Until leaks appear, roofs are oftentimes unseen and away from mind. The basic truth is that roof deficiencies do not improve with time, and ignoring maintenance situations can result in other more deep-seated building issues. Roof inspections oftentimes reveal typical problems but also some not-so-predictable issues.
The National Roofing Contractors Association and the majority of professional orlando commercial roofing contractors recommend inspecting roofs twice each year, once following the hottest weather, and again after the coldest weather. Weather events such as high winds or hailstorms should also prompt a thorough assessment. The purpose of routine roof inspections is to identify and fix minor problems before they become a serious financial strain. Roofs that are inspected regularly tend to be much better maintained, simply because the process of inspecting a roof is a sign of well-managed facilities. Even when roofs are inspected in a regular basis, inspections can still reveal surprises.
Owners often believe that a professional or roof contractor is required for basic inspections. To the contrary, facility managers or facility staff, equipped with a detailed checklist, can conduct most routine semi-annual inspections effectively. These routine inspections often reveal many common problems.
An important purpose of regular roof inspections is to produce work orders for repair and maintenance work, but well-intentioned facility managers often authorize such orders for work the staff then neglects to carry out. Because of tenant or client complaints, repair of actual leaks generally receives attention from the maintenance staff. Less urgent maintenance items, such as loosened flashings, routine roof cleaning, and obstructed drainage, are often postponed.
When performing the current inspection, one useful tool in inspecting roofs is for the inspector to have the most recent prior inspection report as a checklist. A good inspection report should show 1) the completed items from the last inspection, 2) uncompleted items from the last inspection, and 3) new items since the last inspection. Experienced inspectors are well aware of the collective uncorrected items that show up repeatedly on inspection reports time after time.
Facility managers need to set deadlines for correcting each item detailed on inspection records and have a follow-up process to guarantee compliance.
Obstructed Drainage System
Among the best means to minimize roof problems is to make the water off the roof as rapidly and easily as possible. Roofs can drain in a variety of ways: over the edge into gutters, via through-wall scuppers, and through internal roof drains. Even when the roof drains over the edge into gutters, problems can occur when downspouts and gutters are not cleaned out regularly.
Through-wall scuppers are often undersized, which can result in blockage by plastic bottles, balls, and even pine cones. Scuppers and linking conductor heads and downspouts should be cleaned out routinely to permit free flow. Leaves, brush, and even bird nests are often found in conductor heads, which can cause water to back up on the roof during heavy rains.
Properly designed roof drains are positioned at the low areas on a roof. Because the rainwater flows to the drainpipes, so do dragging rubbish and leaves, which can clog the roof drain strainer. Roof drain strainers should be fastened in place. Missing or loose strainers make it possible for debris to clog the roof drain piping beneath the roofline.
Gutters, downspouts, drains, and scuppers should be inspected and free from obstructions that inhibit free flow.
Roofs are a tempting target for vandalism not only by thieves, but also by youthful mischief-makers anxious to undertake risky nocturnal adventures. Vandalism can consist of broken skylights or windows, perforations, and damage to mechanical and electrical equipment. Vandalism that does not yield indoor damage or clues may go undetected for weeks or months until the next roof inspection. At the same time, such damage may be causing undetected water seepage into the roof assembly.
Facility managers should have a dynamic system to prevent vandalism by tightly prohibiting roof access and possibly making use of on-the-roof security cameras or motion detectors. A security guard should cover the bottom eight to ten feet of exterior roof access ladders, and the location should be properly lit. Internal roof hatches and doors should be kept sealed, with authorized individuals controlling the keys.