All roofing systems have weaknesses, whether it’s a high-pitch residential roof or a flat commercial roof in makeup. Once moisture begins to seep beneath the protective barrier, you will need to schedule urgent repairs or replace your roofing system. Even if there are no visible signs of leaks right now, you need to learn a thing or two about what causes commercial roof leaks so you can better prepare.
Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks
Although no property owner or manager wants to see a commercial roof leak, you should not overlook the possible water damages these leaks can cause. Here are some different scenarios on how commercial roof leaks can happen and what you can do if you find a leak.
1: Broken Materials
Broken roofing material is the most common cause of commercial roof leaks. A flat roof can be broken or torn off by major storms or high winds. Even if the roofing membrane is installed perfectly, low-slope commercial roofs are often more susceptible to damage than high-pitch roofs. They can crack due to dropped equipment, foot traffic, and debris.
You need to ensure the roof surface is regularly maintained and repaired whenever there are rips or breaks. If you don’t identify the punctures quickly, the penetrating moisture can further damage the insulation beneath the membrane.
2: Broken Flashing
Flashing is a section of metal designed to fit in corners of your roof or around objects set within the roofing system, such as chimneys and skylights. It helps make these areas more watertight and prevent leaks. Other common places where flashing is installed include dormers and roof edges. When flashing is incorrectly installed or is aged or damaged by a storm or high winds, it can start to lift off the roof and create space for moisture to seep in.
3: Clogged Gutters
Ideally, a flat or low-slope commercial roof should be able to drain water effectively with things like gutters, scuppers, and internal drainage pipes. The drainage systems must be kept clog-free to keep your roof from getting too saturated. If your gutters are not cleaned regularly, the water can pool in areas on the roof, allowing it a better chance to slip through cracks. If you notice rainwater is not draining properly from your roof, be sure to assess the drainage for blockage or damage.
4: General Negligence
If the roof is ignored, then there is a higher possibility a roof leak develops without anyone noticing. Routine roofing inspections are the best way to discover cracks or damage on roofs and make prompt repairs before they develop into bigger problems, calling for a total roof replacement. Be sure to schedule periodic roof inspections twice every year and after severe storms.
Hopefully, you now understand the common situations which cause commercial roof leaks. Overall, roof leaks on commercial flat roofs are caused by failed flashing and seals, damaged roofing membrane, poor drainage, penetrations, and pooling water. At StormForce, we offer routine maintenance for commercial roofs throughout Jacksonville, FL, to keep these problems from occurring and prolong the lifespan of your roof. Get in touch with us to set up an appointment or get your commercial roof inspected, repaired, or replaced!