Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks and How You Can Prevent Them


Commercial roofing systems can be difficult to maintain when compared to residential roofs. Because they are usually flat, they are prone to a number of problems which can cause leaks. However, if you know the most common causes of leaks and how to prevent them, you can prolong your roof’s life. When you take proactive steps, you’ll protect the significant investment you made in your roof. Let’s look at some of the usual causes of commercial roof leaks and what you can do to avoid them.

Pooling Water

Flat roofs need proper drainage systems to prevent the pooling of water. If there has been heavy rainfall, you can expect some puddling. However, if the puddles remain for days, the drainage system may be compromised or inadequate. When pools of water settle on the surface of the roof, they can create soft spots which eventually become leaks. Large puddles also put weight on the roof, and this can make the roof more likely to collapse eventually. Even if you have a slanted roof, puddles can develop if the gutters and downspouts are not clear.

A roof leak at a commercial building.

Missing Shingles

Shingles can fall off or become loose because of harsh weather, damage from debris or simply the passage of time. Whatever the reason, missing or cracked shingles make your roof vulnerable to water damage. Rainwater can go through the opening and soak the underlying roofing materials. High-quality commercial roofs are especially leak-resistant but they’re not infallible.

Damaged Flashing

Flashing a protective seal which is placed along the perimeter and seams of the roof where the angles meet. It is intended to protect the roof from water and debris. However, flashing can loosen during high winds and severe weather can damage it. Over time, it can also weaken or loosen on its own. Damaged or poorly installed flashing can allow moisture to get into the roof.

Poorly Sealed Pipes and Openings

HVAC units, pipes, drains and other equipment may extend through the surface of your roof. There should be seals around all these openings. However, if the seals get weak or damaged, both the roof and other components of the building can be affected. If your roof already has a problem with drainage, you may notice pools of water around these openings. This makes leaks more likely.

Damaged Membrane

An outer membrane is installed on commercial roofs to protect the roofing material from the elements. This membrane assists in taking water off the roof and into the drainage system. When the membrane gets old and worn, it can crack or blister. If this damage spreads, rainwater can easily get in.

How to Prevent Commercial Roof Leaks

The easiest way to prevent roof leaks is to have the roof inspected regularly so problems can be addressed quickly. This will save you money in the long run since you’ll avoid more expensive repairs later. Regular maintenance will prevent leaks and ensure your roof lasts longer. Here are some of the things you need to do.

Keep Your Drains Clear

Since puddles are a major contributor to roof leaks, you should prevent pooling. Removing leaves, dirt, and other debris from drains, gutters, and downspouts is key. Clearing your drainage system is especially important during the fall when the leaves are dropping.

Trim Nearby Tree Branches

If there are tree branches hanging over your building, you will get leaves and twigs falling on the roof. Fruits or nuts can also fall from the tree and puncture the membrane. If the weather is particularly bad, tree branches may also strike the roof. This can cause even more damage. As soon as you notice trees encroaching on the roof, cut back the branches. This will prevent lots of problems that can lead to leaks.

Get Regular Inspections

Many types of leaks and structural damage can be prevented by getting professional inspections regularly. When potential problems are discovered early, you can address them before they get serious. Regular inspections followed by preventative maintenance will benefit you in the long run. Ensure you hire a Greenville roofing professional to inspect your commercial building. They will inspect the roof surface, the perimeter, seals, and openings and give you their expert opinion.

Contact the Team at Lanier Roofing Today!

If you want to prevent leaks in your commercial roof, you need to proactive. Let our professional roofing company in Greenville inspect your roof and advise you on what needs to be done. Contact us today to book an inspection or learn about the services we offer.

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