Regular roof inspections are a vital part of commercial building maintenance. A commercial roof inspection examines the integrity of your roof, its drainage system and its flashings in order to ensure that there is no damage or any source of potential leaks. However, quality roof inspections go beyond simply repairing the damage that is immediately visible—it also helps you to correct problems with your roof that increase the risks of future damage. In order to get the most from your commercial roof inspection, here are four questions to ask after it has been performed.
1. Does Your Roof Need Any Emergency Repairs?
You'll need to ask your commercial roof inspection company if any emergency repairs need to be made. Leaks in your roof need to be repaired immediately, as water infiltration into your roof can lead to the underlying structure rotting away. This causes your commercial roof to become structurally unsound and increases the risk that it will collapse. Water can also leak underneath of the roof, causing severe water damage to your property. In order to protect the integrity of your roof and prevent potentially catastrophic water damage, have the leaks fixed by a commercial roof repair company as soon as possible.
Other problems, such as ponding water, also need to be remedied immediately. Commercial roofs are designed to withstand rain, but not ponding water—water is a solvent, and its prolonged presence on a section of your roof will cause the roofing material to rapidly degrade, leading to leaks. In severe cases involving large amounts of standing water, the weight of the water could even cause your roof to collapse. A commercial roofing contractor can stop water from ponding on your roof by either improving your existing drainage system or modifying the slope of your roof to remove any valleys where water can collect.
2. Should You Schedule Less-Urgent Repairs in the Future?
Some roofing issues, however, are not emergencies. It's still important to have them corrected in order to protect your roof from severe storm events. If you have a ballasted roof, you may need to add more aggregate. Ballasted roofs are held down to your building by a heavy aggregate material such as gravel. During storms, high winds will blow some of this aggregate off of the top of your roof. Low levels of aggregate reduce your roof's wind resistance and make it more likely to fail during heavy winds. If your commercial roof inspection reveals that you have inadequate levels of aggregate, you'll need to schedule to have more added.
Membranous commercial roofs (such as EPDM) sometimes form raised ridges at the seams where panels connect. This is simply caused by the panels moving slightly as a result of thermal expansion and contraction. Unfortunately, these raised ridges allow your roof to catch the wind, which lowers its wind resistance. Your commercial roof's membrane panels need to be cut and reseated in order to lower the panels and remove the ridge.
3. How Long Is Your Roof Expected to Last?
Contractors that perform commercial roof inspections have seen numerous commercial roofs, so they have the experience to assess how well your roof is aging. A commercial roof inspection can reveal how long your roof is expected to last, taking into account its current condition and its age. An estimate of how long your roof will continue to be effective allows you to budget for an upcoming replacement more effectively.
4. How Can You Protect Your Roof From Future Damage?
Commercial roof inspections can also give you insight into what is causing damage to your roof, which allows you to take steps to protect it. Punctures around roofing penetrations such as a plumbing vent or on-roof HVAC unit may have been caused by other contractors—you may wish to switch companies or ask them to be more careful when they work on your roof. Other damage, such as the punctures caused by small branches or leaves blocking your roof's drainage system, can be an indicator that you need to trim the trees around your property to limit future damage.
Overall, commercial roof inspections allow you to both correct immediate problems and help you protect your roof from being damaged in the future. Inspections are a vital part of reducing the potential risk of property damage to your commercial building, as they ensure that your roof remains in good condition. If you're not having your roof regularly inspected, you should call commercial roof inspection professionals and arrange to have inspections performed at least once a year.