Extend the Life of your Commercial Roof: 4 Need-to-Know Tips for Building Owners and Property Managers
It is no secret that replacing a commercial roof is expensive, and time consuming, so why doesn’t everyone take extra care when caring for the roof to extend it’s life? A common approach to building ownership is “out of sight, out of mind”, which, some people may get lucky and that plan pans out, but for others, they could only be so lucky.
There are many things that can happen to / go wrong with a commercial roof and there are equally as many ways to prevent said issues. In the spirit of helping our fellow building owners and managers, we have compiled a list of 4 need-to-know tips on extending the life of your commercial roof.
Inspect your commercial roof, frequently
You can never visually inspect your commercial roof enough. There are not many different components to the roof but there is likely a lot of it and there are certainly drains and other outlets that need to stay clear. Getting up on the roof to walk around may be a hassle, but is it more of a hassle then shelling out the money to replace it in 10 years rather than having it last for 15, 20, or even 30 years.
What should you be looking for? Blocked drains and pooling water would be a good place to start. After a storm, get up on the roof and make sure no damage has been done by a branch or a piece of material that came loose. Clear debris away from any drainage to prevent water from sitting too long. The number one cause of roof leaks is weight on one part of a roof that has been there too long. This is the result of someone not being vigilant and checking the roof.
Look for spots where there is missing material. It can easily happen to anyone, a big wind storm comes through and takes a piece of aluminum off the roof or blows a drain cover away. Maybe you had contractors shoveling and they broke a piece off the side of the roof. Many people will tell you to get on the roof a minimum of twice a year as the possibilities are endless for damage and roof damage, we suggest you check once a month so each time you go up it is not a cumbersome task.
Repair roof damage immediately
If you see an issue, don’t wait to have it fixed. A small issue today could become a huge issue tomorrow and never judge a book by it’s cover. A commercial roof will experience it’s typical wear and tear, which is fine and expected, but if you do not care for that wear and tear, it becomes more of a catastrophe. We recommend having a roof maintenance plan in place. Now, we are not talking about having a maintenance contract, though, that too is recommended. We are talking about taking the time to put a process in place for when you encounter various issues with your commercial roof.
Have a leak? Who are you going to call? How quickly do you expect them to respond to and repair your issue? What will you do if it will take them too long to repair your issue? What tools do you have on hand to fix the problem temporarily? These are all questions you need to have answered in your plan. Without the roof over the heads of the tenants in a building, the structure would be useless and unprofitable.
Having a roofing company that specializes in commercial roofing is important as well, especially having one with a local presence in the area. Having a commercial roofer you trust and can rely on to do the work you need, when you need it done will save you headaches and dollars in the long run. Finding a roofer that specializes in commercial in your area could be a challenge, as most residential roofing companies claim to do it all, but knowing who you are working with is priority number one.
You can’t fix everything yourself
A common practice for many property managers is to send a couple of guys on the roof with some pvc cement and tell them to fix an issue. This “we can do it in-house” mentality is sure to shorten the life of your roof and leave you scratching your head when you have to explain why a roof that should have lasted 20 years needs replacing in 15.
To give an example, let’s say you needed to patch a small leak on your roof and you needed to heat up the patch on the roof to apply it. Do you know what the right temperature is? Do you know what effect the high heat will have on the roof membrane? Fixing things yourself may seem cost effective at the time, but the big picture is being overlooked.
Maintenance contracts are your friend
By now you are probably overwhelmed with the thought of getting on the roof once a month, building a plan and a process to follow in case of an issue… But did you know that a commercial roofing company can help to ease your pain? Roofing companies will need to assess the situation with your roof prior to generating any form of agreement with you and they will be able to point on the current issues and imperfections you have in your roof.
When vetting your commercial roofing company, ask so key questions:
- Do you handle commercial, residential or both types of roof projects?
- How long have you been in business?
- How many team members do you have handling service?
- Can you provide references of clients you have been working with for over 2 years?
- How frequently do you handle roof replacements?
- Do you have experience working with my type of roof?
Be smart about the health of your roof and follow these steps to extend the life of your commercial roof. For more information, or to discuss your roofing needs, please send us an email at email@example.com.