How Smart Facility Managers Deal With Commercial Roof Leaks
For commercial roofing systems, a leak isn’t something to ignore or cheaply patch. Depending on the operations in the building, a single leak can cause a lot of damage, sometimes in unexpected ways. For those who manage or maintain a commercial facility, there are numerous reasons why immediate action is a necessity.
Roof Leaks Damage Commercial Properties
Consequential damages are expenses and damage that can occur indirectly because of a leak. Commercial properties must keep a tight rein on expenses, and consequential damage can become a very expensive problem.
Roof leaks aren’t just a danger to the roof itself, as the water from the leak can lead to other types of damage as well. For example, roof leaks can lead to:
- Structural damage to the facility
- Damage to equipment
- Damage to inventory
- Damage to floors
- Damage to furniture
The leak can also damage the building’s insulation, which will lower its effectiveness. In turn, utility costs can rise.
A leak can increase the likelihood of slip and fall accidents, with associated lawsuits or workers’ compensation claims. You also face the possibility that the leak can introduce mold, mildew, insects, and other problems. All these things can become a disastrous nightmare for a commercial property.Mitigating Consequential Damage From Commercial Roof Leaks
When a property or facility manager spots a leak, they should act immediately to mitigate potential consequential damage. Some of those things can include:
- Moving equipment out of the way
- Covering things with a tarp
- Cleaning up any signs of moisture they find
- Keeping potential slip and fall areas dry or cordoned off
- Mark locations of leaks
- Look for further signs of leak damage
If the roof still has a warranty or guarantee of service from the original installer, it can sometimes help to take pictures of the leaks and any damage found possibly caused by the leak. This is something worth doing for insurance considerations as well.
Roofing Leaks Create an Opportunity to Assess a Commercial Roof
Outside of mitigating consequential damage, the most important thing a property or facility manager can do is call in a professional. Dealing with a leak or a suspected leak immediately can save a business a lot of money. The roofing service can apply repairs, but just as importantly, the service can assess the roofing system.
A roofing specialist can fix the leak but that leak may mean other, hidden issues. A roofing inspection or assessment can help determine the nature of those issues, and what the facility personnel can do about them.Understanding Common Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks
A commercial roof can start leaking for any of several reasons. Of course, a lack of repairs and maintenance can contribute greatly to a leak, but so can many other things.
- Damaged metal flashings can create a path for water to enter the facilities
- Clogged gutters and drains can create structural damage and ponding water
- Poorly sealed piping, vents, or equipment on the roof will allow water to seep in
- Water ponding into a pool present longer than 72 hours after a rain event on the roof can cause saturation and leaks
- Plant growth, wildlife, and accumulation of debris on the roof can eventually lead to leaks
Commercial roofs consist of many components, and all those components need to remain in good condition for the roof to do its job. Water infiltration can go to work on any part of the roofing system and create damage long before any leaking starts.
If the roof has minor issues, finding them sooner than later will help to keep maintenance and repair costs to a minimum. These steps will also help to increase the longevity of the roof. Finding the source of a leak will often help a roofing contractor to figure out the extent of the damage.
In all these ways, and more, calling in a leak immediately creates opportunities for figuring out all the potential issues of a commercial roof. If instead, the facility manager chooses to ignore a leak or assume it’s a singular issue, they run the risk of letting a larger, more expensive problem develop.
For example, repairs and even restoration costs a lot less than a complete tear-off and roof replacement. In addition, the process of replacing the roof due to an accumulation of avoidable damage can also halt business for a commercial property.
Repairs and assessments may also come with suggestions to make a commercial roof more energy-efficient, and less prone to future damage. Alternatively, the roof may have gone beyond the point where repairs or restoration can help. In this case, replacing the roof will represent the most cost-effective option.
Smart property and facility managers do not ignore a single leak or even the rumor of a leak. The damage to the commercial property from a leak can lead to damage to the business in general. If you find a roof leak at a commercial property you’re in charge of, contact Berwald Roofing & Sheet Material immediately.