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9 Steps to Prevent Commercial Roof Leaks this Spring

March 23, 2016

April showers bring…leaky roofs? Roofing experts recommend evaluating your roof system in the spring and fall. With spring finally upon us, it is important to assess your roof system for any damage that may have occurred during the winter months.

The following is a list of steps you should take to help ensure your roof is ready for spring:

 

1.   Remove all Debris. Debris such as loose gravel, dirt, leaves, and twigs should be removed. These materials can retain water if left on the roof. The constant moisture can cause damage to the roof, promote growth of algae and mold, and may cause standing water to form.

 

2.   Clear Drains. Field drains and auxiliary drains should be cleared to prevent ponding that may cause leaks or structural damage.

 

3.   Inspect the Roof Surface. Perform a visual inspection of the roof system. On PVC or rubber roofs, inspect for holes, cracks, or faster back-out. On built-up roofs, look for areas with missing gravel or exposed felts. Inspect roof seams and transitions for cracks or holes and have them sealed. If you have questions about the integrity of the roof membrane, contact a roofing professional.

 

4.   Inspect Roof Penetrations. Roof penetrations include pipes, drains, and other components that protrude through the roof surface. Roof penetrations are highly susceptible to leaks. It is very important to examine HVAC units, conduits, vents, gas lines, rain collars, and pipe boots. If you notice that a roof penetration is leaking or damaged, consult a professional to have the problem fully diagnosed and repaired.

 

5.   Evaluate Rooftop Perimeter. Walk the roof perimeter to inspect the edge details and note any areas of concern including soft spots, mold, or algae. Inspect the flashing at walls and curbs for any punctures of damage.

 

6.   Inspect the Sealant. Keep an eye out for sealant or caulking issues such as cracking, openings, deterioration, or crazing. Sealant failures are often found around penetrations and perimeter flashings. Sealant requires regular inspection and often has to be repaired.

 

7.   Inspect the Underside of the Roof. After you have thoroughly evaluated the outside area, inspect the underside of your roof deck, looking for any signs of water stains or streaks on the deck or walls that could be a sign of a leak.

 

8.   Prevent Leaks Before They Start. Your roof inspection may reveals areas of deterioration that will require repair. Repairing these small defects before they become major issues will save you from spending thousands of dollars down the road. If the damage is beyond your skill set or you are uncertain of the proper repair service, contact a professional.

 

9.   Perform Additional Investigations. If the areas of deterioration require additional investigation, a roofing professional can perform destructive testing, which requires making an opening for closer inspection, or non-destructive testing, such as infrared scanning, to determine the severity of the issue.

 

While roof maintenance is often times ignored until leaks are noticeable, facilities managers and building owners can save thousands of dollars and prevent many headaches by proactively maintaining their roof systems.

 

StructureTec can help identify potential problems by performing a spring walkover. We can help you determine and implement the proper course of action to ensure your roof is protected this spring. Contact us today to schedule your spring walkover!

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