The roofing system on a commercial building can differ significantly from a residential roofing system. The differences in design, materials, and replacement costs make roof maintenance an essential part of managing your commercial space.
Maintaining your commercial roofing system is critical if you want to prevent leaks and protect the structural integrity of your commercial space. The more you learn about the problems that could compromise the quality of your commercial roofing system, the better prepared you will be to address these problems before serious damage occurs.
1. Loose Flashing
Metal flashing is used in both residential and commercial roofing to help protect a building against water infiltration. You will typically find flashing around any vents, chimneys, or other openings present in a roof.
Commercial buildings have flashing installed around the outer edge of their roofs. The purpose of this flashing is to protect the fascia against leaks and water damage. Temperature fluctuations cause commercial roofing materials to expand and contract. These movements eventually loosen the metal flashing, leaving the flashing susceptible to wind damage.
Loose flashing allows water to seep underneath your commercial roofing materials. You should regularly inspect your flashing and have any loose sections replaced immediately to preserve the structural integrity of your commercial building.
If your commercial roofing system features an asphalt membrane, alligatoring could become a problem. The tar asphalt used in commercial roofing can begin to dry out as it is exposed to the elements.
UV rays, wind, and other environmental factors can cause an asphalt membrane to lose its elasticity. As the membrane becomes more rigid, it will begin to crack. This cracking is referred to as alligatoring because the cracks resemble the pattern on an alligator's hide. Alligatoring leaves your roof vulnerable to water infiltration. You could see wet spots on your ceilings, or begin to smell the odor of mold and mildew as leaks form.
An experienced commercial roofing contractor may be able to repair an asphalt membrane with slight alligatoring, but significant alligatoring can only be fixed by replacing the affected membrane entirely.
3. Pooling Water
Pooling water can really damage your commercial roof. Most commercial roofing systems appear to be completely flat, but they all have a slight curvature that helps direct water to drain spouts located around the edge of the building.
Over time, temperature changes can warp the surface of a commercial roofing membrane. Warping creates indentations where water can collect and pool on your building's roof. Pooling water puts a lot of stress on your roofing system. The weight of the water can weaken roofing materials, eventually causing a roof collapse. Pooling water will also accelerate the deterioration of your roofing materials.
You should invest in routine inspections and repairs to prevent pooling water from becoming an issue on your commercial roof. An experienced contractor can apply a new coat of membrane material to restore the curvature needed for proper drainage and protect your commercial roof from pooling water.
4. Roof Buckling
Most commercial roofing systems feature a single-ply membrane that is applied over the roof decking. This membrane isn't always capable of standing up to the shifting that occurs when the walls and roof trusses of your commercial building expand and contract.
Buckling becomes a major issue when the weight of the single-ply membrane shifts during the expansion and contraction of your building. Significant buckling will require a total roof replacement. Minor buckling can be repaired by an experienced commercial roofing contractor.
Complete visual inspections of your roof regularly to help avoid the costly effects of roof buckling in the future. Learn more by contacting commercial/industrial roofing services.