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Why You MUST Perform a Fall Roof Inspection

October 19, 2016

With fall in full swing and winter right around the corner, now is an important time for facility managers to ensure that their commercial roof system will withstand the upcoming weather. Heavy snow loads and ice buildup can cause significant roof problems, making fall an essential time to have a commercial roof inspection.

The following is a list of specific issues that are common due to the seasonal changes:

DRAIN BLOCKAGES AND PONDING WATER:

Debris such as fallen leaves and branches can create real problems, especially on flat commercial roofs. Leaves and debris often clog scuppers, downspouts, and roof drains, leaving ponding or stagnant water idle before the frozen temperatures lock the debris in place and completely clog drainage systems in the winter. The longer the water stays on the roof the more likely it is to penetrate the roof system. Ensuring these drains & systems are regularly cleaned and debris removed is vital.

MEMBRANE AND INSULATION:

Significant amounts of snow and ice can accumulate on the surface of your roof, making the integrity of your roof membrane and insulation vital to your roof's overall health. The changes in weather produce contraction and expansion of the roof material. This can cause fractures in the membrane, failed laps and seams all of which are points of entry for water to enter the building. The membrane and insulation of your roofing system should be inspected thoroughly for any shrinking, shifted, loose, or soft portions of your roof’s surface. These symptoms typically indicate damage to your roof's membrane or insulation.

If your roof membrane or insulation is compromised, condensation can occur within your building during the winter months. When a cold surface meets the warmer interior air, condensation will form and can cause major mold and mildew problems inside your building in addition to potential water damage.

Finding these failures early on will reduce the time and cost associated with the roof leak that will inevitably happen.

PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE:

Without a proper commercial roof inspection in the fall, your roof system may be susceptible to major damage during the winter months. Fixing any issues before the freezing and thawing cycle begins will save you a lot of hassle in the long run. Although leaks can be fixed in the winter it is harder for material and adhesive to adhere in the cold, and leaks are extremely challenging to find on ballasted frozen roofs held down with river rock. Not to mention, these types of repairs are significantly more expensive. To get maximum benefit of roof repair, completing preventive maintenance before the freeze is best.

Ultimately conducting a fall roof inspection will save you time and money in the long run. If roof problems are neglected in the fall, the cold months can bring about many major issues, leaving you with costly roof repairs or even the need to replace certain sections if the damage is significant. If you’re still uncertain whether or not your roof system needs repairs prior to the winter months, contact us and we can have one of our roof technicians conduct a full roof inspection.

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StructureTec is a building  envelope, pavement, and roof consultant specializing in the waterproofing and restoration of existing building envelopes, roofs, pavement and concrete structures.

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