It’s easy to take a commercial roof for granted. Most of the time it just sits there on top of your building, with no moving parts or fuel demands. But while it may not be active, it’s very important, helping to protect your employees and physical property from the unpredictability of weather. In that sense, it’s an investment in your business, and like any investment requires some attention now and then.

What’s my best plan of action?

The single most important thing you can do to keep your roof in peak condition (even if it’s flat) is incorporate regular inspections and maintenance into your annual workflow. Winter is the season that’s toughest on roofs, but for obvious reasons it’s not always the ideal time for careful examination. Professionals recommend inspections during fall and spring, to prepare for and assess the effects of winter weather. Cleaning accumulated debris off the roof before each inspection is a good way to make sure that task is also done consistently.

Under certain conditions, additional unscheduled inspections may be necessary. The two most common of these exceptions are installation of equipment, such as a condenser unit for an HVAC system, on the roof, and an incidence of extreme weather, like heavy snow, rain, or hail, or even high winds.

Who can inspect a commercial roof?

Qualified professionals who are familiar with multiple types of roofing systems include architects, engineers, roofing contractors, and roofing consultants.

What’s involved in an inspection?

To achieve the best outcomes, collaborate with the inspector you hire on a checklist to be used at each visit. The specifics will vary but most lists will encompass the following items.

– The exterior and interior roof deck

– The exterior and interior walls that attach to the roof

– The surface and any membrane that has been applied to it

– The fascia and the edges of the roof

– Wall flashing, base flashing, counterflashing, and copings 

– Any site where the roof is penetrated, including entry points for equipment housing and base flashing

– The covers over roof expansion joints

– The pitch pans 

Isn’t this going to be expensive?

A thorough inspection program requires time and money. However, given the major disruptions and destruction that even a minor roof leak can cause, the benefits of this form of “insurance” are well worth its price.

Weather damage to roofing materials, substrate, and insulation can extend to furniture, equipment, carpets, and ceiling tiles. You or your tenants may have inventory to protect. Businesses that don’t, like self-storage and co-working facilities, can still lose revenue. Mildew and mold can form in hard-to-access places, causing unpleasant smells and, in extreme cases, illnesses. And most of us don’t store backup copies of paper or digital business records in other locations.

What else can I do to lengthen the working life of my roof?

Elastomeric roof coatings like those offered by Energy Seal are a cost-effective way to prevent new leaks from forming, reduce your energy costs, and lengthen the useful life of your roof even if it’s already been in place for a while. Contact us for more information about the best ways to protect this important investment.