Commercial roofing inspections should be done at least a couple times per year just to ensure that your roofing doesn’t go from having a small problem to a large one. Checking roofing materials and the support system to your commercial roof after major weather conditions, for instance, can be key to saving you money in the long run. Ignoring roofing maintenance over a long period of time can be costly and even affect the integrity of your building. A good commercial roofing inspector should provide a thorough inspection of your roof; checking for hidden damage or potential issues. Here is what you can expect from a commercial roofing inspection.

Starting With The Fine Print

A quality roofing inspector will actually start with looking over the commercial buildings active warranties and manufacturer guarantees first. If materials or quality of product is under warranty or guarantees, this is the best place to start. Knowing the roofing ‘fine print’ that one is working with will aid inspectors in their overall assessment. This is because the work of repair that may be needed can invalidate the warranties of some products. Knowing what kind of work can be done with any needed repairs can save owners money and keep their warranties valid.

Overviewing the buildings records and blue prints can also aid roofing inspectors by giving them ideas of what areas they need to pay close attention to. Speaking with workers and those who spend their days within the building can also help the inspector note any leaks or other potential problems.

Internal Building Inspection

Prior to inspecting the exterior of the roof, quality inspectors should do an assessment of the internal perimeter of the building; keeping an eye out for water stains, rust or potential weakness within the framework of the building. The source of a leak may reside within the building, unknown from an external view making an internal search necessary. Ensuring that there are no internal defects eliminates the first potential issues.

External Roofing Components

  • Seams – Seams are one of the first places problems start when it comes to the roofing of a commercial building. This is because they are the weakest of all points of a commercial roofing system. Once seams weaken, an entire roofing system can fail. Regardless of whether they are adhesives or interlocking roofing systems, seams are still the weakest points making them the easiest target for damage. Roofing inspectors need to assess that the seams are not deteriorating or coming apart in any way.
  • Corners and Joints – Different segments of the roof coming together make for vulnerability. These areas can collect water, moisture and easily start to crack. Checking weak points around all joints and corners like ventilation slits, chimneys, etc. should be a common practice for a roofing inspector.
  • Flashings – Flashings are what redirects the flow of water away from the interior of the building. They help prevent leaks where water can sit and seep through causing damage but they are still susceptible to becoming loose. If this happens, water damage can ensue. An inspection of flashings is necessary and will be an inexpensive fix compared to a fix due to major water damage.
  • Drainage Systems – Every roof should have proper drainage systems to ensure that water can escape the roofing surface. A roofing inspector should check that drainage systems are not being blocked and are draining properly. This includes gutters, drains and scuppers.
  • Rooftop Equipment – This type of assessment is more about the sealing around the roofing equipment rather than the equipment itself. Roofing inspectors will check to see that all equipment that penetrates the roof is sealed properly, preventing water from possibly getting in and that there is no damage to the roof surface where equipment is present.
  • Other Methods – There are other methods of assessing if your commercial building has damage. Infrared inspections is a method that is used, using infrared scanners where inspectors can identify moisture leaks that may not be seen to the naked eye. Drone inspections are also a method that is used especially when roofing is potentially unsafe to walk upon or difficult and dangerous to reach.
  • Overall Assessment – An overall assessment will be given; looking for signs of damage like punctures, leaks, stagnant water or aging. If any damages are present, an inspector will not only determine the source of the problem but present how best to repair the issue.

All commercial buildings are unique to themselves, so roofing inspectors may need to implement other tools to successfully examine your roofing system. No matter what is done or used to inspect your commercial roof, a detailed explanation of the assessment as well as report of the roofs condition and suggestions for repair should be given. This is not something that an inspector should quickly be able to do after the inspection is done. A thorough report should come with some time spent putting it together.

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