How To Proactively Protect Your Flat Roof Before Storms Hit

Nothing stops spring and summer storms. We live in Florida; we expect to be hit by hurricanes, high winds, heavy rains, and hard-hitting storms. Along with roof maintenance, do you perform storm management on your building?

Prep

Preparing for inevitable storms is a proactive approach most smart building managers build into their schedules. Managing a commercial property includes active measures to prevent water infiltration, wind uplift, and blunt force damage. 

Contact your commercial roofer early on, long before the next storm season, to schedule two services:

  1. Roof inspection and documentation
  2. Preventive maintenance

With proper preparation, you can avoid expensive problems up to and including full roof replacement

Many building managers prefer to assign maintenance to their own facilities crews, but most commercial roofers recommend against this practice. Safety is a primary concern, of course, since roofs are inherently dangerous. A facilities crew may also be unfamiliar with repair methods, matching roofing materials for permanent bonds, and keeping existing warranties in force. 

Still, your in-house facilities crew can perform some basic preparations:

  • Trim back overhanging tree branches which cause blunt force damage
  • Safely sweep the roof
  • Monitor third-party visits to the roof.

Many building managers are surprised by the extent of damage caused by simple things like workers’ boots tearing single-ply membrane, HVAC companies piercing the roof and failing to seal around the hole, or scouring from equipment being slid around on the roof.

Prevention

Preventive roof maintenance means your commercial roofer performs annual or semiannual visits to take care of minor repair issues:

  • Open seams
  • Debris-covered flat roofing
  • Clogged internal drains or parapet scuppers
  • Clogged gutters and downspouts
  • Loose or corroded flashing
  • Missing caulking around HVAC curbs
  • Dislodged or missing ballast
  • Missing or broken mechanical fasteners

These are just a few of the things your reliable, local commercial roofer will look for and fix during these preventive maintenance visits. Every small problem remedied early is an investment in your roof.

Your liability insurance agent can probably think of a lot more than five areas of potential damage from a single open seam in the next heavy storm, but here are just some headaches to consider:

  1. Ruined inventory
  2. Damaged equipment
  3. Degraded indoor air quality
  4. Electrical fires
  5. Injured employees or customers

Preventive roof maintenance can put a stop to expensive, long-term woes in one visit. When your commercial roofer performs maintenance and inspection to prevent storm damage, it is a concept called “storm management.”

Storm Management 

Nobody can manage a storm. We cannot send hurricanes back out into the Atlantic Ocean. We cannot stop high winds, pelting hail, or heavy rains. We can manage our reaction to storms. We can actively prepare for storms and all they bring:

  • Wind uplift peeling back metal roof panels
  • Water pushed under seams by high winds
  • Hail pocking, pelting, and destroying roofing materials
  • Heavy rains overwhelming drainage systems
  • Wind-borne debris scouring rooftops

A high-quality, local commercial roofer can inspect your company’s roof and produce an inspection report within seven to 10 business days. This is a whole-roof evaluation, from the first on-site visit to the finished report in hand. The process includes:

  • Visual and physical inspection of your entire roof, including all parts of your roof system
  • Three elements to a typical report: Observations; Recommendations; Budget
  • Documentation of observations, focusing on challenging areas in need of attention
  • Specific recommendations on remedies for problem areas
  • Details on warranties covering needed repairs

The specific recommendations are not fluff. Here is an example of the level of detail an excellent commercial roofer should be providing clients through this “storm management” concept:

  • Debris/dirt on roof membrane/drainage
  • Open flashings on pitch pans
  • Separated and open sealant on the joints on the metal coping cap
  • Blisters in the roof membrane
  • Rusted metal coping cap
  • Dark areas on the scuppers and roof membrane
  • Open flashings on roof penetrations
  • Open flashings on the scuppers
  • Open laps in the base flashings on the wall
  • Open seams in the roof membrane
  • Damaged lead stacks
  • Open corner flashing on the wall
  • Cut in the flashing

Note the observations do not include repairs. This is where budgetary considerations come into play. An extensive storm management list may indicate a need for total roof replacement. It may also indicate a need for a one- or two-day repair visit. 

The benefits of this “storm management” approach are numerous, but the most important ones are:

  1. Your business saves money
  2. Your roof lasts longer
  3. Small issues never become large problems

PSI Roofing provides some of the fastest turnarounds in commercial roof inspections in Florida. Contact us today to schedule yours so you are fully prepared before the next big storm hits. Remember to ask about our roof maintenance programs, too!