Roof Maintenance & Repair
Maintenance costs are usually the second-largest single expense component for buildings… right behind utility costs. A prudent building owner, property manager or engineer, wouldn’t think of going more than six months without servicing an HVAC system or having elevators or boilers serviced. That said, it’s surprising how many building professionals completely ignore one of the biggest building wear items until symptoms of system failure have been reported. If your first roof inspection is in response to a tenant or employee complaining about roof leaks, your options are likely to be limited and costly. Roof replacement is never inexpensive and when the expense is unexpected, it can have a devastating effect on your operating budget.
A yearly roof inspection gives prudent building managers and owners an accurate assessment of the current roof conditions, a road map for needed maintenance and repairs to preserve or extend the life of the existing roofing system, and a valuable financial plan to help accurately prepare and time future roof replacement projects… on budget and on your own schedule.
Annual roof inspections also provide low-cost insurance against the unforeseen expense of water intrusion that may cause damage to a building’s structure or contents. It’s also a great hedge against potentially expensive roof replacement costs associated with a hastily planned project. Practical building management dictates that if your roof is more than five years old, you should have a professional roofing contractor perform a roof inspection every year to assess and preserve the health of your asset. This inspection, if you don’t already do this, should be a part of your roof maintenance program for your commercial property or properties.
How to Set Up a Maintenance Program for a Commercial Roof
Inspecting a commercial roof is one important preventative maintenance task that shouldn’t be overlooked. Proper maintenance can extend the roof’s life and reduce the potential for damage to the building’s interior, protecting one of a company’s biggest assets: the interior and tenants of the property.
Setting Up a Maintenance Program
We recommend inspecting the roofing system twice a year, spring (after the winter season) and late fall (between summer heat and winter weather). While the time and cost of these inspections fall to the building owner, other inspections, like those following a major event such as a hurricane or hail storm, will be covered by insurance.
Also, once every two years, have your plumber check the roof drain lines.
Creating standardized documentation for each building that is being inspected will help maintain proper records. The documentation should include:
- A file for each roof
- The roof’s installation date
- Records or repairs or updates
- Mapping of any current leaks
- The administrator of the roofing program, along with contact information
- How often maintenance is performed
- Blank, printable inspection reports can be found online (or you can download ours here). We recommend using one for each roof, plus taking photos at each inspection, and giving the file to management when the inspection is complete.
What to Look for During a Commercial Roof Inspection
Whether a member of the maintenance staff or a contractor is performing the inspection, the inspector should examine both the interior and the exterior every time.
When inspecting the interior, these are signs the roof needs maintenance:
- Discolored or water-stained ceilings and walls
- Raised or deteriorated areas on the walls
- Discoloration or water staining of window frames
- Rust or other deterioration of roof decking, joists or other structural components
- Mold on any interior surfaces
On the building’s exterior, look for:
- Excessive standing water on the roof’s surface (may be caused by structural failing)
- Stored materials (these materials should be removed and stored elsewhere)
- Loose, buckled or damaged flashing or membrane
- Nails or screws from deck backing out through the membrane
- Vegetation in contact with the roof surface
- Gaps or cracks in caulking around roof penetrations like vents, antennas, skylights, HAVC units, etc.
- Debris on the roof on in drains and gutters
- Missing domes on drains
- Excessive granules on roof surface or in drain/gutter
- Cracks, blisters, punctures, or warping on the roof’s surface
- Cracked masonry caps or parapets
- Defective, damaged or missing masonry joints
Schedule a Complimentary Inspection for your Commercial Property Now to Determine What Maintenance Program Works Best!
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