Pinpointing roof problems while they are still small and manageable translates into big savings for facility owners. Over time, high winds, torrential rains, snow loads and UV sun-rays take a toll on the best roofs. Some roof areas are more likely to fail before others are, and these areas should be examined regularly for signs of distress. Every building is slightly different but there are common concerns that apply to many roofs. Knowing how to identify and address these problems is essential in extending the useful life of your roof.
Seams interrupt the roofing membrane surface. While seaming technology improves every year, older roofs, such as those installed with thermoset technology, are at a greater risk of seam distress. If your building is in a high-wind region, the constant battering of the wind increases the risk of seam failure, resulting in wind uplift and eventual leakage issues.
Different roofing systems offer various types of protection against wind uplift at the seams. A fully adhered roof features adhesives that bond the membrane securely to the roof deck or insulation layer, reducing membrane movement, which creates stress at the seams.
Ballasted roofs feature a substantial layer of gravel or pavers installed on top of the membrane to hold it securely in place. It’s possible to use wider membrane widths with a ballasted roof, which reduces the number of seams. Because ballast adds a substantial amount of weight to the roof, however, the building must be structurally able to support the additional load.
Induction-welded roofs offer fewer penetrating fasteners and additional wind uplift resistance. This type of roofing system uses coated plate fasteners to secure the insulation layer to the deck. The membrane is then electromagnetically “welded” in place. Induction welding requires fewer seams, which substantially reduces leakage risk.
The transition from roofing membrane to perimeter flashing creates a potential problem area. Reducing perimeter complications requires professional knowledge of watershed during installation. The best insurance against perimeter failure is expert installation and professional inspections and maintenance.
Security at Penetration Sites
Any penetration in a low-slope roof increases the risk of leaks. Like seams, penetrations are interruptions in the membrane that must be professionally flashed and sealed to prevent leaks. Standard methods of addressing penetrations include installing “boots” and the use of pitch pans, sealants and hoods to reduce leakage risk.
Problems with penetrations increase when multiple penetrations are necessary in one area or when the penetrations are irregularly shaped, making them more difficult to seal.
Finding and Addressing the Problems
It makes good financial sense to keep a close eye on the health of your roof, but that isn’t as simple as it sounds. To the untrained eye, the roof membrane might look strong and healthy, when in reality, moisture could be seeping through and saturating the insulation and structure beneath. When this occurs, large areas of the roof can be damaged beyond repair before the owner or manager even notices a problem.
In addition to professional visual inspections, North American Roofing uses infrared moisture detection technology to pinpoint saturation beneath the membrane that is invisible to the naked eye. Because roof replacement is costly, it’s imperative to protect the roof you have right now.
Just because you don’t see a problem with your building’s roof, doesn’t mean disaster isn’t lurking just around the corner. The only way to be sure is to have a professional roof assessment. Don’t second-guess the condition of your roof. Call North American Roofing today at 800-551-5602 for a professional roof checkup and expert recommendations for how you can extend the life of your roof.