How to Maintain Your Roofing System

Ralph Raulie on Oct 7, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Orange County Convention Center | Installed April, 2003

Much like a car, maintenance is required to ensure that your roofing system is performing the way it needs to be. More often than not however, roofs do not get the maintenance they need. An ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality is typically the cause of this lack of maintenance. What product can you leave outside and unattended for 20 - 30 years and have it perform as well as the day you got it? Unfortunately, the answer is none. So, in order to keep your roof performing the way it was intended to, here are a few tips. 

Bottom Line: Maintenance is a Must

Manufacturers provide specific maintenance instructions for their roofing systems. These are designed to protect your roof and ensure that everything is performing the way it should be. The typical amount of recommended maintenance is twice a year; once in the fall and once in the spring. During these two inspections, drains are usually cleared to make sure water will be able to runoff during the rainy seasons. Improperly installed seams are also typically found during these larger inspections.

Some manufacturers suggest that inspections should occur on a monthly basis. There are two reasons behind this: 

  1. Whether you think so or not, people are up on your roof walking around and,
  2. Storms can cause damage to your roof that may need to be noticed (and remedied) before your next inspection

Considering foot traffic first, if you have any sort of equipment on your roof (HVAC units, fans, etc.), then maintenance people are on your roof from time to time. These workers can accidentally cause damage to your roof which could then lead to a breakdown of the system as a whole if left untreated for an extended period of time. It is wise for owners to include protocol about damages into contract agreements. A common addition is to make service contractors aware that they are responsible for damages and that they will have to pay to remedy them. Regardless, you should be getting on your roof before the service contractor leaves to make sure everything is okay. 

Even if you don’t think your employees are on your roof, there is a decent chance that they might be. For example, a hospital was experiencing a leaky roof. On inspection, it turned out that employees were smoking on the roof and the cigarette burn-holes were causing the leaks. A simple once a month walk through can catch these potential threats before they turn into something that can seriously damage property. 

Storms are also a major factor when it comes to roof breakdowns. Hail can cause serious damages that can be quite costly if left alone. It is recommended that inspections occur after major storms as well. Again, this isn’t necessarily a 3 hour inspection where you go over your roof with a magnifying glass. Instead, it can be a 15 minute walk through by your maintenance person to make sure there are no glaring problems. 

You don’t know what you don’t know, so it can be easy to get blindsided by a roof breakdown if you aren’t actively monitoring your roofing system. Unsure what to ask during a roofing inspection to ensure that you are getting the most out of it? Learn about the eight essential question you should be asking your roof inspector here. Do you have any other maintenance tips that you use to keep your roof performing to the best of its ability? Tell us about them in the comments.

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