Everyone wants their commercial roof to provide years and years of service. Unfortunately, there are many issues that can eventually lead to a leaky roof. The good news is if you catch them early, you can save thousands of dollars by avoiding costly repairs or replacements! Today, we will share the 8 most common causes of commercial roof leaks.
Keep in mind, attempting to inspect your roof yourself poses a serious risk of injury and can also cause damage to your roof. If you suspect your roof is leaking, you should contact a reputable commercial roofing contractor. They are better equipped to assess the entire roof and fix the problem as quickly as possible.
1. Damaged roof membrane or substrate
Roofing membranes or substrates (the base surface of your roof) play a big role in waterproofing roofs. There are many ways your roof’s membrane can become damaged, but the most common cause is heavy exposure to human activity (e.g. heavy foot traffic) and forces of nature (e.g. storm damage) over the life of the roof. The roofing membrane can over time, form cracks, blisters, and splits. These can allow water collects under the roof membrane, seeps through, and penetrates the structure. In such cases, repairing or replacing the roof membrane may be the only solution. Therefore, it is important to regularly inspect the roof membrane for signs of damage that may lead to leaks.
2. Ice Build Up
Ice dams and build-ups on roofs are a common problem in the state of Minnesota. The thick ice that forms on roofs in winter tends to melt from the bottom up. This can lead to leaks as the pressurized water tries to make its way through the smallest of perforations in the roof structure. By removing accumulated snow after a heavy snowfall, you can minimize the effects of ice dams that often lead to leaks. A professional roofing company like Allweather can help you with snow removal. It is not advisable to do this yourself, as you could easily damage your roof and make a leak worse.
3. Defective and Improper Seals
One of the hallmarks of a properly installed commercial roof is its ability to remain waterproof. This, of course, depends in large part on your roof being properly sealed to begin with. Even a small hole or gap is enough to cause a catastrophic leak. This is a particularly common challenge with commercial flat roofs. The seals around HVAC units, skylights, and other protrusions on your roof can become damaged or worn over time. The risk of water leakage is higher if the sealing was not done properly. Have a professional roofing contractor come out and inspect your roof at least once a year and take care of any damaged seals immediately.
4. Poor Drainage System
A poor drainage system can leave your roof vulnerable to damage. If your commercial roof’s drainage system is not working as expected, due to clogged gutters or downspouts, for example, water can back up on your roof. The water will eventually find its way down and make its own way if it has not already. This in turn compromises the structure of the roof and causes leaks.
5. Poor Installation
Commercial roof installation is a highly specialized profession that leaves little room for error. Contractors who lack training or roofing companies who have a history of doing poor quality work expose you to issues that can lead to roof leaks. Unfortunately, the signs of this are sometimes not apparent until the company is long gone.
While you can try to play inspector during installation, nothing beats playing it safe from the start. Do your due diligence ahead of time to ensure you are hiring a reputable company. To help you do just that, we have written a blog about choosing the right commercial roofing company for you.
6. Aging Roof
Nothing lasts forever and your commercial roof is no exception. Commercial roofs typically last between 15 to 25 years. However, the exact lifespan can vary depending on the type of material used and the quality of work performed by the roofing contractor you hired. In addition, constant exposure to weather elements, high winds, and storm-related damage can wear down your roof and shorten its lifespan. This wear and tear can eventually lead to leaks if the roofing material breaks down.
7. Damaged Roof Flashing
Flashings are thin metal strips placed to protect the exterior edges and joints of the roof membrane. The purpose of flashing is to prevent water leaks, as water can seep into the edges and cause cracks in your building’s interior. This type of damage can occur over time as the roofing infrastructure ages or the flashings are damaged by wind or adverse temperature changes. You can prevent these types of leaks by having your roof routinely inspected for hidden damage and making sure the flashings are in good condition.
8. Lack of Maintenance
The best time to fix any issues with your roof is before a leak occurs. Now that you know the most common causes of roof leaks, you can prolong the life of your roof with regular maintenance. This also allows you to spot problems like leaks before they develop into something more serious. While it’s okay to do minor things like clearing your roof of debris after a storm or checking it for discoloration, avoid DIY fixes.
When it comes to maintaining commercial roofs, we always recommend hiring a professional who knows the proper safety and inspection procedures.
Let’s Fix Your Roof Leaks!
Do you have a problem with a leaking roof? Do not hesitate to get in touch with our team. Allweather Roofing is among the best when it comes to commercial re-roofing and roof repair. Our staff has expertly installed, repaired, or replaced countless roofs throughout the Twin Cities. Click here to view some of our Landmark Projects. With immense experience, professional expertise, and a history of more than 100 years in the industry, we offer the best roofing solutions for any need you may have. Call us today!