Top Five Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks

Top Five Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks

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If you’re seeing water dripping from your ceiling after each and every rain shower, there’s a good chance you have some roof issues. However, there are some other not so intrusive indicators that you can also look for which will let you know if it’s time for a roof inspection.

Stained walls and/or ceiling– If you see discoloration on ceiling tiles, walls or corners or ceiling and walls can be as a result of leaks. It could also indicate water damage within the wall structure itself.

Odor and/or Mold – A consistent smell of mildew can be caused by mold growing as a result of the moist environment. Mold can also cause health issues to those if not treated.

Once you identify there is a problem, most roof leaks come down to one of the following five issues…

Poor or No Drainage

If you have standing water on your roof, the issue can be narrowed down to a problem with your roof’s drainage system. The drainage of your roof is managed by two options; Gravity-fed, where the roof’s slope draws water way to the main drainage system or a Symphonic system. A symphonic drainage system is where the drain is fitted with cap that prevents air from entering the drain creating a lower atmospheric pressure which in response, sucks water in and allows the water to move without the need for slopes or gravity.

Without proper roof drainage, standing water can breakdown the barrier membrane overtime causing seepage into the roof’s substructure and eventually interior of the building, mold and puddling within your facility. In addition, standing water will create additional weight on your roof which can lead to structural strain and further damage.

Open Penetrations in the roof

Roof vents, HVAC units, drains, gas lines, pipes and other systems are all very common on flat commercial roofs. All of these systems come through the roof’s membrane which are referred to as penetrations. Leaks can take place at the intersection of these roof penetrations over time or after any damage cause by high winds, equipment repairs, etc.

Areas of penetrations should be properly sealed during the initial roof installation or can be repaired with the appropriate sealants by a professional roofing contractor.

Flashing Damage

Where the the roof conjoins with other roof sections, skylights, chimneys and roof edges, flashing is used to seal off the possibility of water entering these locations. Flashings are pieces of metal which can be damaged by changing temperatures, winds and aging.

Membrane Damage

All commercial roofs will have some sort of waterproof membrane layer as the primary water barrier. Damage to this barrier can come in the form of heavy foot traffic, natural occurrences such as hail, wind, falling branches that can puncture or tear the membrane as well as damage due to mechanical issues such as HVAC and other non-roof related maintenance issues.

Most often, damages can be successfully repaired with patch work done by a trained commercial roof repair technician. In other instances, larger membrane section repairs may require the replacement of insulation and possible structural work depending on how long the repair goes unattended.

Roof Age

A commercial roof’s lifespan can vary based on the type of material used and whether or not your invest in a regular maintenance schedule. In general, a commercial roofing system can last up to 15 to 20 years.  When the time comes for a roof replacement, commercial building codes allow up to 2 roof systems to be installed on your building which after that, the roof will need to be removed prior to replacing it with a new roof system.

Do you have a commercial roof leak?

For the past decade, WNC Roofing has been solely focused on commercial roof repair, maintenance and replace for commercial and industrial businesses throughout the Upstate SC and Western North Carolina regions. Our team of service technicians are trained to identify and repair all commercial roof types in a Safe Smart and Professional manner.

Our “Fixed right the first time. Every time” mantra provides all you with the confidence of turning a reactive roofing problem into a proactive plan to will eliminate future leaks and minimize your roofing expenses.

Give Us a Call at 800-704-7765 or request a repair today.


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