Most people associate the word “maintenance” with mechanical or motorized equipment, like your car or your home’s HVAC system. But many things that don’t fit that description are also subject to wear and tear, especially if they’re consistently exposed to the elements. For example, the working life of a commercial or industrial building’s roof can be significantly extended with a maintenance program created and executed by cool roof professionals.
A comprehensive liquid roof coating system maintenance program should include these four elements.
A documented history, including contracts, invoices, photographs of original construction and repairs, and any other relevant paperwork.
A regular schedule of inspections (conducted at least semi-annually) with documentation recording the results of the acrylic or silicone roof coating system.
The inspectors’ recommendations for addressing any problems they identified.
Records of any repairs or maintenance conducted, suggested by inspectors or not.
Individuals who are suitable to perform inspections include architects, engineers, roof consultant, or roofing contractors, and roofing consultants. The most important qualification is understanding the design and components of the elastomeric coating roof system. The best times to perform inspections are fall, to prepare for potentially harsh winter weather conditions, and spring, to assess the effects of those conditions.
These inspections should be guided by a checklist, with fields for recording problems and recommended actions. Although your list should be customized to the features of your specific liquid roofing application, most lists will include the following items.
– The exterior and interior roof deck
– Exterior and interior walls
– General appearance, including the condition of the surface and any membrane
– Fascia and roof edge conditions
– Flashing conditions, including wall flashing, base flashing, counterflashing, and copings
– Roof penetration sites, including equipment housing and base flashing
– Roof expansion joint covers
– Pitch pans
Unscheduled inspections should be performed in two other circumstances. The first is work done by non-roofers that affects the roof. A common example is the installation of equipment on the roof, such as an air conditioning system’s condenser unit. (It’s best to inform your roofing professional before this type of work is done, to be sure it won’t void your warranty.) The second is following any weather event severe enough to potentially cause damage, such as high winds, heavy rain, or hail. winds or heavy rain.
If roof leaks occur between inspections, it’s important to gather as much information as possible about the conditions at the time of the damage: the temperature, whether the rain was relatively heavy or light, the direction of the wind, and whether water continued to flow into the building after the rain stopped. This information is an important part of correctly diagnosing problems with the roof and identifying options for remediation.
These reports, along with the completed checklists and photographs of problem areas and completed repairs, should be incorporated into the documentary history of the roof. A list of all personnel with access to the roof should be maintained and regularly updated.
Establishing and maintaining an inspection and maintenance regimen for your roof will require time and energy, not to mention spending. However, given the importance of a safe and stable roof to your business, it’s clear that the benefits of identifying and fixing small problems before they can become big ones outweigh the costs.