Commercial roofs are often the deciding factor in how secure your property is against the elements. When there’s a crack in the roofing, it can lead to internal damages and a drop in energy efficiency. Few businesses can afford to close their warehouses or commercial properties to manage unexpected roof repairs and replacements, so it’s important to mind the warning signs that something upstairs has gone wrong.
1. You’ve got problems with moisture
Water infiltration can cause a wide array of damages, not only to your commercial roof, but to your building’s environmental controls (plumbing, heating and ventilating, air-conditioning, electrical, etc.) as well. When insulation gets wet it does a number on your utility costs. It goes from being an insulator, saving you money, to a conductor, costing you additional money to heat and cool the building. Further, wet insulation is a breeding ground for mold, and it’s not uncommon to find instances of mold and bacteria growth in and around a roof system resulting from leaks. Insect infestation is another potential consequence. Costs to mitigate mold or exterminate insects can add up, not to mention code violations and disruptions to business operations. You’ll know you have moisture problems if there are any visible water marks/stains on your building’s walls or ceilings. Another sign can include an increase in high humidity. Ignoring moisture problems on your roof can easily get out of hand, so if you notice any telltale signs, it’s best to contact your roofing contractor as soon as possible.
2. You’ve noticed bubbling on the roof
Bubbling is something you’re only going to see if you’re actually on the roof. Bubble can be caused by moisture build-up under chemically adhered single ply roofing or built-up roofing. The more bubbles you have, the less time you have before your roof is compromised beyond repair. If you have too many bubbles you’ll need to replace the roof to avoid further damage to your property. A trained roofing inspector will be able to give you a good estimate on the time you have left before your roof needs repaired or replaced.
3. Your roof’s flashing is missing, damaged, or dislodged
Flashing is integral to the integrity of your roof as it’s what secures the roofing materials and prevents water and other debris from compromising the roofing system. When flashing is bent, dislodged, or damage, this breaks the seal, allowing water to penetrate and build up. Time and weather can both cause damage to flashing, as can a poor installation. Be sure flashing is installed only by a trained professional, and inspected regularly to avoid costly repairs.
4. You have clogged downspouts
It’s always advisable to check your exterior downspouts after a heavy rain. If you see very little water coming out—or none at all—there may be a problem elsewhere. A clogged downspout can lead to moisture building up on your roof, which can cause bubbling and other damages related to moisture buildup. Ponding and pooling water on the roof can be a good indicator of a clogged downspout as well, so even if you haven’t had any serious rain, the warning signs may still be present.
5. Your roof is just old
Depending on the state you’re in and the material used to cover your roof, your roof could be too old to be properly insured or just old enough that it’s more of a liability than protection for your building. Your contractor will be able to tell you if the roof is at its end, but aside from that, any visible signs of failure or damage can also indicate an old roof.
6. You’ve had work done by other trade professionals recently
Maybe you’ve had work done by a different contractor and they had to use your roof or alter it in some way. It helps to contact a roofing specific contractor to ensure the other trade professionals didn’t cause any damage or create any problems when they last accessed the roof.
7. Roofing material has holes, is ripped or torn
When there are visible signs of damage to your roof, you most definitely want to call your preferred roofing contractor. Whether it was due to recent weather or simply gradual deterioration, even the smallest of tears can lead to large problems.
When it comes to seeing signs of visible damage, it can be hard when you don’t spend time on the roof; and that’s fine. Even when you’re working with a flat roof, proper safety precautions have to be observed. It’s better to contact your contractor and let them know you think the roof is worth inspecting rather than putting yourself in danger by trying to assess any damage up close yourself. Any good contractor will make safety their priority, and that means verifying the roof’s condition themselves, rather than asking you to do it for them.
If you have cause to be concerned about your roof, contact a roofing contractor you trust to perform a thorough inspection. Replacing a commercial roof can be expensive, which is why it’s important to pay attention to the things you can see—the signs you can spot from inside the building or from the ground outside—and alerting the professionals who can take care of it for you.