The Big Costs of Even a Small Roof Leak
Ignore these eight risks of a leaky roof at your own peril
How many times have you spotted some sort of minor issue and decided to look the other way or perhaps just put it on the to-deal-with-later pile? It’s something we all do, even when we know that the problem isn’t going to get any better if left alone. And while many small repairs actually can be dealt with at a future date, sometimes they need to be addressed right away. A leak in a commercial roof is one small repair that can get very expensive if not fixed right away.
Building owners and managers have a lot of responsibilities. In addition to maintaining a property, they must ensure the safety of occupants and things like products, equipment, and machinery. A leak — even if it just appears to be a small one — puts everyone and everything in jeopardy because leaks inevitably get bigger, and this can result in numerous hazards.
Here are the eight biggest risks of letting a roof leak go untreated.
Even if water isn’t dripping onto the floor below, that doesn’t mean it is not causing problems. In fact, the water you can’t see is even more dangerous because it could be seeping into the underlying structure of the roof, walls, and ceilings. The longer wood and drywall are exposed to water, the greater the chance they will start rotting and deteriorating. And if ceiling tiles start falling, everything and everyone underneath them will be in harm’s way.
When water penetrates a roof and accumulates, this often leads to the growth of mold that can very quickly spread throughout a building and even end up in carpets or furniture. In addition to being expensive to remove, mold — even if it’s not the toxic black mold variety — can cause health problems, including coughs, nasal congestion, and upper respiratory infections.
Bugs love moisture, and if they find it in a warm place, that is the icing on the cake for them. If water has been penetrating a roof for a while, it is like putting the welcome mat out for cockroaches, silverfish, earwigs, and more. And if there is decaying wood, that can attract carpenter ants. Like mold, any infestation will cost a pretty penny to get rid of.
The point of insulation is to improve energy efficiency. It is there to retain the heat in cold months and cool air in warm months, which is good for the planet and saves money. But when insulation gets wet, it is not able to do its job properly. This will result in increased energy usage, which means higher utility bills.
Electrical short or fire
Another way a roof leak puts a building at risk is by threatening its electrical system. And while a fuse box or other system controls might be in the basement or on a lower level, pretty much every wall and ceiling within a commercial building contains some sort of wiring. Water can cause a short or even a fire.
If water were to leak into an office building and harm a copy machine, for example, that may cause your tenants to be unhappy until it’s repaired or replaced, but probably wouldn’t be the end of the world. However, what if computer equipment was damaged? Or some machinery that was integral to production? This could cause an entire business to grind to a halt, and guess who’s getting the blame (and maybe even a summons)? The property manager.
Slips or falls
In addition to being liable for inoperable equipment, a property manager or building owner can also get into serious trouble if someone were to get injured due to negligence. Wet floors can easily lead to a slip or fall that causes an injury. And even something minor can result in very high medical bills.
A roof that’s old before its time
Perhaps the worst (or at least the most expensive) thing about a leak is that it can vastly shorten the age of a roof. Brand-new commercial roofs are costly, which is why it makes sense to keep them in great shape for as long as possible. Therefore, leaks need to be repaired immediately. But, because leaks aren’t always obvious, it is important that a roof gets preventative maintenance. With regular inspections from experts, small issues can be spotted and dealt with before they turn into large problems.
Now that we’re in the rainy season, it is crucial to be extra vigilant about your roof and the possibility of a leak. If you’ve noticed any problems or just want to make sure your building will have the protection it needs, get in touch with Peck Brothers. You can call us at 201-791-3235 or just send a message through our online contact form.