By Dan Jaramillo
November 23rd, 2021
A roof system is the first line of defense against inclement weather. There are different types of roof structures and roofing systems; each type will require specific attention to effectively maintain the full intended purpose and performance during the expected lifespan. Depending on the layout of the roof and the type of structure, a maintenance program should be developed to adequately improve its overall condition.
Ultraviolet light from the sun, strong winds, rainfall, hail and snow, all have negative effects on a roof system. Since roofs withstand severe exposure to the elements, we highly recommend regular inspections be performed by a qualified roof system professional. Extensive roof assessments provide significant information about the condition of the roof system, including the identification of deficiencies in drainage, watertight integrity, structural stability, and longevity. The longer that roof system deficiencies remain unaddressed, the more likely there will be costly and more extensive repairs; it may also cause premature failure of the roof system and shorten the expected lifespan. If replacement is required, a suitable design approach must be implemented to properly restore the roof system; the updates to the roof system must also current building code regulations such as thermal values, drainage requirements, snow load, point load, and wind uplift. Generally, the useful life of a roof ranges from 15 – 25 years, depending on the roofing system type and the quality of the installation. A professional can if determine repairs or replacement is the most efficient and cost-effective route following a condition assessment.
Whether it’s during the initial installation or during repair work, proper application of the repair materials is imperative in order to effectively treat and protect an existing roof system. Roof repairs should be performed by a qualified construction professional to ensure quality control, and a roofing manufacturer should be contacted to ensure the work is correctly performed if the system is under a warranty. If materials are improperly installed, the repair or replacement work can likely void an existing warranty as well as cause greater damage to the system and multiply the cost for further repairs.
Another important component of an efficient roof is its drainage system. An appropriate drainage design, well-maintained gutters, and regular roof drain maintenance can prevent potential leaks and extend the useful life of a roof. The drains and gutters must be periodically inspected and cleaned out and to allow a clear path for water to exit the roof; an accumulation of standing water inevitably leads to degradation of many membrane types, promotion of vegetative growth, depressions in the field of low slope roof systems, and other breakdowns in the waterproofing integrity of the system. If water is trapped on the roof, it is more likely to infiltrate the roof system and cause interior leaks. Therefore, it is essential to maintain every roof system on a regular basis to ensure the maximum protection of the first line of a building’s defense system and the maximum opportunity to achieve the expected lifespan.