open ceiling tiles from commercial roof leak

4 Common Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks [And What to Do]

Whether it’s residential or commercial, you’ll find that no roof is immune from the common causes of roof damage.

A commercial roof leak is an inconvenience, no doubt about it.

Commercial roof leaks, however, can have a lot on the line if they’re not taken care of promptly.

Therefore, being aware of a commercial roof’s typical issues can aid in preventing a ton of future problems, while also saving time, money, and many awkward calls with your building tenants. So, we invite you to continue reading about the primary causes of commercial roof leaks!

Know the Signs of Leaking Commercial Roofs 

Stained Ceiling/Walls

Whether you have ceiling tiles or other types of ceiling systems in your facility, prolonged exposure to water will create a discolored area in your ceiling

If the leak is near a wall, the water stains could run down the corresponding wall. If this is the case, it’s possible that there is also water damage within the wall.

Visible Damage to Roof or Flashings 

Many types of roof damage can cause leaks in your commercial building. Most of the time you can catch a roof leak before it enters your building by being vigilant and keeping your roof in good shape. 

This can be done by signing up for a maintenance plan, or by having a roofing contractor inspect, clean, and repair your roof regularly.

Some signs of damage that can lead to roof leaks:

  • Standing water from poor drainage – clogged drains will cause water to collect and look like ponds on your roof
  • Membrane blisters or alligatoring – aged and weathered membranes will look cracked or bubbled
  • Open seams – the edges of the membrane on your roof can become unsecured
  • Tears or holes in membranes – whether it’s from something falling on your roof, or someone walking, a tear or hole in your roof can be repaired if caught early
  • Damaged flashing – the metal flashing around your roof can become unsecured or damaged after severe weather

Odor and Mold 

A foul smell in your facility could be a red flag for hidden mold. Mold grows in moist environments, so if water is continuously entering your building, there may be a chance that mold could grow and spread. 

A mold problem in your commercial facility should not be taken lightly, as it could cause illness.

Tar foil roof repair: new patches installed to prevent further leaking from the roof. Emergency repair.

Common Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks 

When commercial roofs are installed, the contractor should also consider where the water will drain. 

There are multiple points of vulnerability when draining your commercial roof: drains, gutters, downspouts, and scuppers. These areas need to be cleaned regularly to ensure they are clear and able to move water off of the roof.

When water is not draining from your roof properly, you may need to manually take care of it due to standing or ponding water. When this water sits on your roof too long, it can cause many issues to occur. In addition to risking a leak through the membrane, the water can add a lot of extra weight to your building structure.

Open Penetrations

Roof penetrations are HVAC units, vents, drains, pipes, gas lines, and other systems that come through the roof membrane. They can be found on many flat commercial roofs.

While these are vulnerable areas for leaks, they can be properly sealed during a roof installation or spray coating.

Damaged Roof Flashings

Flashing protects your roof membrane’s exterior edges. It also helps seal the area around your chimney and vents. 

As your roof is damaged by the weather and fluctuating temperatures, the flashing can expand, contract, and become loose. 

This creates an entry point for water, allowing it to pour under the membrane. If your flashing breaks, it could cause the underlying roof structure and ceiling to deteriorate due to moisture damage. Get it repaired as quickly as possible.

Damaged Membrane

Roofing membranes help seal flat roofs and make them waterproof, but these materials can get damaged by sun and weather over time.

When this happens, you might see cracks, shrinkage, blistering, or holes that expose the roof’s insulation. This damage allows water to enter your roof and flow down into your building. When this happens, repair or replacement of the membrane is the only choice.

Poorly Aged Roof 

Most commercial roofs have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years before they need replacement. Be sure to update all roof maintenance records throughout your tenure as building manager so you can build a case for repair or replacement, should damage occur. 

Note installation dates and expiration dates of product and workmanship warranties where possible. 

A detailed record will make it easier for roofing contractors to assess the state of the roof in question when you contact a commercial roof repair service for an estimate.

Rugged Coatings Helps You Find an Authorized Applicator

Stop wasting your time and money on two roofing products, from two different companies, with conflicting warranties, frustrating customer service teams, and no guarantee they’ll work well together.

Rugged Coatings is providing the same reliable coating products you’re used to, with the industry’s best spray polyurethane roof foam products engineered to work together for superior protection. 

As a benefit to our customers, we’ve partnered with our sister company, Accufoam®, to bring you the highest-performing roofing system available.

Protect your work with a unified roofing system created to bond with unwavering strength.

Learn more about the benefits of a unified roofing system.

If you don’t have a distributor just yet, Rugged Coatings can help you get in touch with one! 

You can contact us directly and we’ll connect you with a Rugged Coatings distributor in your area. We work closely with our Rugged Coatings distributors to provide industry-leading contractor support.

You can also suggest that your distributor carry Rugged Coatings! Just tell us who your distributor is and we’ll contact them to begin the process of supplying you with Rugged Coatings.

Contact us today for more information.