A sagging roof is no joke. If left unaddressed, it’s not only a danger to the health of your commercial building but also your employees and customers.
If you notice the roof of your building caving in, you may think that the only answer is a total roof replacement. Depending on the structural integrity of the rest of your roofing system, this may not be the case. If the structural damage hasn’t affected the entire roof, then sagging roof repair may be enough to save your roofing system.
Causes of a Sagging Roof
Understanding the cause of your roof issue is crucial for both addressing current problems and preventing further damage. There are a few common causes of a sagging roof. These causes need to be addressed by a professional roofer, or you’ll end up with a damaged roof all over again.
If you have standing or ponding water on your commercial flat roof, it can eventually cause structural damage and a sagging roof. If water penetrates your roofing material, it can get into your roof framing and sheathing.
It’s important to regularly check and maintain your gutters and drainage systems to catch potential water damage early. If you notice ponding water, get a roof inspection as soon as possible to determine the cause.
While commercial buildings are typically outfitted with stronger structural elements than wooden ceiling joists or roof rafters, even a metal roof may give way under excessive weight, particularly if it’s near the end of its lifespan.
Heavy equipment like HVAC systems or even excessive snowfall can cause a roof to sag. Debris blown in from heavy storms can put too much stress on your roof’s structure and cause drooping that needs to be looked at as soon as possible.
Heavy snow can cause a sagging roof, as can other extreme weather events. Ice accumulation can cause structural damage by scratching roofing materials. Heavy rains can put pressure on your roof decking through both its weight and water absorption. Winds may create an uplift force on the roof if the material isn’t properly anchored, which could deform it. Hail damage could also severely weaken the structure, leading to sagging over time.
Always schedule a roof inspection after a large storm. The damage the storm has caused may not be visible at first to a naked and untrained eye, but if left unchecked, it could worsen over time and lead to costly repairs.
Lifespan of the Roof
If your roof is getting up there in age, it will likely begin to sag. Your roof’s expected lifespan varies based on the type of roof. If your roof is older, then sagging is inevitable. If you don’t maintain it with routine maintenance, a new roof may be in your future.
Subpar Roofing Material
If the roofing company you hired to install your roof cut corners or didn’t use quality materials, it could be the cause of your sagging roof now. If your roof was built with inadequate materials, its structural integrity could be easily compromised, leading to failure over time. While you may be tempted to hire the cheapest roofing contractor you find, partnering with anyone besides reliable roofing professionals could cost you more money down the line.
While commercial roofs aren’t as susceptible to termites since they’re unlikely to use wood in their construction, pests can still be a problem. Birds and rodents in particular may penetrate your roofing material. Sometimes this can cause structural damage to the roofing deck on its own and, at the very least, exposes your roof to potential water damage.
What To Do When Your Roof Sags
It’s important to take immediate action when you notice signs of drooping in your roof. Damage to your roof’s structure that goes unaddressed can cause greater damage to the system and become dangerous over time.
Evacuate the Area
The first thing you have to do is make sure everyone is safe – including you. When you notice a sagging roof, it’s best to evacuate until the damage is fixed and you are sure that there isn’t going to be a full-scale collapse.
While some people believe that roof repairs fall under the category of “do-it-yourself renovations,” it can be incredibly dangerous, especially when structural damage is involved. DIY shingle replacement is one thing, but a sagging roof is not the time to experiment. Evacuate the area and leave it up to the professionals.
Determine the Extent of the Damage
Contact your roofing company and have them perform a roofing inspection. They will inspect the impacted area and determine the underlying cause of the damage. Once they have, they can plan the appropriate measures to fix the roof.
Reinforce Roof Trusses and Structural Supports
Depending on how severe the damage is, your roofing contractor may use temporary supports to prevent any further damage and avoid a full collapse of your roofing system.
Begin Your Insurance Claim
Once the area is determined safe enough by a professional roofing contractor, take photographs and videos to document the damage to your roof. Contact your insurance company with the documented evidence and begin filing your claim and working with adjusters.
Address Any Underlying Issues
Before you begin final repairs, eliminate any underlying issues that caused the roof sagging. Problems like water damage, pests, blocked gutters, and drainage should all be taken care of so that the problem doesn’t reoccur soon after repairs are completed.
Begin Professional Repairs
Once you’ve documented the damage and taken care of any underlying issues, the official repairs begin. This may involve replacing the damaged components or reinforcing the roof’s structural supports.
If the damage is extreme, or the roof is near the end of its lifespan, then it may involve a full roof replacement.
Save Your Roof Before Trouble Starts
The best way to get the most out of your commercial roof is to practice regular maintenance. Roof inspections should be done twice a year (typically once in the fall and once in the spring) to make sure that no issues are compromising the durability of your roofing system. Additional checks may need to be done after severe storms or extreme weather events.
Protect Your Roof – Partner With the Best
When you need sagging roof repair, you need it fast. The health of your building and the safety of your staff and customers depends on it. This is why you need to work with top-notch professional roofers who prioritize your roofing project.
At TEMA, we offer 24-hour Emergency Repair Services. Depending on the severity of damage done to your building, we’ll have a service technician on-site within 24 hours to assess what needs to be done and begin repairs ASAP. Interested in putting TEMA on your team? Contact us today, and someone will be in touch with you shortly.