Your day is already overwhelming. You have to deal with financials, contracts, personnel issues, disgruntled clients, and now … now the roof may have a leak. What can you do? How many other directions can one commercial property manager be pulled in? Here are 10 tips on what to look for to prevent problems with your commercial roof.
#1 — Who’s Who
Keep a running log book of rooftop access:
- Who is going onto the roof?
- Why are they visiting your roof?
- When (time of day, season, weather conditions)?
- Where were they on your roof? Parapets? HVAC units? Staring at a developing ponding problem near a clogged internal drain?
#2 — I Spy
Anyone within your company who goes on the roof has a responsibility to report what they see. Were seams in good shape? Is caulking needed around HVAC curbs? Is the strainer on the internal drain clogged with pigeon feathers and twigs?
Whenever a rooftop visit is made by your own facilities crew, document the roof with smartphone pictures. These are handy because they record the date and time, and over weeks or months can show rates of changes in problem areas.
The goal with every rooftop visit is to determine three levels of care for any area of the roof:
- Good — No action needed at this time
- Fair — Monitor a potential problem spot
- Bad — Get your local, reliable commercial roofer on the phone, now!
#3 — Sidekick
Someone from your facilities department (or you) should accompany your roofer during any inspection. Take a toolkit with you. It may not be as glamorous as a Bat Utility Belt, but you can still be a superhero:
- Commercial roof maintenance checklist of roof areas and items (seams, fasteners, flashing, scuppers, internal drains, HVAC curbs, rubber boots, etc.)
- Pad and pencil for taking notes
- Camera to document damage
- Roof plans or aerial photographs of the roof
- Tape measure for accurate mapping
- Flashlight (yes, even on sunny days, to peer into shaded areas)
Your commercial roofer may have some of those items, but your preparedness will save time and increase efficiency with every inspection.
#4 — Inside Job
From within your building, you can see a lot of signs of problems related to your roof. What is the state of the interior walls? Are you seeing signs of mold, mildew, or dark spots? Is paint peeling (from excess humidity)?
Water leaks may not show themselves directly for some time after forming. Your first hint may be interior damage to the active working areas of your commercial property.
#5 — Flue Failure
Check closely for damp areas around interior vents and chimneys. The small spaces between unlike materials (roof and chimney brick, roof and metal ductwork) should be sealed with flashing and caulk; degraded materials will let water in.
#6 — Decked Out
The roof deck itself requires proper ventilation. Do you see light between roof supports and sheathing or decking? Is the decking sagging, so insulation depresses and allows ponding?
#7 — Like a Sieve
Have your crew look for leaks. Look for active, dripping, damaging leaks. Look for signs of intermittent leaks, such as stained insulation, rotting roof deck supports, or discoloration.
Determine where the leaks are. Take photographs and immediately call your local, supportive commercial roofer.
#8 — Ground Control
A walk around the exterior of your building can tell you a lot about one of the many parts of your roofing system: the drainage. Are downspouts intact? Are gutters properly sloped and running clear? If your building has parapet drains, can you see daylight looking up through them, or are they clogged?
Also check the bottom of downspouts for piled-up debris that inhibits water from flowing to storm drains.
#9 — Worn Out
Any rooftop visit should include visual inspection for worn out areas, such as dislodged ballast, corrosion at fasteners or with flashing, and other issues:
- Are vents secure and free of rust?
- Is flashing firmly attached?
- Are chimneys properly pointed and flashing firmly embedded?
- Are drip edges and fascia in good condition?
- Are any parts missing?
- Has wind caused uplift, tears, or deformations?
#10 — Flat Facts
A flat or low-slope roof needs special attention. It teases nature, since all water runoff depends on the perfect slope of the “flat” roof. Look for:
- Ponding or evidence of past ponding
- Rooted vegetation
- Holes or punctures
- Deformed fastener holes from thermal expansion and contraction of single-ply membrane
Your local roofer is an ally in preserving roof assets but is no replacement for conscientious inspection and ongoing industrial roof maintenance by your own crews.
Perfection Roofing Inc. is the perfect commercial roofing partner for Tulsa-area businesses. Contact us today to let us put our experience, training, equipment, and superior crews to work for you. We are proud to be Tulsa Oklahoma’s most trusted roofing contractor for over 38 years!