9 Common Commercial Roof Problems

Just like with any problem or issue, commercial roof problems are inevitable but can be prevented with proper care and attention. From the quality of installation and products used to the frequency of inspection and maintenance to the occasional natural disaster—if commercial roofing problems are left unchecked, they will lead to bigger, more costly repairs. It’s important that you have a trusted roofing partner to guide you in the prevention and repair of unwanted surprises with your commercial roof.

Here are nine of the most common commercial roof problems we find within the industry. If you are experiencing any of these with your commercial roof, please contact us today for a consultation and inspection.

1. Age

Commercial roofs will generally last in good condition for around 15 to 20 years. However, as a roof ages, it becomes more susceptible to damage. Proactive maintenance can go a long way in ensuring that a commercial roof stays problem-free as it ages.

2. Leaks

Wear and tear, open penetrations, and even clogged drainage on a commercial roof over time can create numerous opportunities for water to seep in. You can prevent leaks on your commercial roof by scheduling consistent appointments with a commercial roofing company.

3. Poor Installation

Faulty installation will speed up the potential for commercial roof problems, ultimately affecting a roof’s life expectancy. If you suspect poor workmanship or construction with your commercial roof, it’s likely time to contact a reputable roofing company to inspect and correct any installation issues to avoid greater problems down the road.

4. Lack of Maintenance

Routine inspections are a must for commercial roofing systems. Waiting too long for an inspection or proactive maintenance can cost you financially and at risk of your employees’ safety. 

5. Improper Roofing Materials

Commercial roofs that have been installed or repaired with improper roofing materials can cause major problems. Not only do you want to select the appropriate roofing materials, it’s critical to ensure that your roofing contractor or maintenance technician is certified to install and repair your roof.

6. Ponding or Standing Water

Especially common on flat or low-slope commercial roofs, there can be spots where water collects and “ponds,” meaning it doesn’t drain or evaporate quickly. Standing water on a roof will lead to a number of costly problems for your building and can dissolve the adhesives used in construction, allowing moisture to infiltrate your building.

7. Blow-offs

When heavy winds blow over a commercial roof, the pressure above the roof’s surface can decrease. At the same time, internal air pressure can expand due to air infiltration through cracks and openings—known as a wind uplift. Strong winds can also blow off vents or caps, which allows water to get into pipes.

8. Faulty Flashing

A high percentage of roof leaks can be attributed to faulty flashing. This is because of the expansion and contraction that occurs and causes the flashing to tear and break. If the top of the flashing is not terminated properly, water will creep in and lead to major damage.

9. Debris

Rooftop debris can come in natural and man-made forms—from leaves and limbs to cardboard or trash. Debris can clog a building’s gutters or pile up in rooftop areas, leading to rapid deterioration of roofing materials. Though you may not be atop your commercial roof often to notice debris, scheduling regular inspections will be helpful in ensuring that debris and gutter systems are clear—especially after severe weather.

How to Prevent Commercial Roof Problems

It’s no secret that preventative maintenance is a must when it comes to keeping your commercial building’s roof free of problems. Commercial roofs should be checked at least seasonally, as well as immediately after storms or extreme weather. Our team at Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. prides ourselves on the quality of our inspections, preventative maintenance services, and long-term roof management program.  

Contact Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. today to learn how we can help you steer clear of unwanted commercial roofing problems and costly repairs.

Preventative Roofing Maintenance: Tips for Your Common Weather Woes

Commercial roofs are under constant assault from Mother Nature. They are built to withstand weather events like run-of-the mill thunderstorms, rain storms, periods of sustained winds and snowfall. However, all roofs are vulnerable to extreme weather events and you won’t necessarily know just how vulnerable your roof is until something happens. The good news? You can take steps to help guard against weather damage and to receive alerts when wind, hail, rain or ice/snow does a number on your roof.

The Best Defense in Roofing Is A Good Offense

The most important thing that building managers can do to protect the integrity of their roofing system is to know the condition of the roof. Regular, professional roofing inspections can identify damage or defects and can also identify potential vulnerabilities should a nasty weather event occur. In between inspections, facilities managers should conduct check-ups to monitor the roof and to identify any new issues as soon as possible.

Knowing the condition of the roof is important, but it’s only half the battle. Management should be prepared to correct the defects and damage found during inspections and self-checkups. Facilities staff can seal cracks, secure areas that may be vulnerable to high winds, and remove puddled water. Any preventative measures should be shared with your commercial roofing partner, however, so that they can examine those small issues and create a plan for a permanent fix. Putting off repairs, however minor, can leave the roof system vulnerable in the event of a storm.

Keep “Eyes” On The Roof In Any Weather

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to receive an alert if something happened to the roofing system instead of discovering water on the floor of the building? There is a product on the market called Roof Monitor™ that keeps tabs on the conditions of the roof 24/7/365.

The product keeps tabs on water and snow load on flat and low-slope roofs and it alerts building managers if the roof’s perimeter is breached or if the deck experiences sag. The sensors send a signal that triggers a call to building managers and immediately dispatches an authorized repair team to the site to assess the situation and make necessary fixes to protect the roofing system.

Ice And Snow Don’t Have To Cause Stress

They say everything is bigger in the South, and when it comes to hail, nothing could be more true. All southerners are familiar with the sounds and the stresses of a hailstorm which can pound ice chunks on a roof at speeds of 90 miles per hour. Hail can wreak havoc on a commercial roof, and it’s important to take precautions to protect sensitive systems. Installing a high-density coverboard over the insulation and under the membrane can guard against hail damage.

There isn’t much snow in the South, but Northern states can deal with several feet of snow over the course of a winter. Those loads can lead to serious roof damage, and in worst cases, collapse. It is good practice to install heating coils on a roof to melt snow in the event of a heavy storm, guarding against major malfunctions.

Whether it’s rain, hail, snow, or wind, Mother Nature can cause real damage to roofing systems. Regular professional inspections and self-checkups are important to keep tabs on the physical conditions of the roof. Construction features like coverboards and heating coils can provide extra protection, as can a sensor system like Roof Monitor™. When it comes to all-weather roofing, prevention is the best medicine.

Your Roof Is Asking For Help: 5 Red Flags to Look Out For

With the exception of an act of nature, roofs rarely open up and allow water to pour in without warning. Most leaks begin small, getting worse with time as more and more water seeps into the roofing system. A commercial roof will “communicate” with the people inside, offering signs of stress. These are the 5 indoor roofing red flags to keep an eye on.

1. Water, Water Anywhere

The number one leaky roof red flag is the presence of water anywhere it should not be. The location of the water can be misleading, and may not be an accurate indication of where the water is coming from. Don’t assume that water stains near a window are caused by the window itself. Water travels on the path of least resistance, and that means that moisture from the roof can run down walls and show up nearly anywhere in the building.

2. Moisture On The Ceiling

Condensation can accumulate on the ceiling tiles for many reasons and may not always indicate a roof leak. Sometimes it can be the result of a heating, ventilation, air conditioning, or plumbing issue. However, if it occurs on the top floor, odds are it’s caused by a roof leak. Any time condensation appears on the ceiling, the cause should be immediately investigated.

3. Mold and Mildew

Mold and mildew require water to grow. If mold or mildew are spotted on or behind walls, this is a major roofing red flag. Again, this could be the result of a plumbing or ductwork issue, but in many cases of mold, water is likely getting in between the walls through the roof.

4. Rot In an Unused Area of the Building

Some buildings have restricted or unused areas that are not regularly visited by employees or tenants. When a section of a building is not populated, it can be a while before signs of leaks are found, which can cause rot. If rot is present in a little-used section of the building, the source may be the roof.

5. Irregular Roofing Inspections

When was the last time your roof was inspected by a professional roofing contractor? If no one on the facilities team can recall, or if it’s been more than a year, the building is at high risk for roof leaks, especially if that roof is more than a few years old.

Proactive Indoor Searches For Signs of Outdoor Damage

Leaks are often not spotted in their early stages, especially if you’re not conducting regular inspections and roofing maintenance check-ups. Typically, the first time a roofing red flag is noticed occurs when water is already dripping or pouring down into a building.

When facilities teams conduct inspections of the property, they should create a checklist for their examinations that includes:

    • Looking for signs of moisture on the ceiling.
    • Examining areas around windows and door openings for wetness, warp or rot.
    • Scanning for visible signs of mold or mildew.
    • Studying the roof deck, if visible, for signs of moisture.

Water leaks damage more than just the roof. If a leak is not detected early, or if it is not repaired in a way that corrects the damage done by the water, it can lead to widespread mold and mildew, drywall may need to be replaced, carpeting removed, window frames rebuilt, etc. These residual repairs can significantly add to the total cost of the repair.

The best way to keep water from getting inside is to ensure the roof is an impregnable barrier against the elements. Working with a trusted partner and expert can help keep water outside, where it belongs.