Spring is here and many of you may already be thinking about spring cleaning and preparing your commercial roof for the warmer weather. Now is the time to proactively conduct a thorough roof inspection to identify potential problems and take the corrective action before they become costly.
A preventative maintenance inspection consists of a thorough visual inspection and documentation of the roof system. Let’s take a closer look at how to inspect some of the key areas of concern.
Roof Membranes and Flashings:
Ensure all flashing membranes are in good condition. Check for signs of stress, cracking, splitting, wrinkles, blisters, etc. Remove any foreign matter such as balls, shoes, tools, branches, oils, chemicals, liquid, or other objects. Then, clean the roof membrane and closely inspect for signs of physical damage.
Gutters, Drains and Scuppers:
Because these are the main avenues that rainwater travels off your roof surface and is directed away from the building, it is crucial that these areas are inspected and maintained. Clean and remove any debris clogging or obstructing the flow of water. Look for any sights of cracking or splitting of the membrane around your drains and scupper. If anything is noted, they must be repaired immediately by a qualified roofing contractor.
Inspect penetrations for signs of wear. Ensure that the base of the penetration remains completely sealed and attached to the roof membrane.
- Pitch Pans:
Check all pitch pans for shrinkage. As sealants shrink over time, water may begin to sit on the top of the pitch pan causing rust, leaks, and deterioration.
- Metal Flashings:
Inspect all metal flashings, counter flashings, copings, seams, joints, gravel stops, edge metal, and other areas to ensure they are secure and free of rust or deterioration. Any unsatisfactory conditions should be repaired as soon as possible.
- Rooftop Equipment and Accessories:
Inspect all rooftop equipment for deterioration and areas that are prone to water penetration. This includes HVAC equipment, duct work, curbs, skylights, etc.
- Expansion Joints:
Check all expansion joints for deterioration, wear, and defects. Check the metal components to ensure they are fully secured and free of rust. Make sure the expansion joint is still flexible and resilient. Look for any signs of cracking or splitting while manually flexing the joint.
A good rule of thumb is to conduct a roof inspection twice a year—once in the spring and again in the fall before the first snow. If your roof is subject to unusual conditions, more frequent inspections should be conducted.
It’s important to identify the problems areas of your commercial roof and take the necessary steps to ensure it can last throughout the season. Properly maintaining your roof in early spring will help prevent the stress of costly emergency repairs.