Contrary to its name a commercial flat roof is not actually flat. Like a road system a slight pitch is built in to aid water runoff. This stops water from pooling on a roof. Water pooling on a flat roof can cause damage as water weighs 8.2 lb. per gallon. Over a large area, even an inch of water can add a dramatic amount of weight to a roof. Over time a roof can deteriorate leading to areas where ponding can take place. Standing water will eventually work its way through roofing materials, particularly at joints and flashing. These materials contract and expand from changes in weather. They become brittle, dried and cracked by wind, the effects of UV rays and other natural influences. Ponding and leakage results when the roof no longer sheds water effectively.
Human activity is one of the most common causes of flat roof damage. When rooftop heating and cooling units are installed, damage can occur to roofing. Construction equipment such as ladders and lifts can often cause abrasions in roofing systems like TPO allowing a leak to form. Over 60% of roofing defects come from human activity or poor workmanship. Even a dropped nail can cause a leak. However, without the benefit of thermal imaging, this leak may be almost impossible to find before it causes more damage to the roof.
A Commercial Roof is expensive, the difference between a short-lived flat roof and a long-lived is maintenance, assuming your roof was properly installed using appropriate materials. The more deferred maintenance, the shorter the useful life and the more expensive the repair/replacement. Alpine Thermal Imaging Systems can not only detect moisture within your roofing systems with 25 years of Commercial Roofing construction experience we can also help with other roofing maintenance issue and advise of if a pooling issue is discovered we can provide a remedy for the issue and protect the roof from further damage.
Debris on the roof can clog drains and scuppers leading to ponding. Keeping the roof free of debris also removes organic matter that may decay building materials in contact with it. The roof should be cleaned a couple times a year. More if there are overhanging trees. The roof should be inspected after every major storm for debris and damage. Some flat roofs depend on a covering of gravel to protect the underlying waterproof layers. The substrate can be uncovered by wind and human activity leaving materials vulnerable to rupture or natural decay. Left exposed to the sun, these materials dry shrink and crack allowing water to enter. Replenish the gravel when its layer becomes thin.
Roofing materials can blister when water is trapped beneath and heated by the sun. These blisters need to be cut out and repaired as soon as possible to avoid further water penetration.
A Roofing inspection by Alpine Thermal Imaging Systems can often help detect roofing issues before they become major issues requiring a total re-roofing. We recommend a bi-annual IR imagery inspection to help protect your investment. In Fact, some roofing warranties require this roofing inspection schedule.