A Fall Checklist for Commercial Roofs

Fall is often a welcomed season by all, as the summer heat can leave us anxious for cooler weather—not to mention the changing leaves and all things pumpkin. But, no matter the season, preparations must be made—especially when it comes to roofing. For commercial roofs, having a service and maintenance checklist for fall is just as important as it is for winter and summer.

So, as we enter the fall season with its changing temperatures and weather, here’s our team’s list of commercial roofing maintenance must-dos.

If you have a low-slope commercial roof…

1. Inspect areas around HVAC units.

Low-slope commercial roofs are often helpful for keeping HVAC units off the ground and out of sight. However, heavy equipment atop a flat roof can cause breakage in the roofing membrane and lead to leaks or moisture infraction. Thus, inspecting these areas is highly recommended each season.

2. Check for organic debris build-up.

Low-slope commercial roofs can be prone to organic debris build up in gutters, around roof drains, or any other drainage points. If organic debris is not removed from the roof system, it can be the cause of water infiltration into the building. Draining points need to stay clear of debris to promote positive drainage and allow water to clear off the roof, rather than building up and backing into the building. Preventative maintenance calls are great to visually inspect the roof and remove such debris from the system.

3. Monitor roofing around skylights or diffusers.

Many low-slope commercial roofs have rooftop penetrations like skylights and diffusers that allow for more natural light and balanced ventilation in large facilities. If your building has these fixtures, be sure to monitor any flashings or seals around them to ensure there are no leaks or potential damage.

4. Review any high-traffic areas.

As many flat or low-slope commercial roofs are friendly for walking—and some can even have rooftop bars or decks—it’s important to monitor any high-traffic areas to make sure there are no cracks, deterioration, or compromised areas. 

If you have a sloped commercial roof…

1. Carefully assess roofing materials.

Depending on the material used for sloped commercial roofs—including asphalt, metal, shingles, or tiles—it’s important to assess your commercial roofing materials for any erosion or damage. If shingles or tiles are used, look for any that might be missing from heavy winds. You’ll also want to be on the lookout for any damaged or corroded panels on metal roofing.

2. Inspect any seams or flashing.

Sloped commercial roofing will obviously have seams and flashing. As these areas can be a magnet for where water will make its way to gutters, it’s imperative to inspect seams regularly to ensure they’re working properly and are leak-free.

3. Investigate the roof deck.

Almost all sloped commercial roofs will have a roof deck underneath the roofing materials, and this is essential to be inspected on an ongoing basis. Issues with the roof deck can lead to rusty support beams, interior mold and mildew, and even water drips during rainy weather.

4. Examine inside areas close to the roof.

Especially with a sloped roof, it’s essential to carefully examine the interior areas where your roof is sloped to ensure there are no cracks, leaks, or issues that can allow moisture to make its way inside. Pay careful attention to potential water spots, wet insulation, or damaged ventilation.

Don’t Fall Victim to Roofing Woes

Is your commercial roof in need of a fall check-up? Our team of professionals at Maxwell Roofing is here for you! Contact us today to schedule a roofing assessment or inspection.

8 Common Low-Slope Roofing Mistakes

When planning to install or repair a low-slope roof on your commercial building, you want to ensure that you’re planning for longevity. By not cutting corners and checking for quality along the way, your roofing contractor can significantly improve the lifespan of your roofing investment. To help you identify whether your commercial roofing partner is following best practices, here are eight common low-slope roofing mistakes they should avoid.

1. Having Inadequate Drainage

Proper drainage is essential to keep your roof free of pooling water and the accumulation of dirt and debris. Drainage issues are especially common in low-slope roofs, often causing long-term water damage. Among other consequences, poor drainage and pooling water can dissolve the adhesives used in construction, allowing moisture to infiltrate your building. Your roofing contractor should design a plan to prevent drainage issues before beginning your project.

2. Using Low-Quality or Incorrect Materials

As water does not drain as quickly from a low-slope roof due to its lack of slant, the materials your roofer chooses are important to ensure its longevity. You must consider that water will pool, even briefly, and so the materials must be able to withstand that exposure. Additionally, in the colder months, pooling water can freeze and thaw, so temperature should also be taken into account when searching for the best materials. 

3. Failing to Check the Seams Throughout the Project

Rather than waiting until the end of a project to check the seams, your roofer should probe the seams throughout the project to identify gaps. A “probe” is a tool that a roofer uses to test the welded seams of your roof. Checking the seams as they go will prevent issues from arising in the roofing inspection or—if gaps are overlooked by an inspector—causing damage to your roof down the line.

4. Improper Repairs

You’ve invested a lot of money in a new roof system, but small repairs are bound to happen throughout the years. Be sure to utilize a high-quality roofing contractor with experience and manufacturer approval so that warrantable repairs are made. Incorrect products or improper repairs can actually cause more harm than good to a new roof system.

5. Reactive Maintenance

A low-slope roof system needs to be regularly inspected and maintained to prevent small leaks from becoming larger issues. Many owners and representatives expect a new roof system to be water-tight and problem-free, but roofs are exposed to weather conditions and other external factors that can cause damage to a roof system. To avoid common issues, proactively manage your roof system with annual assessments and regularly scheduled preventative maintenance calls.

6. Leaving the Membrane Dirty

To ensure proper welding, adhering, or mechanical fastening, your roofer should ensure that the roof’s membrane is clean and dry beforehand. Even when returning to a roof for patches or repairs, cleaning the membrane should always be done first. When bonding new patches, flashing, or new membrane to the original field membrane, it must be as clean as possible for a long-term seal. The older the original material, the more difficult this is to do properly because the membrane naturally deteriorates over time.

7. Placing T-Joint Patches Incorrectly

A t-joint is where layers of a roof’s membrane meet. For leak prevention, t-joint patches must be placed and appropriately welded throughout the roofing system. Your roofer must cover all three of the joint’s membranes with the patch. And it’s equally important that they put the patches in the necessary places.

8. Improper Workmanship

For a high-quality roof system, hire a knowledgeable roofer. Many common roof problems can be traced to poor workmanship, so to minimize the risk of future roof problems, use an experienced and established roofing contractor. Professional roofing companies train their employees with proper installation techniques and high-quality products. To help avoid poor workmanship, always research the roofing contractor prior to hiring for their reputation, longevity, and safety rating. By taking the time upfront to choose carefully, you can minimize the risk for post-installation issues. 

Contact Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. today to learn how we can make your low-slope roof last longer with regular inspections and maintenance.

Do’s and Don’ts of Low-Slope Commercial Roofing

When it comes to commercial buildings, low-slope roofs are the most cost-effective and space-efficient roofing options. For these reasons, it’s rare to see a factory, warehouse, or grocery store with a sloped roof. While there are many advantages to a low-slope roof, this type of structure also presents some issues that commercial building owners should be aware of.

Here are the basic do’s and don’ts about owning and maintaining a low-slope commercial roof:

Don’t…

  • Ignore the maintenance schedule—With a low-slope roof, a small problem can become a big problem very quickly. Low-slope roofs don’t flush debris or moisture as easily as pitched roofs. Because of their large surface area, they can easily conceal problems. This makes regular maintenance and inspections even more important for a low-slope roof. 
  • Wait for repairs—Because low-slope roofs are so exposed, damage can get worse quickly. When there is damage on a low-slope roof, it’s important to get it taken care of as soon as possible before a small tear becomes a giant leak.
  • Make the roof overly accessible—Roofers and building contractors need access to your roof, but that doesn’t mean every person should be able to go up there. If someone doesn’t have official business on the roof, don’t give them access. High traffic on a low-slope roof can cause damage, not to mention it being a safety hazard.

Do…

  • Clean the roof regularly—A little mess on your roof may not seem like a huge issue, but it can become a serious problem for a low-slope roof. Debris, dirt, and grime don’t flush off a low-slope roof as easily as a roof with a pitch. Over time, filth can build up on a roof, clogging drains and even causing leaks. Regularly cleaning a low-slope roof will help your building look nice, and it will prevent problems.
  • Give water an escape route—When designing a low-slope roof, make sure not to create places that will retain water. Moisture build up is one of the biggest risks with a low-slope roof, and having a proper drainage system is critical to preventing leaks. Be sure to consult a professional roofer about drains and other equipment you’ll need to guide water off the roof’s surface.
  • Get on a consistent inspection plan—A maintenance schedule for a new low-slope roof should begin the day after it’s finished. Regular inspections and being consistent with minor repairs are the only way to ensure that a low-slope roof stays healthy. By working with a roofing contractor, you can get enrolled in a roof management program that will predict when you’ll need roof repairs.

There’s a lot to consider when getting a new commercial roof. Let the experts at Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. help. For a consultation, contact Maxwell today.