Typical Frustrations of New Flat Roof Construction

Ralph Raulie on Mar 23, 2016 8:43:08 AM

Installation of the New York Yankee Parking GarageWhen a building owner has a new roofing system installed, or a roof consultant specifies a new commercial roof for his or her client, both naturally have expectations regarding how that new roof will perform. This newly installed roofing membrane should be leak-free from day one, right? After all, the roofing system was installed by a professional roofing contractor and the manufacturer inspected and issued a warranty on the final product.

The reality is that even after the final inspection and the warranty is issued, leaks do sometimes occur. Maybe not during the first rain, or the second, but all of the sudden one or two leaks show up and the building owner is now asking, “why?”

Usually, these leaks are minor in nature and can be easily fixed. However, to the building owner these leaks can seem like a major problem for any number of reasons. Now the building owner is questioning his or her own buying decisions and again asking, “why?”

It’s Not Always the Roofing System

Your roofing system might not actually be to blame for a leak. Porous walls can spring leaks, or give the appearance of a leak, based on their physical properties. For example, if you have a brick building, rain can get ‘sucked into’ the individual bricks and then exit via the interior side of the brick. Water can even enter a building through the slightest gaps in between bricks and mortar.

Sometimes people other than your roofing contractor and manufacturer are to blame for leaky roofs. People will be up on your roof at some point during the course of its life, especially if you have an HVAC or another piece of machinery that needs maintenance on your roof. Someone from another trade could accidentally drop heavy equipment on the roof, or any number of actions that may cause punctures, making your roofing system susceptible to leaks.

Mother Nature and the Elements

Oftentimes the answer to a leaky roof lies in Mother Nature. Until a new roof has experienced one or two full sets of year-round weather exposure, it’s difficult to determine how well the roof was sealed from the elements. This new roof has yet to experience the wind-driven, sideways rains, rain downpours, or other weather related extremes that typically expose the not-so-obvious water entrances. These sources of water can be frustrating to locate and easy to miss during that final inspection since they are not obvious.

Regardless of why your roofing system is leaking, if you contact the manufacturer who issued the warranty, the matter will be investigated and eventually resolved. Make sure you contact the manufacturer first to start the investigation process.

What other causes of leaky roofing systems have you come across? Tell us about it in the comments.

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