Keeping Your Roof Top of Mind

Keeping Your Roof Top of Mind

The roof of any building can be best described as the “out of sight, out of mind.” building enclosure system. Whether justified or not, roofs don’t readily lend themselves to regular inspection and therefore, are subject to substantially decreased service life in comparison to other building enclosure components such as claddings and fenestrations.

For property managers and owners, the roof represents a substantial investment and is an indispensable part of the building’s safety and functionality. Therefore, a proactive and consistent maintenance program is recommended to extend the lifespan of the roof, minimize expenses associated with damage and repairs, and protect the building, its occupants, and its contents.

The best time to implement a roof maintenance plan is when a new roof is installed. Starting with a clean slate, so to speak, makes it easier to track when something changes, breaks or wears out. Plus, you will have a complete record for the life of the roof. When the roof does get replaced, any ongoing concerns that resulted from design or installation flaws can be addressed.”

With a new roof or an existing roof, begin your maintenance plan by compiling the relevant documentation including:

  • As-builts (current roof plans)
  • System type
  • Age of the roof or installation date
  • Warranty information (Typically a one-year labor warranty is included. If anything arises during this time, have the contractor fix the issue, if applicable.)
  • For existing roofs, compile a roof history documenting any known problems, such as reports of water intrusion, and repairs.

Conduct a Thorough Roof Inspection

Regular inspections are the best way to prevent small problems from becoming big problems. Wear and tear because of natural aging is to be expected, however catching issues early will minimize expenses and extend the life of the roof.

With each inspection, be aware of the following details and record the information for future comparisons:

  • Your impression of the surface conditions when you initially get to the roof
  • Debris on the roof or in drains (the roof should be free of debris)
  • Condition of gutters and downspouts (do any need to be repaired or replaced?)
  • Areas of ponding water
  • Penetrations through the roof, such as clamping rings and sealants
  • Pitch pans topped off with sealant
  • Parapet walls and metal coping
  • Expansion joints
  • Physical damage from weather or from other causes
  • Keep People Off Your Roof

In addition to regularly monitoring the items mentioned above, don’t allow anyone, such as HVAC technicians and cable company employees, on the roof without your consent and knowledge. Use a sign-in and sign-out log for access, so the roof is monitored and access to the roof is restricted and provides security. Ultimately, access and exposure to the roof should be minimized to ensure a long lifespan.

Maintenance Equals Sustainment

Following a consistent plan over the expected roof system lifespan will extend the service life of the roof. When the time comes to install a new roof, you may not need to remove the entire system because the board insulation may be intact, dry, and suitable for a recover. Though you may need to increase the roof system insulation R-value per code upgrades by adding insulation boards to the existing system, you will still save money by utilizing the existing materials and production time for the roof project.

For more information on how to manage and maintain your roof effectively, contact Pie Consulting & Engineering today.

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