Weather and exposure to the elements take their toll on commercial roofs making it critically important to undertake preventive roof maintenance every spring and fall (minimally). Doing so increases the roof’s life expectancy, protects people and contents, ensures minor damage doesn’t escalate into costly repairs and preserves peace of mind for the building owner.  As the expression goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

The roof system is a vulnerable component of a building’s exterior. Whether you conduct a roof inspection using your own team, or hire outside professionals, here are 4 ways to ensure your roof is in tip top condition this Spring.

1. ROOF FEATURES
Flashings are a common problem area on commercial roofs because of their exposed surfaces. Check the material’s connection above and around the flashing to ensure no moisture has seeped underneath. Ensure they aren’t sagging or visibly open. Inspect other roof features including vents, chimneys, skylights, gutters, drains, soffit and HVAC equipment curbs. Look at drains to make sure they aren’t clogged and backing up onto the roof surface. Perimeter details on older buildings with stone blocks or clay caps should also be checked for cracks and dents.

2. MEMBRANE
The flat roof makes up the largest part of a commercial roof system and regular inspections need to take into account: the conditions of coating, looking for punctures, scouring for cracks and blisters, and checking for ponding and faded membranes. Inspect surface wear, lap integrity and overall degradation. Ensure the roof field is kept clear of debris such as branches, leaves, or other materials that may hold water.

3. GREEN ROOF CARE
Vegetated rooftops in urban areas bring environmental benefits from improved energy efficiency through reduced cooling and heating costs to the capture of airborne pollutants. Proper maintenance of green roofs is important to protect your investment and ensures your system achieves its original intent, whether that’s for thermal performance, storm water management, or aesthetic value. Seasonally, check that vegetative growth has not penetrated the roofing surface, that algae haven’t formed in ponding water and that loose debris such as branches are regularly cleared away.

4. RECORD-KEEPING
Ensure all of your roofing documents are organized and maintained. This includes warranties and past inspection reports. Before each seasonal inspection, review past reports, repairs and photographs. Ideally, create a customized, formal maintenance program and roof checklist tailored specifically for your property. Your program could include:

  • Schedule for seasonal visual roof inspections
  • Interviews with building occupants and property management teams
  • Interior inspections for signs of water damage and structural distress
  • Warranty details management
  • Notes about repairs, materials, changes and installations to the roof
  • Original roof specifications and plans
  • Service records with dates

Proactive preventive commercial roof maintenance decreases liability, saves money and ensures issues can be identified before they become pervasive and costly. Nevertheless, building owners are sometimes remiss for various reasons as they focus on their core business, neglect having a maintenance plan, or underestimate the cost of a compromised roofing system. As we step into the Spring season, we encourage building owners across North America to safeguard their roofing investment by scheduling an inspection today.