Flat roofing systems are notoriously leak-prone. That’s why routine commercial and residential roofing maintenance is a must. In addition to following a routine maintenance schedule, building owners should also familiarize themselves with the top causes of commercial roof damage. Having a basic understanding of the usual culprits behind commercial roof damage can help you address the root cause of roofing issues.
The usual culprits include:
The term flat roof is a bit of a misnomer: Its roof surface is slightly elevated to allow rainwater to flow to the drains. However, if the drains are clogged, water can start to pool on your flat roof. That’s why the drains should be inspected and cleaned regularly.
Standing water is problematic because it adds to the weight load your flat roof has to support. Like residential roofing systems, commercial flat roofing systems aren’t designed to handle additional weight load for long periods. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, ponding water might start to cause damage to your roof if it’s left unattended for more than two days. Left unattended, standing water might seep into your roof’s seams—the weak point of a conventional roofing system—and infiltrate its underlayers.
Damage from Ultraviolet Rays
Due to their low slope, commercial roofing systems are more exposed to UV rays than a sloped roof. Standing water can amplify UV damage by magnifying the UV rays and cause your roof to age prematurely.
Here’s a tip: If you’re planning a commercial or residential roofing replacement, you might want to consider installing a standing seam metal roof. As the name suggests, the seams are raised above the roof surface, making sure rainwater can’t easily infiltrate your roof’s underlayers.
However, if you’re only considering a commercial roof replacement, Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roofing would be a smart choice. White TPO roofing membranes have a naturally reflective surface that can reduce the risk of UV damage. It’s one of the reasons why TPO membranes are becoming more popular among building owners: The National Roofing Contractors Association estimates TPO roofing membranes take up about 40% of the commercial roofing market share.
Cracks and Vegetation
It’s also important to regularly clean the surface of your flat roof. Otherwise, the dirt that accumulates on the roof’s surface might become fertile ground for vegetation. Plants are a cause for concern because their roots can penetrate and weaken your commercial flat roof. Accumulated dirt can also reduce the reflectivity of TPO roofing’s surface, lowering your roof’s protection against UV rays.
Should you hire a roofing professional to clean your commercial roof? As a rule of thumb, it’s best to let commercial and residential roofing contractor handle all roofing-related work. Even if it’s easier to clean a commercial roofing system, there are still significant safety risks. For instance, certain types of flat roofing membranes become slippery when wet.
Lack of Maintenance
Given how vulnerable flat roofing systems are to leaks, it’s important that building owners adhere to a maintenance routine for their roof. An essential part of any maintenance routine is roof inspections. Minor roof damage can be easily repaired as long as roofing issues are addressed quickly. The problem is it’s nearly impossible for the untrained eye to find the subtle warning signs of roof damage. By the time the more visible signs of damage, it’s already too late to mitigate roof damage.
Extreme Weather Events
Extreme weather events can damage any roof, no matter how durable it is. That’s why you should always schedule a commercial or residential roofing inspection after a storm has passed.
One more thing: Make sure to vet a prospective contractor before hiring them. That’s because less qualified contractors are more likely to make installation errors and miss the warning signs of roof damage. Here’s a vetting tip: The number of years a contractor has been working in the industry should give you a good idea of their level of expertise.
Alpine Roofing Construction, a company with nearly two decades of experience, offers a wide range of professional roofing services, including commercial and residential roofing services. To get a free quote, call us at (214) 528-9897 or fill out this form. We serve homeowners in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington, TX, as well as the surrounding communities.