Five Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks

Roofs do more than protect from harsh weather. They also defend the structural integrity of a property, ensuring that moisture drains away to avoid costly repairs. A commercial roof is unique since, typically, they are flat and require a slightly different replacement process and materials compared to the residential angular shape. If you notice a leak in one of these rooftops, it is likely that the damage is already quite significant. Aside from dripping water, other signs include stained ceilings or walls, a stale odour, and/or puddles in inexplicable places. 

Worried about possible problems with your building? Here are five common causes of commercial roof leaks.

An Older Roof

Often, a roof can be overlooked for some time before it begins to show signs of needing replacement. Most commercial rooftops can last for upwards of 15 years before being replaced. However, this is only the case if inspections have been done regularly. Wear and tear due to sun exposure and wet conditions can create discolouration and weak spots on the membrane, easily causing leaks. Certain materials are only capable of lasting so long, and if these materials were cheap or the installation was poorly done in the first place, it can mean big problems for business owners. 

Insufficient Drainage

As with any roof, drainage is essential. Wicking moisture away protects the covering itself, as well as the structure beneath it. Without a properly functioning runoff system, water might begin to pool in small or large puddles. The longer it stays in place, the more it will become a cause for concern. You should ensure your drainage components, such as gutters and downspouts, are free of obstructions and working properly during downpours.

Openings in the Membrane

Vents, HVAC units, pipes, and other systems that are mounted on your roof ensure that your building functions properly from an indoor air quality perspective. However, these can be obstacles when laying down the membrane, which is usually made from synthetic rubber or thermoplastic. Pieces need to be cut just so as to ensure each part of the roof is sufficiently covered. Each piece should then be thoroughly sealed to enhance the protection of your roof. Any areas not enclosed by the membrane will have zero protection from water and moisture, which will cause leaks.

Flashing Around Roof Penetrations

Many flat roofs use pieces of metal that are called flashings around vents and other vertical components. Flashings are used to direct the flow of moisture and prevent water seepage. Since these pieces are usually made from aluminium, they are subject to corrosion and punctures, which jeopardizes their integrity. These areas must be routinely inspected for problems to mitigate the risk of these issues.

Incorrect Seal Application

Regardless of the type of roof you have, seals are vital, acting as the main line of defence when it comes to waterproofing. Seals should only be applied by professionals who are capable of applying the sealant properly. Otherwise, an errant gap or air pocket in the membrane when the adhesive is applied can create a real problem, such as pooling water or prematurely aging the roofing.

Keeping your roof in optimal, working condition benefits all aspects of your business while improving roof longevity. If you neglect this area of your building, you could be paying more for utilities to heat and cool the space. Not only that, but the damage might become a structural problem, requiring contractors to fix it or more frequent maintenance requirements. 

If you need commercial roof repairs or are simply looking for reliable inspectors, Roofmaster can help. With our years of experience, we can recommend effective solutions that keep your roof and its components functioning as they should for years to come. Contact us to learn more about our services.