Most commercial roofs are flat and require attention throughout the year to avoid potentially costly and inconvenient issues. Proper roof maintenance will keep your roof in great shape.
Your roof protects your business and adds value to the overall structure of your building. Maintaining the integrity of the roof itself is paramount. It should perform well, last a long time, and look good too.
If you want a flat roof that is damage-free and issue-free, try these five essential tips for commercial roof maintenance.
1. Ponding Prevention
Water can be a serious threat to your roof. Sound waterproofing techniques and regular maintenance are essential for water damage prevention.
Ponding is the word used to describe the pooling of water in low spots on your roof. This usually occurs when the roof’s surface has been saturated by rain or snow. If pooled water does not evaporate within 48 hours, it’s considered ponding. When left unresolved, it can spell disaster for your roof.
Ponding water damages your system by:
- Magnifying damaging UV rays
- Encouraging the growth of algae
- Accelerating heat aging
All of these factors cause membrane degradation and can lead to roof failure.
Ponding can be resolved by:
- Building up low spots
- Installing hoppers
- Using an automatic pump
- Utilizing proper waterproofing techniques
2. Address Blisters, Cracks, and Ridges
Blisters can occur when moisture or air is trapped in roof layers. This causes the roof layers to separate and leads to membrane damage. Blisters are problematic because they can:
- Cause loss of gravel and other protective surfacing
- Cause fatigue cracks in the membrane
- Reduce lap coverage
Cracks and Ridges
Ridges and cracks most often occur along joints and seams in the roof. They can be caused by:
- A bad roofing job
- Excess surface stress
- Fluctuations in temperature
Smaller cracks can be repaired with kits, while larger ones may need professional roof repair.
3. Address Heavy Snow Accumulation
Heavy snow is a serious threat to any flat roof and should be removed before it reaches a depth of one foot. If heavy snow isn’t addressed quickly, it can cause:
- Joint and seam stress
- Roof collapse
Rooftop snow removal can be extremely dangerous and is best done by a professional.
4. Remove Debris and Vegetation
Because they are flat, commercial roofs tend to accumulate a lot of debris. This debris includes paper and plastic litter, in addition to plant matter such as twigs and leaves. This accumulated debris holds in moisture and acts as a sort of mulch in which plants can grow.
Small trees, bushes, unwanted vines, and weeds can quickly compromise roof integrity. Debris accumulation should be part of regular roof maintenance.
5. Clean Out Drainage Systems
Drainage systems allow excess water to run off of the roof before it becomes an issue. When debris causes blockages, water can back up and pool on the roof. For this reason, all gutters, drains, hoppers, and scuppers should be cleaned out at least a couple of times a year.
Diligent Roof Maintenance Prevents Costly Problems
Proactive maintenance is the key to maintaining commercial roof integrity and function.