Regular roof maintenance and inspections have been proven to increase roof longevity significantly. Not inspecting can in some cases even void your roof warranty. Of course, the simplest solution is simply to hire a roofing company to inspect your roof for you. However, conducting your own inspections has advantages, too. You will almost certainly save money, and you will gain a more intimate understanding of your commercial building that may help you make wiser maintenance decisions in the future, such as adding the necessary waterproofing system to your roof.
Ideally, commercial roofs should be inspected both before and after severe weather seasons. Severe weather includes both the winter cold of northern locations and the extreme heat and direct sunlight experienced during Southern and Western summers. Both extremes can weather and damage roofs, so it is a good idea to prepare for them, and to inspect for damage after extreme weather occurs. Roofs should also be inspected in the wake of a severe weather event. You may determine from an inspection whether the existing waterproofing is sufficient or not.
Develop a Plan
If you decide to do your own roof maintenance, it is critical to develop a checklist to use during inspections. Your roof maintenance checklist will help ensure that you do not overlook any of the elements that require inspection. Your completed checklists will also serve as proof of proper maintenance should you need to submit an insurance or warranty claim.
Before you go to the roof, examine the interior of the building for signs of water damage such as mold, mildew, drips and leaks, water stains, and peeling paint. If you find any, be especially vigilant when you inspect the roof. In locations with high snow load or on roofs that carry heavy equipment, you might also want to do an annual inspection of trusses and beams for signs of structural stress like cracking, rot or rust.
Once you’re on the rooftop, inspect for accumulated dirt and debris. These can clog drains and cause roofing surfaces to rot or decay prematurely. Fallen tree limbs can damage roof membranes and elements. If you consistently notice fallen branches you may need to schedule tree maintenance as well.
Check Roof Surface
Look for signs of damage or weathering. On a flat roof, one of the biggest red flags is a low spot that will collect standing water. Make note of any blistering, cracking, tears or holes, abrasions, or deep scratches in the membrane. If it is a gravel-top roof, check to see that the gravel layer is uniform and free of bare spots. Waterproofing solutions may be employed in many cases to effectively ensure the roof is sealed from the elements.