3 Common Commercial Roofing Problems & How to Fix Them

Why Commercial Roofs Are Different

Whether flat or pitched, commercial roofs come in a wide range of materials, including modified bitumen, polyurethane foam, metal, shingle, and even tile. Despite utilizing some of the same materials as residential roofs, commercial roofs are generally much larger, and they face unique challenges when it comes to repairs and maintenance. Because replacing a commercial roof can be incredibly expensive, spotting repair issues early on is crucial to getting the most out of your existing roof and saving money.

Because of this, building owners and property managers should know what the most common commercial roofing problems are, how to spot them, and how to go about fixing them. At Lyons Roofing, Inc., we work hard to help our commercial customers keep their roofs in good condition. We do this by providing our customers with the information they need to feel empowered and take charge when they face a roofing problem.

Below, we review three of the most common commercial roofing repair problems and what property owners and managers can do when faced with them.

Problem #1: Damage from Foot Traffic

It is not uncommon for various building systems to be installed on commercial rooftops, including extensive HVAC and electrical systems. Having these systems installed on a rooftop means that the roof will need to be accessed regularly so that they can be serviced. Frequent foot traffic on a commercial roof is a common culprit of commercial roof damage. The more people walk on the roof, the more prone the roof is to suffer from punctures, granule loss, or a deterioration of the roofing materials and coatings.

Damage from foot traffic can lead to:

  • Leaking and moisture problems
  • Weakening of roofing materials and roof structure
  • Reduction in the lifespan of the roof
  • Increased repair issues
  • Premature replacement of the roof

If you are in a situation where maintenance personnel require frequent access to your roof, you should take measures to protect your roof from foot traffic. Create specific walkways for workers to use when accessing the roof, and limit foot traffic to that which is truly necessary. You should also speak with a professional roofer experienced in commercial roofing maintenance (like Lyons Roofing, Inc.) about applying a specialized roof coating designed to help protect the roof from high traffic.

Problem #2: Drainage Issues & Standing Water

Because many commercial roofs are flat, they are more likely to suffer from drainage and standing water problems. While flat and low-slope roofs do feature drainage systems designed to remove water and prevent standing water, this does not mean they are impervious to water and moisture issues. For example, debris can build up and block drainage channels. Meanwhile, pests may also build nests or damage drainage systems.

Just as foot traffic can degrade roofing materials, so too can standing water. In fact, water is one of the most damaging elements, and once water gets into your roof, it can lead to a host of problems. Blocked drainage and pools of water can push water into pinholes in your roofing materials, leading to mold and mildew growth, leaks, and blistering of your roofing materials. All of this can lead to expensive repairs and the potential need for an early roof replacement.

If you see standing water on your commercial roof or are having a problem with your drainage system, you should reach out to our professional roofers to schedule an inspection. Identifying why there is excess water on your roof is the first step in remedying the problem.

Problem #3: Poor or Improper Maintenance

As a commercial property owner or building manager, you have a lot on your plate. Whether you're managing a large strip mall or a multi-unit dwelling, there is no shortage of maintenance issues that you need to deal with. However, one thing that should never be put off is your roof maintenance. It is recommended that your commercial roof be inspected and serviced by a professional roofer once a year.

Lack of maintenance (or improperly performed maintenance) is one of the leading causes of commercial roof repair problems. Roof problems, when neglected, can lead to serious structural damage elsewhere in your building. This is especially the case with water and storm damage and is the last thing you want to deal with.

In addition to yearly maintenance with a professional roofer, you should also work to maintain your roof between visits, including performing regular visual inspections, removing debris and trash, and scheduling repairs as soon as you notice a problem. If you need help establishing a commercial roof maintenance routine or have questions about how to take care of your roof, reach out to Lyons Roofing, Inc. We are always here to help.