One of the most vulnerable part of the exterior of any building is its roof system. The roof system’s performance is affected by wind, radiation, hail, rain, sleet and snow. If you want to ensure that the performance of the roof is consistent and efficient, you need to invest in a quality preventive maintenance program. The maintenance of a roof is tedious but an important process which will prevent any type of roof problems and will also keep the roof in a good condition. One of the first steps of the prevention program is identification of the problem.
There are certain aspects of a roof maintenance program that do not need a professional. You can do it yourself or can ask the building’s maintenance personnel to help you with the same. The personnel can help you with basic items like cleaning the roof of debris. You need to ensure that there is no debris on the roof because it can block the flow of water to the roof drains and this could damage the roof system. If there is a lot of debris, it can block the drain lines and the water could lead the roof to collapse. If there is foot traffic, there should be membrane protection on it. You can use walkway pads to protect the surface of the roof. When there are multiple building systems, they interface with the roof system and become a source of leak. When water enters the membrane of the roof, it can freely travel to the top of the roof slab and the leak that appears on the drain could not be a drain problem but a roof problem.
It is the role of a building owner to maintain up to date roof system records. The maintenance personnel should be aware of the contents of the record file and the conditions of the warranty so that appropriate action can be taken in case of a problem. The record file should have a history of the installation of the roof, repairs and any changes that have been made over the period of time. The roof plan should also be included in the file in addition to the original plans and warranties, specifications and documentation. It helps to have samples of the roof system materials as well. The file should provide complete information about the roof and the property.
Retaining your contractor
All building owners need to retain a professional roofing contractor for the building. He could be the one who installed the system in the first place or could be an expert professional who offers services for roof maintenance. This includes visual inspection as well as necessary repairs as and when needed. Repairs by an unauthorized contractor will void a warranty hence, you need to ensure that you hire a professional and experienced contractor for your building.
It is important to perform roof inspections from time to time by professionals at least on a biannual basis. When you detect a problem on time, you can ensure that the repairs are manageable before they become serious. There should be a proper procedure followed for the maintenance of the roof and it should be documented routinely. Thorough inspection should be made after extreme weather situations like tornadoes, hail storms and hurricanes. Incase of any damage, the roof should be repaired at the earliest possible. A roofing professional should perform checks on certain items because of their susceptibility to damage.
– Flashing: Majority of leaks originate from flashings and a detailed inspection of flashings must be made at different locations like walls, perimeters, skylights, drains and equipment curbs. These flashings are stressed more than a membrane in the roof field because of UV radiation, thermal movement and differential movement.
– Field: Field is a very crucial aspect of a roof and it should be inspected for different items like degradation, lap integrity and surface wear. The professional will be able to identity the problem and provide repair solutions for the same.
It helps to maintain a checklist for roofing professionals so that they can document the roof conditions and the checklist can be tailored keeping the specific requirements of the roof in mind. Any types of repair and maintenance activities performed on the roof should be clearly documented.
Most building owners are on the lookout of roof systems that are not expensive and also do not need regular maintenance. However, it is realistic to analyze the cost of the roof system over its life. This will help make a logical decision. When you perform a life cycle cost analysis of the roof, you need to begin with the installation cost as compared to the age at the time of replacement. If you simply opt for a cheaper system, it could be risky and might not have a proven track record or durability.
- If you are paying more for the installation of a quality roof, you need to ensure that the cost is averaged against the cost of repairs. Incase of a poor installation, you will have to incur substantial cost of repairs or early replacement in the coming years.
- Carry out an initial quality installation check and choose a roof system which has a longer warranty. You should consider warranty like 5 year, 10 year and no dollar limit.
- Consider the content of the building like computer systems or inventory and the need to prevent leaks in the interior. If you have expensive and highly important content, you will have to pay higher to ensure that the roof system is excellent and efficient.
- Consider the roofing contractor and the track records of the roof system before you decide on one. The water tightness of the roof system will be dependent on the material and the installation.
- All the above mentioned items will have an impact on the amount of maintenance and repair that the roof will require over a period of time.
One of the most important points to remember about the roof system is its warranty. It might not be as comprehensive as you would like it to be. Hence, it is better to get a quality installation using the best quality materials that to rely on the documents for the performance of the roof system. A warranty is offered by a material manufacturer as well as the roofing contractor and their warranty is for a short period of time. Manufacturer’s warranty is for a longer period of time and could be a decade or more, depending on the system you have. There are some products which have warranties of up to 50 years.
There will also be exclusions to the warranty and it is essential to read and understand the limitations of the warranty. Incase of a manufacturers’ warranty, the damage to a roof system will not be attributed to the material problem and might not be covered. There are expulsions based on lack of maintenance and if you do not perform an annual maintenance or a biannual maintenance, you might not be able to make the most of the available warranty because the leakage or certain part of the damage could have been easily prevented. Roofing professionals may also provide maintenance as a part of the material warranty and labour, this will eventually remove the responsibility of maintenance from the owner. With regular inspection and proper repairs and maintenance, you can extend the life of the roofing system in your building.