Low-Slope Roofs – 6 Worst Enemies

Posted by Heather Johnson in Common Roof Problems

6 August, 2012

Ponding Water - Low-Slope Roofs - North American Roofing

Many standard low-slope roofs consist of three basic elements; a roof deck, a layer of insulation and a roof membrane. Although individual roofs can vary in structure and membrane type, they have some common enemies.

1. Exposure to the Elements

There’s no doubt about it; Mother Nature can wreak havoc on a low-slope roof if she has a mind to. Over time, intense heat and UV rays result in roof deterioration, which can be worse on southern and western exposures of the roof. Rain can enter the smallest cracks in a roof, leading to insulation failure and structural damage. And, if you think it’s windy on the ground, consider what it’s like to be buffeted by gale-force winds day after day on the roof. Ice and snow can block drainage systems, and their freeze/thaw cycles further damage the roof’s surface.

2. Unwanted Vegetative Growth

Standing water, constant moisture and humidity can lead to vegetation growth, such as moss, algae, lichens and mold. Shaded areas of the roof are at a greater risk than areas that receive a lot of sunshine. As the vegetation grows, it forms a thick biological “blanket” that locks water on the surface of the roof. This constant moisture speeds the deterioration of the membrane.

3. Neglected Maintenance

The roof is the most critical component in the creation of any building’s waterproof envelope, and yet it’s the one area many building owners neglect. Without regular inspections, accumulated debris removal and periodic sealing at flashings and penetrations, minor issues can turn into nightmares. To make matters worse, you’ll probably lose your roof warranty.

4. Procrastinating on Repairs

At some point, all roofs fail, but a leak or two doesn’t always mean it’s time to replace the roof. Accurate leak detection and tracking requires knowledge and experience. Only a qualified roofing professional can determine the extent of the problem and recommend a course of action.

5. Impact and Movement

An unstable structure can shift, creating stress and pressure. Most roofs will tolerate slight structural movement but extensive expansion and contraction can weaken the roof system. Likewise, heavy foot traffic can deteriorate the membrane. This installation of walkways can reduce the risk of damage from foot traffic.

6. New Roof Units

Adding a new HVAC unit or any other rooftop equipment that penetrates the surface of the roof, creates a weak point. Because the mechanical teams that install the equipment aren’t trained in the best way to seal penetrations, these spots are often leaks waiting to happen.

At North American Roofing, we take the worry and guesswork out of caring for your roof so you can run your business. Our highly trained professionals use state-of-the-art technology to detect existing and potential roof problems.

When it’s time for a new roof, we’ll make sure you get the best roof for your situation and individual needs. Until then, we can make your life easier by providing periodic and regular inspections and maintenance. With North American Roofing, you can be confident that you’re getting unsurpassed roof care by the top professionals in the industry. No matter what your roofing needs are — we have the solution.

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