Will you know when it’s time to replace your commercial roof?
How are you supposed to know when the time has come to replace your commercial roof? Since your building is often your most valuable asset, it’s critical to preserve it.
Protecting the contents of your building from leaks is the primary function of a commercial roof. Unfortunately, many weaknesses may work together to compromise your commercial roof’s ability to drain in the way it was designed.
Water moves by gravity, and it’s always looking for the path of least resistance to find its way to the ground below. In a perfect scenario, rainwater or melting snow and ice will flow to the roof’s drainage system and be carried safely to the ground.
It isn’t easy to know exactly when to begin considering a complete replacement of your commercial building’s roof. In this blog, we’ll help you determine when to start planning for a new roof by giving you seven signs that the time may be near.
Sign #1: Your roof is getting old
A commercial roof’s lifespan is typically 20-30 years, depending on the type of construction and materials used. This is usually a good benchmark for estimating the life expectancy of your roof. Roofs that have been well maintained tend to have a longer life expectancy, just as poorly maintained roofs typically have shorter lives.
Sign #2: Pooled Water and Low Spots
Low areas on your roof might be an indication that your roof’s insulation is compressed or there are other issues that need addressing. If you don’t address low spots right away, they’ll only get worse rather than better. Immediately after it rains is the ideal time to look for low places by looking for pooled water.
If you notice any pooling or puddles, the first thing to do is make sure all drains are open. If they’re clear, hire a commercial roofing contractor to assess the roof’s structure for integrity concerns.
Sign #3: Blistering or Bubbling
Bubbling, also known as roof blistering, is a common problem with membrane roofs such as built-up roofing, TPO, PVC, and EPDM.
A bubble forms beneath the membrane if there is a leak between layers. It’s usually caused by moisture or wind entering beneath the membrane, though it can also be due to poor installation or ventilation problems. It’s worth noting that areas with significant seasonal temperature swings are more likely to experience this problem. Minnesota experiences some of the biggest range of climate from its frigid winters to hot summers.
Small blisters, if left untreated, can cause a lot of damage to your roof. If you notice blisters or bubbles forming on your roof, get an expert roofer to look at and repair it right away. You may be able to catch the problem before it becomes severe enough to necessitate a replacement.
Sign #4: Visible Storm Damage
Unfortunately, your business’s roof is not storm-resistant. Hail, sleet, and snow can all wreak havoc on your roof. Not only is your roof vulnerable to the elements, but high winds may also blow debris onto it.
Regular maintenance and inspections are the best line of defense for your roof.
PRO TIP: Always have your roof professionally checked in the wake of a hailstorm.
Sign #5: Damaged Flashing or Pitch Pans
Flashing diverts water away from places where the roof meets a vertical surface, such as chimneys, dormers, and skylights. Along with Pitch Pans, they’re the first line of defense against water getting into your building.
Pitch Pans are metal sleeves that surround any protrusion on your roof.
Pitch pans and flashing that become damaged may not be able to remove the water away from the protrusion, allowing water to seep into your building. These leaks generally start slowly and might be tough to spot at first. As a result, maintaining a routine roof inspection schedule is critical for the long-term integrity of your commercial roof.
Sign #6: Roof Membrane Holes or Tears
This one seems obvious, but many commercial roof membrane holes are hidden from plain view. On many commercial roofs, you’ll find vital equipment such as HVAC and generator systems. Hospitals and factories may have additional appliances mounted to the roof to serve their specific operational requirements. Maintaining this specialized equipment regularly is a must. There’s always the chance that your roofing membrane will get damaged or pierced during installation and maintenance.
Sign #7: Wind Damage
Wind gusts, sustained periods of high wind, and straight-line winds can all cause damage to the roof of your commercial building. It’s easy to forget that your roof needs to be inspected after wind episodes because there is often no rainfall involved.
While membrane systems are generally not prone to blow-offs, if the seams on the system are not properly sealed, they may separate and fly loose. This can be a significant problem in areas that experience frequent strong winds or taller commercial buildings. The more often your structure is exposed to severe winds, the more likely that a commercial roof replacement will be required sooner.
Many facility managers are under the impression that a seam will fail, but it’s more likely that the system will fail where it connects to the flashing. When winds reach a certain strength, they can cause extreme negative pressure in large buildings such as schools and shopping malls.
Be sure to familiarize yourself with what your commercial insurance covers. Often wind damage is covered and can help in the replacement cost.
Prevention is the best medicine for a healthy commercial roof
The common denominator in these 7 signs that it’s time to replace your commercial roof is that frequent professional roof inspection is often the only way to tell if your roof is in trouble. Our Mint Roofing inspectors are trained to spot hidden issues that laypeople tend to overlook.
If you’re not a subscriber to our TopSite Preventative Maintenance Program, we encourage you to have us come out to inspect your roof after any of the situations we’ve discussed in this blog. We want to help you get the longest possible life from your commercial roof and save you money in the process.