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Flat Roofing Maintenance Tips for Property Managers

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In order to effectively preserve the integrity of the flat roofing system on your building, regular maintenance is key. Your flat roof should be inspected, at minimum twice a year. Once in the spring, to check for damage caused over the long winter and once in the fall, to ensure that your flat roof is in optimal condition to survive the winter. A professional should be hired to perform these in-depth inspections. However, in order for you as the property manager to properly care for your flat roof, you should also know how to spot issues, and what to look for. While fairly durable, flat roofing systems can be susceptible to damage caused by a number of things. And spotting an issue quickly will help to save you quite a bit of money on flat roof repairs.

Here are a few things to be on the look out for:

Ponding water

  • Moss on roofPonding water is classified as an amount of water that does not evaporate or disappear within 48 hours, if the conditions are conducive to drying. Sitting water can not only produce algae, it can also magnify already strong UV rays, causing excelarated deterioration of the roofing membrane. If you’ve noticed that you may have an issue with ponding water, it would be in your best interests to contact your roofing contractor to rectify the problem quickly. Without quick action, you may be dealing with a much larger problem down the road.

Blistering

  • While self examining your flat roofing system, look for any areas that may look like they’ve begun to blister. If there are blisters present, you should notice portions of raised material on the surface of the roof. If you choose to neglect, or overlook these issues you may be unknowingly sacrificing the effectiveness of your flat roofing system. The blistering is caused by liquids trapped in between some sections of your roofing membrane, and as this liquid evaporates it can cause your roofing material to expand and separate. By taking preventative action, and repairing these blisters immediately you will prevent any further water damage.

Cracking

  • Many things can cause your flat roofing system to crack. Depending on the location of your building, it may be more susceptible to the effects of damaging UV rays. The constant battering of UV rays can cause this cracking to occur. Poor quality installation may also be to blame. If your roofing system sees a lot of traffic, or bears the weight of too much snow for prolonged periods of time, this can also cause the material to crack. Regardless of the reason for its development, cracking can lead to leaks and can damage the integrity of your flat roofing system. It is best to have the issue repaired as soon as possible.

The Build-up of Snow

  • Living in a climate such as the one we experience here in Ontario, snow build-up is a common problem. Due to the slope of your roof, or lack there-of, this snow is not able to fall off as it would on a roof with a steeper slope. The weight of excess snow can be detrimental to your flat roofing system, and a complete roof collapse is a possibility. If this snow begins to melt quickly, and your drainage is not up to par, you may run into issues with ponding water. It is best to hire someone to regularly clear the snow from your roofing system, as part of your regular flat roof maintenance schedule. Although many property managers attempt to clear this snow on their own, many, many injuries occur every year due to inexperience. Some things are best left to the professionals.

Loose Fasteners

  • This is a small hard to spot issue that can be a disaster to your flat roofing system. Fasteners are meant to anchor the flat roof to your commercial building, if they are loose or missing, your flat roof will become far more susceptible to wind damage. For every type of flat roof and corresponding building, there are specific fasteners that should be used, as per manufacturer instructions. If your contractor does not comply with these instructions, this could essentially void your warranty.

In conclusion, the best way as a property manager, to protect the health of your roofing system is to ensure that regular maintenance is performed. Individual spot checks will also help to identify any possible issues, allowing fast flat roof repair and reducing the likelihood of large scale problems. Should you have any questions regarding your flat roof, and its maintenance, be sure to ask your roofing contractor at one of your bi-annual inspections.

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