Preventative Maintenance

Water and other weather elements will be effectively repelled by a well-designed roof, but problems can arise over time. These three factors can be traced back to the design, the materials, and the workmanship that created the problem. 

Design

Most leaks occur on relatively new roofs (less than five years old) due to errors in the overall design of the system. A common practice for new construction and reconstruction projects is to use boilerplate specifications and designs that are not tailored to the facility’s specific requirements. Such standards often result in roof systems that underperform. Generally, generic designs do not consider details that need to be customized for the specific system, such as insulation tapering specifications, structural deck specifications, insulation fastening pattern specifications, seam detailing, flashing and termination specifications, and backup waterproofing requirements. It is crucial that these important details are designed properly so that leaks and system failures can be prevented & roofing preventive maintenance.

Materials 

A roof system’s failure to function is often due to material failure. These failures can be caused by incompatible components, substandard supplies, or faulty products. It is common for sealants to fail due to their substandard quality, regardless of the type of material used. 

Low-grade sealants can take as little as three to five years to crack and fail at critical roof details, like penetrations and terminations, allowing water to get into a building. It is always recommended to use materials that have been properly rated and tested in order to ensure a building has a long lifespan. A facility manager’s risk of material failure increases when new, untested products are used. Failures of new products (like phenolic foam insulation and first-generation PVC and TPO) make it clear that roofing materials should only be made from proven materials. If you plan to use your facility as the manufacturer’s “test dummy,” make sure the product has been tested in the marketplace for at least 10 years before using it in your facility. 

Workmanship

The best materials and a well-crafted design can still result in a failed project. Poor construction by the contractor can lead to serious and costly problems in the future if shortcuts, oversights, omissions, and poor workmanship are not avoided. 

It is not uncommon to see wet insulation installed as a major workmanship flaw. As a result, there will be major leaks on the entire system, and it will deteriorate much faster. Various components, such as asphalt, adhesives, and roof decks, when wet insulation is present, will prematurely break down. There is no roof system that is impervious to trapped moisture, whether it be a single-ply or a built-up one. The insulation should never be installed in a wet state, whether wet during construction or when it arrives on-site at Roofing Preventive Maintenance. 

8 Tips for Roofing Preventive Maintenance Inspections

1. Remove all dirt and debris 

There should be no loose gravel, dirt, leaves, or twigs on the lawn. Those should be removed. Leaving these materials on the roof can cause them to retain water. Standing water and algae can develop when the roof is constantly moist. It can also cause roof damage, algae growth, and mold growth to occur.

2. Clear drains

 Keeping the drains clear is crucial to preventing leaks and structural damage caused by ponding.

3. Inspect the roof surface

 Observe the roof system from the ground. When inspecting a single-layer roof, look for cracks, holes, or back-out of fasteners. Be alert for areas where gravel is missing or felt is exposed on built-up roofs. Ensure the roof seams and transitions are sealed and free of cracks or holes. A professional examination may be warranted if this inspection raises questions about the roof membrane’s integrity.

4. Inspect roof penetrations

There are several types of roof penetrations, among them pipes, drains, etc. There is a high risk of leaks occurring at roof penetrations. A thorough inspection should be made of HVAC units, conduits, vents, gas lines, rain collars, and pipe boots before turning on the HVAC system. An issue with roof penetration should be evaluated and repaired by a professional if there is leakage or damage to the penetration.

5. Evaluate rooftop perimeter

 Take a walk around the roof perimeter to check for soft spots, mold, or algae and inspect the edge details. If there are any punctures or damage to the flashing at the walls and curbs, inspect them.

6. Inspect the sealant 

Make sure that the caulking and sealant are in good condition by looking out for cracks, openings, deterioration, and crazing. Perimeter flashings and penetrations are often the cause of sealant failures. There is often a need to repair sealant, and it needs to be inspected regularly.

7. Prevent leaks

During a roof inspection, areas of deterioration might be revealed that need to be repaired. Saving thousands of dollars down the road can be achieved by repairing these small defects before they become major complications. It is best to have a professional repair the damage & roofing preventive maintenance if it is beyond the facility staff’s skill set or if you are not certain how to do it.

8. Perform additional investigations 

Depending on the extent of deterioration, destructive testing might be appropriate, which requires making an opening for closer inspection or non-destructive testing, such as infrared scanning.