Commercial Roof Inspections Explained

Question: How often should I have my roof professionally inspected? And what are technicians generally looking for?

Inspections should be performed on a commercial building twice a year, according to the industry. Typically after the winter and after the summer, because those are your two harshest climates. So in the winter the roof starts to cool or it starts to contract, so it starts to shrivel up and pull. And then in the summer, when it gets warm, it starts to loosen up.

For an example, consider a beautiful and sunny day with a temperature around 50 degrees. The roofs are heating up depending on what color roof you have and it might be 50 degrees now, but in the morning it was in the 30s. So your roof could possibly be 70 or 80 degrees now, then at night as the sun goes down it's going to snap back to a 30 to 40 degrees, so you start getting a lot of give and take. That's when you start getting a lot of your splits and cracks. So what a technician should do when they go up on to it and do a roof inspection is walk the roof and look at all the flashing points.

The flashing points are anything that penetrates through the roof. The penetrations are typically the weakest point of the roof - anything that breaks the field of the roof or the plane of the roof is considered a penetration. So obviously when you put a roof out you have to lay it out flat and then the penetration has to have extra material on it, and it moves at different rates than the field of the roof. So therefore the wintertime when the roof starts to contract that can start pulling those penetration points. And then in the summertime when it starts to loosen up, then the penetration points obviously start to relax too, and weaken. So it's always wise to do extra layers at your weakest point, which is considered the penetrations.

Example of a Commercial Roof Inspection Walk-Through


okay this is unit number two above the offices it is designated Unit two on the side here here's the overflow looks like it's cracked you can see the joint open here is the label for unit number two easier to read it's not in the direct sunlight unit number one on the front of the building over the offices it is tag unit one as you can see here the tag is extremely faded this is the tag on the large unit at the rear sudden fade it it's kind of hard to read this is the largest of the three units it's on the roof this is at the rear of the building above the warehouse space okay we are on Franklin Street in Riverside this is just by the ladder coming up onto the roof itself we're into a quick walk around and then we're going to look at some of the features of the roof you can see on the cap the cape is lifting and at times you'll see nails coming up where they've actually nailed the cap on you can see the pink Hill and then also the nails coming on the top of the roof tile is not very well done this is some broken tiles and some cracking in this section again more nails are lifting more cracking on a tile here you can see it's the two caps are lifting and the seal is gone again seal is gone on that joint this is the front section that I'm walking right above that's the face of the building you can see the seal here is coming off screws not very well sealed here you can see some exposed nails and lifting no seal around it again lifting nails another nail there is some debris from the trees up here against a parapet wall some of those roofing nails at our seals the rear of the of the building and back at the ladder