A commercial roof is arguably one of the largest expenses your business will have over its lifetime, so it is objectively important to keep it maintained to prevent avoidable damages.
Having a new commercial roof installed can be expensive, though proper maintenance and regular inspections can prevent you from prematurely shelling out for a replacement. Should your roof become damaged, it must be professionally repaired as soon as possible to head off further damage such as leaks, weakened building structure and dangerous mold.
This article will discuss causes of commercial roof damage and how best to ensure your roof remains in optimal condition.
Causes of Roof Damage
Although commercial roofing systems are typically more durable than residential roofs, they’re not impervious to the wrath of nature. Natural occurrences can not only cause damage during significant weather events, but they can also gradually weaken the roof, increasing the rate of wear and tear that the roof would normally be expected to endure. In Florida, we face unique weather conditions throughout the year. From heat and humidity to copious amounts of rain and heavy winds, our roofs are put through a lot. Here are just some of the ways weather can affect a commercial roof:
Commercial roofs are constantly in the sun, which means they get HOT. During the summer, a commercial roof can reach upwards of 180 degrees, only to rapidly cool once the sun goes down. This rapid change in temperature, especially on a regular basis, can cause thermal shock, a situation in which the roofing materials quickly expand and contract. Thermal shock puts stress on the roofing materials, eventually causing cracking or warping and creating a need for professional repairs or even replacement.
Constant exposure to the hot sunlight eventually leads to the degradation of the roofing materials. Your roof could experience fading, drying, cracking and brittleness. This can be mitigated beforehand by having the roof treated with UV protection.
One of the most damaging elements to a commercial roof is the combination of high heat and high humidity levels. The heat causes the roofing materials to expand, allowing them to absorb extra moisture from the air. This can go unnoticed if your roof isn’t regularly inspected, and the results of an untreated weakness can be catastrophic for your roof. It could even collapse if neglected for long enough.
A hail storm can cause significant damage to your commercial roofing system. Hail damage can include chips, dents or cracks in the outer layer of roofing, which will worsen and cause leaks if left untreated.
On the Gulf Coast of Florida, we see our share of summer storms, including hurricanes. The wind and water brought by such storms are not something to take lightly. On flat roofs that have inadequate drainage, water can pool in certain areas, putting pressure on the roofing material as well as the structure of the building and causing leaks, and, eventually, mold and rot. Wind The wind that blows in during the summer storm season tends to be pretty strong. One of the biggest worries regarding wind is the uplift potential. Uplift happens when a strong wind finds its way underneath the roofing material and pulls it up and off of the building. If this happens, your structure is left completely vulnerable to water.
Other common causes of leaky roofs include poor design, faulty flashing installation, clogged roof drains and age.
Commercial Roof Maintenance
Your roofing system requires regular inspection and maintenance by a professional roofing team. Taking your roof’s maintenance seriously can save you a lot of time, money and headaches in the long run. Many roofing companies offer annual inspection and maintenance services that are much less expensive than the cost of repair or replacement.
Be sure to call a roofer if you notice any of the following:
- Visible leaks
- Water stains or mold
- Mildew smells
- Sagging or uneven roof surface
- Cracked, pitted or blistered roof surface
- Ice dams
- Algae, mold or moss
You should always have a professional conduct an inspection twice per year plus anytime you suspect an issue, including buildup of leaves and debris. Seasonal maintenance is also important to ensure that your roof lives up to its potential. It’s crucial that all repairs be performed by a professional roofer. Local building and safety codes must be adhered to, and it’s nearly impossible for a layman to understand and apply proper procedures the way professionals do. Attempting repairs on your own can also lead to serious injuries.
The best way to address all your commercial roofing concerns is by consulting a professional roofer. AKVM is a team of experts who perform routine inspections, maintenance and repairs for commercial roofing systems throughout Sarasota, Manatee and Hillsborough counties. If you suspect your roof has experienced damage, or is behind on regular inspections & maintenance, call AKVM today to schedule a free consultation and inspection.