Sometimes it feels like there’s an endless to-do list when maintaining a building or a house. Some of the upkeep can be put off until later. But roof maintenance is one of the tasks that needs to be top priority — especially with our Canadian climate.
Heavy snowfalls, spring thaws and rain, scorching summer heat and leaf-clogged eaves troughs in autumn can wreak havoc on any roof if you’re not paying attention.
So, what’s the big deal?
Your roof may be out of sight but keep it top of mind when thinking about risk management. What may not seem like a big deal can rapidly escalate into a major headache and cause significant business disruption, as well as health issues for your staff and customers.
Don’t wait until you see water dripping inside your facility. You can avoid costly repair bills by taking a pro-active approach toward your building’s exterior surfaces.
What to look for
First off, let’s talk about puddles – fun for kids to splash in, but a warning sign on a flat commercial rooftop. An adequate drainage system to eliminate puddles after a storm or winter thaw is crucial. While some puddling may occur naturally, any pooling that persists for more than a few days is a potential problem.
Each square foot of puddling adds about 5 lbs. of weight per square inch. Also watch for damaged flashing that seals the roof where angles meet and along the seams.
On pitched roofs, the water won’t puddle but extreme weather events can damage the shingles, eaves troughs and flashing which will compromise your building’s “exterior envelope”.
Health issues from mold and mildew
Mold and mildew caused by water damage from roof leaks can create serious health issues for your staff and customers. Many people are sensitive to mold, which can cause throat irritation, stuffiness, difficulty breathing, coughing, wheezing and eye irritation. Those with asthma or compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable to mold exposure.
Once mold has contaminated a facility, extreme care must be taken to clean it and prevent further growth.
Roof maintenance – check regularly and act quickly
As part of your building’s maintenance routine, be sure to have a roof maintenance professional inspect the roof at least twice a year, particularly in the spring and fall.
In the spring, identify any damage that may have occurred during the winter from snow and ice. Be sure to have the repairs done immediately before heavy spring rains cause more deterioration.
Inspect the roof in the fall to make sure it’s in good condition to handle the harsh winter months.
- keep gutters and drains clear of debris
- trim back overhanging branches
- keep the roof clear of snow (if possible)
- schedule regular roof inspections, especially after severe weather events
- inspect the perimeter, especially the flashing
- check for loose shingles – or on a flat roof, cracks in the membrane
- observe the seals around pipes and other roof openings
- repair any roof damage as soon as possible
Making small repairs to prevent roof leaks is one of the best ways to extend the life of your roof and protect your facility’s interior. A financial investment now will save a lot of money later on and will ensure that the building — and the people inside it — stay safe and sound.
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