How Water Degrades Your Commercial Roof

Water degrades commercial roofing; the big question any facilities manager needs to ask is not if it does, but how fast it does. The rate of degradation dictates the level of response you need. We will look at both extremes: fast degradation from weather emergencies and the insidious, slow degradation from standing water accumulating without calling attention to itself.


Water from hurricanes and thunderstorms can rapidly destroy commercial roofing. In the Fort Lauderdale area, recent experience with the likes of Andrew, Irma, and other hurricanes illustrate that water tears at roofs in several ways:

  1. Wind-driven rain can move laterally and infiltrate seams, flashing and insulation
  2. Sheer volume of rain can collapse insulation, leading to ponding and weakened roof decks
  3. Wind-borne debris tossed in the mix can overwhelm internal drains and exterior scuppers, causing water to back up

When your commercial roofing is safe to venture out on after the storm passes (not just the hurricane eye; the whole storm), take necessary steps to prevent slips and falls but try to get your maintenance crew to inspect and clear your roof:

  1. Clear debris from scuppers and internal drains using hand-held tools (not bare hands, to prevent cuts, snagged fingers, or suction injuries)
  2. Use push brooms to move water off depressed insulation
  3. Inspect (by eye and by hand) flashing to ensure strong connections; test flashing for firm adhesion or proper mechanical fastening

Once the majority of the water has been cleared, check seams and contact you’re professional, local commercial roofing contractor for proper repair service.


Water that simply sits on your roof is possibly more damaging to commercial roofing products. The first thing standing water does is magnify the near-tropical sun of Fort Lauderdale, acting as a lens for the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This means the roofing material beneath will suffer more through the prism of a thin layer of water than if no water covered it.

Standing water, if sufficiently deep, can also compress roof insulation. This leads to a repetitive cycle of worsening depressions until you get ponding. Ponding can lead to actual plants growing on your roof, rapidly destroying it.

A quick service call to your local commercial roofing contractor can set right any slow degradation from standing water, water weight or UV damage. Contact the trained professionals of PSI Roofing today. Let us examine your commercial roof, and make recommendations for dealing with water’s degrading effects.