Clogged drainage system on commercial roof.

When you picture a leak, you probably think of a dripping faucet or broken pipe. But if you own or manage a commercial building, the problem could be much more severe – a roof leak! Unfortunately, commercial roofing doesn’t last forever, and over the years, most buildings eventually suffer from cracked, punctured or compromised roofing materials.

Let’s take a look at some of the most common causes of commercial roof leaks that can result in damage to your building.

Common Commercial Roof Leak Issues

Not all commercial roofing system leaks are caused by worn-out roofing materials. In fact, there are many different sources that can lead to water damage and subsequent costs — and they’re all preventable with regular maintenance plans from professional commercial roofers like TEMA Roofing Services.

Regular roof inspections and preventative maintenance plans for your commercial property can help to prevent costly roof repairs (or full roof replacement) due to the following common roofing issues.


During a roof inspection, a professional will tell you if there are open penetrations in the roof membrane caused by tears, punctures or rips.

Flashing can also get holes over time. If there are punctures in the roof flashing, water can enter through cracks and cause damage to interior surfaces like drywall wall or ceiling tiles.

Typically made of galvanized steel, aluminum or copper, flashing is a type of material that helps protect your building from water damage. It also prevents rusting on metal surfaces like gutters or downspouts.

Foot Traffic

Foot traffic is one of the most common causes of commercial roof leaks. Walking across the surface of your building’s roof can cause damage to the roof membrane, resulting in holes and cracks. It can also cause structural damage to the roof deck if areas are already compromised.

Standing Water

Standing water (or ponding water) on the surface of your flat roof is one of the most common causes of commercial roof leaks, especially if water isn’t properly drained.

Having a poor drainage system can mean clogged scuppers and pipes. Misaligned or damaged gutters can also lead to standing water.

Debris Buildup

Debris is one of the most common culprits for roof damage – that’s why it’s important to not allow debris from trees or other structures to collect on your roof. These objects can puncture roofing membranes, cause pooling water and clog drainage systems, which can all cause leaks inside your commercial building. Being proactive is the best fix for this situation – simply have your roof cleared of all branches and leaves on a regular basis!

Roof Sealant Decay

Roof sealants are coatings that are used to seal around roof penetrations. They can be applied around HVAC units, pipes, skylights, and other openings. Roof sealants are also used to seal around the perimeter of the roof membrane to prevent water from entering through small cracks in asphalt tile. These can degrade over time, leading to leaks, and should be regularly inspected.

Severely Aged Roof

Your roofing system’s age plays a big part in the likelihood of a leaky roof. Most commercial facility roofing systems are designed to last decades, but over time, materials deteriorate. If you’re noticing cracks or holes in your roof that weren’t there before — or if water damage occurs when it hasn’t rained recently — it could be an indication that your roof is reaching its end of life cycle.

Lack of Maintenance

The most common cause of a roof leak is lack of maintenance. If your commercial roof isn’t regularly inspected, issues can go undetected for months before you notice that there’s a problem.

Your roof should be checked by a commercial roofing contractor at least yearly to make sure that it’s in good condition. A professional roofer can easily spot issues and quickly complete smaller commercial roofing repairs so that they are fixed before they get worse.

Roof Leak Service Agreement Programs

Consistent roof maintenance and inspection helps to identify issues throughout your commercial roof’s lifespan. At TEMA Roofing, our roof leak service program includes the following:

    • Inspecting your commercial roof for leaks or compromised areas
    • Checking gutters and downspouts to remove clogs
    • Access to immediate emergency repairs
    • A guarantee of repairs that meet OEM warranty specifications
    • Round-the-clock access to data and reporting
    • Not-to-Exceed (NTE) repair limits (which are stipulated by the building owner) in the event of emergency roof repair situations

TEMA: The Commercial Roof Experts

In the end, it’s important to remember that commercial roofs are subject to a lot of wear and tear, and it’s best to contact a reputable roofing company if you’re dealing with a leak. If you don’t have a roof leak service agreement in place, then your business could face costly repairs. It’s always better to start preventative maintenance now than to face an emergency situation later on down the road!

Prevent the most common causes of commercial roof leaks by working with TEMA Roofing Services!