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5 Common Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks

Owning and operating a business comes with several risks and concerns. Not only are business owners and managers responsible for the day-to-day operations and future path of the business, but they also must worry about employee retention, staffing levels, and the physical infrastructure in place that supports the business. Most people do not think much of the roof over their head until an issue arises. If you own a business and have noticed leaking from your commercial roof, you may have no idea what is causing it. Here are five of the most common causes of commercial roof leaks.

 

Ponding Water or Clogged Drains

The majority of commercial roofs are flat roof surfaces. There are advantages to this type of construction, including ease of access and ability to service infrastructure on the roof such as AC units. However, flat roofs are difficult to drain properly and rely on a proper pitch and drainage. Even a flat roof has a slight pitch to help move the water toward drains. If you notice leaks inside, it could be a result of the roof sagging with age or drains clogged by leaves or other debris.

 

Damaged Flashing on the Perimeter

Flashing is a metal edge installed along the perimeter of a commercial roof where the roof terminates at the exterior walls of the structure. In addition to capping the roof at this joint and helping to protect against wind damage on the roof, flashing also plays a role in keeping water from seeping in through the wall-roof joint. Damage to the flashing on the perimeter could be the source of small leaks you notice inside as dripping and staining on walls.

 

Open Roof Penetrations

There is no such thing as a roof with no punctures. After all, commercial roofs need to have several penetration points where HVAC units, vents, drains, pipes, and gas lines can come into the structure from inside. Each of these entry points punctures the roof membrane, and if those roof penetrations have not been properly sealed and insulated (or those elements have worn away), this could the source of your leak.

 

Roofing Membrane Damage

Regardless of the type of commercial roof on your structure, there is a roofing membrane material that is applied at installation. The roofing membrane is a waterproof layer applied to the roof structure which is meant to keep water and other debris out of the building. This membrane is often the primary line of defense or installed beneath an outer roofing layer as an added layer of defense. Over time, foot traffic on the roof, weather, and mechanical damage can result in a weakening of the membrane which allows water to get into the building.

 

Age of the Roof

For older buildings, the most common cause of commercial roof leaks is likely to be the age of the roofing system itself. The average commercial roof lasts for about 10 to 15 years. While some can last longer, and a strict maintenance schedule can extend the roof’s life, after 10 years you are closer to needing a new roof than not. If the roof on your commercial building is past its prime, this may be the reason you are noticing leaks.

 

To get an estimate on repairing or replacing your commercial roof, call your GAF Master Select Commercial Roofing Contractor at R&R Industries for reliable service!