Checking Your Flat Roof for “TICKS”

Jonathan Pierson on Oct 26, 2015 9:30:00 AM

Berea Roof

Brad Paisley recommends checking for TICKS, in a bit different connotation, but it is recommended you check your roof top as well. It is recommended that your roof be checked for TICKS (anomalies/maintenance items) twice a year and after major weather events. While most roofing companies offer this service, your roof can be self-checked using the following “TICKS” checklist. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and stay away from the edges and the roof may be slippery. Use proper safety at all times.

T = Termination Faults

Termination faults are breaches in the component that hold the membrane flashings tight to the structure. Examples are metal copings, drip edges, gravel stops, termination bars, counter flashings or other similar items. Visible breaches such as cracks, missing cover plates or deteriorated sealants in these items can lead to water entry into other items and/or into the structure itself.

I = Items of unknown origin

Items of unknown origin are the items that make you go “hmm” or how did that get up here or where did that come from. Examples of this can be as simple as sticks and leaves to bricks or stones or even metal components. These items tend to accumulate in the corners and around drains. These items have no reason to be on your roof and should be removed (rubber gloves recommended) and properly disposed of before these items cause excessive ponding water, holes or damage to your roof system.  

C = Collapsing Component(s)

Collapsing components are not as obvious as the above items to locate or diagnose but using due diligence in your search for “TICKS” will allow you to notice and monitor collapsing components before they become problematic. Depressions, raised areas, and areas of ponding water are indicators of potential problems. For purpose of discussion, we will use ponding water but the others can be substituted into the following sentence as well. Ponding water does not always indicate collapsing components but it can be an easy visual method of assessment. Outline the area with a marker and monitor it, if an area continues to get larger or deeper further assessment of the underlying components should be taken.  

K = KISS Principle

Keep it simple. Maintain a roof top sketch and a log of items with pictures. The goal is not for a hands and knees approach but a broader overview. What has changed or looks different than previous? Don’t over-look the obvious but by the same token don’t nit-pick the super fine details.

S = Seams

Seams and the general conditions can be visually assessed in conjunction with these other items. Are the overlaps or seams loose? When you look “down a seam” do you notice visual anomalies? Are there holes or punctures within the roof? If the seams has visual anomalies or holes you should look more closely at the specific area for any obvious breaches. Temporarily patch these areas with duct tape or a compatible sealant to limit potential damages to the underlying components.  

If done routinely with a log of dates and items found, you can be proactive in protecting the assets under your roof. When anomalies/maintenance items are noted or permanent repairs as needed, contact your roofing manufacturer or authorized roofing contractor who specializes in repairing damages due to “TICKS”.

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