If you treat your roof as “out of sight, out of mind,” it’s time to stop deferring routine commercial roof maintenance. When you ignore basic upkeep, you put your commercial roof at serious risk for expensive repairs, structural damage and early failure.
“Most commercial building owners skip having a roof maintenance plan. They put the roof on and think they can forget it. But the biggest problems we see are often a result of neglect,” says Kelly Stitzer, owner of CIG Construction.
Here are five reasons why you need to prioritize roof maintenance:
1) Preserve your warranty – Most membrane manufacturers require that you have a maintenance program in place. Common problems like ponding water, cracked or blistered coatings and flashing defects should be addressed promptly. Without routine inspections in the spring and fall, these issues will go unnoticed, possibly resulting in the loss of your warranty coverage.
2) Uncover hidden issues – It’s difficult to locate membrane problems if they are buried under a layer of grime. “There are just too many things that can deteriorate a membrane before its useful life, such as UV rays, dirt and debris. Even exhaust from rooftop HVAC units and fans can blow out greasy or dusty air. We worked on a roof once that actually had vegetation growing in the corners because so much dirt had accumulated,” Stitzer explains. Have your roof pressure washed at least once a year so you can spot problem areas. Keeping the roof clean will also drastically lower the risk of slips and falls.
3) Catch harm caused by contractors – From HVAC to electrical contractors, numerous trades are given permission to walk all over your roof. Unfortunately, these workers may be careless about causing potential damage to a membrane roof. “You’d be stunned at the things people leave on the roof: screws and nails, metal pieces, tools, cigarette butts and trash. We’ve even seen burned holes from welding work,” says Stitzer.
4) Avoid internal damage – Discolored and stained ceiling tiles are a common sign of water intrusion. Catch those roof leaks before workers get dosed with a cold shower and sensitive equipment is damaged. When water has a pathway into your building, its corrosive effects can also rot wood, rust metal, and compromise drywall. Not only does this weaken the structural integrity of those elements, but it increases the risk for mold.
5) Minimize time between replacements – When the average commercial roof lifespan is over 20 years, it’s easy to put roof maintenance on the back burner. But the minute your roof is installed, it needs to be protected from wear and tear. Without proper preventative roof maintenance, you can cut your roof life by 30-50%. Can you afford two replacements in the next two decades? There are better projects that capital could be earmarked for.
“A comprehensive commercial roof maintenance plan is a necessary investment that will extend your roof life. The annual costs pale in comparison to a total commercial roof replacement,” Stitzer stresses.
CIG Construction offers free inspections. Our specialists will conduct a thorough roof survey and evaluate all supporting documentation to capture the roof’s current condition. They will then help you create a maintenance plan that is tailored to your roof.