Ensuring a quality installation, providing the roof with consistent maintenance, and the early detection of problems through routine inspections can help maximize roof life. As the roof ages, the likelihood of problems increase; however, it is how these problems are addressed that will determine the fate and future of your roof system.
Matchless Roofing listed below a series of commercial roof problems, typical signs (or what to look for), and solutions.
The following statements were partially made by Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence (C.A.R.E. Ltd.):
Roof leaks and moisture:
- Leaks can result when single-ply membrane roofs are installed with poor seams
- Built-up roofs (BUR) might experience leaks due to flashing details that weren’t fastened properly during installation.
Blow-Offs, Tenting, Reduced Wind Uplift Resistance, And Billowing
- Hot bituminous roofs where flashing is poorly attached may experience open seams and laps and ultimately cause blow-offs, reduced puncture resistance, and code issues
- Poor gravel embedment and the use of an inadequate number of fasteners in the base sheet during application of both hot bituminous and torch-applied mod bit roof systems can also have similar consequences.
- Wind uplift resistance can be reduced greatly if seams are not cured adequately on cold-applied mod bit systems.
Poor Installation And Unsatisfactory Workmanship
- A faulty installation dramatically increases the likelihood of problems and reduces a roof system’s life expectancy.
- BUR system installation can be problematic if specific preparations are not taken. Problems with adhesion can result when the area isn’t cleaned, dried, and primed properly prior to installation.
- Torch-applied mod bit system performance can be compromised if crews do not relax the sheets prior to installation, or are installed when ambient conditions such as temperature are not right can result in wrinkles, leaks, fish mouths, contraction of sheets, or blisters.
Lack of maintenance
- There are many reasons not to neglect the roof – including financial and business continuity reasons. Being wise to problems can prevent their escalation.
- Another common problem across all roof types is what I call incidental ponding water. If we move the water off the roof, the roof has a really good chance of performing the way it should.
- UV rays compounded by ponding water can have adverse effects on BUR and asphalt-based mod bit roofs. During installation of hot bituminous systems.
- HVAC units without condensate drain lines or clogged drains could also be responsible for ponding water.
Punctures and the addition of penetrations post-installation
- For all owners, but especially those with single-ply or spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roof systems, damage from foot traffic can be problematic.
- When penetrations are added and deleted from a metal roof, the results can be disastrous.
- The installation of hot bituminous and torch-applied mod bit systems requires strict adherence to safety procedures. Overheating asphalt can result in burns, and fires in the kettle and on the roof.
- During installation, odors from cold-applied mod bit systems can cause discomfort and alleged illness among building occupants. Outside air intakes should be covered in roofing areas.
- Using materials that are not intended for application on specific roof types can result in permanent damage to the roof.
- On a built-up or modified roof, that five-gallon bucket of plastic cement can solve a lot of problems. But if I take that five-gallon bucket of plastic cement up on a single-ply membrane, I may actually damage the membrane itself.
- Single-ply roof types are each unique. When walking on an EPDM roof, one of the first things to look for is evidence of shrinkage.
- This is due to shrinkage of the field membrane or deterioration – surface crazing and cracking of uncured membrane, commonly used at perimeter and penetration flashing.
- Blistering, ridging, splitting, and surface erosion are symptomatic with BUR, and can eventually lead to bigger problems. While blisters are not always worth fixing, one of significant size should be addressed.
- Inadequate attachment of hot bituminous roof systems due to asphalt heated to an improper temperature can cause blistering, along with the slipping of felts, and accelerated aging. Bad interply integrity and dry laps can also result in the appearance of blisters.
- With cold-applied mod bit systems, the entire membrane should be installed in the same application to prevent contamination and poor adhesion between the cap sheet and base ply: ultimately, blisters, delamination, leaks, and voids.
- During the installation of spray polyurethane foam systems, recovering over a wet substrate can result in severe blistering and delamination.