What’s the best way to ensure that your commercial roof stays in good condition for years to come? Understanding what causes common commercial roof repairs and addressing them before they become a significant issue. Here are eight common commercial roofing problems that can arise and what you should do about each one.
Leaks can occur in a vast number of ways on a commercial roof. The causes vary from plumbing issues to the materials used and how they were installed originally. Many of the causes of leaks in flat roofing systems will appear later in our list. The older your roof is (and the higher number of penetrations), the higher risk of roof leaks. Regular roof inspections can catch roofing issues and damage before things get bad — remember that leaks don’t heal themselves, so it’s better to get them dealt with as quickly as possible.
Ponding water (or standing water) is a common problem with commercial roofs. It can lead to some very unpleasant consequences if not addressed. If you have ponding water on your roof, chances are good that you’ll also have mold and mildew growth, as well as water damage that leads to the degradation of the roofing membrane. Those issues can cause leaks in your roof system and will eventually lead to even bigger problems and a reduced lifespan for your roof.
It’s important to know how much of an issue ponding water is for your commercial building because several factors contribute to it. Ponding water could be caused by clogged drains or poor drainage caused by uneven roofing material. These issues could be a symptom of bad roof installation, poor workmanship, or simply that the roof is nearing the end of its life expectancy.
Punctures and Tears
Punctures and tears are very common causes of roof damage. These are caused by nails, screws, or other sharp objects. Tears can also be caused by improper handling of a roof by workers during installation or maintenance. Even heavy foot traffic can lead to tears on the roof surface.
Damage to Flashing
Your roof’s flashing protects all the joints and seams from water infiltration. A commercial roof has more seams than you may think because of the different systems that must picture the roof:
- HVAC systems
Flashing can be damaged by weather, such as high winds and ice buildup, or become loosened over time due to natural expansion and shrinkage of the building because of temperature changes.
Blistering on the roof membrane is a common repair that can occur as a result of sun and heat damage. If you notice blistering, it’s important to remember that this indicates a leak. Blistering can be caused by water buildup inside the roof deck and then trapped in one area. During hot weather, the trapped water can evaporate and form a bubble, separating the layers of roofing material.
Shrinkage of the Membrane
Shrinkage of the membrane is caused by the sun’s UV rays, which can lead to cracks and leaks. This is a common occurrence with single-ply roof systems such as EPDM.
The membrane may tear when it shrinks, which can lead to leaks around corners or edges where the roof meets the wall. It can also pull away from its substrate due to shrinkage and become detached, allowing water to get underneath.
Damage from weather is a major cause of roof repairs year-round. Summer can bring heavy storms that throw tree branches and deposit debris onto your roof. Those same high winds can also loosen flashing, seams, and panels.
In winter, snow and ice can pile onto the roof’s surface, potentially damaging it. The freeze/thaw cycle can be especially damaging since ice can melt, work its way into seams and under the roofing material, and refreeze.
Lack of Maintenance
Business owners ensure that all the parts are working together to keep things running smoothly—including the roof. Roof maintenance is key to ensuring your roof is doing its job.
A commercial roof can last for decades if properly maintained. That said, regular inspections are critical for keeping things in good condition. If something goes wrong or breaks down on your commercial building’s roof, it will need major repairs or an entire roof replacement.
TEMA is your Roofing Expert
When looking for a commercial roofing contractor, it’s important to find one that has experience with all types of commercial roofs. TEMA Roofing Services has expertise with all commercial roofing types: built-up roofs, single ply, metal roofs, and more. We deal with roof repairs, preventative maintenance, and total roof replacement. Whether you need a new roof, an annual inspection, or any other common commercial roof repair, contact a roofing company with decades of experience and the knowledge to do the job right!