We have talked about how important it is to have a maintenance program for your commercial roof. This checklist will help you to either set up a inspection for your roof or what you should expect from a roof maintenance inspection.
The inspection process begins with the inspector reviewing the conditions of the roof surface. They will look for any issues in coating deterioration or loss of the protective coating, any stained spots on the surface which is a sign that there is ponding water. Ponding water is when there is standing water than remains on the surface after it has finished raining and dried. This is much like some areas on a road or even a neighborhood drain system that the rest of the water has dried up and there is still a remaining spot of standing water. This is something that could possibly void the warranty from the manufacturer.
The next issues the inspector will look for and record would be any object that could possibly puncture the membrane, debris, or high levels of dirt within the stone ballast. The next item they will look at is the membrane which is the weather proofing layer. There can be multiple plies of felt material. Built up roofing systems usually have multiple and their benefit is the redundancy having multiple plies of the weather proofing membrane. There are some common problems with built up roofs like voids, entrapped moisture, alligatoring and fish mouths that can be from lack of bitumen within the plies.
There are also single-ply roofing systems that consist of EPDM, TPO, and PVC membranes.With these roofing systems, the inspector have to be ware of deficiencies because these are only single layers of protection. Things that the inspector will look for with these types of systems will be open lap seams, thermal membrane shrinkage with EPDM membranes, and for TPO and PVC will be plasticizer migration. These cause brittleness to the membrane. Punctures will be a number one thing to look for as this can cause major damage to the membranes.
The inspector will pay close attention to the perimeter edges, the base and counter flashings, copings and area dividers. The flashing need to be checked that they are properly seals and have no voids, blisters, or punctures. These usually become problematic over time. They will also look at any sealant voids or deterioration, check the termination bars and counter flashings condition, and the flashing and sealants conditions that are around rooftop units, skylights or other projections.
They will also look or should pay attention to drains, gutters and scuppers to make sure the waters exit system off the roof is good. In order to have adequate drainage a low sloped roof also called flat roofs should have no less than 1” per sq ft. Signs that this is not the case would be staining on the roof from pondering water. The drains should be clear of debris to checks the drain strainers and bolts are tight and that the flashing and sealants are adequate.
The next area the inspector will check is the condition of the walls on the roof. They will look at the conditions of the transitions at the wall tie-ins. All these areas and items have to be inspected to ensure the condition of the roofing system. Any of these being an issue can cause damages to the roofing system and cause issues like leaking. Keeping up with these details can keep you from having any high repair cost or replacement costs if damage worsens. So if you are planing or trying to set up an maintenance program these are things that should be looked at and if you have a inspector coming these are things you should expect the inspector to check. If you have an inspector coming and are unsure of things or have questions, talk to them so you can have a better understanding on maintaining your roof and what things should be done during roof maintenance.