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7 Commercial Roof Maintenance Do’s & Don’ts

Posted By: Jake Hofer

In the bustling world of commercial properties, the roof often stands as a silent guardian, protecting the business within from the elements. However, like any stalwart defender, it requires care and attention to maintain its effectiveness over time. Neglecting commercial roof maintenance can lead to costly damage, disruptions to business operations, and potential safety hazards.

In this detailed guide, we’ll delve into:

  • The essential aspects of commercial roof maintenance
  • Identifying signs of damage
  • The cost of replacement

Common Signs of Commercial Roof Damage

commercial roof damage

Commercial roofs endure a barrage of stressors, from extreme weather conditions to structural strain. Recognizing the signs of damage early can prevent minor issues from escalating into major headaches. Some common indicators of commercial roof damage include:

  • Leaks: Water infiltration is often the most visible sign of roof damage. Stains on ceilings or walls, damp insulation, and standing water are all red flags.
  • Blisters and Bubbling: Excessive heat can cause roofing materials to blister or bubble, compromising their integrity.
  • Tears and Punctures: Foot traffic, fallen debris, or improper installation can lead to tears or punctures in the roof membrane.
  • Ponding Water: Poor drainage or improper slope can result in water pooling on the roof, increasing the risk of leaks and structural damage.
  • Damaged Flashing: Flashing seals the roof’s vulnerable areas, such as vents, chimneys, and edges. Cracked or deteriorated flashing can allow water infiltration.
  • Mold or Mildew Growth: Moisture trapped beneath the roofing materials creates an ideal environment for mold and mildew to flourish.

What Causes Commercial Roof Damage

Understanding the root causes of commercial roof damage is crucial for implementing effective maintenance strategies. Several factors contribute to roof deterioration:

  • Weather Extremes: From scorching heat to freezing temperatures, weather fluctuations can weaken roofing materials over time.
  • Poor Installation: Improper installation techniques or subpar materials compromise the roof’s longevity and performance.
  • Lack of Maintenance: Neglecting routine inspections and maintenance allows minor issues to escalate, leading to more significant damage.
  • Foot Traffic: Regular foot traffic on the roof can cause wear and tear, especially in high-traffic areas.
  • Age: Like all building components, commercial roofs have a finite lifespan. As they age, they become more susceptible to damage and degradation.
  • Vegetation Growth: Overhanging trees or vegetation can damage roofing materials and obstruct proper drainage.

Why Regular Maintenance is Important

Regular maintenance is the cornerstone of an effective commercial roof management plan. Here’s why it’s crucial:

  • Extends Lifespan: Routine inspections and proactive repairs help prolong the lifespan of the roof, delaying the need for costly replacements.
  • Prevents Costly Damage: Addressing minor issues early prevents them from escalating into major problems that require extensive repairs.
  • Preserves Indoor Environment: A well-maintained roof prevents water infiltration, mold growth, and structural damage, preserving the indoor environment and ensuring occupant safety.
  • Protects Investment: Your commercial roof is a significant investment. Regular maintenance protects this investment by ensuring optimal performance and minimizing unexpected expenses.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Regular roof maintenance ensures compliance with building codes and insurance requirements, reducing liability risks.

How to Maintain Your Commercial Roof: 7 Tips

roofers working on commercial roof

Effective commercial roof maintenance requires a proactive approach and adherence to best practices. Here are essential steps to keep your roof in top condition:

1) Conduct Regular Inspections:

Schedule biannual inspections, preferably in spring and fall, to identify any signs of damage or deterioration.

2) Clear Debris:

Remove leaves, branches, and other debris from the roof’s surface and gutters to prevent water pooling and drainage issues.

3) Check Seals and Flashing:

Inspect seals, flashing, and caulking around vents, chimneys, and HVAC units for signs of wear or damage.

4) Address Ponding Water:

Improve drainage systems and ensure the roof’s slope allows water to flow freely to prevent ponding.

5) Trim Vegetation:

Trim overhanging branches and vegetation to prevent damage to roofing materials and obstruction of drainage systems.

6) Perform Repairs Promptly:

Address any identified issues promptly to prevent further damage and maintain the roof’s integrity.

7) Document Maintenance Activities:

Keep detailed records of inspections, repairs, and maintenance activities for future reference and documentation of compliance.

When to Call a Professional

While some maintenance tasks can be handled in-house, certain issues require the expertise of professional roofing contractors. Consider contacting a professional in the following situations:

  • Extensive Damage: If the roof exhibits extensive damage or deterioration beyond minor repairs, it’s best to consult a professional for a thorough assessment.
  • Safety Concerns: Any maintenance tasks involving working at heights or complex repairs should be left to experienced professionals to ensure safety.
  • Warranty Compliance: If your roof is under warranty, hiring a certified contractor ensures that repairs and maintenance activities comply with warranty requirements, preserving coverage.
  • Specialized Repairs: Complex issues such as membrane replacement, leak detection, or structural repairs require specialized knowledge and equipment best handled by professionals.

When a Roof Replacement is Necessary

Despite diligent maintenance efforts, there comes a point when roof replacement becomes inevitable. Several factors may indicate the need for a roof replacement:

  • Advanced Age: As commercial roofs approach the end of their expected lifespan, frequent repairs and declining performance signal the need for replacement.
  • Extensive Damage: Severe damage from storms, leaks, or neglect may compromise the roof’s structural integrity beyond repair.
  • Persistent Leaks: If repeated attempts to repair leaks prove ineffective, it may be more cost-effective to invest in a new roof rather than continuing to patch up an aging one.
  • Energy Efficiency Concerns: Older roofs may lack adequate insulation or energy-efficient features, resulting in higher utility costs. A replacement with modern, energy-efficient materials can improve insulation and reduce energy consumption.
  • Building Code Compliance: Changes in building codes or regulations may necessitate upgrades or replacements to ensure compliance and safety.

The Cost of Roof Replacement

The cost of roof replacement varies depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the roof, choice of materials, and labor costs. On average, commercial roof replacement costs between $10 to $30 per square foot, with additional expenses for tear-off, disposal, and any necessary structural repairs. Factors influencing the cost include:

  • Roof Size and Complexity: Larger roofs or those with intricate designs require more materials and labor, resulting in higher costs.
  • Choice of Materials: Different roofing materials vary in cost, with options ranging from traditional asphalt shingles to more durable and expensive options like metal or EPDM rubber.
  • Tear-Off and Disposal: Removing the old roof and disposing of debris adds to the overall cost of replacement.
  • Structural Repairs: If the underlying structure requires repairs or reinforcement, this adds to the project’s expense.
  • Labor Costs: Labor rates vary by location and contractor, impacting the total cost of replacement.

Work With A Professional Roofing Contractor

Effective commercial roof maintenance is essential for preserving the integrity of your building, protecting your investment, and ensuring the safety and comfort of occupants. By staying vigilant, addressing issues promptly, and investing in regular inspections and maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of your commercial roof and avoid costly repairs or replacements.

Remember, when it comes to commercial roof maintenance, proactive care pays dividends in the long run. That’s why you should give Built Right Roofing a call today!

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