How Rooftop HVAC Units Can Damage Your Commercial Roof

As a business owner, one of your number one priorities is keeping your employees, tenants, and other occupants comfortable in your building. To maintain this high level of comfort, business owners and facility managers will often opt to have industrial-strength HVAC units installed on the roof. The subsequent benefits are typically immeasurable, with precise temperature control, reduced energy use, ventilation options, and relatively low maintenance. 

However, while these rooftop units can certainly be kept out of sight, they should not be kept out of mind. Over time, these units can take a serious toll on your roof and should be closely monitored by commercial roofing specialists in Tampa in order to catch a variety of different roof problems. In this brief article, we’ll explain just a few of the most common ways rooftop HVAC units can damage your commercial roof.

Related: 3 Important Reasons Why You Need a Roofer to Work on Your A/C

Faulty Installation

The first and possibly most common way HVAC units can damage your commercial roof is through faulty installation. While high-quality flat roofs are incredibly durable and able to withstand significant amounts of weight, HVAC units are still massive and bulky objects. If such units aren’t installed correctly, they can and will cause damage and deterioration to your commercial roof. For example, many business owners have reported having multiple leaks repaired over and over again, only to find that the true source could be linked back to their HVAC system. 

To avoid a problem like this, you’ll want to have a highly-experienced roofing contractor be a part of the installation process. This is because even installing a new A/C curb involves cutting into the roof deck, attaching the curb, and providing waterproof seals on all four sides. This is not a job that you should trust solely to the HVAC technician.


By now, you know that water and commercial roofs are not a good match. Unfortunately, one of the largest issues with rooftop HVAC units is the condensation caused when the unit is running. While rooftop HVAC units typically produce vaporized water that can be released into the air, faulty or malfunctioning units may cause this same vapor to condense and pool at the base of your unit. Another common cause of water pooling occurs when the HVAC technician is incapable of properly installing the unit and instead leaves damage on the surface of the roof membrane, leading to cracks and low spots. 

In either instance, water pooling on your commercial roof can lead to serious problems, such as mold, vegetation growth, discoloration, and structural damage. It can also erode the surface of the roof’s membrane and lead to leaks. The best way to prevent this issue is to have your unit inspected regularly and a proper drainage system installed that funnels excess condensation off of the roof, such as scuppers.

Related: Everything You Need to Know about Leaks and Commercial Roofs

Excessive Foot Traffic

Finally, it’s important to be wary of excessive foot traffic. While having your rooftop HVAC units regularly inspected through routine maintenance is critical to extending the lifespan of your unit and detecting early signs of leaks, HVAC technicians who aren’t trained to work upon your roof can cause serious damage. Even what seems like a minor amount of foot traffic in the grand scheme of things can easily cause strain to the membrane of your roof, leading to cracks, leaks, and other major issues. The best solution to this problem is to first ensure you have established walkways leading to the unit, and second, have one of our commercial roofing specialists join in on the inspection.

To speak with a roofing professional regarding commercial re-roofing in Tampa, or to schedule a consultation, please submit our contact request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional counsel.


How to Spot a Commercial Roof Leak

Are you prepared to spend a few thousand dollars repairing your commercial roof next year? If not, it’s critical to practice preventative maintenance on your commercial roof, including familiarizing yourself with the danger signs to look out for to keep your roof in top shape and avoid costly repairs. Below, we go into detail on just a few of the surefire signs of a commercial roof leak. If you’re looking for a professional roofing contractor that knows how to prevent roof leaks in Tampa, get in touch with one of our team members here at Aderhold Roofing.

Related: 3 Reasons Why Business Owners Should Never Ignore a Commercial Roof Leak

Visible Damage to Your Roof

The first and most obvious sign of a commercial roof leak is visible damage to your roof in the form of standing water, membrane blisters, tears or rips in the membrane, damaged flashing, open seams, alligatoring, and more. If you catch sight of anything from a clogged drain or a pool of water on the surface of your roof, you may be at risk for a commercial roof leak in Tampa and should take action immediately. Most of the time, you will be able to catch a roof leak before it enters your building by being vigilant and having a professional roofing contractor inspect, clean, and repair your roof.

Stained Ceilings or Walls

Another major indicator of a roof leak is water stains or spots on the walls and ceilings of your facility. These stains are typically light brown and, although they can come in any shape, mostly appear as rings on ceilings or flowing stripes across your walls. Should you notice any stains or peeling paint on your ceilings or walls, it’s important to get in contact with a contractor as soon as possible as they will determine whether the stains are truly the result of your roof or something else like the plumbing.

Related: Why Is My Commercial Roof Leaking?

Mold Growth

Yet another surefire sign of a commercial roof leak is mold. The crucial ingredient for mold is water, so if you’re finding unexplained mold growth throughout your building, there’s a high probability that a roof leak has gone undetected and water is coming into the building. This is especially true if you see mold in the attic of your building; however, hidden mold may also produce a foul smell throughout your building without you ever seeing the source of the problem. As mold can quickly become a health problem for your building’s occupants, this is another situation in which you’ll want to schedule an inspection with a roofing contractor as soon as possible.

Higher Energy Bills

Last but not least, higher energy bills may also be a sign of a commercial roof leak. This is because water intrusion is incredibly detrimental to the insulation in the attic area of your building. The longer the roof leak is allowed to go unchecked, the more saturated the insulation will become, and the longer it will take to dry out. This leads your building to be unable to retain warm air in the winter or cold air in the summer and, thus, results in higher energy bills to compensate for the loss of insulation. If you have noticed any of the signs laid out in this article, contact a commercial roofer in Tampa like Aderhold Roofing to conduct an inspection and get to work on the necessary repairs.

To speak with a roofing professional regarding a commercial roof leak in Tampa, please submit our contact request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional counsel.


4 Signs It May Be Time to Replace Your Commercial Roof

While the roof covering your commercial property may boast higher durability and a longer lifespan than its residential counterparts, this doesn’t make it immune from damage. Most flat roofs are also susceptible to leaks in ways that many sloped roofs are not, such as the tendency to develop ponding. Rather than wait until your roof has reached the end of its lifespan or is about to fail and leave you dealing with costly water damage, it’s best to make yourself aware of some of the most common signs that your existing roof needs to be replaced ahead of time. Should you notice any of the signs described in the article on your commercial roof, be sure to get in contact with Aderhold Roofing for commercial roof replacement in Tampa.

Related: Should You Repair, Recover, or Replace Your Commercial Roof?

1. Ponding Water

When properly designed, installed, and maintained, most commercial roofs have enough slope and proper drainage systems in place to drain water. On the other hand, if water is unable to drain or evaporate and remains on your commercial roof for 48 hours or more, then your roof is experiencing something known as ponding. Depending on the condition of your roof and the materials used to construct or restore it, ponding may not always be a major issue.


However, in any case, you’ll always want a quality roofing contractor in place who will be able to assess the seriousness of the issue and provide a solution, if necessary. One situation which may require a complete roof replacement is if the ponding has led to cracks and water has been able to seep into the layers of the roof. This can seriously harm the surface of your roof and shorten the lifespan of your roofing system.

2. Damaged Flashing

Flashing, or the metal strips attached to all the seams and edges of your roof, is used to divert water away from some of the most vulnerable parts of your roof. When flashing cracks, bends upward, becomes rusted, or otherwise gets damaged, it won’t be able to shed water away from the protrusion, and there’s a good chance that water will be allowed to get in your building. Not only do these leaks start slow, but they are also difficult to detect as they may create damage far away from the entry point. Conducting routine roof maintenance is critical to preventing this type of damage.

Related: Why You Need to Plan Now for Commercial Roof Replacement

3. Blistering

A roof blister is a raised area of the roof where there is a loss of adhesion due to the roofing materials stretching, either from the heat or direct sunlight. The raised areas are then allowed to fill up with air or water and, if left untreated, will continue to expand and grow until they tear off the roofing materials, leaving you with extensive damage and repair costs. Blistering can be caused by a number of factors, including improper ventilation and improper roof installation. The most common occurrence in which roof replacement is necessary is when the problem is allowed to worsen and moisture is allowed to infiltrate the building.

4. Rips and Tears in the Membrane

Finally, one of the easiest ways to tell if it’s time to replace your commercial roof is to assess whether there is considerable and irreparable damage to the roof membrane. For example, many types of critical equipment like HVAC systems and generators require regular maintenance. During the installation and maintenance of these systems, there’s always a possibility that your roofing membrane could become torn, punctured, or otherwise damaged. Your best option to catch this damage in its tracks and avoid total roof failure is to have your commercial roof inspected before and after any major work performed on rooftop equipment. If you’ve noticed any one of these signs of commercial roofing damage on your building, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our commercial roofing contractors in Tampa.

To speak with a roofing professional regarding commercial roof replacement in Tampa, or to schedule a consultation, please submit our contact request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional counsel.