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.

Beyond the Quote – How To Properly Vet A Professional Roofer

Unless you’ve spent significant time in the roofing business, it’s hard to tell if you’re talking to an honest, professional roofer that knows their stuff and is giving you objective recommendations. If you want to choose a roofer you’ll be satisfied with, you should know the signs that you’re working with a true pro.

Communication Breeds Trust

Trusting a roofer is difficult. Roof work can be costly, and most building management teams don’t call a roofer until they’ve got a significant problem on their hands. It’s easy to see how someone could take advantage of the situation, so it’s important to feel you’re spending your money wisely.

Trust begins with communication. Roofers that don’t have a professional website with contact information that’s easy to spot, that are slow to respond to calls and questions, or who do not provide detailed assessments of their findings both verbally and in writing should not make the final cut when choosing a partner. Prompt responses, detailed written assessments and proposals, and honest discussion are usually a good sign that you’ll feel confident working with that roofing team.

Professional Quote, Professional Roofer

Contractors that pop up on the roof then give you a verbal estimate and move on, or worse, demand instant payment up front are red flags. Any roofing company worth its salt will spend a lot of time on the roof to get a full picture of what’s going on with the system. They will likely meet with you right afterward to explain what they found, but they should always follow up with a written assessment and proposal.

That proposal should be professionally prepared and should be extremely detailed, including pictures of the damage and deterioration they found. The project manager or point person should then walk through the proposal line by line with building management so everyone understands the problems and the suggested remedies.

Repairs Deserve Detailed Reporting

Total roof replacements require detailed proposals, but so do many repairs. Anyone can tell you a section of a roof needs to be repaired, but when you’re spending money to fix a critical portion of a building’s structure, you deserve to know what the damage is, why the repair is in order, and how the fix will be made.

Expert roofers believe wholeheartedly in detail and are committed to helping building managers make informed choices. When called to inspect a roof, they will provide a leak investigation report that provides important details including the location of the damage/deterioration, the size, the proper way to fix it, and the price. Furthermore, expert roofers will also document the finished work with photographs for record keeping purposes.

No Service Standards? No Thanks

Great roofers care about customer service. They know that roof repairs and replacement are a hassle for building owners, and they take steps to make the process as smooth and as pleasant as possible. Their proposals should include service standards that ensure the project moves quickly and efficiently.

Roofers should be upfront about noise, construction vehicles, the need for and timing of HVAC system shut downs, and any potential fume issues that will arise during repairs or installation. They should also work closely with building managers to minimize these potential intrusions.

Unfortunately, the industry has some participants who are “here today and gone tomorrow”. In contrast, professional roofers who are committed to service and who have dedicated, knowledgeable staff rarely disappoint. They will be willing to share manufacturer authorizations, history of performance, and references from satisfied customers.

In Roofing, There Should Be Some Guarantees

You can never predict how foot traffic, construction or Mother Nature will impact a commercial roof, but great roofers will guarantee their permanent repair work for one year. Any roofer that does not provide a guarantee or warranty on their work should be avoided.

No business wants to have to fix something for free – especially something they already did – so companies that stand by their work put several levels of quality controls in place to ensure the job gets done right, the first time.

Choosing a commercial roofer can be overwhelming, especially if you’re dealing with major leaks or damage that require immediate attention. Take the time to vet potential roofers, and pay close attention to the way they communicate with you and your team before you ever sign on the dotted line. When you know how to choose a roofer, you’ll be much happier with the end result.

Risk Management 101: How to Protect Yourself Against Damage, Injury and Liability

As a building owner or property manager, do you feel protected? With any roofing project, you need to be aware of the various concerns that could affect the success, cost, and timeline of your build. There are safety and liability concerns – and what about the roof and building itself? In this introductory piece, we’ll explore all the aspects of roof work that you need to consider so that you can manage the risk.

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