Commercial Roof Maintenance

Did you know that 80% of all roof systems fail at their halfway point of life expectancy due to lack of roof maintenance?

The sun and owner neglect are the two biggest reasons roofs fail prematurely. Material warranties only cover manufacturer failures and some cover workmanship errors, but no warranty covers sun damage or owner neglect. Likewise, Insurance companies only cover storm related damages. In our 41 years of experience, we have never seen manufacturers or insurance companies pay for roof damages caused by the sun or lack of maintenance. Commercial roofs are expensive and they leak quicker than residential roofs do! This is why it is imperative to have a maintenance program for all commercial flat roofs.

Just like your car needs routine tune-ups, so does your roof. The National Roofing Contractors Association and roof manufacturers recommend a bi-annual tune up but we recommend a minimum annual inspection and anytime after a major storm event. Statistics show the number one cause of roof replacement for commercial roofs is not caused by storm damages but by Water ponding, Trapped Moisture, Sun damage, and owner neglect.

GET MORE OUT OF YOUR BIGGEST INVESTMENT! Not only does MasterBuilt Roofing offer the best built roofing systems that help to weatherize your roof but we also offer low cost maintenance packages.

Commercial roof systems often fail due to the following reasons:

  1. Ponding Water. Most commercial roofs are flat. They are not built to shed water like a sloped roof, so water tends to pond in some areas. This greatly increases the roof to fail. Commercial roofs are more likely to leak at the halfway point in their lifecycle IF not properly maintained. An annual inspection of the seams is very important – especially where the water is ponding. Ponding water cannot be completely eliminated on a flat roof but building crickets to redirect the ponding water toward a drain or scupper can reduce it. Most manufacturers identify Ponding as anything still left on the roof after 72 hours. If the water has not drained within 72 hours after the rain, then something has to be done to redirect the water OR coat the roof with silicone which is meant to withstand ponding water.
  2. Trapped Moisture. The heat inside rises to the top of the building near the cool attic space where it meets the hot roof. This creates condensation under the roof membrane. The membrane then bubbles up (bottom left pic) and will eventually crack allowing water to get into the attic space and eventually into the building. Condensation cannot be completely eliminated so bi-annual or annual roof inspections are imperative! Installing One Way Vents (bottom right pic) can help reduce trapped moisture underneath the membrane.
  3. Foot Traffic. Since most flat roofs hold the HVAC systems for the building, there will be more than likely be foot traffic from repair techs at some point. Sometimes technicians can drop sharp tools onto a rubber membrane, which can tear it. Also, any sharp debris on the bottom of a boot can tear a rubber membrane. By installing Walkway pads (See below), you can reduce this problem.
  4. Loose Seams. At some point the seams on a TPO, Built Up Roof, EDPM, or Metal Roof can become loose during the natural expansion and contraction of your roof. Outside temperatures during the heat of the day followed by the coolness of the night cause your roof to expand and contract on a daily basis. Loose seams are found by performing a pull test on all the seams, then they are re-welded. The best and most cost effective way to eliminate this problem is to coat your roof with silicone after the seams have been repaired. By coating the roof there would be no more exposed seams, plus the white silicone reflects the suns UV rays to reduce the natural expansion and contraction.
  5. Deteriorated Roof Flashings and Sealants. At some point the roof flashings and their caulking will deteriorate due to the heat from the sun. This is why you MUST have an annual roof inspection and maintenance plan for your commercial roof system. Whatever you do, DO NOT APPLY ASPHALT CEMENT OVER ANY ROOF FLASHINGS! Roof cement is not meant to be exposed to the sunlight. It is meant to be applied under asphalt modified bitumen cap sheets and under the base of any roof flashings. It is always best to replace roof flashings if they are in this condition.
  6. Clogged Gutters, Drains, Scuppers, and Downspouts. Sometimes these components can become clogged with debris either from leaves (If the building is not that tall and there is a lot of trees in the area) or from trash left on the roof by previous workers or from items thrown onto the roof by the general public. We’ve found baseballs, shoes, shirts, toys, maintenance tools etc thrown onto the tops of commercial roofs before. This is just one more reason why it is imperative to have a roof maintenance plan for your commercial roof.