A roof is the first line of defense for commercial, industrial and institutional buildings. It protects these facilities from natural hazards such as rain, wind, hail, fire, extreme heat, ice, and snow. However, because it is exposed to these elements every day, it is the most vulnerable part of the building and may be susceptible to deterioration and decay which can increase the risk of damage to the roof itself and the building below it.
A regular program of roof maintenance can go a long way to prolonging the useful life of a roof and make sure it does its job in protecting a business from damage from the weather.
Signs of Roof Problems
If roof maintenance is not done on a regular basis, there may be signs of serious problems even inside a building. A ceiling that has water stains may mean that there is a leak caused by a hole or crack in the roof. Unexplained odors or mold inside can also mean that there is a leak in the roof that causes water to penetrate into the building. Even the smallest leak can indicate there is greater trouble on the roof so a roof should be inspected visually to look for problems that have the potential to worsen over time.
Care and Maintenance
The best way to avoid problems with a roof and strengthen its resistance to weather is through regular care and preventive roof maintenance. Proper maintenance also prolongs the life of a roof and in many instances will allow for “repair” instead of “replacement” when a problem is identified.
Roof inspections should be done by a professional to make sure that the inspection is done correctly and safely. A professional roofing contractor can also help to determine the health of the roof, estimate the remaining life of the roof, help develop a maintenance plan, and identify additional steps to protect the roof.
A roof inspection needs to include looking for signs of previous leaks or other problems to make sure that repairs have stayed intact. Rooftop vents and equipment also should be examined to ensure they are well-sealed and that any gaps in flashing cement are sealed.
In particular, if any major storms, such as hurricanes or a severe windstorm, have occurred since the last inspection, gutter straps need to be checked to ensure they can resist uplift and any loose objects and accumulated debris should be removed as a clean roof eliminates leaves and other materials that have a tendency to hold moisture, which can speed up the deterioration of the roofing materials.