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Person using a nail gun installing asphalt roof

Breaking Down the Hazards That Can Wear On Your Commercial Roof

Person using a nail gun installing asphalt roof

person using a nail gun installing asphalt roof

While all roofs naturally age, there are numerous hazards that can prematurely damage your roof and cause leaks that put your building’s interiors at risk. At McDonald & Wetle, we’ve provided comprehensive commercial roofing maintenance and repair to the Portland and Seattle metro areas since 1921. We understand the numerous commercial roof hazards business owners face and stand ready with 24-hour emergency leak repair to combat these hazards. Some of the biggest risks your commercial roof will face are caused by Mother Nature and negligence.

Storm Damage

Damage caused by severe weather is a top issue for commercial rooftops. The most common problem you’ll experience with storm damage is water intrusion. Sudden or severe storms that dump a lot of water in a short period of time can exacerbate water ponding issues you may already have. Backed-up drains can also cause rainwater to collect on your roof, instead of running off as it should. When water stands in one spot for an extended time period, it can lead to sagging, damaged or weakened roof membranes, deteriorated roofing materials, and leaks. Once water starts entering your building, your contents and your employees are at risk.

Punctures From Projectiles

Besides rain, severe storms may also produce strong winds that can rip apart a flat roof’s membrane and cause leaking. Shorter buildings may also be damaged by projectiles that puncture the roof. Tree limbs and other heavy debris caught by the wind and thrown onto your roof may not go through but could scuff the surface enough to begin breaking down the roofing material. Although rare, a lightning strike could also punch a hole in your roof or even cause a fire to break out, depending on your roofing materials.

Punctures By People

Punctures are more commonly caused by foot traffic, which is especially problematic for single-ply roof systems. Anytime a person goes up on a roof, there’s always a chance for damage. This is especially true when heavy equipment like an HVAC system is being installed. However, any type of frequent foot traffic wears on your commercial roof, especially your membrane and the underlying substrate.

Erosion And Shrinkage

Your roof is constantly battling the elements, so erosion is another common commercial roof hazard. When you start seeing blistering and splitting, act quickly. If left untreated, erosion will worsen and almost certainly shorten the lifespan of your roof. Constant exposure to the sun’s damaging rays also wreaks havoc on your rooftop in the form of shrinkage.

A phenomenon called thermal shock causes your roof to expand when it’s hot, then contract once it cools down. The more often this occurs, the more likely your roof experiences shrinkage. EPDM rubber roofs and roofs made of darker materials are typically at a higher risk of shrinkage, which can cause loosened flashing, cracking, and exposed seams that could lead to roof leaks.

Poor Workmanship

Commercial roof hazards are also often directly connected to subpar workmanship or improper installation by an inexperienced or poorly trained contractor. Faulty installation causes premature aging due to faster deterioration, which reduces the life expectancy of your roof. If you suspect your current contractor isn’t properly protecting your investment, ask another roofing contractor to perform a thorough inspection to check for signs of poor workmanship and/or degradation of the integrity of your roof.

Lack Of Maintenance

Just because you have a new roof installed doesn’t mean you can ignore regular maintenance. Routine inspections of your roof help keep it clear of debris and spot drainage difficulties, ponding, and other minor issues before they become major problems. Proactive maintenance that includes annual or semiannual inspections by a roofing professional can also help prevent normal deterioration to maximize the longevity of your roof. It also fulfills warranty requirements. Professional waterproofing service to treat your roof’s surface may prevent future water leaks when preventive maintenance catches the problem early enough to make this option feasible.

Roofing Repair Experts

No matter the damage to your commercial roof, our experienced roofing professionals at McDonald & Wetle can tackle the problem and find the most cost-effective solution. We work with you to ensure you don’t have a recurring problem and small issues don’t become worse over time. When you suspect your commercial roof has suffered some type of damage, contact us in Seattle, Washington, at 253-589-8999 or in Portland, Oregon, at 503-667-0175, so we can assess the problem right away.