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Commercial Roof Water Damage: 7-Point Checklist

Water and moisture can wreak havoc on commercial buildings over time. Years of tough weather and other factors can leave a lasting and costly impression on a building’s envelope. Often, the damage is hard to spot and isn’t seen until significant harm has already taken place.

Every commercial building owner and manager should have a routine inspection plan, including areas most susceptible to water damage.

Our checklist of likely places to inspect for water damage will help building owners and managers maintain their properties and mitigate costly water damage repairs.

1 Commercial Roof Membrane

After installation, many commercial roofing systems are not visually inspected on a regular basis. Often, little problems that are only visible up close should be dealt with immediately so they don’t lead to expensive issues down the line.

The more inspection and maintenance provided on a commercial roofing system, the longer it will last. Typical systems can work well anywhere from 10-30 years depending on the level of maintenance. If you have continued water problems with your membrane, consider whether a full replacement is necessary. A general rule of thumb: conduct a visual inspection of the roof semi-annually. Once in the fall before winter arrives and again in the spring to assure harsh weather didn’t create any problems.

2 Roof Flashing

Roof flashing is a material installed on the roof surface, under the membrane, to help mitigate moisture from entering the building’s structure. Flashing is installed around the perimeter of the roof edge where it meets the wall. Over time, it can deteriorate and require repair or total replacement. When compromised, a roof’s flashing can be a direct link to visible water damage.

3 HVAC Units

Exterior systems such as HVAC units are common locations where water can cause an issue. By design, water and condensation are byproducts of your HVAC unit. Depending on proper installation, drainage and overall unit condition can begin to cause water damage. Regular inspection of both the unit’s function and roof area should be part of your visual inspection.

4 Roof Drains

Many commercial roofing systems are flat and can begin to look like a pond if they’re not draining properly or when drainage systems are clogged. In these situations, standing water can find an in and begin to cause damage, mold and other costly issues. Proper installation and maintenance of roof drainage systems allow standing water to escape before it can become a problem.

5 Roof Penetrations

Any pipes or external systems that may penetrate the roofing membrane are prone to leakage and gaping that gives access to moisture. Proper installation and regular maintenance with sealants can help prevent even minuscule water penetration.

6 Skylights

Skylights are a common area where a roof membrane can be compromised. Like other roof penetrations, less than perfect installation, poor weather and wind can all lead to eventual seal damage, cracking and leakage.

7 Walls

When water gets into a commercial building’s structure, either through the roof or foundation, it can begin to show damage on the walls in the form of peeling paint, mold and visible water spots. To prevent water intrusion in walls, products like Hyload’s through wall flashing are used to redirect trapped water outside of the structure. Through-wall flashing is the best way to ensure water is diverted out of the wall before causing any damage.

Regular and timely inspection is key to preventing water damage and its costly consequences. With continued maintenance, a commercial building can stay free from mold, flooding and leaks. Sometimes a roofing membrane failure can be beyond restoration, and a solution like Hyload’s single ply membrane should be considered to maximize a moisture free environment.

Interested in Hyload’s solutions for keeping the elements out? Or do you have a question regarding your commercial roof system or project? Contact us and let our years of expertise help.

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