Nine Tips to Prevent Your Commercial Roof From Leaking

By: John Thurber

Your roof is your building’s first defense against the elements. A compromised roof can spell disaster for your building and your pocketbook and the stress of commercial roof leaks on everyone involved cannot be underestimated. That’s why making sure your roof stays in tip-top shape is so important. Here are 9 easy ways you can prevent roof leaks and protect the integrity of your commercial roof:

1) Check for puddle saturation: Watch for accumulating water on flat roofs – particularly after heavy rains – as saturated rubber roofing can become soft and break down, leading to water intrusion.

2) Watch out for damaged flashing: Flashing is your roof’s seal. When it becomes damaged, moisture can easily penetrate the roof and lead to leaks and mold. Replace any damaged flashing upon discovery to protect your roof and your building’s interior.

3) Inspect the roofing membrane: Did you know that commercial roofs are sealed with a membrane? Storms, debris and extreme temperature changes do a number on roofs. Over time this protective membrane can blister, crack or seams can let loose, providing easy access for unwanted moisture. Repair or replace the membrane if its integrity is compromised.

4) Periodically investigate roof penetrations: Commercial buildings have spots where HVAC, drains and pipes extend up through the roof’s surface. While these openings are sealed to ward off water intrusion, seals break down and can let in water, damaging the roof and building fixtures. Repair and replace seals as necessary.

5) Keep an eye out for water spots, mold and mildew: Sometimes one of the first indicators of a leaky roof is the presence of spots on the ceiling, mold or mildew on interior ceilings and walls – a sign that the roof has been leaking for some time. If mold or mildew are discovered, demo the affected area, removing wet insulation and drying out the interior walls. Then inspect the roof to determine the water point-of-entry and make necessary repairs.

6) Remove debris: Leaves, sticks, branches, acorns, critters…your roof is a resting place (and a nesting place!) for a host of natural elements. Periodically removing debris can reduce the likelihood of clogged drains, scuppers, and gutters and allows your roof drain properly.

7) Trim overhanging trees: If your roof enjoys shade from overhanging trees, be more vigilant when it comes to cleaning off your roof, particularly after strong winds and heavy rains.

8) Enact periodic inspections: Regular roof inspections allow you to catch little problems before they become big problems! A small cost and a little work upfront can save you thousands down the road.

9) Schedule regular roof maintenance: Performing annual or bi-annual roof maintenance allows you to detect and fix small roof issues and can greatly extend the life of your commercial roof.