4 Common Challenges with Commercial Roofs and How to Deal with Them

4 Common Challenges with Commercial Roofs and How to Deal with Them

Ever dream of getting a dream office? Ever imaging how you’ll take care of the office building?

We’re guessing it’s a yes-no combo for many, but know of the biggest problems to look for in your office building’s roof can help you plan ahead of time and know what to look for.

Common Problems with Commercial Roofs

Most commercial roofs are flat roofs. This presents its unique set of challenges. More importantly though, a major cause of roof problems can be one of two things: 1. Poor maintenance, 2. Bad workmanship, or both.

  1. Standing water

Standing water is water that hasn’t drained properly. Leaves and debris collect on the roof and eventually block drains and water collects.

If there’s still a pool of water that’s an inch deep or more after 48 hours of dry weather, then you should take care of the water ponding issue you have.

The first thing to do is to clean the roof and unclog the drains. If all goes well, you should have the problem solved in no time. If the water is still there, it could be a sign that the roof was built with the wrong pitch, which is when you’ll want to involve a roofer to check on the problem.

Definitely avoid leaving the water to evaporate. Over time, the over-exposure of the roof surface to water and sunlight could deteriorate the surface material.

  1. Wind uplift

Wind uplift is created from strong and high winds. As the wind blows against the sides of your building, it continues its path parallel to the roof. At high speeds, this creates a force that pulls the roof upward.

If it gets bad enough, wind uplift can cause parts of your to blow off. Unfortunately, if it gets to that, the only solution is to call in a roofing contractor to help estimate the damage and deal with the issue.

Wind uplift is the sort of problem that needs proactive care. A great part of this takes place when the roof is being built, but even afterward, there are minor precautions you can take that can make a big difference. If you anticipate heavy winds or extreme weather, make sure that the roof is clean from dirt and debris – these can tear at the roof under heavy winds, leading to leaks down the line. It’s also worth calling in for an inspection to make sure the attachment of the edge metal is secure.

  1. Damaged flashing

Roof flashing is a thin material that is used to deflect water away from critical areas of your roof, especially where the roof meets a vertical surface such as a wall or chimney. 

Flashing is usually damaged from continuous expansion and contraction. Weather factors are typically taken into account during installation, but poor workmanship can make the flashing less than prepared to take on changing weather conditions.

Damaged flashing is a common cause of roof leaks. Minor damage, such as holes and corroded spots can be easily dealt with, preferably through an experience roofer who can check for other signs of damage across the entire roof. With flashing, it’s important to schedule in regular checks so that you catch any problem early on.

  1. Roof shrinkage

Harsh weather conditions and improper installation can cause the roof material to shrink over time. This most commonly happens with EPDM and modified bitumen roofs, which is why you should pay extra care to this if your roof material is made of either.

The problem with shrinkage is that it pull away at the flashing, leading to cracks and tears, which eventually lead to leaks.

This is another issue that’s best prevented rather than treated. Proper installation and coating, along with regular maintenance, should keep trouble at bay. If the roof does show signs of shrinkage, which include cracks and visible separation, the best thing to do is to call in a contractor to solve the issue.

Can these issues be avoided?

With proper installation and regular maintenance, most of these issues can be avoided or minimized. Eventually, aging roof will need to be replaced once they hit the ends of their lifespan, but the objective with proper maintenance is to avoid the headaches and costs of bad roofing.

If you’re looking to include a solid and regular maintenance plan for your roof, check out our resource on planning for commercial roof maintenance.

Let us know how we can help you get started on your next project!

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