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Common Commercial Roofing Problems and How to Prevent Them 

Common Commercial Roofing Problems and How to Prevent Them

A commercial roof is a big investment for a business. But over time, weather and other factors can damage it over time that cause long-term problems.

Regular maintenance is key to keeping a commercial roof in good condition. But what are the most common commercial roofing problems, and how can you prevent them?

Punctures and Tears

Commercial roofing in New Orleans are built to withstand heavy foot traffic, but too much stress can damage the membrane. Frequent foot traffic dropped tools, and missteps all contribute to punctures in flat roof membranes, which allow water to cause serious problems.

Falling debris is another common reason for punctures. Overhanging branches or a dislodged piece of equipment can easily puncture a commercial roof, particularly during severe weather conditions.

Holes may also occur if people install items on the top without properly securing them, like communication gadgets or television antennas. Even heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems can pierce the roofing membrane.

The main way to prevent punctures in flat roofs is to limit regular foot traffic to designated walkways and ensure anyone who uses the roof does so with proper safety precautions. If employees or contractors are required to access the top, a padded walkway should be installed to protect the membrane from excessive pressure. In addition, tree branches should be trimmed regularly to reduce the risk of falling debris.

Finally, a preventative maintenance program that includes yearly inspections is crucial. These programs are the best way to catch issues before they become major headaches. A punctured commercial roof is a recipe for trouble, including wet insulation, structural deterioration, mold growth, and fire hazards. By taking these proactive measures, you can extend the lifespan of your commercial roof and avoid expensive repair and replacement costs.

Damaged Flashing

The lifespan of a commercial roof depends on many factors, including how well it was installed, how often it’s used and abused, the building products it’s made from, and its maintenance schedule. It’s important to nip commercial roofing problems in the bud as soon as they appear. If you pay attention to them, they will become bigger and more costly issues.

Commercial roofing can be damaged by natural elements, like rain and strong winds, or it can happen due to poor installation, improper maintenance, and other roofing mistakes. Most commercial roof problems can be prevented with proper care and regular inspections from qualified, experienced roofing professionals.

Flashing is a sheet of metal that protects the seams and joints of a roof. It’s a vital part of any roof but can deteriorate over time. Flashing can show signs of damage, such as rust, bending, cracking, or missing features.

It can also be exposed to dramatic temperature changes, causing it to expand and shrink. This can cause wrinkling in the flashing, revealing areas that should be covered and allowing water to penetrate the building.

Other signs of damaged flashing include a corroded or rusted appearance, missing nails or sealant, or cracked or brittle sections. Another sign is billowing, when large membrane areas detach and flutter with high wind conditions.

Blistering Shingles

Blistering occurs when there is trapped air or moisture beneath or within the different layers of the roof. This creates raised areas that look like bubbles on the roof’s surface and can be dangerous. When it gets hot outside, these blisters will expand and force water or air underneath the shingles, which can result in leaking and damage. These shingle blisters can also weaken the roof’s structure over time, requiring replacement.

This issue can occur on conventional or low-sloped commercial roofing but is more common with membrane systems and built-up roofs. Errors during manufacturing or poor installation can cause voids to form that are then filled with moisture or air. This will lead to blistering in the future as temperatures rise.

Roof blistering can be prevented by proper maintenance and scheduling of regular roof inspections. These inspections will catch many of these issues before they escalate into large problems, saving you a lot of money in the long run.

Another common problem that can lead to blistering is the accumulation of debris on your roof. This can clog the drains and cause ponding on the top. This can lead to severe structural damage to your building and will require a costly roof repair. This is why keeping the roof clean and debris-free is important and ensuring all drains work properly.

Ponding Water

Although it may not be as obvious as punctures, cracks or mold, commercial roofing problems like ponding water can still seriously affect your business. When water pools on a commercial roof, it causes sagging and can lead to leaks. It also makes the top more vulnerable to rot, mold, mildew and algae growth, and pests, such as rodents, flies and mosquitoes.

Generally, a commercial roof should have positive drainage and be designed with an adequate slope. A commercial roof with a sufficient pitch or a good drainage system is susceptible to ponding water, which occurs when the drainage lines become clogged with leaves, trash, dirt and other debris.

As a result, the drain lines slow down, and the water collects on the roof surface, causing it to sag and deteriorate. When ponding water is left unattended, it leads to significant and expensive damage to the roof membrane and building structure. The best way to avoid ponding water is through proper maintenance and regular inspections by a professional.

A skilled roofer can clear any debris and clogs causing the problem. They will also be able to install appropriate gutters, ensuring that water is draining away from the roof and not pooling on it. The proper care of a commercial roof is essential for protecting your investment and preventing costly repairs.

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