress and mold growth.

You’re also concerned about the bottom line. In an effort to save money, some folks hire contractors or professionals who may not be fully qualified for the task they’re about to complete. Roofing installation or replacement can be a huge investment. That’s why it’s essential that the company you work with is highly qualified to complete the job. When you’re interviewing potential partners, here are a few qualifications you should look for.

Safety Must Be a Priority

In terms of safety in building and construction, roofing is one of the most dangerous. It’s a fact: roofers are more at risk for onsite injuries or fatalities than other construction workers. In fact, according to OSHA, 34 percent of construction-site fatalities were roofing-related. This means that you should contract with a company that ensures the safety of its workers through airtight safety protocols and insurance policies. Maxwell conducts a job hazard analysis for every project, taking time to identify potential dangers and formulate a plan for preventing falls or injuries. We also employ the most advanced safety equipment possible to make sure our workers and supervisors are fully protected. Don’t engage with a company that doesn’t take time to customize its safety approach to your construction site. It’s simply not worth the risk.

Roofing Professionals Must Be Licensed, Bonded, and Insured

In efforts to cut costs, some roofing companies are not licensed, bonded, and insured. You may be considering working with an unlicensed roofing contractor because you feel it can save you money on a large, expensive project. This is a choice which can come at a huge cost to you, the customer, in the long run. First, let’s run through the meaning of these three commonly-used terms. A licensed roofer has undergone training, testing, and the legal certification necessary to work in a particular state or region. This means they’ve also been trained to address specific issues that may arise in particular areas. They’re aware of all local, state, and national building codes and can make sure the work they do adheres to all building regulations. This eliminates the chances of you being fined for work that is not up to code. A bonded and insured roofer has a full-coverage insurance policy that protects workers in the case of injury. With an insured and bonded contractor, you can’t be held liable for any injury that occurs on your property. For all these reasons, these three words are non-negotiable when it comes to selecting your roofing partner.

Establishing a Maintenance Relationship

When you’re looking to engage with a roofing contractor, you want to establish a relationship with a company you can trust. Look for a company that schedules yearly or bi-annual inspections to keep tabs on any necessary repairs from weather or exposure. You also want to work with a company that doesn’t suggest extraneous repairs. If an inspector finds an issue at every single checkup, it may be time to consider a new contractor. As in every relationship, the key factor is that you’re certain the professionals you’ve hired will bring a high level of efficacy to their work. With so much to manage in a commercial building, it’s important to have reliable, experienced partners to handle all aspects of building management. Since roofing can be one of the most expensive investments you make in a building, you must engage with someone you trust.

Trusted and Experienced Professionals

Any company is only as good as the talent they hire. Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. has established a reputation for excellence by consistently hiring experienced roofing professionals who are licensed, bonded, and ensured. We maintain a strong workforce by offering an outstanding benefits package. We know that if we treat our employees right, they’ll treat your roof right. If you’re a professional roofer or an experienced supervisor looking for a dedicated, caring company, we’d love to determine if you’re a fit. For more information on how we bring the best in roofing installation and maintenance to our clients, contact us today.

7 Steps for Fixing Hail Damage on a Commercial Roof

April showers bring May flowers…and huge costs from hail damage from spring and summer storms. As with most maintenance issues, prevention is key. As a business owner, you keep up-to-date insurance policies, repair and maintain your structure, and address any issues as they arise. You get regular roof inspections and have implemented waterproofing and weatherproofing techniques. When it comes to Mother Nature, though, there are no guarantees. If you happen to be in the path of a vicious spring storm, hail damage on a commercial roof can be costly, and fixing it can be a headache. Here are seven steps for fixing hail damage on a commercial roof.

1. Determine the Extent of the Damage

Once the clouds have passed, you’ll want to survey the damage on the roof itself. Take all necessary precautions when making the initial inspection. If additional storms are in the forecast or the sun is setting, you may want to wait until a more opportune time to view the damage.

Once you have eyes on the roof, you’re looking to classify the type of hail damage the storm caused. An insurance professional will verify this assessment, but knowing the extent of the damage upfront will help you start to craft a strategy for repair and start researching professionals to help you get the job done right. There are a few signs of commercial roofing hail damage to keep your eyes open for when you’re surveying the structure.

2. Look for Circular Dents

This classic damage pattern can be seen on a variety of commercial roofing materials, including metal, wood, or composite materials. The dents are often arranged in a scattershot pattern, although there may be sections of the roof that have more damage than others. A circular indent indicates the presence of large hail and can range in diameter from a few centimeters to several inches in length, depending on the size of the hail.

3. Check for Missing Shingles

Shingles that are missing, askew, or not fully secured is also a sign of hail damage. Depending on the material of the shingles, inclement weather may have had the force to remove small pieces of roofing or the damage may cover the entire structure. If roofing material is darker in color, it can be difficult to determine if small sections are missing or damaged. When possible, touching material with your hands can indicate the presence of damage, even if it’s not immediately apparent to the naked eye.

4. Photograph any Black, Red, Yellow, or White Markings

Some roofing materials are able to withstand an onslaught of weather, and the only signs of structural damage may be markings from hail impacts on the commercial roofing materials or shingles themselves. Different materials show damage in different ways, and colored streaks of black, red, white, or yellow markings could indicate damage from a sudden storm.

5. Contact Your Insurance Professional

Once you’ve viewed the damage, your next call should be to your insurance professional. Having expert eyes view the damage can give you a better idea of the scope of the damage and the possible cost of repairs. Providing the assessor or agent with photographic evidence may help your claim be processed more quickly, which is essential for getting repairs completed in a timely manner.

6. Don’t Leave Commercial Roofing Damage Unaddressed

It’s important to remember that commercial roofs are not residential roofs. The cost of replacing even a small section of a commercial roof tile can be much higher than a large section of a residential roof. Commercial and industrial roofs are also subject to stricter building and safety codes. The cost and complexity can make business owners hesitate when they consider replacement. Letting even minor damage linger through a second cold winter or storm season could cause even greater costs in the long run.

7. Partner With a Company that Specializes in Commercial Roofing

Companies that mostly handle residential roofing don’t have the tools, materials, and experience to patch, replace, or repair commercial roofing. While your insurance company may give you suggestions on what company to contact, you’ll need to do careful research to make sure the contractor you work with can properly repair your commercial roofing. Unaddressed roofing issues can lead to moisture ingress, mold issues, or high heating or cooling costs due to escaping air.

Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. has years of experience installing, maintaining, and repairing a variety of commercial roofs. Schedule a call with us today to learn more about how we can help protect your investment by maintaining your building’s longevity.