ponding water on a pennsylvania building

7 Commercial Roofing Trouble Spots (We Find Them and Fix Them!)

If you own a commercial building, you know roof maintenance is a crucial part of your property management plan. Proper preventative maintenance means regular roof inspections to help prevent severe damage from occurring.

Keystone Commercial Roofing consultants can provide free, professional commercial roofing inspections. If issues are spotted, we can offer advice on best solutions and keep your budget in mind. Our roof coatings may be able to restore your roof and extend its life, avoiding the need for a costly roof replacement.

We’ve listed seven common commercial roof weaknesses with images captured by our inspection camera app, which offers property owners a bird’s eye view of issues threatening roof integrity.

1.      Seams in Commercial Use Buildings

leaking seam in commercial roof

Areas where separate commercial buildings, non-freestanding, are joined are especially susceptible to leaks. Seams along the walls where one building butts up against the other can deteriorate. These locations are especially vulnerable if improper sealants were used as a barrier along the abutment.

2.      Clogged drains or compromised water drainage systems

clogged commercial roof drain in Crawford County, PA

Without regular maintenance, drains can become clogged. Eventually, their inefficient water drainage will enable water to collect, adding weight and increased risk for leaks.

Added weight on your roof can compromise the ability of a roof membrane to protect it. As water continues to accumulate, a clogged drain will lead to ponding.

3.      Ponding water a sign of improper slope or insufficient drainage

ponding water on a building in Crawford County, PA

Ponding, or water pooling, on a flat commercial roof can damage the surface of the roof. Water will find other ways to drain that cause leaking inside. Standing water can start to break down the roofing membrane.

Clogged drains (see #2), an insufficient drainage system, or improper roof slope can cause ponding. If you suspect there’s ponding occurring on your building’s roof, we can determine the cause and help find solutions to remediate it.

4.      Metal roofing is rusted through

rusted metal roofing on a building in Crawford County, Pennsylvania

Rust on a metal roof doesn’t necessarily mean your building’s in trouble, but substantial rust damage is a definite warning that something needs to be done to restore your commercial roof.

Weakened features such as the rust spots shown here leave your roof exposed to further damage. It won’t be long before repeated precipitation degrades its ability to protect your building. These rust spots are commonly found near fasteners and can be easily spotted with our camera app.

5.      Flashing around vent pipes is cracked or improperly installed

flashing cracks on a commercial roof in Crawford County, Pennsylvania

Proper roof flashing can extend the life of your industrial roof; improperly installed or sealed, it can quickly compromise any roof installation. Sealants around flashing become brittle with age. When these areas start to crack, they become the source of leaks.

Read: WHY ROOF FLASHING IS KEY TO YOUR CRAWFORD COUNTY BUILDING

6.      Brittle rubber or damaged rubber near parapet walls

damaged parapet barrier on commercial roof in Crawford County, Pennsylvania

The low protective walls, or parapets, on low slope roofs are often sealed with rubber or a mesh/ready mix combination.  Moisture management near the parapet walls of your industrial roof is paramount to the entire roof system maintaining its leakproof status. Unfortunately, this is often where drains are installed (which will clog if not properly and regularly maintained) and also where water tends to remain in between storms.

If a parapet wall’s top surface or protectant barrier shows cracks, remediate these weak spots as soon as possible or further damage will occur.

7.      Lack of maintenance

dirty commercial roof in Crawford County, Pennsylvania

We can’t stress enough the importance of regular commercial roof maintenance. In this image, a liner under a grease trap was not routinely inspected nor replaced. Grease can deteriorate a roof’s surface quickly. It’s especially damaging to EPDM.

Regular roof inspections can prevent small issues from becoming large, costly problems. You can’t spot most of these weaknesses from inside your building, until it’s already showing leak issues. Don’t wait for that to happen.