4 Common Causes for Commercial Roof Leaks

Commercial roof leaks can cause significant damage to your building if left untreated. But, how do they happen in the first place? The wear and tear on your roof over time creates numerous opportunities for water to seep in. And even minor damages can create extensive vulnerabilities. 

Your first step in preventing leaks is to be aware of what causes them most often. When your commercial roof is damaged or worn, and leaks occur, it’s usually because of one of these four factors. 

Material Damage

Damage to your roof’s materials, primarily the membrane or flashing, can cause leaks if they are not identified and fixed promptly. To give you insight into why these elements are so important: the membrane is the outer covering that protects your roof, and the flashing protects the membrane’s edges. Because these are two of the primary components that protect your roof from the elements, any damage to their integrity can lead to leaks. Without proactive roof maintenance, these materials can crack, expand, or shrink, allowing for water to find its way in.  

Open Penetrations

Anything that penetrates a roof’s membrane (HVAC units, vents, drains, pipes, etc.) can make your roof vulnerable to damage when they are not correctly installed or sealed. Penetrations should be inspected and sealed to prevent structural damage to your building

Age of the Roof

Your roof’s lifespan is a significant factor in leaks. Commercial roofs generally last for around 15 to 20 years, but as your roof ages, it becomes more susceptible to damage. In addition, damages that may have gone unnoticed will become worse as the roof ages, creating leaks in the future. Preventative maintenance can help you stay ahead of minor damages and repairs as they come up, which can extend the roof’s lifespan considerably. 

Clogged Drainage Points

Clogged roof drains, gutters, downspouts, and other drainage points can cause water build-up on the roof system. When these points are clogged, the water will eventually find a way to enter the building, resulting in a leak. By keeping the drainage points clear of debris, you can help to promote a water-tight roof system and prevent leaks and other costly damages.

How to Prevent Leaks

The best way to prevent leaks in your commercial roofing system is to schedule consistent appointments with a commercial roofing company. Proactive inspections and maintenance go a long way in finding and repairing minor damages before they become more severe and expensive. 

Before you notice a leak in your building’s roof, ensure that you know your roofing company’s process. Is there an emergency hotline you can call? How quickly can they repair a leak? These questions are crucial because once you notice a leak, time is of the essence. The sooner you can take care of the issue, the less potential there is for damage to your building.  

Contact Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. today to learn how our MAXCare® program helps you prevent leaks by staying up-to-date on your commercial roof’s preventative maintenance.

5 Tips for Commercial Roof Leak Prevention

Roof leaks can pose serious problems for commercial buildings, causing structural damage that extends far beyond the leak. Facility managers should have someone on call who knows how to fix a leaking roof, but the best protection against leaks is to prevent them in the first place.

Tips on How to Prevent a Roof Leak

  1. Perform regular inspections: Storms and fallen trees aren’t the only things that can cause leaks. Damage can occur slowly over time and go unnoticed without regular inspections. Facility managers should walk their roofs regularly to examine for leaks and call in a professional roofer at least several times a year to perform more thorough inspections.
  2. Call in a professional: A lot of facility managers may have someone on staff who knows how to patch a roof leak in an emergency, but only a professional roofer has the know-how to prevent further damage and leaks. Just because water has stopped coming into the building doesn’t mean that a leak is fixed. A professional roofer will have special equipment to detect hidden leaks and know how to identify damage that isn’t obvious.
  3. Create a maintenance schedule: The best roofers don’t just know how to fix a roof leak, they are partners throughout the entire life of a roof. Every new roof should come with a maintenance plan and a forecast assessment. When it comes to leaks, a good offense is the best defense.
  4. Trim trees and clear debris: A building’s surroundings determine the longevity of a roof almost as much as the quality of the roof does. Surrounding trees can fall in a storm, posing serious threats to a roof. Trimming nearby trees and clearing debris from a roof after a storm can protect roofs from developing leaks.
  5. Be aware of problem areas: Leaks can happen anywhere on a roof, but there are a few common hotspots that tend to attract leaks. Roof penetrations, like skylights and vents, are vulnerable to wear and tear that may develop into a leak. High traffic where workers regularly stand, like areas near HVAC units or other equipment, spring leaks often. Facility managers should give these areas regular attention and monitor them for leaks.

For a quote on a management program for your commercial roof, contact Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. today.