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Inspect the Flat Roofing System

Commercial Flat Roof Repair Contractors

When you’re looking to buy a new commercial property, you have a lot to consider to prepare for your new space. its important to do due diligence by inspecting the flat roof before following through with this major purchase. Even though you may have owned a property with a flat roofing system in the past, it is still good practice to inspect the roof and understand how to maintain it. Undiscovered leaking can turn out to be devastating and expensive, especially in areas with irreplaceable inventory or expensive equipment you may own and have in the building.

Inspecting the Interior

The initial step you’ll want to take is checking each individual room in the building thoroughly. Inspect the ceilings for any discoloration or stains. If there is a leak, you’ll see a dark colored ring forming around the saturated spot. If you see this, you will want to call a professional, commercial flat roofing contractor before moving forward. If you see damage from a leak in a specific area it doesn’t necessarily mean that the leak is located directly above the stained area. Flat roofing systems have layers that could direct the water to other areas in the building, often times many feet away from the source. The damage could also be from a plumbing leak or another source other than your roof. Its also a possibility that  the leak that caused the stain was fixed previously but the spot on the ceiling wasn’t. To be on the safe side, it is best to hire a commercial roofing contractor to locate the source of the leak.

Inspecting the Roof

If you don’t see any discoloration spots or any other obvious signs leaking inside, it is still a wise choice to have the roof inspected. Commercial Flat Roof Repair ContractorsThere could be cracks forming that will become bigger problems in the near future. You’ll want to get these issues resolved before they cause any internal damage to the property. One thing thats recommended is to walk the roof and do a simple inspection. For your safety, be sure to be aware of where you are on the roof and don’t ever walk backwards. Note all the penetrations and don’t put any weight on skylight covers as they are not designed to hold significant weight. While walking the roof, make a note of how the roof feels underneath your feet. If it feels weak, get off the roof in a safe manner immediately and call a commercial roofing contractor. If there is a leak present on the roof, it could soak the insulation beneath the membrane. If you feel a sponge-like sensation to the roof underneath you, you’ll also want to contact a roofing contractor. This is also the case if you notice any moisture coming out of any area of the membrane.

Inspect Penetrations and their Seals

Next, you will want to inspect all penetrations and seals. A big portion of leaks originate at penetrations and seals, which actually make up a very small percentage of the total roof area. Penetrations are things like pipes and flashings that ‘penetrate’ the roof. They are usually enclosed by flashings, usually made from some form of sheet metal. Check around these penetrations for cracking and deterioration. These cracks might not initially be an issue, but as water gets in and if it freezes, ice will expand the crack until its big enough to cause a major leak. Seals are where two waterproof materials overlap or come together in the same spot. Inspect these to be certain they are smooth and still fully adhered.

Commercial Flat Roof Inspections You Can Trust

Other serious flat roofing system problems include:

  • Blistering: these are areas that look like bubbles or where the surface is uneven. There could be water trapped underneath the membrane, but, more often, its a result of poor installation. Ask a commercial roofing contractor if a particular blister on your roof will cause bigger issues.

  • Splitting: This could indicate poor building structure or improper insulation installation. Even if the membrane was installed properly, shifting or movement inside the building could cause a split in the roofing system’s membrane. If this is the case, the flashing in this area will usually fail too.

  • Movement: If the membrane appears to have shifted from it’s original location, it could be due to the slope of the roof being too steep for the type of membrane installed, poor adhesion, or thermal issues. This can contribute to ridges, splits and other roof problems.

  • Obvious Damage: if the roof has been punctured or shows any signs of damage, point it out to your professional roofing contractor.

  • Shrinking: Some types of membranes have a tendency to shrink more than others. You will see this as an issue if membrane seams look like they’re pulling against a penetration like a plumbing vent pipe, or if the membrane can be pulled away from the eave’s edges. You may also see “bridging” at angle changes such as parapet walls, against other walls, etc.


If you have completed your roof inspection and decided that you need to hire an experienced commercial roofing contractor, be sure to get more than one bid to ensure that you know what really needs to be accomplished. Also, if you get multiple estimates, you’re more likely to pay a better price for your roof repair or replacement. Your contractor might also be able to help you prolong your roofing system’s lifespan and give specific instruction on what you can do to properly maintain it throughout the year.

Armadillo Roofing & Exteriors (512) 333-7663, provides commercial roof repair, commercial roof installation and commercial roof replacement services to Austin, Texas and the surrounding communities and has been providing commercial roofing services to the area for over 15 years. When you need help with your flat roofing system questions, give us a call.

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