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Why Commercial Roofs Fail

May 18th, 2017

Roofs fail for three primary reasons.

  1. Improper materials.

Generally this is the least common reason for failure. Most roofs are installed with proper materials that are specified by an architect, roofing consultant, roofing manufacturer, or qualified roofing contractor.  There are instances where improper materials are the reason for failure. Most often improper materials are installed when an inexperienced building owner “researches” roofing products himself.  It is commonplace to find a building owner contacting “sales motivated representatives” of second or third tier manufacturers who specialize in marketing… and who are limited to the range of products that they offer to sell.  For example there are many coating manufacturers who market “miracles” in a can. Owners are told that this product can be applied over almost any substrate and ultimately fix a leaking roof long term.  Most times the product is overpriced and at best provides a temporary solution to the problem.

  1. Improper installation.

Not all roofing contractors offer the same level of experience, installation quality, or business ethics. For the most part, when the proper materials for the roofing project are specified, the finished quality of the actual roofing installation does range considerably between contractors. There are many variables that affect the quality of the roofing installation.

  • Weather is a daily concern in almost every roofing project…and roofing decisions based on weather forecasts are made daily. These decisions can have a dramatic effect on the finished roof quality. Moisture entrapment created during construction of the roof is a leading cause of premature roof failure.
  • Detailing…how a contractor performs various small, but extremely important “flashing” details… are ultimately critical in making the roof weathertight. Many times this important detailing is often overlooked or not really understood. Many important roof details can be missed or treated with “short cuts” and their mistreatment over the life of the roof creates a premature roof failure.
  • Integration of building components like HVAC units, roof drains, vents, windows, roof slopes, parapet walls, changes in building elevations, stairs or pathways of access, exposures to wind or potential wind damage; each can independently affect or cumulatively combine to affect the performance of the roof and cause premature roof failure.
  1. Improper Owner Maintenance

The environment in which a roof is placed is incredibly dynamic.  The effects of wind, rain, ice and snow, extremes in temperature, etc. all put stresses on the waterproofing capability of every roof almost every day.

Winds can damage not only the roof’s attachment to the building, but wind borne objects like panels blown from HVAC equipment, limbs from trees, stored pallets or equipment on the roof are all potential objects that commonly damage roofs.

Rain continually tests the roofing water tightness.  Factor in tree seeds, autumn leaves, and other organic debris that often end up clogging roof drains or gutters…and the problem is exacerbated. When drains are not free flowing, water floods the roof surface and rises above flashing heights and causes water entry and severe leaking.

Ice and snow build up on roofs adding significant loading of the structure. Movement of this ice and snow on the roof damages roof flashings, pushes equipment off its curbing, and scours the roof surface.

Extremes in temperature occur annually. Brutal heat and frigid cold put extreme stresses on the materials that comprise a roof system.  Less understood… we experience 75-100 freeze-thaw cycles (FTC) annually.  The effects of this freeze-thaw activity is most vividly seen and experienced in the destruction of our paved roads in the manner of “pot holes.”  Roofs too experience similar damage inherent in freeze-thaw cycling.  However, the damage to the roof is almost microscopic in size compared to the visible damage done to pavement.  The resulting damage to a roof created by the (FTC) is manifested in blistering, splitting, and tearing…all of which can allow great amounts of water to enter the roofing system…and the building.

All four of the above “elements” in weather are reasons enough for any building owner to be constantly vigilant as to what is happening on his roof.

Besides the “natural” deterioration that a roof faces due to the elements there are occupant created issues. A myriad of leaking develops on roofs from foot traffic, roof top equipment servicing, window washing, equipment additions, new venting through the roof, additions of safety equipment, sky lighting, and solar installations…none of which is directly related to the intended performance of a roof.

Unfortunately what is “out of sight”…is most often “out of mind.”  Areas of the roof that are weathering or experiencing incremental damage often are ignored and nothing is done to correct the small problems.  It is not until the small problems become large and increasingly inconvenient that anything is done.  Then …all too often…the inspection and repair is done by someone other than a roofing professional trained to survey, detect, and repair “typical” problems that exist on almost every roof to some extent.

In general, lack of attention and maintenance of a roof is very often the precipitous cause of the majority roof failures.  It is an unequivocal fact that a well maintained roof will enable a typical roof to last longer—and on average, the life of a roof can be extended 25% longer through regular maintenance.

 

 

Top Warning Signs of Commercial Roof Damage

May 2nd, 2017

Facility managers and building owners can sometimes struggle to monitor their building’s roof for signs of damage. This is understandable, as in the hectic day-to-day operations of any business, we sometimes take our roof—and its capacity to perform its central functions—for granted. However, once a commercial roof fails, your daily operations could be disrupted. From water pooling on the roof to more serious interior water damage, the risks of neglecting your commercial roof can be extremely costly to your business. The longevity of your roof requires regular roof inspections and necessary preventative maintenance.

This raises the question: What are the top warning signs of commercial roof damage?

To start: Water.

Your roof’s very basic function is to keep water—and other outside elements—from entering your building’s interior. If water or moisture is infiltrating the interior, this is the first obvious sign of roof damage. Pay attention to the following:

  • Exterior or interior mold growth. Mold thrives on moisture—if you see mold on the roof or forming on the ceiling, there is likely water or moisture where there shouldn’t be.
  • Water stains on the ceiling. Damp or yellowed patches on the ceiling are a sign of water seepage and should be immediately assessed by a roofing professional.
  • Pools of water on the roof. Pooling water can cause your roof to sag. Even after a heavy rainstorm, there should never be standing water on a roof.

Another sign of roof damage is rust or cracks. Regularly check the condition of the flashing, the metal strips along the edges of a roof. Any sign of rust buildup or cracks should be closely inspected, as they can be evidence of an underlying problem with the roof.

Many roofing professionals offer preventative maintenance plans to help you ensure your building’s roof is regularly inspected and that any issues are immediately addressed. If you are located in Northeast Ohio, contact Warren Roofing to learn more.

The Most Common Commercial Roof Problems

April 22nd, 2017

Our roofing maintenance team collectively has decades of experience repairing commercial roofs around Greater Cleveland, from moderately sized business buildings to extremely large, complex structures. While every roof is unique in material and age, there are some problems that are common to most commercial roofs over time. The following are some of the most common problems requiring a repair—and if they are caught early, they can usually be repaired before a more expensive issue occurs.

 

  • Roof leaks. Any leaking roof is of course a major problem, as water intruding on a building’s interior can cause significant damage to inventory or impact production. While you may think you can detect a leak only after water damage occurs, the trained eye of a roofing expert can recognize the problem before a water leak is visible—preventing serious damage.
  • Lack of proper maintenance. When a roof isn’t properly maintained, a number of issues can occur. An issue as minor as a tiny hole can lead to a major incident if left untreated. Some common problems resulting from a lack of maintenance include roof leaks, unfilled pitch pockets, and tenting or billowing.
  • Ponding water. Even a 1-inch pond of standing water on your roof poses a threat, as the weight can compromise the roof’s structural integrity. In some cases, this can cause a roof collapse. Ponding water can be addressed through the addition of drains or checking the flashings for signs of leaks.

 

If you suspect a problem with your roof, or it has been some time since the roof was thoroughly inspected by a professional roofer, give the team at Warren Roofing a call to schedule an inspection. Taking preventative action now will protect your roof against more serious repairs down the line.

Schedule a Spring Commercial Roof Inspection

April 10th, 2017

For business owners who own a commercial building, the condition of the roof is critical. If it does not perform its function, you risk upsetting tenants, disrupting business operations, and incurring significant costs for repairs or a premature new roof installation. Instead of waiting for a problem to arise, we recommend taking a proactive approach to your commercial roof maintenance. Something as costly as a roof should be monitored at least twice a year to prevent unnecessary problems or damage. There is a need to see from time to time that all components of a roofing system are performing adequately by conducting a preventative roof walkover.

The spring season in Northeast Ohio is a great time of year to schedule this inspection. Most likely the snow has melted and the winter freeze/thaw cycles have ended, allowing experts an unfiltered view and total access to your roof. A skilled service team, like the team here at a Warren Roofing, is comprised of roofing experts. These individuals are trained to look at the details and analyze any potential problems or risk factors that if left unaddressed could lead to a more serious issue with your roof down the line. For example, often times a roof leak can already be causing damage before you see visible signs of water in your building. Detecting and repairing a leak early can protect your building from more extensive damage, as well as potential health risks due to mold growth.

Many commercial roofs are replaced prematurely simple due to lack of regular, preventative maintenance. In many cases, an expert roofing team could perform the necessary repairs and extend the life of the existing roof, resulting in significant cost savings for the business owner and improving your return on investment.

If you are ready to schedule a comprehensive roof walkover and inspection for your commercial building, contact Warren Roofing. We can make necessary repairs and provide a schedule for preventative maintenance visits to ensure your roof continues to perform optimally until a new roof installation is needed.

Roofing Maintenance Tips for Churches

March 18th, 2017

There are thousands of churches across the country. These beautiful structures vary from brand new facilities to churches built hundreds of years ago with stone or brick. Some of these churches are now on the National Register of Historic Places. It is important to remember, however, that just like any other physical structure, a church cannot stand the test of time without regular preventative maintenance. This is especially critical for the roof of the church. These tips will be key for those facility managers or caretakers responsible for ensuring a church’s roof is well maintained.

Regularly clean the gutters. Gutters perform an essential function for a church—they keep water moving away from the building’s foundation. If gutters become full of debris and leaves, they cannot perform their essential function. Gutters that spill water become a major threat to the integrity of the church, as water will soon begin to seep into the ground around the building. Just like any home or commercial building, a church needs to regularly have the gutters cleaned and inspected for any cracks or holes.

Watch for signs of moisture damage. Moisture is perhaps the most visible sign of roof damage. For example, if you notice vegetation growth, such as moss, on the church’s roof or exterior, this is a sign of unwanted moisture buildup on the roof. Moss thrives on moisture and will act like a sponge, collecting rainwater. This water can then saturate the roof, causing structural damage. Other signs of moisture damage could be seen inside the church, such as dirty streaks on the walls or spots of discoloration on the ceiling.

Call the professionals. Many churches have architectural features incorporated in the roof design such as a steeple or a parapet, which is a low wall along the roof edge. Because of the varying complexities of church roofs—truly no two are the same—they must be serviced by professionals who are knowledgeable of the intricacies and able to handle any needed roof repairs without causing any damage to the structure.

The key with a church, as with any commercial building, is to identify an issue before it becomes a major problem, requiring your church to incur costly repairs or a premature roof replacement. The professionals at Warren Roofing are experienced in church roof repairs and maintenance, and can help you ensure the longevity of your church’s roof. Contact our team to request a quote for services.