Many building owners think of regular flat roof maintenance as an extraneous expense–that they can take it or leave it. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only does regular commercial roof maintenance extend the life of your flat roof, but it can also save you thousands of dollars down the road.
Even if it's only a year old, flat roofs are never immune to damage. From clogged drains to membrane impairment, the sooner you catch a problem with your roof, the better. If left unchecked, some of these issues could have you replacing your roof years before you'd normally need to. Scheduling regular maintenance inspections should be your first line of defense against such scenarios.
There are many types of commercial flat roofs. The most common being EPDM, TPO and PVC, which are referred to as the Single Ply type membranes, and also various Asphalt membranes. It’s important to note that the type and frequency of maintenance will vary based on the type of roof you have. Still, there are a few major culprits of roof damage that will affect every kind of flat roof.
1. Seasonal and Extreme Weather
Rain or shine, you can count on the weather to eventually do some damage to your commercial roof.
During the summer, regular maintenance and inspections are a good idea to identify items that could become potential problems later. A maintenance professional might suggest an acrylic or silicone roof coating to protect your older roof from the summer's damaging UV rays. During the rainy season, they’ll be able to spot any water damage before it becomes a bigger problem.
It’s also good practice to have your roof inspected after a big storm. There could be membrane damage from debris or hail, or ponding water from excessive rain. For those Minnesota winters, flat roofs are engineered to withstand a specific snow load. Too much snow can impair (or even collapse) the structure. Ask your roofing contractor how much weight your flat roof can withstand before snow needs to be removed.
2. Drainage Problems & Leaks
No matter the season, drainage issues are always a concern. If your roof’s drains are clogged, then the water on your flat roof has nowhere to go and will collect in one spot, also known as "ponding". One gallon of water weighs 8 pounds; over time, the weight of continuous ponding can cause your roof to sag. Regular maintenance inspections will address drainage issues before they result in excessive ponding.
Most flat roofing will have some kind of penetrations–whether it’s piping, HVAC curbs, or skylights. These penetrations are tied into the roof membrane with various flashing materials that may degrade over time under the sun. This degradation of material can cause cracking and gaps between the penetration and the roof itself, allowing water to seep in. Rusting of HVAC ducts can also cause roof leaks.
Even the smallest leak can do long-term damage to your commercial roof. If you have a roof leak of any size, it’s best practice to have it repaired immediately. If you want to save money on commercial roof repair services, regular maintenance will catch leaks early before they cause bigger problems.
3. Human Error and High Foot Traffic
Most commercial roofs will house the building’s HVAC equipment. Installation of HVAC (or any other mechanical) equipment can easily damage your roof. It's always a good idea to schedule a maintenance inspection after any equipment installation has taken place to see if you need flat roof repair services.
A/C Units and other HVAC equipment will also require periodic maintenance and filter changes. This translates to high foot-traffic on your flat roof. Over time, foot traffic will cause wear and tear on the roof's membrane. Investing in regular maintenance will allow you to catch any damage before it gets out of hand.
The Bottom Line
Protecting the integrity of your commercial roof should be high on your priority list–especially if you want to save your money down the road. With regular roof maintenance, you can keep an eye out for damage and address any existing problems.
Make sure you hire a trusted maintenance and repair crew to inspect your roof. Many companies will simply rebrand their roofing crews as maintenance staff. At Roof Tech, our experienced union roofing technicians specialize in repair and maintenance 24/7. No matter the type of flat roof your building has, Roof Tech’s dedicated service vans are stocked for a multitude of emergency and routine repair needs.
Have questions about roof maintenance? Need to know if a problem with your flat roof requires repair? Call us at (651) 351-7302 to have your questions answered, or to schedule an appointment. Within just 24 hours, our maintenance service staff will be sent out to inspect your roof.
With our 30 years of experience, you can trust Roof Tech to protect the integrity of your commercial roof. Contact us today to get a free quote on your commercial roof repair or maintenance service.