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Why commercial flat roof maintenance is crucial

Commercial flat roof maintenance is a significant investment that helps businesses prevent serious financial and functional issues, including damage to their property and assets.

In this blog post, we will be looking further into why flat roof maintenance is important, signs that maintenance is needed, its various elements and whether planned or reactive maintenance is more effective.

Aerial shot of commercial flat roof.

Why is commercial flat roof maintenance important?

It’s important that commercial property owners invest in commercial flat roof maintenance for several reasons. We have highlighted these below.

Prevents costly damage

Regular maintenance of a commercial flat roof can prevent costly damage in the long run. If left unattended, small problems, such as tiny leaks or cracks, can escalate into major issues. Even a small leak can cause water to penetrate a building and lead to mould growth, structural element rot, and interior structure damage.

Through investment in regular maintenance, commercial property owners can detect minor issues early and have them repaired by a professional roofing contractor. The preventative approach not only saves money but also extends the roof’s life, avoiding premature replacement.

Extends the longevity of a roof

Most commercial flat roofs are designed to last approximately 20 years, but without proper maintenance, the life expectancy can be significantly reduced.

Regular roof maintenance and inspections help to extend the life of the roof by identifying any issues early on, slowing the deterioration of a commercial roofing system and allowing building owners to get the most out of their investment.

Maintains a safe working environment

A well-maintained flat roof can improve the safety standards of your commercial building by lowering the likelihood of accidents and injuries caused by roofing issues. Factors such as loose tiles or damaged edges can endanger building occupants and make a building unsafe for work.

Through regular inspections, potential safety risks can be identified and mitigated promptly. Professional roofing contractors, such as ourselves, are trained to adhere to safety standards during maintenance work ensuring the well-being of everyone on the property whilst completing the job.

Preserves structural identity

A maintained flat roof can also improve the structural integrity of the commercial building. A roof protects the building from exposure to harsh weather conditions such as heavy rain, snow, and high winds which can deteriorate roofing materials and weaken the roof’s structure.

Regular maintenance allows roofing experts to identify and repair weak points in the roof before they jeopardise the building’s structural integrity. Reinforcing these vulnerable areas with effective repairs ensures that the roof can withstand external forces while maintaining its load-bearing capacity, thereby protecting the occupants and valuable assets within the building.

Signs maintenance is required

Old commercial flat roof holding water due to blocked gutters.

There are several signs that your building may require commercial flat roof maintenance; however, we have listed the four most common indicators below.

Water leaks

A clear indicator of roof damage is the presence of water leaks or damp spots on your interior ceilings. Water leaks can occur when your commercial flat roof has a hole, its seams are failing, or the flashing has been damaged.

Leaks indicate a breach in your roof’s waterproofing layers and are dangerous because they can cause significant damage if left untreated, potentially requiring a complete roof replacement. If leaks are not addressed promptly, they can cause roof rot, structural damage, and the growth of bacteria and fungi, making the building unsafe for work.

Build of visible mould, mildew and moss

The presence of mould, mildew, and moss is a sign that your roof requires repair. While a small amount of mould, mildew, or moss is usually not a cause for concern, larger amounts can indicate that your roof is retaining moisture. The buildup of these bacteria and fungi also causes gaps between the roof tiles, which will eventually allow rainwater to enter a building.

Similar to water leaks, this buildup can also cause roofing materials to rot, resulting in significant structural issues if not addressed. When an issue is discovered, it is critical to tackle it as soon as possible to avoid it spreading and causing additional damage.

Higher energy costs

A roof is part of a commercial building’s ventilation system. A damaged roof allows cool or warm air to escape the building, resulting in poor insulation and higher heating and cooling costs.

If you notice an unexpected increase in your energy bills, it could be a sign that you need some roof maintenance.

Bubbles and blisters on the surface

When air or moisture pockets form between the underlayment and membrane, bubbles or blisters often appear. These bubbles and blisters can weaken your roof’s protective layer, making it more prone to leakage. They cause tears and cracks in the roof membrane, which can result in significant water infiltration if not addressed.

If you notice blisters on your commercial building’s roof, you ought to deal with them as soon as possible to avoid having to replace the entire roof.

Reactive maintenance or planned maintenance?

When it comes to maintenance strategies, opinions on what works best tend to vary.

Some building owners believe that reactive maintenance is a better option because it saves them time in planning a maintenance schedule, as well as eliminating the need to pay for regular maintenance outgoings. However, this could be a risky strategy as it may result in costly damage repairs that could have been avoided, as well as a loss of profit from having to shut down your business operations until the problem is resolved.

A planned maintenance schedule is seen by some business owners as a much more practical solution for their company. This strategy enables businesses to receive regular updates on the condition of their commercial roofs, identify any problems, and understand potential issues that may arise before they lead to bigger problems. Being aware of this information will reduce the likelihood of downtime caused by large-scale repairs and business closures.

Although we provide both planned and reactive maintenance services, we strongly advise you to invest in preventative maintenance checks on your commercial roof to get ahead of any minor issues before they become major ones.

commercial flat roof maintenance.

Different elements of commercial flat roof maintenance

There are generally five activities that are undertaken by professionals for commercial flat roof maintenance services. We have outlined these below.

Leak diagnosis and prognosis

This step is taken as part of a reactive maintenance solution when a leak is already present in your commercial roof. It includes identifying and addressing leaks promptly to avoid any further damage.

An expert will thoroughly examine, identify, and diagnose issues in order to understand any weaknesses or defects in the roofing system that may be causing the problem, as well as provide an effective solution for long-term results.

Planned bi-annual maintenance

Biannual maintenance on your commercial roof is typically performed as part of a preventative planned maintenance strategy.

These visits will include a professional who will perform a series of maintenance tasks to ensure systematic inspections and adjustments, which will help to keep your roof in optimal condition throughout the year.

Maintaining/unblocking internal and external rainwater drainage channels and outlets

Taking care of rainwater drainage channels and outlets is to be included as part of a planned preventative maintenance strategy, this will include a visit from a professional who will take care of the critical tasks of keeping a building drainage system clear and unobstructed.

Having this work done regularly will prevent water build-up on your commercial roof that could lead to costly issues, including damage to the flashing.

Roof light replacement or repair

This includes professional performing checks to determine whether your roof light requires replacement or repair.

This is especially important in commercial settings because having an effective roof lighting system will help to improve natural lighting in the building, which can increase employee productivity and well-being, improve energy efficiency, and maintain the overall integrity of the roof.

Roof cleaning

This includes a thorough cleaning of all areas of the roof. Hiring a professional to maintain a flat roof will not only help a business enhance its aesthetics but also contribute to the longevity of roofing materials by preventing cracked roof tiles and eliminating mould growth.

As mentioned throughout this blog post, regular commercial flat roof maintenance is an investment that pays off by safeguarding your business premises, assets, and operations. Taking a proactive approach to maintenance can help you extend the lifespan of your roof, avoid potential issues and have the peace of mind knowing your investment is in good condition.

If you’re looking for professional commercial flat roof maintenance solutions, whether planned or reactive, we’re here to help. Get in touch with a member of our team today to discuss our services further.

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