6 Signs of Roof Damage You Should Never Ignore

The demand for commercial roof repair (and, consequently, repair products) is on the rise and not expected to slow down any time soon!

In Freedonia’s 2016 study, as much as 1.6 percent of growth each year for repair products through the year 2020 was projected, valued at $7.8 billion dollars. So what’s all this mean?

Roof damage is expensive! Although repairs are avoidable when precaution is taken, all too often business owners wait until damage appears instead of implementing a maintenance plan.

Typically, by the time a leak makes its way inside, the cost of repair has already reached thousands of dollars. (Location, severity, and the materials involved will determine the size of the repair bill.)

So, don’t wait idly until you spot a puddle on your conference room floor. Have a professional assess your commercial roof to look for these six 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 mold and rot.

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.

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 roof’s 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, but ultimately the final repair technique will factor in budget, practicality, and convenience for the client.

2. Sagging and Water Stains

When sections of a ceiling start dipping or become discolored, it’s often a sign of a slow leak. Water stains may also appear on walls, and it doesn’t take an expert 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, and if so, you’ll want to take precaution. Get the area tarped off, evacuated, and locate the source of the leak. (Don’t do the last part yourself—call an expert.)

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

Mold and mildew 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. Worst case scenario: you have to replace the entire roof.

4. Ponding Water

Ponding water is a common threat 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 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 can be due to leaves, tree pollen, or dirt built up. Regular roof maintenance service can save you time and money from debris causing damage.

Clogged drains present a threat to the roof during heavy rain, snow, winds, and during 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. 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.

Prevent Roof Damage

A damaged commercial roof is a direct threat to your business. Ignoring the problem will further the severity, leading to issues as big as health code violations. Prevention is the smartest investment you can make in order to prolong the need for full replacement.

If you don’t see any significant signs of these types of 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 you can call on for both 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!