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Simple Steps to Make Your Commercial Roof Last

Commercial roofing products are constantly improving, and by those incremental improvements, lasting longer. Your commercial roofer may have installed a built-up roof a decade ago and just replaced it with with a single-ply membrane; that membrane could last 20 or more years. Helping your commercial roofing to last, no matter the material, is a goal not only of your facilities crew but of your commercial roofer.

For Every Roof

Every low-slope commercial roof can benefit from these life-extending ideas:

  1. Minimize foot traffic
  2. Maintain a rigorous schedule of frequent inspections and repairs, working with your commercial roofer to arrange annual or semi-annual maintenance
  3. Removing debris and water promptly after Tampa’s (infamous) thunderstorms and hurricanes

Single Ply

Single ply membrane is tough stuff. In Tampa’s heat, humidity, and strong sun, it holds up well despite all that Mother Nature throws at it. Still, a facilities manager can extend the life of any single-ply product with a few judicious steps:

  • Keep your roof clean
  • Keep drains and scuppers clear to avoid water ponding — Ponded water acts as a prism, increasing UV light’s damaging effects
  • Ensure open seams are re-sealed the same way your commercial roofer originally installed them — This can mean either chemical adhesive or heat, but the work should match for integrity

BUR

With built-up roofing (BUR), roofing felts start to lose their volatile chemicals from Day One. The goal of your commercial roofer with BUR is to minimize the sun’s effects, says National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) researcher R. L. Bonafont. The roof needs to be considered as an integrated whole, despite the movement inherent in the layers. Bonafont recommends:

  • Increasing the overall thickness of the membrane by adding layers National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) researcher R. L. Bonafont. The roof needs to be considered as an integrated whole, despite the movement inherent in the layers. Bonafont recommends:
  • Reducing shear movement by ensuring high penetration of the bitumen
  • Increasing the use of polyester reinforcing layers to increase traction

Roof Replacement

Should repair and life-extension be insufficient, consider roof replacement. We strongly recommend thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) membranes as economical, long-lasting replacements for Tampa roofs. TPO can be mechanically fastened, fully adhered or ballasted. It enjoys much stronger seam strength than EPDM and it has none of the plasticizers used in PVC membrane, making it a green choice. A good TPO roof, well installed by an expert commercial roofer, can last 15 to 20 years at a lower cost than typical PVC membrane.

For expert advice on extending your commercial roof’s life, please contact the professionals of Aderhold Roofing today.

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4 Things to Never Do to Your Commercial Roof

Concrete dates back to the Romans. It is hard, durable and ideal for sidewalks. Single-ply commercial roofing membrane is only a few decades old. It is thin, durable and not intended for foot traffic. Treating your commercial roof like it is a sidewalk is only one of four things you should never do to the commercial roofing products protecting your business.

Invite Foot Traffic

Discourage foot traffic on your building’s roof not just to avoid slips and falls, but to preserve the commercial roofing material itself. Single-ply membrane and other roofing substances are tough but are not meant to hold up under daily pedestrian use. Consider the damage a pair of pointed heels could do to TPO, EPDM or modified bitumen.

Expect rooftop visitors to stick to the installed walkways, and keep a visitor’s log so you know who has been on the roof and for what purpose. Discourage casual visits by keeping access doors and hatches locked.

Defer Maintenance

One of the most damaging things you can do to your roof is postpone required maintenance and repairs. You may save a few dollars in this year’s budget, but you will pay far more in future years for today’s neglect.

Annual inspection and routine minor repairs extend your commercial roofing product’s life. Though it may cost a few percent of what a new roof will cost, it is money wisely spent.

Never Clean It

Keeping your commercial roof clean accomplishes several goals:

  • Improved public relations — A clean roof has customer appeal and suggests an organized business
  • Reduces damage — Wind-borne debris can scour and scuff the roof surface as it is dragged across it
  • Prevents leaks — Keeping internal drains and parapet scuppers clear of debris allows water to flow instead of ponding
  • Adds life — A clean commercial roofing surface lasts longer
  • Lessens cooling load — A dark, moss-covered or algae-covered roof absorbs heat and drives up your cooling bill

Do It Yourself

Avoid assigning your facilities crew to roof repair work. First, it is dangerous — edges are closer than they appear. Second, your crew members are not experts trained in proper roof repair. Third, their actions could void any warranty that could cover the expense of bringing in trained roofers, like the pros at Aderhold Roofing.

Please consider teaming with Aderhold Roofing to prevent doing more harm than good on your commercial roof. Contact us today. We know our business, and want to protect yours.

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What You Need to Know about Liabilities to Commercial Roofs

A liability for a property owner generally connotes insurance. Yet liabilities are simply are simply obligations you have, as in being responsible for the integrity of your commercial roof. What liabilities does your roof create for you and your commercial roofer?

Mold

If mold begins to appear inside your commercial property due to leaks in the roof, you are responsible for mold remediation. This can become prohibitively expensive. The easiest way to deal with mold is to never let it in, by careful annual inspection and maintenance from your commercial roofer. An open seam or slight puncture can allow water to infiltrate.

Mold spores are commonly in the air at all times; only when they have a moisture-rich environment will they set up homes and start reproducing. Keep the water out of your building interior, and your HVAC system will keep the natural humidity low enough to prevent mold.

Slip Hazard

To prevent slip hazards on your roof, minimize foot traffic. Keep a log of rooftop visitors (satellite dish repair person; HVAC technician; window washers), and limit access to dry days, if possible. Ensure all third parties carry their own … wait for it … liability insurance, to protect your building from legal responsibility if a technician does slip and fall.

Another method to reduce slip hazards on the roof is to insist workers follow prescribed paths, preferably along foot boards. This also reduces the likelihood of a worker’s boot causing a tear in the membrane, which could lead to our next liability, leaks.

Leaks

Leaks do more than establish mold colonies. Leaks can ruin wall surfaces, ceiling tiles, and equipment. A sustained water leak can damage inventory or cause an electrical fire. Your commercial roofer can provide annual inspection and minor roof repair so a small leak is caught before major damage is done.

Asset

Your roof is your financial obligation, but it is also an important asset. It shelters your business from the elements, so treat it as an income-protecting asset. Ignoring simple inspection and maintenance programs as offered by your commercial roofer can mean a business-shuttering disaster. Invest in the inexpensive upkeep of your roof to increase your return on the original installation investment.

To learn what Aderhold Roofing can do to protect your business’s roof, contact us today. You can partner with us and transfer some of the worry about your commercial roof liabilities from your shoulders to ours.