The demand for commercial roof repair is always something to keep in mind when making your annual budget. How do you, whether the business owner or facility manger, prepare for the unknown?
There’s no other way to put it – commercial roof damage is expensive. Although repairs are avoidable when precaution is taken, all too often building owners wait until damage appears instead of implementing a maintenance plan.
Typically, by the time a leak makes its way inside, it’s a costly repair already reaching thousands of dollars. Location, severity, and the materials involved will determine the size of the repair bill.
So, don’t wait until you spot a puddle on your conference room floor – or worse yet, in the middle of operations. Have a professional assess your commercial roof to look for the following six warning signs of roof damage.
1. Blistering and Bubbling
When the surface of your roof starts looking lumpy and bubbly, you know that moisture has been trapped between the insulation, expanding under the heat. These blisters and bubbles don’t always require immediate attention especially if they’re small, but trapped moisture can lead to mildew and mold growth.
Dealing with a roof blister is sensitive, kind of like a skin blister; the areas are often cut out and cleaned to prevent further damage. This is whether you have shingles or synthetic EPDM roofing system.
All areas affected by major blistering must be fixed, and sadly, this issue could be a sign that there is a problem or defect in the roofing membrane. If so, even if you cut the blister out, there may be areas down the road that will also need attention.
Some contractors will forgo cutting if the roof membrane is flood-coated and aggregate-embedded. Ultimately the final repair technique will factor in budget, practicality, and convenience for the client.
When Severe Weather Strikes
If strong winds whip debris around your roof causing punctures or a hail storm hits, it’s time to call for a commercial roof inspection. Bubbling and blistering can be signs of storm damage, which will grow into bigger, and costly, problems if left untreated.
2. Sagging and Water Stains
When sections of a ceiling start dipping or become discolored, it’s often a sign of a slow roof leak. Water stains may also appear on walls, and it doesn’t take a commercial roofing contractor to conclude there is a problem when you see water dripping!
Signs of sagging may also be a result of a deck joist losing its strength. If that’s the case, you need to take precaution. Get the area tarped off, evacuated, and locate the source of the leak. (Don’t do the last part yourself — call your trusted roofing contractor.)
Once your commercial roof repairs are complete, you’ll also need to ensure that all surfaces have been dried completely. Tiles, insulation, and ceiling interior may need replaced afterward.
3. Mildew/Mold from Condensation
Mildew and mold growth are two big threats to businesses and industrial buildings. Since mold can become especially hazardous to worker health, you’ll want to have consistent maintenance performed to stay on top of any moisture issues.
Without proper vapor barriers in place, the building’s environment can also weaken the roofing from the inside out. As that hot air rises, it slowly damages the roof from within due to condensation. That condensation clings to the inner surfaces and creates the perfect conditions for mold to prosper.
Rot can quickly follow suit, making your roof vulnerable to pests and other elements, not to mention the structural damage. Worst case scenario: you have to replace the entire roof.
4. Ponding Water
Ponding water is a common type of water damage for large commercial buildings and warehouses.
Flat roofs that have poor drainage systems in place can invite ponding or standing water, which leads to leaks, sagging, and weakening of the roof membrane. Ponding water adds significant weight to your roof, and when standing water becomes extensive, the threat for damage is compounded.
Flat roofs require clean and efficient management of moving water. The drains, gutters, downspouts, and irrigation hoses (including to and from the HVAC units) all must have unobstructed paths for water to flow off the roof.
5. Clogged Drains
As mentioned above, all aspects of moving water around a commercial or industrial building’s roof must be free-flowing.
Clogged drains present a threat to the roof during severe weather events, including wildfires. That debris sitting in your gutter could become tinder for embers floating around to land on. Snow and wind can rip gutters off the roof, potentially opening vulnerable spots that can invite water and pest damage.
Installing new gutters and drains is usually a smart investment. Newer gutters can be self-cleaning or require much less maintenance than older cheap aluminum ones.
6. Plant Growth
When there is a consistent source of water on your roof, larger organisms, like weeds and vines, may be present, and extend beyond the roof surface. Plants may not seem like immediate threats to your roof, but if they get big enough, their root systems can do damage. As they spread out, roots can wedge between tiles and even penetrate membranes.
Ivy is a deceptively destructive plant. It can weaken brick walls over time, penetrating small cracks and mortar. These vines are strong enough to push out loose bricks, widen gaps in wooden walls, and push up terracotta tiles.
Removing vegetation is a great example of proper maintenance.
Call Your Insurance Company
As a commercial property owner, you know that the upkeep of your building is crucial to its success. However, when commercial roof damage occurs, it’s important to take swift action and notify your insurance company right away. Ignoring or delaying contacting your insurance provider can result in further damage and more expensive repair costs.
By contacting your insurance company right away, you can start the insurance claims process and have an adjuster assess the damage. This will provide you with the necessary support to make repairs and get your commercial property back to working order. They’ll also know what’s covered in your insurance policy – you may not have to pay the entire repair after a deductible. Don’t leave the potential cost of repairs to chance – contacting your insurance company is the first step in protecting your commercial roofing system at the first signs of damage.
Prevent Roof Damage With TEMA
Now you know some of the more common causes of commercial roof damage. Ignoring the problem will further the severity, leading to issues as big as structural damage and health code violations. Prevention is the smartest investment you can make to prolong the need for a full roof replacement. Maintaining also helps ensure your commercial roof’s lifespan.
If you don’t see any significant signs of these types of commercial roof damage, first, count your blessings. Next, start doing some research to find a professional commercial roofing company who can implement a preventative maintenance plan.
Insider tip: You want a reliable company that offers commercial roofing services including preventative AND emergency repairs. With over 5 million square feet of roofing repaired, restored, and serviced, TEMA Roofing Services has the track record you’re looking for. Get a free quote from us to determine what you need, what you can afford and what level of quality your should expect!