A failing roof on a commercial building can not only compromise everything under the roof but can add greater financial consequences with damages to tenant satisfaction and retention, or sanitation concerns for schools, restaurants, and hospitals, or disruption to hotel guests and services.
The reason a commercial roof might fail is not just from lack of maintenance but can also be from unknowingly getting improper or shoddy repairs by inadequately trained service technicians. The “fix” that was paid for actually created a false sense of security for the owner when often times the bad condition got worse over time!
A Professional Roofing Contractor’s Experience
According to Christopher Castillo, Service Foreman for DK Haney Roofing, there are several common issues associated with commercial roofs that he and his fellow professionals are trained to detect early and before they cause major problems.
“Leaks resulting from ‘cold welds’ are very common,” Castillo said. “Most commercial roofs have a thermoplastic membrane and its seams are typically heat-fused (welded) to form a continuous membrane. The ‘lap’ seams can also be fused with solvents instead of heat and can be as strong as the rest of the membrane. The most common thermoplastic membranes are PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin). If the weld is done improperly, a leak in the membrane can occur and cause water damage. This problem with cold welds usually occurs around AC pipes and drains. If this membrane is manufactured by Duro-Last it is easy and inexpensive to patch because they have a special design to accommodate pipes and corners.
“Another common repair problem involves punctures resulting from debris often left behind by other contractors. This is typically caused by an HVAC tech leaving screws on the roof after repairing heating and cooling equipment. If someone accidentally steps on them, a puncture can result, and this can cause a water leak in the roof. It’s amazing how much damage one small screw can cause.”
Big Problems Can Result from Small Issues
Even slight damage if left undetected can have the potential for disaster. Water damage can cause rot and mold which to repair can cost many times the amount of the cost of the simple leak repair.
“A serious problem is rotted decking,” Castillo said. “If any water gets underneath the roof’s membrane, over time, it will rot the wood decking. I have actually seen roofs cave in after a couple of years’ decking rot. In many cases, the building manager or owner didn’t even recognize what was occurring before the major damage happened.
“Over time, a rotted deck can also lead to mold and mildew in the building. This requires very specialized, and expensive technicians and equipment to remediate.
During regular inspections, professional roofing contractors are also checking drainage. “A drain blockage that can cause standing water on the roof. In my time as a repair specialist for DK Haney, I have seen something as simple as water bottles or other trash, which were left by other workers, clogging up a drain and keeping the water from draining off the roof (especially a flat roof).
Having the Right Professional Partner is Different
Christopher Castillo minces no words when he explains how he and his team feels about their customers – large and small.
“We worry about the customer and not just the money,” he said. “We firmly believe that if we give the customer the best service – including thorough inspections and attention to detail on repairs – the money will take care of itself.
“When we’re up on that roof – checking for water-proofing and membrane damage and also picking up debris and cleaning drains – we think of that roof as OURS. And we take care of it like it was!”
Is your commercial roof due for an inspection? Are you seeing tell-tale signs of water leaks? Contact us for a no-obligation consultation.