When you look at your commercial building, what would you say the most important piece of it is? Is it your front window display or the sign that draws in customers from the street? Or maybe it’s the back office, where all your business gets handled and the behind-the-scenes magic happens?
What would you say if we told you your roof is the most important piece of your commercial building? It protects your building from the elements, and keeping it in good shape can help you avoid costly problems down the road. Read on to discover some of the telltale signs that you may need commercial roof repair.
Interior Water Damage
One of the biggest telltale signs that your commercial roof needs repair is interior water damage. As your roof begins to break down, it starts to allow water into your building. Over time, that water can cause mold growth, break down your interior structures, and wreak all sorts of havoc.
There are several signs that your building may have some interior water damage. You might notice the humidity in your building rises as more water makes its way in. There’s also a good chance you’ll notice water spots showing up on your ceilings or the tops of your walls.
Another telltale sign that you have water in your commercial building is a musty smell. As water finds its way into your walls, it creates prime environments for mold to start growing. Mold and mildew love dark, damp environments, and the insides of your walls are the perfect spot when roof damage allows water in.
If you notice a musty or mildewy smell, it’s a good idea to have your roof inspected immediately and to look for signs of mold. Black mold can be an enormous health hazard, and you don’t want your business getting in any trouble with the health department, especially if you work around food.
Call a roof repair company as soon as possible and look into any mold remediation you might need to have done.
Increased Pest Problems
Depending on what sort of commercial building you have, you might deal with low-grade consistent pest problems. You probably have an exterminator who helps you keep rodent and insect populations under control. But if you’re noticing more pests than normal lately, it may be a sign your roof is leaking.
Mold isn’t the only thing that loves dark, damp places; insects and rodents view the dark crevices of your building as a safe home. But nothing can live without water, and when your roof begins to fail, it gives these critters everything they need to thrive. The damage to your roof can also give pests more places to get into your building.
The signs of roof damage that we’ve discussed so far have all been fairly harmless and easy to fix. Get some mold remediation, schedule a visit from an exterminator, and paint over water spots (after, of course, fixing your roof). But if you notice your ceiling sagging, you need to schedule an inspection and repair immediately and consider closing access to that portion of the building in the meantime.
A sagging ceiling can mean your roof is bowing under the weight of a pool of standing water (more on that later). It can also mean one of your roof joists has broken and isn’t supporting the weight of your building properly anymore. In either case, leaving this unaddressed could cause your ceiling to fall in on top of your products, employees, and customers.
Higher Energy Bills
No one likes having to pay higher-than-normal energy bills, but did you know it could be a sign that your commercial roof is worn out or damaged? As your roof wears out, it becomes less effective at keeping heat out in the summertime and in during the winter. Your HVAC system has to work harder to keep your space at a comfortable temperature.
Of course, it’s normal for energy bills to fluctuate as seasons change and temperatures shift. It’s a good idea to keep a year-to-year log of each month’s energy bill so you can see how they compare. If you notice a sudden spike in these bills, take a look at the roof and see if it’s the culprit.
Membrane Roof Damage
If you notice any of the signs we talked about, it’s a good idea to take a look at your roof to see whether there’s any visible damage. It’s also a good idea to conduct these inspections on a regular basis so you can handle the damage before it causes problems inside. There are several things you should look out for when inspecting a membrane roof.
As your roof begins to leak, moisture can build up underneath membrane layers and cause bubbles. You might also notice blisters or cracks as your roofing material starts to wear down due to exposure. If you see any of these signs, call a licensed roofing company immediately, as this damage can lead to more water in your building, creating a vicious cycle.
If you have a shingle roof, you may be able to conduct your inspection from the ground. If you do have a sloped shingle roof, make sure you use all necessary safety precautions to avoid a fall. The primary thing you want to look for during these inspections is damage to your shingles.
From the ground, look for any shingles that may have fallen out, broken, or come loose. Make sure the asphalt layer looks intact and that your shingles don’t appear bare or cracked. Shingles that are curling up around the edges can also let water in and should be replaced as soon as possible.
Metal Roof Damage
One of the biggest reasons business owners choose metal for their roofs is that it can last for decades if cared for properly. However, this does not mean metal roofs are immune to wear or damage. It’s important to inspect them regularly, using the same precautions you would on any sloped roof.
Of course, tears in the surface of your metal roof should be addressed immediately, as should rust spots. You might notice that some of your fasteners are missing or have come loose as the roof has expanded and contracted. Any bent, warped, or loose sheets of metal should be fixed immediately to keep water out of your building.
Uneven or Soft Spots
As you’re walking around on your membrane roof, you should pay attention to more than just how the roof looks. Pay attention to how it feels under your feet. Spots that feel different could be spots where there’s damage, and you might want to take a closer look at them.
In particular, look for any spots that feel soft under your feet or that feel uneven. A rise in your roof could mean there’s a larger bubble that you need to have fixed. If you feel a dip, especially a large one, avoid standing on it, get off your roof, and get a roofing repair company out to examine it as soon as possible.
While moss growth on old houses may seem charming, on your building’s roof, it’s nothing but bad news. Moss can cover a wide range of plants, from the fuzzy green stuff we think about most often to scaly-looking white growths. The one thing they all have in common is that they grow in water-rich environments.
In general, you’re more likely to notice moss growing in one particular area of your roof. This can indicate that you have a bit of localized damage that’s allowing water to gather and moss to grow. This repair shouldn’t be too extensive, and it certainly shouldn’t mean you have to get a new roof.
Part of the way that your roof keeps water out of your commercial building is by layering pieces of material. By creating watertight seams, roofers ensure that water will flow off your roof through designated downspouts, rather than into your building. So it makes sense that any gaps in seams on your roof can indicate damage and a potential water problem.
When you’re inspecting your roof, keep an eye out for any open seams, especially in membrane materials. You might also have gaps in between your metal sheets or between your shingles. Anywhere you can see through your roof covering is a place where water could be making its way into your building.
While clogged drains aren’t a direct sign of water damage in all cases, they can be the culprit of some roof leaks. When your drains get clogged, they can’t direct water off of your roof in the way they were designed to. This can cause water to build up on your roof and start to break down the protective systems you have in place there.
The best way to treat clogged drains is by never letting them get clogged in the first place. Check on your drains on a regular basis, and remove any leaves, sticks, mud, or debris that may be stopping them up. And if you do notice one of your drains isn’t working properly, check your roof to make sure it hasn’t caused any damage.
There are a few areas of your roof that are at higher risk of developing leaks than others. In particular, the areas around your chimney, in valleys of your roof, and at the edges of walls tend to be susceptible to leaks. Flashing is a thin piece of metal that helps to direct water away from these areas and into approved downspouts.
As time goes on, your flashing can get worn or damaged, and water can start to collect in these areas. When you’re inspecting your roof, pay special attention to the flashing. Any flashing that’s missing, bent, broken, or damaged should be replaced immediately, and you should check the roof around it for damage.
Of course, you won’t be surprised to learn that standing water is never good for your roof. Although this can happen sometimes with flat membrane roofs, you don’t want to let too much water stand on your roof for too long. It can start to break down even the hardiest of roofing materials, and water has a way of worming its way into cracks and crevices when it’s left to stand for a while.
Go up on your roof immediately after a good rain and look for any puddles standing on the roof. Keep an eye on these and make sure they don’t stand for more than a couple of hours. If these puddles stick around for days or get bigger, it can be a sign that your roof isn’t doing its job.
In roofing and in medicine, it’s definitely true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best solution to a roof leak is to make sure one never happens in the first place. As your roof reaches a certain age, it’s more likely that it’s going to break down, leak, or fail entirely.
If you’ve had your commercial roof for more than about 20 or 25 years, there’s probably a good chance that you need to get it repaired or replaced. Of course, this lifespan will also depend on which material you have. The closer you get to that estimated lifespan, however, the more frequently you need to be doing inspections.
Get the Commercial Roof Repair You Need
A roof leak can be devastating for your business, both in terms of operations and finance. Keeping an eye out for signs of roof damage can help you avoid the worst of it before it even sets in. Look for the signs that we’ve discussed, and don’t put off commercial roof repair when these signs start showing up.
If you’d like to get the commercial roof repair you need, check out the rest of our site at Reliance Roofing. We provide high-quality commercial and residential roofing for Inland Empire, LA County, Orange County, and the High Desert. Get a quote from us today and let us help you protect your company’s capital investment.