Until leaks occur, roofs are oftentimes out of sight and outside of your thoughts. The simple truth is that roof shortcomings do not get better with time, and overlooking maintenance situations can result in other more deep-seated building concerns. Roof inspections often reveal common problems but also some not-so-predictable issues.
The National Roofing Contractors Association and most professional orlando commercial roofing contractors recommend inspecting roofs twice each year, once after the hottest weather, and again after the coldest weather. Weather events such as high winds or hail should also prompt a thorough assessment. The purpose of routine roof inspections is to discover and address minor problems before they become a serious expense. Roofs that are inspected consistently tend to be far better sustained, because the act of inspecting a roof is a sign of well-managed facilities. Even when roofs are taken a look at on a routine basis, inspections can still reveal surprises.
Owners often conclude that an expert or roof consultant is required for basic assessments. To the contrary, facility managers or facility staff, equipped with a detailed checklist, can carry out most basic semi-annual inspections effectively. These routine inspections often expose many common problems.
An important objective of regular roof inspections is to produce work orders for maintenance and repair work, but well-intentioned facility managers often authorize such orders for work the staff then neglects to carry out. Because of tenant or client complaints, repair of actual leaks generally receives attention from the maintenance staff. Less urgent maintenance issues, such as loose flashings, regular roof cleaning, and obstructed drainage, are often set back.
One useful resource in inspecting roofs is for the inspector to have the most recent preceding inspection record as a checklist when conducting the current inspection. A good inspection report should show 1) the accomplished items from the last inspection, 2) uncompleted items from the last inspection, and 3) new items since the last inspection. Experienced inspectors are well aware of the cumulative uncorrected items that appear repetitively on inspection reports period after time.
Facility managers should set due dates for addressing each item enumerated on inspection reports and have a follow-up process to ensure compliance.
Blocked Drainage System
One of the best means to avoid roof dilemmas is to get the water off the roof as swiftly and effectively as possible. Roofs can drain in a number of ways: over the edge into gutters, via through-wall scuppers, and by means of internal roof drains. Even when the roof drains over the edge into gutters, problems can occur when rain gutters and downspouts are not cleaned out regularly.
Through-wall scuppers are usually undersized, which in turn can lead to blockage by plastic bottles, balls, or even pine cones. Scuppers and linking conductor heads and downspouts should be cleaned out routinely to permit free flow. Leaves, brush, and even bird nests are often found in conductor heads, which can cause water to back up on the roof during heavy rainstorms.
Properly made roof drains are situated at the low spots on a roof. Because the rainwater rushes to the drainpipes, so do accompanying rubbish and leaves, which can clog the roof drain filter. Roof drain strainers should be bolted in place. Missing or loose strainers make it possible for refuse to clog the roof drain piping below the roofline.
Gutters, downspouts, drains, and scuppers should be inspected and cleared of blockages that hinder free flow.
Roofs are a tempting target for vandalism not only by burglars, but also by youthful trouble makers anxious to embark on risky after dark thrills. Vandalism can consist of damaged skylights or windows, punctures, and damage to mechanical and electrical equipment. Vandalism that does not yield interior damage or clues may go undetected for weeks or months until the next roof inspection. At the same time, such damage may be causing unnoticed water infiltration into the roof assembly.
Facility managers should have a dynamic system to prevent vandalism by tightly restricting roof access and possibly using on-the-roof security cameras or motion detectors. A security guard should cover the bottom eight to ten feet of outside roof access ladders, and the area should be well lit. Interior roof hatches and doors should be kept sealed, with authorized persons managing the keys.