Commercial Roofing Problems
Obvious or unforeseen, roof problems are always a pain and undoubtedly a significant expense. If you look at a failure curve, most roofs are the best they’re going to be at the time they are installed. The curve is pretty flat in terms of their deterioration for the first several years, and the last 25 or 30 percent of the roof life, the curve becomes steeper. Unfortunately, problems are inevitable as the roof ages. Without proper and routine maintenance, these minor problems can even become catastrophic.
The roofing problems identified below are most common and the conditions that can either cause or be the result of premature failure and reduced service life of a roofing system. This is not a self-diagnostic guide, but rather an informative list of some of the problems most often battled by building owners and facilities professionals.
Pitch pans are used to seal around pipes penetrating the roof. When pitch pans are not maintained or they are filled with materials that do not seal well, water will run down the pipe and through the roof. This is the most common maintenance problem on flat roofs today.
Blown Off Chimney and Vent Caps
High winds can cause these caps to blow off allowing water to get into the pipe. The simple fix is just to install a new cap.
Sometimes standing water is due to a clogged or blocked drain, but most of the time it is due to poor drainage. If the roof is "dead-level" or if there are low areas, the best way to solve this problem is to install a taper insulation system at 1/4" of slope per foot of roof, and put a new roof over this. If the drain is clogged it may require a plumbing contractor to unblock the drain.
Roof leaks are not always roof leaks. Sometime the mortar in masonry walls deteriorates and falls out allowing moisture to penetrate the wall allowing water to get under the roofing system making it look like a roof leak. Masonry walls can also become porous and absorb water like a sponge. Masonry sealant is the best way to protect brick walls and tuck-pointing is the only way to replace mortar that is damaged.
Clogged drains can be a huge problem for a low slope roof system. Water backed up on the roof is very heavy and can cause stress to the building, the roof structure, and the roof system. A regular roof maintenance program will alleviate this significant problem.
The flashing that is installed on walls and curbs usually fails before the roof system does. This is because most of the expansion and contraction takes place here causing the flashing to tear of break. Often the top of the flashing is not terminated properly and this too breaks loose allowing water to enter. It can also cause damage to masonry walls and to the interior of the building.
Membrane roofs that are heat-welded or glued together can sometimes split apart with expansion and contraction. Often it is due to a weak seam caused by poor workmanship or, if it is an older roof, it will just lose its elasticity and the weaker areas will break loose.
Metal Edge Breaks
Often the field sheet of the roofing system is sealed to a metal edging that is installed along the outside perimeter of the building. Expansion and contraction can cause the membrane to break loose from the metal edge. This allows moisture to seep under the roof system and down the wall of the building causing structural damage to the wall if it is not corrected.
Sometimes roofs leak just because the roofing system was installed improperly. This is especially true of flat roofs because water will accumulate on the roof during heavy rains causing defective areas to leak because of the enormous water pressure on the roof from the standing water.
High quality service
Martin roofing has been outstanding in helping me and my business.. the staff and owner reach out and are highly responsive to our needs. Their internal quality control expert Ryan Clark oversees all aspects of the roofing project. Fantastic job!!
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