The blistering heat of last summer followed by ice and extended cold experienced during this winter can create a significant amount of stress on the materials within your commercial roof system. Radical fluctuations in temperature cause expansion and contraction of the roof and building envelope resulting in conditions such as splits, gaps, holes in the membrane and issues with flashings that must be detected and addressed prior to the spring season’s first gully-washer.
“There is a lot of value in walking the roof before the spring rains set in. After that first big rain is when leaks will appear, many that might have been avoided if a basic inspection was done prior,” said Tracey Donels, KPOST Company Service Manager.
Tracey went on to say “Think of it like performing maintenance on your vehicle before a road trip. You don’t wait until you are on the trip to perform the maintenance. You do it in advance of the long drive. The same is true of roof inspections between major seasonal changes, particularly before the April rainy season.”
According to predictions, North Texas is expected to have more rain this season than normal with the rest of Texas continuing drought conditions. Neither bodes well for commercial roofing if appropriate inspections and preventative maintenance are not completed.
April Showers Bring…Angry Tenants?
“When you own or manage a commercial property, the last group you want to be first reporting a leak is your tenant. By that point, the tenant is already in pain, and the property manager is under duress to make emergency repairs which are usually more expensive. It’s far better to be proactive than reactive – to be ahead of the culprit rather than behind it,” said Scott Bredehoeft, KPOST Director of Business Development. “You will want to eliminate as many potential problems as possible before your tenants have to report water in their space. That can be accomplished by a visual inspection of the roof in early spring to look for obvious deficiencies and needed repairs.”
A simple visual inspection will identify obvious leak sources or contributors such as clogged drains, splits or holes in the roof membrane and flashings, and missing or loose tiles or shingles.
“Rather than taking your chances and putting the roof to the test during a heavy rain, an inspection will provide a basic punch list of items that are in need of repair. Performing these repairs in a single maintenance call will save time and money as well as eliminate the headache later on caused by a leak,” said Tracey. “Waiting until you see a leak means not only fixing the roof problem but also repairing any internal damage, making the repair more costly and invasive to the tenant.”
Commercial Roofing Weather Preparedness is Important
To perform a simple inspection is not difficult but does require some knowledge of what to look for as well as the best way to document. The following checklist provides items that should be observed during a visual inspection. It is important to ensure that these items are well-documented and photographs included so that a proper decision can be made as to the priority of the repair.
- Clear drains, scuppers, gutters and downspouts of debris.
- Clear roof of debris.
- All HVAC access panels installed and secured.
- All hoods on vent pipes secured and in place.
- Roof hatch or ladder cage closed and locked.
- Any splits or punctures in the roof membrane or flashings.
- Any open seams or laps in the roof membrane and flashing membrane.
- Cracks in exterior walls.
- Split or open sealants on the building exterior.
- Missing or loose roof shingles or tiles.
- Inspect for obvious damages to HVAC, TV or Data Satellites, gas or electrical conduits (for reporting purposes only).
“Now is the time to be proactive since we have been through a heat cycle and freeze cycle. Whatever impact the weather has had on the roof should be quite obvious, allowing for identification of any suspect issues prior to their exposure by a heavy rain,” said Scott.
As you are preparing for the spring rains, remember to schedule a commercial roofing inspection. Having an experienced roofing professional perform the inspection will provide better insight and uncover challenges that may not necessarily be discovered by someone without direct roofing experience.
“I believe in getting these inspections done now so that expensive repairs can be avoided later,” said Tracey. “This will likely ensure less calls from tenants due to leaks, and more peace of mind to get through the upcoming rainy season.”