Commercial roofs leak. They wear out. They show signs of neglect, and they often beg in silence for TLC. How can you justify the cost of a roof maintenance program? If you know nothing else about maintaining and preserving your commercial property’s roof, know these 10 tips.
#1 Write it Down
Keep a roof visitation log so you know exactly who went topside, when, why, and for how long. Third-party visitors could include sign workers, window washers, radio mast technicians, cell tower repair teams, or HVAC contractors, to name a few.
Worker boots, tools, and heavy equipment can all tear holes in roof membranes. If workers do not stay on designated walkways, they can shift ballast, scour or gouge the roof, or even poke holes or tear open seams.
If you can safely inspect your flat or low-slope roof, and feel comfortable walking on it, take a look at the general condition and consider dividing every part of your roof into one of three conditions:
- Good; no action needed
- Fair; you have concerns, so your facilities crew and your commercial roofing contractor will keep an eye on the spot
- Bad; immediate action and quick repairs are needed to prevent spreading damage
Record as much information as possible about every area, good, fair or bad. Photographs and drawings can serve as benchmarks to assess improvements or chart a worsening condition.
#3 Pack a Bag
Take a toolkit topside when you walk your roof. Even if you are accompanying your helpful, local roofer, carry a bag with the following items:
- Checklist to avoid overlooking any part
- Pad and pencil for taking notes
- Roof plans or an aerial photograph to help orient you
- Tape measure
- LED flashlight, even on sunny days, to see into dark or shadowed areas
The top of your commercial roof may not be the safest place for you to navigate. You can avoid it altogether and rely on your commercial roofer, but you can perform some interior inspections of your own without worry. The inside of your building can tell you a lot about your roof.
Are interior walls, especially near ceilings, showing signs of discoloration, mold, mildew, or dark spots? Do you see peeling paint or condensation? Do you smell musty odors?
#5 Vents and Chimneys
The joints between roofs and vents or chimneys are likely areas for water infiltration. Do you see dark spots or water stains around these features? Do you feel moisture condensing on exposed brick or masonry, inside your building?
#6 Roof Deck
Some commercial properties have easily accessible roof decks, above interior ceilings and below the roof. If you can see the roof deck, look for:
- Cracks in rafters
- Black mold on sheathing
- Sagging deck plates
- Light showing from above
All of these indicate structural deficiencies which must be addressed by a professional roofer.
#7 Water Leaks
Do any interior areas show active water leaks? Avoid the mistake of dismissing “minor” leaks in “unimportant” areas. Record the leak, take pictures, and call your local, professional roofer for a remedy.
As Yogi Berra said, “you can observe a lot just by watching.” A commercial roofer’s crew, geared up with proper safety equipment and fully trained, can check your commercial building’s roof, walking every inch.
#8 See Spot
They look for visible damage to the rooftop. The roofers’ crew looks for loose debris wind could blow around, scouring the roof surface.
They check internal drain strainers, parapet scuppers, gutters, and downspouts. Adequate drainage on a low-slope roof is a sure way to add years of life to your investment.
#9 Wear and Tear
The inspection team will look for wear and tear in these critical areas:
- Drip edge
Flashing can become dislodged or even fall victim to scavengers (especially copper flashing) for its raw material value.
Rubber boots around roof piercings degrade rapidly under ultraviolet light from the sun. These often need replacing ahead of other roof elements.
#10 Flat Out
For flat or low-slope roofs, contractor crews look for ponding water, holes or punctures in single-ply membrane, or blistering. They look for ballast displacement, elongated holes around mechanical fasteners, or material pulling away from the roof edge.
The Roof Assets Management program offers maintenance and roof replacement options and features like budget summaries and warranty tracking.
The Roof Maintenance program gives immediate repair recommendations and more. Both plans can help your business remain in business and extend the life of your commercial roof. Please contact PSI Roofing today to learn more ways we can protect your roof and business through comprehensive roof maintenance and fast repair.