It may not seem like a big deal at first, but all it takes is one bad day to have the roof cave-in and possibly injure a customer or destroy product. What are the causes of most commercial roof leaks and what are the signs that you need to look for?
We created this guide to help you understand the importance of roof maintenance and getting leaks fixed fast.
Time Takes Its Toll on Commercial Roofs
The biggest issue with most roofs is the ravages of weather and time. Every roof needs replaced at some point. If it’s been a decade or more since the roof was replaced or checked, then it’s time to look and likely get it replaced.
You may not notice a leak and there may not be one, yet. Have a professional come and inspect your roof to make sure there are no structural problems that may lead to a leak in the near future. They might suggest a complete roof replacement or fixing a certain area.
Signs of a Commercial Roof Leak
A leaky roof can be dangerous to your customers and products in your store. One of the first signs of a leaky roof is discoloration in the ceiling. When there is a roof leak, the water travels from the roof, through the beams in the ceiling, and eventually finds a spot to drip onto your ceiling tiles.
If you look at your ceiling and see an area of yellow stain or discoloration in your roof, then your roof is leaking. Since the route to your ceiling could be long, the leak in the roof may not be near the discolored area of the ceiling.
Over time, the ceiling area sags because of the weight of the water and will eventually fall.
Sitting water is the perfect breeding ground for mold. You may smell the damp and musty odor of the mold before seeing it. If you or employees notice an odd smell or see black or green mold on the walls or ceiling, then you’ve got a roof leak.
Mold is both a aesthetic and health hazard. Customers seeing or smelling mold in your store makes you look bad. They’ll likely not want to purchase anything because they fear it won’t be of good quality.
Mold can cause people with breathing problems such as asthma or COPD to have adverse reactions and some molds can be deadly. Letting mold grow because of a leaky roof could lead to sick customers and employees and liability for lawsuits.
The most obvious sign of a roof leak is dripping water or puddles on your floor. If the leak progressed to the point where it is visibly dripping and pooling, then it is far along and needs to be fixed quickly.
What Causes Commercial Roof Leaks?
The most common problem associated with roof leaks is poor drainage. The roof is designed to funnel water from the roof to your gutters. If the gutters are clogged or there is poor drainage on the roof itself, then it could lead to areas of pooling water.
Over time, the pooling weakens the roof structure and seeps into the upper area of your ceiling.
Commercial roofs have many areas of potential penetration such as air conditioning units, pipes, ducts, and more that if not sealed properly can let in water. Water finds the small holes in the seals and enters your roof. It only gets worse over time.
If your roof has a chimney, skylight, or other areas with roof flashing, then it could be the cause of the leak. Commercial roofing contractors place flashing around these areas to stave off potential leaks, but don’t always install them properly or the flashing becomes damaged over time.
Fixing Your Leaking Roof
Fixing a roof leak is complicated. The professional roofer first needs to find the the leak and determine how bad it is. If the roof is relatively new and the damage isn’t that bad, then only the area impacted by the roof needs to be replaced.
If the roof is older and there are signs of wear and tear in other areas, it might be best to have the entire roof replaced. Fixing the leak is a quick fix, but other problems will pop up in the future.
Clean gutters and downspouts regularly to prevent debris and roofing materials from collecting in them, causing a clog. If there is pooling on your roof, then the roofer improves the drainage to keep that from happening.
The roofer replaces old flashing and seals the areas around air conditioning units, etc. to seal any leaks and prevent new ones from forming. If there is mold, then you’ll need to not only fix the leak but also provide remediation.
Fixing the leak should keep the mold from coming back, but don’t do the remediation yourself. Mold is tenacious, so use a professional to keep it at bay.
The worst-case scenario is the roof leak caused severe damage to the roof, the wood under the roof, and your ceilings. At this point, the area impacted may be near collapse. The professional roofer must replace all of it at a considerable cost to you.
Therefore, it is important to catch the leak early and prevent a costly fix.
Choose the Right Commercial Roofing Contractor
A professional roofer is insured and certified and has references you can check. They come to your business for an inspection and provide you a quote for services. Do proper research and choose a company with a good reputation to fix your commercial roof leak.