How To Maintain Your Commercial Roof
Updated: Jan 23
A well-maintained roof provides some great benefits for your condominium or building, such as saving costs on energy bills and increasing value. And Florida weather offers some great perks when it comes to your roof. For example, you don’t have to deal with shoveling snow off of it or dealing with heavy icicles that could cause a potential cave-in.
HOWEVER, the Sunshine State is not immune to problems with regards to your roof.
There is, of course, hurricane season, where falling trees and flying debris can cause serious, immediate damage, and there are even random happenstances when your rooftop pool leaks into your tenants' units below. TWICE.
BUT there are seemingly less obvious damages that can creep up causing lasting damage to your commercial roof.
Ideally, conducting an annual building inspection will help you identify potential maintenance issues before they become a problem and/or lead to costly repairs!
PREVENT WATER LEAKS
The exterior walls of a building can be a significant source of unwanted water leakage. It's easy to forget how many openings are required in commercial building walls - from plumbing and irrigation connections to lighting, HVAC system elements, exhaust vents, air intakes, joints around windows and doors, and fire alarms, to name a few.
There are also unplanned holes caused by aging brick joints that need re-pointing, vanishing sealants, damage from acid rain and settling cracks. All wall penetrations provide easy access for water, bugs, field mice, birds or other unwanted pests to enter a building and cause damage.
Checking for changes in a building since last year is also recommended. Do you have abandoned pipe penetrations from a tenant upgrade? A new tenant demo? Or maybe just a deteriorated building joint which can make the building joint vulnerable to the elements and unwanted pests?
If a building is seriously damaged, specialists may be needed to bring a wall system back up to its expected performance level. Regular inspections by the property manager or a trained professional will help identify these potential problems early and save the owner money.
One of the most common culprits of roof damage is broken limbs, and branches rubbing on the shingles. To prevent damage, it’s important to cut your trees away from the roof. This will not only remove a hazard but also keep your gutters cleaner by reducing leaf buildup. A commitment to good roof maintenance practices can help facility managers avoid overflowing gutters, clogged downspouts and excessive ponding water which can lead to costly roof, facade and foundation damage.
Decaying leaves, organic debris, and dirt run-off can all contribute to ponding water and clogged gutters and downspouts, which is why it is essential that all roof drains remain clear of obstructions. In addition to the risk of water pouring into the tenant spaces should a breach in the roof occur, the freezing and thawing of ponding water during the rainier months can cause extensive roof damage.
PROTECT & REPAIR THE CONCRETE
All types of parking structures are subject to deterioration from time, water, and weather. Specialists have identified key indicators that a facility, such as a parking garage, is in need of preventative maintenance: water leakage; ponding water; expansion joint failure; exposed rebar; etc.
A wide scope of restoration, repair and reinforcing services are offered by certified specialty contractors who can repair cracks, deterioration, pot-holes, and carry in concrete and masonry. As a general rule, concrete repairs are made BEFORE they become a more serious or costly issue, but there are measures that facility managers can take to actually PREVENT future damage. Applying waterproofing and urethane or acrylic protective coatings to traffic decks, pedestrian areas, or exterior facades will extend the life of the repair, protect adjacent areas that are currently in good condition and significantly improve the aesthetics of the area treated.
For buildings with a concrete parking structure, after hurricane season is an ideal time to survey for damage to assess any new damages and prevent new ones before the next hurricane season. Vehicles regularly entering and exiting parking garages leave water, oil, and muck behind.
An irregular or negligent maintenance routine on a parking structure can quickly lead to costly repairs and restorations that can be disruptive to your tenants and cause unexpected expenses and, more importantly, safety concerns.
A concrete maintenance and restoration expert can identify specific problem areas and recommend a repair plan and maintenance schedule for your building.
REVIEW YOUR INSURANCE POLICY
Say you've taken all of the steps to prepare your property for the worst: LIFE STILL HAPPENS. Having commercial property insurance coverage for your business is critical. If you made the wise decision to have strong commercial coverage for your business or for a large commercial structure, you expect your insurance company to step up when you have a covered claim. You likely spent a lot of money for this protection and the expense was incurred for a very specific purpose – to ensure that you are properly paid when you have a covered loss.
Similar to a residential homeowner's policy, commercial insurance policies are complex legal documents that detail the rights and obligations of the parties in dealing with an insurance claim. Trying to distinguish what you have coverage for can test your sanity, as you try to make sense of the various types of coverages set forth in your policy along with all of the endorsements attached to the policy.
Have a legal expert in property insurance law perform a review of all insurance policies, to make sure you're covered in case of an event.