Common (and Preventable!) Issues with Commercial Roofing

Skywalker Roofing Company
Common (and Preventable!) Issues with Commercial Roofing
September 11
By Luke Wilson | Commercial Roofing

Residential Roofs, Commercial Roofs, and Why Your Roof Matters

Most of the time, your commercial roof should do its job of protecting your business, people, and property without much fanfare. You probably don’t give your roof much thought on a daily basis. But whenever there’s a problem with your commercial roof, it can certainly get your attention in a hurry! And while an issue can arise with any roof over time, most of these issues are largely preventable if you’ll just be intentional about taking the right precautions.

It should also be noted that commercial roofs are generally somewhat different from residential roofs. The differences mainly revolve around scale, scope, and slope. Residential roofs cover a smaller area and tend to have a steeper pitch, while commercial roofs usually cover much more space and are designed as low-slope or flat roofs. Because of these differences in design and application, commercial roofs are covered with their own set of specific roofing material options, which can be somewhat different from what you’d find on a residential roof. The lower pitch of the roof also means that commercial roofs carry a greater potential for leak development over time.

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Common Issues with Commercial Roofs, and Proactive Ways to Address or Prevent Them

So, what are the usual suspects when it comes to causes for problems with a commercial roof? Several factors can influence the longevity of a commercial roof, including things like the quality of the roofing material products, the quality of the original roof installation service, roof use, abuse, weather, and maintenance. Time takes its toll on all roofs, but most problems that crop up aren’t a direct result of issues with the roofing material itself – they have to do with improper installation or lack of regular maintenance and service.

Let’s take a look at some common commercial roof issues, and how to fix them or minimize them.

Problem: Roof leaks To be sure, if your roof is actually leaking, then you certainly have a problem!
Solution: If you’ll follow a regular cadence of preventative maintenance, you can often reduce or eliminate any major problems connected with water intrusion into your building.

Problem: Tenting, billowing or blow-offs This is a potential issue for single-ply roofs in particular, with the most common cause being improper adherence to the roof substrate.
Solution: The proactive solution is to make sure your roofing contractor follows proper procedures for installation in the first place, including the taking into account of all proper local building codes and specifications.

Problem: Poor installation/workmanship This is really the leading cause of most roof problems, and can significantly reduce the lifespan of your commercial roof.
Solution: Ask your contractor for a checklist of installation procedures they follow for your specific roof system. Also ask about moisture surveys, and make sure that roofs with insulation are inspected before being overlayed. Ensure that your contractor gives you a written inspection report that includes digital photos.

Problem: Lack of maintenance Apart from improper installation, this is the other major source of most roof problems. Without a routine inspection, your roof can easily develop small issues which can then turn into big-ticket items and big-time headaches for you!
Solution: In order to maximize the service life of your commercial roof, you should begin a proactive maintenance program within the first year after installation. The cost of regular maintenance is always cheaper than footing the bill for major repairs that were completely avoidable!

Problem: Ponding water The official definition of ponding water is water that stands on a roof for more than 48 hours, but water that ponds on your roof for any length of time can lead to damage. The additional weight of ponded water can pose structural integrity threats to your roof and building, as well.
Solution: In order to prevent or address ponding, you may need to look into adding roof drains or using some tapered insulation. Be sure to check the flashing as well, as this can be common source of leaks.

Problem: Punctures and penetrations If you have a single-ply roof, then basic foot traffic can be all it takes to create a roof puncture and subsequent leak.
Solution: Limit the amount of foot traffic on your roof, and be sure to conduct regular roof inspections.

Problem: Roof safety issues Slips, trips, and falls can be common on a roof, and fires or strange odors can also be common safety concerns.
Solution: Make sure that anybody who navigates your roof is wearing proper PPE. Also be sure to keep a copy of the MSDS information for all products and materials that have been installed on your roof.

Problem: Faulty repairs Just because an issue has been “fixed” on your roof does not necessarily mean that the problem was solved the right way! Using the wrong repair materials, or conducting repairs in an improper manner can result in permanent roof damage.
Solution: Start by making sure that your roofing contractor is licensed, manufacturer-certified, and bonded to handle the specific repairs your roof needs.

Problem: Shrinkage Flat or low-slope roofing materials can sometimes be prone to shrinkage over time, especially if it’s a single-ply roof. Two of the most telling issues seen are flashings that have pulled away, or the cracking of uncured membrane. Shrinkage is an issue that can easily lead to commercial roof leaks.
Solution: Make sure that visual roof inspections are being conducted regularly. How often is “regularly”? At least annually, but many experts recommend a minimum of two inspections per year.

Problem: Blistering, splitting, ridging, & general surface erosion These are issues commonly seen in BUR roof systems, but they can also occur in some single-ply systems as well.
Solution: Again, it’s not necessarily about the materials used as much as it is about proper installation in the first place. Be sure to do your homework and select a certified, licensed roofer you can trust.

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Why Skywalker Roofing is the Right Choice for Commercial Roofing in NC & VA

Skywalker Roofing is the name you can trust for commercial roofing in NC & VA. We provide exceptional commercial roof installation and replacement workmanship, plus we also offer full commercial roof repair services. We’d be happy to come out and do a thorough initial inspection and assessment of your commercial roof at no cost, and then we’ll sit down to help you consider all your options.

Skywalker Roofing is your BEST commercial roofing solution in the NC Triad, NC Triangle, Charlotte Metro/Lake Norman region, and Roanoke, VA areas – but you don’t have to take our word for it! Check out what over 750 satisfied customers have to say about us on Guild Quality, which is one of the most valued & respected roofing and building improvement review forums you can find anywhere! And after you’ve done your homework, you can reach out to us, or simply give us a call at +1 (336) 627-5596. Experience the Skywalker Roofing difference for yourself!

Luke Wilson

Luke Wilson

Owner - Skywalker Roofing

Luke Wilson started working on roofs with his dad when he was a teenager, and eventually launched Skywalker Roofing in 2003. Skywalker operates in 5 locations across NC & VA, and now includes windows, siding, and other exterior services. Luke also hosts the popular Roofing Mythbusters series on YouTube.

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