It’s important that commercial buildings used for businesses that serve the public are safe. One of the best ways to protect the value of your building, as well as the safety of those who work in and conduct business in it, is by having the roof inspected regularly.
Seasonal Weather Patterns
Ideally, a roof should be inspected both before and after the most severe weather season. Depending upon the climate, severe weather can mean rain and snow or unrelenting heat and UV radiation. Some climates experience frequent sudden shifts in weather conditions. Whatever the climate, over time, weather takes its toll on a roof.
An inspection before the severe weather season allows you to make any repairs necessary to prevent potentially costly and damaging leaks. Assessing the roof after severe weather season provides valuable information about whether the roof suffered any weather damage during the season.
It’s almost impossible not to notice missing shingles blown off a sloped roof by high winds. Unlike most residential roofs, the majority of commercial roofs are flat. That means that roof damage is far less visible. It also means that water is more likely to pool, which makes preventative maintenance more important.
A thorough inspection requires experience with many different types of roofing materials. Tar and gravel roofs consist of alternating layers of asphalt and tar paper covered with gravel. The thermal cycling of severe weather can cause cracks and split the underlying membrane, which results in leaks. To locate a leak, the layer of pea gravel must first be removed.
Water is one of the most powerful enemies of a roof. That’s why experts recommend a formal moisture survey every five years in addition to bi-annual roof inspections. The three types of moisture survey systems are infrared scans, nuclear isotopic meters, and electrical capacitance and resistance meters. These systems all measure the properties of roof materials that change when water is present.
An infrared scan measures the amount of heat retained or lost through the insulation, which could also be affecting your energy costs. Nuclear isotopic meters send hydrogen ions into the roof system and count the number that bounce back to determine the presence of water. Electrical capacitance and resistance meters measure how much electricity the roof materials are capable of conducting. Wet roofs conduct more electricity than dry ones.
Regular preventive maintenance makes it much more likely that your inspections will result in the good news that no repairs are necessary. Cleaning drains and gutters prevents pooling, and removing accumulated debris helps reveal potential trouble areas before they become problematic. Replacing loose metal flashing and deteriorating caulking helps prevent wrinkling and further deterioration. Preventive maintenance, coupled with regular inspections, can add years to the life of your roof. Most importantly, it ensures the safety of everyone under it.