Fall means back to school and haunted houses, but it also means changing weather conditions; and changes in temperature (and extreme weather) are just some ways that your commercial roof system can face damage.
While many people spend time doing fall activities like consuming anything pumpkin spice, commercial roof maintenance should be a high priority, too. Afterall, your roof protects your entire building, so make sure it is taken care of properly!
Why is Fall Roofing Prep Important?
An annual (or semi-annual) roof inspection is key to prolonging the life of your roofing system. When you regularly inspect your roofing system, roof damage can be discovered and addressed immediately, which is important because roof repair on small issues is much easier than dealing with full roof replacement. There’s no better time to schedule these annual inspections than in the fall.
During the summer, extreme summer heat (and UV rays) may damage the roof, because extreme heat quickens the chemical processes that cause the roofing materials to degrade. UV rays discolor your roof’s surface, making it both less visually appealing and, more importantly, less durable. Without regular inspections and maintenance, extreme heat will shorten your roof’s lifespan.
Fall is also a great time to make sure your roof is set for the winter weather ahead. The opposite of summertime heat expansion, extreme low temperatures cause many roofing materials to contract. Not to mention, excessive snow left on roofs can cause severe issues. Depending on the amount of snow, the weight can cause structural damage, sharp ice can scratch shingles, create punctures, and lead to water damage as it melts.
The long and short of it is that no one wants to repair or replace their roof in the winter, so fall inspection is key. Yearly inspection will address any issues that could have developed over the hot summer months and make sure your commercial roof is ready to protect your business all winter long.
STEP ONE: Clean Your Gutters
One of the easiest, yet most crucial, steps that should be included in any commercial roof maintenance checklist is clearing out gutters and downspouts. As leaves fall from the trees, it is easy for them to build up and collect. While leaves themselves are light and won’t cause any harm to your building, the more that get built up and the more moisture they retain, the heavier they get.
This added weight could easily pull on the side of your building and cause harm to the roofing membrane. If the leaves collect enough moisture, this will build up and cause potential water damage such as mold, mildew, deterioration, and leaks.
STEP TWO: Remove Any Leaves or Debris
As you clean out your gutters, it is important to clear your roof of any debris, because large amounts of debris, If left unattended, can cause your roof to sag or dip.
Additionally, if debris collects moisture, this will lead to water damage and roof leaks as the materials corrode. Both problems can then lead to potential health issues for everyone in your building if black mold begins to grow. Commonly, black mold can cause illness symptoms to those that are around it such as, coughing, sneezing, dry skin, itchy eyes, nose, or throat, nasal congestion, and triggered asthma attacks.
This is most commonly a problem with low-slope or flat roofs since they collect debris more easily than sloped roofs, since they don’t have gravity’s help to remove them. Before the weather drops, make sure to clear your roofs of all leaves and debris.
STEP THREE: Check for Ponding Water
After your gutters and roof surface are cleared, look for any ponding water. (Ponding water is moisture that remains in the same spot on your roof for more than 48 hours without evaporating.) Water isolated to one location will corrode the roofing materials, causing leaks and mold to grow.
Ponding or standing water is often a crystal clear sign that your roof is beginning to sag. If your roof is sagging, you should call a commercial roofing contractor to come and inspect the damage. Even if the water eventually evaporates, you will still want a professional to assess your roof’s needs. Even in dry weather, ponding water can be seen even after it evaporates, because it will leave darker colored circles in the affected area. If you find dark spots on your roof, call a trusted roofer to assess if commercial roofing maintenance is needed.
STEP FOUR: Inspect Common Trouble Areas
Inspect the surface of your roof and pay extra attention to common trouble areas. Check your roof for any kind of deterioration, cracked or loose shingles, and water damage spots.
The areas most commonly damaged include the following:
- Spots near a tall tree or landscaping feature
- Around gutters and drainage pipes
- Roof vents
- HVAC units
- Base of parapets and corners
- Flat sections
- Roof flashing
- Roof decks
- Chimneys and skylights
Damage is commonly found in these particular areas because they either allow for debris buildup or have a high potential for retaining moisture, and areas near chimneys and skylights are good spots to inspect because their sealants and flashings can deteriorate and lose durability.
STEP FIVE: Walk Through Your Building
Did you know you can evaluate potential roof damage without taking a single step outside?
Walk through the inside of your entire property and check for any leaks. If you have water dripping from your ceiling, note the area so that a roofing company can come and fix the leak without needing to search for it. Water damage will also show itself via wall discoloration and growing mold. If you find a blister on your ceiling or wall, this is a definite sign that there is a leak in your roof. Do not cut or pop this blister, as the collected water will pour out and may include harmful mold or mildew. If you have a leak causing a ceiling blister, call a trusted roofing company right away before it bursts on its own.
STEP SIX: Prevent Further Damage
There are ways to prevent damage from occurring, including simple things like patching with the proper materials and applying a water proof sealant. So, before winter hits, a professional commercial roofing company may recommend resealing around any piping, skylights, or similar features.
If you follow this commercial roof fall checklist, you’ll be well on your way to preventing potential damage to your roof this winter. An annual roofing inspection in the fall allows building owners to find and address any compromised spots before the harsh cold months, and regular maintenance prolongs your roof’s lifespan and prevents premature roof replacement.
Don’t wait until your problems make themselves known or you will be stuck with the daunting task of replacing your roof in the winter.
TEMA Roofing Services Can Help With Your Roof Inspection Checklist
Hiring a trusted commercial roofer for your annual inspections is the best way to make sure your roof is thoroughly surveyed. TEMA Roofing Services can inspect your roof and help with repairs, too! Whether you need an inspection, roof repair, or replacement, our team can help. Contact us today to get started.