Your roof has escaped the winter storms and spring hail, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally safe. For commercial roofs, summer can bring serious problems as extreme heat and high humidity put a strain on its structure and materials.
Unlike major cracks or leaks caused by other types of extreme weather, heat damage can be hard to identify. To prevent long-term roof problems, it’s important to perform self-inspections during the summer and to have a professional roofing company to make regular evaluations.
Here are five things to look for when the summer heat has started to bear down on your roof:
- Thermal Shock—Commercial roofs are constantly exposed to sunlight and can reach more than 180 degrees on hot summer days. When the sun goes down, the roof temperature rapidly decreases. This quick temperature change can cause problems as your roof materials quickly expand during the day and contract at night. This severe temperature change is known as thermal shock, and it can cause your roof to warp or create gaps over time.
- Sun Damage—Just as UV rays can gradually damage your skin, they can also damage your roof. The sun degrades materials on the roof if they aren’t properly treated, bleaching or blackening the roof. Wood and shingles are particularly vulnerable to damage.
- Drying—Roof heating can also dry out the oils in some roof materials. When roof linings or structural materials get dry, they become brittle and can crack. If left untreated, those fractures can damage the structural integrity of the roof or degrade its waterproofing materials and cause leaks.
- High Humidity—High heat combined with high humidity is one of the biggest risks to a commercial roof. When a roof has expanded, due to high heat, it can absorb additional moisture. In places like the Southeast, where the summers tend to be humid, commercial roofs are at high risk for retaining moisture. Water patches can cause leaks and, if left unfixed, can lead to roof collapses.
- Popped Seams and Loose Screws—The combination of high heat, harsh UV rays, and an expansion and contraction of the roof surface can lead to popped roof seams and loose screws. Penetrations like skylights and vents are hot spots for this type of damage.
The key to beating the summer heat is to schedule ongoing roof maintenance and evaluate your roof’s vulnerability. To learn more about how Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. can protect your roof, contact us today
Sheet metal is one of the most durable materials that can be used for commercial roofs. Metal is long-lasting, weather-resistant, and can help save on energy bills by reflecting the sun’s rays away from the building. But, while metal can be a great choice for many commercial buildings, it takes a highly specialized sheet metal installer to get the job done properly.
If you’re considering metal for your commercial building’s roof, here are a few of the do’s and don’ts for how to install sheet metal:
- Know what you’re paying for. Yes, metal roofs have a lot going for them, but adding on customized roof parts can quickly add on to the project’s cost. Before purchasing a metal roof, it’s important to know what will raise the cost of the roof system. Certain types of metal, complicated engineering, or high levels of customization will raise the price of your roof system, but they may make the roof last longer.
- Make proper measurements and estimates for the roof pitch. This may seem like a no-brainer, but improper measurements are one of the most common things that can mess up roof installation and deplete a budget. It’s important to hire a properly trained engineer or sheet metal installer to estimate a roof’s pitch accurately and make correct measurements.
- Get the right fasteners. Sheet metal fasteners are not one-size-fits-all. If installing yourself, it’s important to get the proper fasteners for your roof’s substrate material. If a sheet metal installer is doing the work, be sure to ask about the fastener’s corrosion minimization capabilities. Low-quality roofers may try to skimp on fasteners that corrode easily, diminishing your roof’s value.
- Research extensively. The best way to prepare for roof installation is to do your research and know what your expectations are. Be sure that your roof will suit the needs of your area’s weather and your business before making the big purchase.
- Paint with a sprayer. When it comes time to paint your roof, don’t use a sprayer. Wind can easily cause paint to drift and spread unevenly. It may be more work, but using a paint roller is the best way to ensure that a roof’s color is properly distributed.
- Rely too much on the warranty. Metal roof warranties can be a big selling point. Having a good warranty is important, but warranties will only cover manufacturer defects. Regardless of the quality of your roof’s warranty, it’s essential to set up a proper maintenance schedule from the get-go to ensure that your metal roof will last.
- Assume all roofers know how to install sheet metal. Not every roofer can do everything. Finding a qualified sheet metal installer means you’ll have to find a full-service roofing company. Using a company with a sheet metal fabrication unit will be best because it lowers costs and allows for additional roof customization.
- Try to install your roof on your own. Even if you know how to install sheet metal, you’ll likely need some help along the way. Using a qualified roofer is the best way to ensure that your metal roof gets installed properly and lasts as long as possible.
To learn more about Maxwell’s in-house fabrication unit and metal roof installation, contact us today.
Anyone who works at a restaurant or food processing plant knows that grease can damage the building’s interior and is best addressed by blowing it out of the exhaust fan. However, once that grease leaves the building, it can wreak havoc on the roof outside if not properly handled.
More than 80 percent of food industry buildings are damaged when grease is released from the building without a properly installed rooftop grease trap.
Types of Grease Damage
Without a rooftop grease trap bucket, grease can contaminate or destroy a commercial roof. Here are just a few of the ways grease can harm a commercial roof:
- Breakdown of tar or gravel roofs—Grease exposure can turn tar and gravel roofs soft. Over time, the roof will start to break down and take on a sponge-like texture, weakening the roof’s structural integrity.
- Membrane blistering—Roof membranes help keep buildings waterproofed. When grease gets into a membrane, it can cause the roof to blister and crack.
- Contamination—Over time, grease can seep into a roof so severely that it becomes contaminated and needs to be replaced. Even roofs with a grease bucket are vulnerable to this when not properly maintained. It’s critical to regularly bring in a professional roofer who knows how to clean grease traps on rooftop hoods.
- Ruptured seams—A roof’s seams, or any other part that involves an adhesive, will deteriorate if grease gets on them. Over time, this could lead to a rupture in the seam and cause a collapsed roof.
- Fire damage—When grease is allowed to build up on a commercial roof, it can become a fire hazard. Grease is extremely flammable, and allowing it to build up isn’t just a risk for a roof but for the entire building and anyone who uses it.
Why Grease Traps?
Because the potential for damage is so high, grease traps are a fairly common and inexpensive addition to a commercial roof. A rooftop grease trap is installed near the exhaust fan and captures any grease and other harmful particulates before it can fall onto the roof or be released into the environment.
Restaurant rooftop grease traps are often required by law, and other types of buildings may need them to be in compliance with EPA regulations in certain states.
Why You Should Work with a Professional Roofer
Only a professional roofer has the technical skills to properly install a rooftop grease trap or a rooftop grease trap bucket. Once installed, your roofer should also be able to perform regular maintenance on the trap to ensure that it functions properly.
Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. has more than 60 years of experience working with commercial kitchens. To learn more about how a rooftop grease trap can help protect your building, contact us today.
Next Generation Net Lease Management, LLC is an investment company that acquires net leased commercial real estate properties. They invest in single-tenant real estate that is then leased to large companies. Next Generation’s team is made up of experienced real estate investors with backgrounds in finance, tax, law, leveraged leasing, and the financial services and securities industries.
The Opportunity & Solution
Next Generation has been in business for seven years. For six of those seven years, they have been a loyal customer of Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. As Next Generation frequently acquires new real estate, there was an immediate need for a reliable commercial roofer they could call upon for quality repairs and replacements. After several local recommendations, Next Generation chose Maxwell Roofing as their full-service roofing partner. Steven Germain, a principal investor, says that what he enjoys most about working with Maxwell is “efficient work, fair pricing, and knowledgeable and honest people.” He goes on to say that they genuinely “like John Maxwell and trust him and his team.”
If not carefully attentive on an ongoing basis, a lot can go wrong with a commercial roof. However, businesses often ignore their roofs until disaster strikes. There are many myths about modern roof maintenance and how frequently roofs should be inspected. To clear up some of the rumors, here are some insights to several common misconceptions about commercial roofing preventative maintenance, so you can get back on track with proper preventative roof maintenance practices.
MYTH 1: Waiting to fix roof problems saves money.
Many business owners think that waiting for damage to take its course or waiting for roof replacement can save money. The fact is that leaving roof damage until the last minute only leads to more damage to the building. Leaks and holes in the roof can cause water damage in other parts of the building. Tears and damaged insulation can have a direct impact on a building’s heating and cooling bills. Commercial roof preventative maintenance is the only thing that could save money in the long run by preventing disasters before they happen.
MYTH 2: Roofs only need to be examined when there is damage.
For commercial roofs, damage can begin very slowly and go almost unnoticed. Waiting for roof damage or replacement to get an inspection is a missed opportunity to have prevented the damage in the first place. By following a roof preventative maintenance checklist, facility managers will regularly check problematic parts of the roof. Regularly caring for the roof can prevent slow building damage and keep the roof in shape so it can face storms and other types of common damage. You can wait for an inspection until your roof is damaged, or you can avoid small problems before they become full-blown damage.
MYTH 3: Flashing only needs to be replaced when you get a new roof.
It’s easy to think of a commercial roof as one system. But, while each part of a roof has to work together to function, every individual piece has its own maintenance schedule. Flashing should be specially maintained to prolong its life, but even then, it may need to be replaced earlier than other parts of the roof.
MYTH 4: Every roof maintenance company can handle every type of roof.
Not all roof materials are created equal. Shingle roofs need a very different type of care than asphalt roofs. Metal roofs also require special care and may be best handled by a company with an in-house fabrication shop. Not every roof maintenance company has the expertise to handle metal roof maintenance.
MYTH 5: Warranties cover all roof problems.
Roof warranties only cover manufacturing defects. In some cases, a warranty may cover major damage to your roof, but usually manufacturer defects start as small problems and only grow to a disaster once the warranty is expired. To catch these small issues, it’s important to get regular roof inspections from a professional roofing company.
Maxwell Roofing and Sheet Metal, Inc. has great pride in the thoroughness of our maintenance program. To learn more about our roof inspections, contact us today.