Roofs are not meant to last forever, and Mother Nature is responsible for many commercial roof failures. With commercial roofs and systems, other different factors or combinations of these factors can result in a roof failing prematurely. When this happens, it could lead to cascading problems such as indirect damage to the actual structure itself or interior damage. This is all coupled with the dramatic costs of having to replace the roof. Fortunately, most commercial roofs that fail (not all of them) are preventable.
Why Do Commercial Roofs Fail
The initial step to delay or prevent a commercial roof from failing is to know about the different risk factors. Keep reading to find out more about the most common reasons why commercial roofs fail as well as what you can do to reduce the risks or prevent these failures.
Poor Roof Design
Unfortunately, most roofing systems will have a shorter life span from the onset. When the roofing system itself was installed or designed with inefficient moisture or drainage management systems ponding water can promote bacteria and mold growth. This will deteriorate the surfaces and result in corrosion and rust of the flashing, metallic truss plates, and more.
Another common problem is blistering which occurs when water vapor becomes trapped in the layers of the roof. In many instances, poor roof designs are also linked to the structure of the building itself, and not the roof installation. Without adequate ventilation from inside, warm vapor will rise inside the structure of the building and collect and condense beneath the cool membrane. If the roof deck or building is designed poorly, even a professional roof installation will not last the way it should.
Deterioration Or Aging
Even the most professional commercial roof systems eventually fail, and this is due to deterioration and/or aging. However, there are a few factors that could cause a roof system to deteriorate faster. Some of the examples that lead to this include debris and dirt collection, excess foot traffic, mold growth, etc.
Natural elements are unavoidable when it comes to the life expectancy of a roof. In certain cases, the failure of a roof could be prevented by being proactive and responsive, in a few severe cases. But unfortunately, failure is eventually unavoidable.
The more common environmental factors which can cause a roof to fail to include:
- Wind damage. High winds usually from storms dislodge roofing materials across the roof deck.
- Water intrusion. Leaks can start emerging when there is consistent precipitation which could arise due to vulnerable areas in the flashing, joints, or seams, causing an increase in deterioration once the water has intruded.
- Standing water. Excess rain combined with the process of aging, or a poor installation often results in excess water that stands on the surface of the roof which accelerates deterioration.
- Thermal cycling. Dramatic shifts between cold and hot temperatures can make roofing materials weaker and cause them to crack. This happens seasonally and if these events happen days apart.
- Excessive heat. Extended heat waves may also speed up roof deterioration.
- Impacts. Hail and falling debris can result in tears and punctures to the membrane of the roof.
- Pollutants. Constant exposure to air pollution and toxic chemicals can also weaken the overall integrity of a commercial roof.
It is also possible to select the best quality roofing materials, take every precaution possible with the design, and the roof system stills fail since it was not installed properly. Common installation mistakes include improperly installed joints and flashings, inconsistent heat-sealing, not enough adhesives, etc. Workmanship failures could also arise during normal maintenance and repairs, and mistakes in workmanship could create a problem when one did not exist before.
Unfortunately, with so many roofing manufacturers to choose from, not every company maintains high-quality control levels. This means that there are many commercial roofing products out there that are subpar, and prone to tears, punctures, premature deterioration, and leaks. These are all destined to fail often and early. Not even the top craftsmanship will compensate for roofing materials that are faulty.
Armadillo Roofing & Exteriors (512) 333-7663, provides commercial and residential services to Austin, Texas and the surrounding area. This includes roof repair, roof installation and roof replacement. We have been providing professional commercial roofing services to the area for over 19 years. Call us when you need help assessing any damage to your commercial roof. If your building has metal roofing, visit us at our other site – armadillometalroofing.com.