Wet Commercial Roof

6 Big Clues that Your Commercial Roof is in Trouble

Many people enjoy a good mystery story, but playing detective in real life is often less than fun, especially when it comes to figuring out if your commercial building’s roof might need repair or replacement.

There are some obvious signs that your roof is having problems—you’ll likely find a few inside your building, while others may only be evident when looking at your roof’s surface.

Today’s post highlights the biggest clues that you shouldn’t wait another minute to call in the commercial roofing professionals like us here at Heidler Roofing to “solve the case,” aka inspect your roof and present you with an action plan for fixing problems.

Interior Clues of Roofing Problems

Fact: once you start getting leaks and other problems associated with water infiltration inside your building, the situation on the roof may quickly escalate to a structure-damaging emergency. Have you been noticing any of these three signs of roofing trouble?

Water Stains on Ceilings and Walls

Water Stains

While damaged plumbing can also cause water stains to appear, if you’re noticing new and growing brownish spots on ceiling tiles—especially on the top floors of your building—you likely have an active roof leak.

If this seems unbelievable because your roof is newer, it’s important to remember that leaks aren’t just caused by very old roofing material breaking down. Storm damage is a common culprit, of course, but so too are service technicians and other workers accessing your rooftop systems.

As we talked about in our previous blog post on common causes of commercial roofing problems, if you recently had new HVAC equipment installed that involved placing rooftop units, or if your roof gets regular foot traffic for any reason, leak-causing damage can result.

Not all flat and low-slope roofing materials take kindly to being frequently walked on. What’s more, making alterations to mechanical equipment on your roof typically involves creating new openings and potentially patching up older ones for piping and other connections between interior and exterior system components. If this work isn’t done carefully or sealed well, you will have water getting in through unseen gaps in no time.

Mold and/or Bugs

Have you had to remediate mold inside your building? Or, are you spending more money than you once did on pest control for insects? Believe it or not, both of these issues could be caused by water infiltrating your roof. And if you’re spending money to treat these “symptoms” instead of looking for the actual cause of the problem, it’s time to get a thorough roof inspection to look for hidden leaks.

Sometimes, roofs can leak into a layer of insulation beneath, causing mold to develop. You probably know how bad this microbial growth can be for indoor air quality, but did you realize it could be attracting bugs and other pests? Molds are actually fungi, and some insects feed on this organic material. Additionally, some molds are themselves destructive to building materials.

Visible Leaks During Rainy Weather

Are employees of businesses in your building running for buckets to catch the dripping or running water every time it rains? This is a severe problem!

If you’re experiencing visible leakage through ceilings, you may already have the water staining, mold, and/or pest problems we’ve previously mentioned. And the damage on your roof needs immediate attention. Here in the Mid-Atlantic region, our Leak Squad can help you put a stop to the unnecessary effort of containing rainwater inside your building!

Clues You Can See on the Roof

As mentioned, there are sometimes invisible holes or damage in your roofing materials that are difficult for the untrained observer to spot. However, if you or your maintenance team has recently climbed a ladder and spotted any of the following, you will eventually have leaks forming inside your building, if you don’t already.

Damage to Flashing

At the edges of your building’s roof system and at the places where the covering ends or is interrupted—such as at drains, valleys, expansion joints, or around rooftop equipment and skylights—you will find flashing. This material is used to weatherproof and/or seal out the elements, which means that damage to it will eventually lead to water infiltration.

Flashing damage is common during the intense storms in summer due to windblown/falling debris hitting it. Ice is also its enemy, so harsh winter weather is a concern, as well. Especially if the flashing on your roof was not expertly installed, it can cause major headaches instead of preventing them.

Seam Gaps and Other Visible Holes

It probably goes without saying that obvious holes in your roof are a problem you need to have addressed ASAP. But seam gaps are a related issue that you may not have thought about.

While not all commercial roofing systems rely on seamed materials, those that do may experience failure in the places where the material is joined. Improper installation can be to blame, but material breakdown based on age—especially if a roof has not been well-maintained—is not uncommon.

Low Spots or Material Warping

Again, age and improper installation are the top reasons commercial roofs develop problems with material distortion—this includes bubbling, which happens when moisture builds up moisture under chemically adhered single-ply roofing or BUR.

If anything about your flat roof’s appearance seems, well…not flat, it’s time to calling a trustworthy professional roofing contractor for troubleshooting help. Low spots are often evident because water will pond—that is, collect into big puddles that don’t quickly evaporate after rain—in those places. The ponding quickly makes these low spots worsen, and before long, the water collecting there will find its way into your building.

You Can Avoid These Issues and More with a Roof Maintenance Plan

If you don’t enjoy the detective work of discovering clues to roofing problems in and around your commercial building, it’s time to give us a call here at Heidler Roofing. Our comprehensive preventative maintenance plans take the guesswork out of ensuring that your roof is performing as it should to protect your building and your business.

We know that many building owners and managers are worried about ongoing costs, but we promise it is rarely cheaper to put off roof work until there’s a problem. Preventative maintenance is the name of the game—and we can help with both emergency repairs and reducing the likelihood of future commercial roofing emergencies. Get in touch with us today to learn more or schedule an inspection.