Roof Maintenance

commercial rooftop in Tucson, AZ

The Basics of Commercial Roof Maintenance Programs

A new roof is not a set it and forget it project. It requires a plan be put in place for preventative maintenance, just like any other component of your building, whether it's interior or exterior. The relatively small ongoing investment for preventive maintenance will save significant money compared to the cost of sudden, unexpected repairs. 

Most times, people will have their carpets cleaned, or have their windows cleaned, but never think about performing preventative maintenance on their roof assembly. Now, your roofs are certainly exposed to much harsher elements than your carpets, the interior of your windows, but it's easy to forget the things that you don't see every day. But without that preventative maintenance, can be a very costly long-term ramifications.

Here's an example of how that could play out in the real world. In 2011, on the same city block, two identical roof systems were installed. Basically, the roofs were the same size, and had the same specification, in regards to warranty term.

AFter 10 years those warranties expired, and after a few more years, the owners both decided that it was time to renew, or recoat, those roof systems.

One owner had enrolled in a program of annual preventative maintenance, throughout the life of that warranty, and even including the couple years beyond. The other had not performed any maintenance at all.

The owner who had not performed any maintenance, his renewal and recoating price, was 30% higher than the facility-owner who had installed that recoat - or the preventative maintenance. The overall savings was significant.

Regular roof maintenance can prevent various different types of damage being caused to the building.

Regular roof maintenance basically gets somebody on your roof to take a visual inspection of all the different components. It doesn't take much for a small split or tear to develop into a major leak quickly, especially if it's over a weekend, when the facility's not occupied, it can become very costly, very quickly.

Options for maintenance on your new roof can be as simple as a couple of technicians simply walking the roof on an annual, or even semiannual basis, just to clean the vegetation or debris that may have accumulated around drains, or gutters, or scuppers, just to make sure that the water's flowing.

The next level of that is to have them perform a greater, or a more in-depth, survey of all the seams, and the penetrations, and all the flashing conditions, the coping and metal edge conditions plus any penetrations where you might have equipment mounted to the rooftop. This takes a little bit longer. They're on more of a task for actually looking at deficiencies, than generally on the earlier one, just being a type of a cleaning, or just a pure debris-removal project.

The third aspect would be to perform larger and more extensive repairs, which would occur later on down the road, typically once the roof has aged four or five, six years, and older, where at that point, you might have a preventative maintenance program that includes maybe up to a couple of percentage of the square footage of the entire building being replaced, in addition to some of the cleaning and general maintenance that would go on.

Different Types of Commercial Roof Maintenance Programs

We feel that there are four primary types of commercial roof maintenance programs.

They can be as simple as having just a couple of technicians walk the roof, just to clean debris off the roof, and make sure that all the drainage components are flowing properly, make sure there's no debris accumulation around the drains, the gutters, the scuppers. It's a very simple process, generally it only takes a couple hours on the average-size facility, and it's very low-cost, but it can prevent some disastrous results, if you've got backed up drains, and building swimming pools on your roofs.

The next process is the probably the most common, which is combined with cleaning of the drains, and scuppers, and getting debris off the roof.

But it can be taken to the next level of actually looking at all the seams, penetrations, all the flashings... actually looking for items that possibly aren't leaking yet, but could develop into a leak concern within the time frame between this maintenance, and the next annual or semi-annual maintenance that is performed. It takes a little bit longer, and it costs a little bit more than the first option.

But that's generally what is being accomplished - making sure that nothing's letting loose, or going to fail within the next six to 12 months.

The third type is a little bit more extensive, where it might be that a roof gets a little bit older, and is starting to begin to show some signs of age. It might still be under warranty, but the owner might opt for, in addition to the maintenance that was just mentioned above, possibly installing even a sacrificial coating over some of the roof areas.

As the UV starts to break down some of these membranes, possibly installing an aluminized asphalt, or an acrylic, or even a silicone coating, can extend some life and add some peace of mind to that facility owner, that they've got a sacrificial coating, and it's gonna help prolong that roof system for a couple more years.

Another type of maintenance program that can be offered is a program that entails some callback features in it, so that basically, the contractor will come in and do a maintenance program on more or less an as-needed basis. Oftentimes it's difficult to capture all of the maintenance issues in that first call, so the idea is to build into that initial price, a first, and second, and the third return call, so that if not every concern is captured in that first visit, that the owner can call, and know that the contractor will return to continue to work on it two or three more trips, without additional fees running up on time and material basis from port to port, and oftentimes it's more cost-effective. And then it puts the contractor on a little bit higher-level of accountability, because they don't have that open checkbook, knowing that if it leaks again, that they can just come back and bill, and bill, and bill again.

That additional level of accountability is something that many consider a very good option.

Scheduling your maintenance program should be something you're thinking of any time you're doing any capital improvement, budgeting, or sequencing within your facility. Most maintenance contracts are performed, at minimum, annually.

In the northern portion of the United States, where you've got the climate change and heavy snow, anything that's harsh experiencing winter, or any type of repetitive freeze-thaw cycles, maybe a semi-annual basis is more appropriate. Here in Arizona, an annual review is typically adequate.

However, getting up there prior to the powerful monsoon season is a good idea, just to make sure that everything is clean, drainage components are working properly, and there's nothing that's going to cause an issue when the heavy rains and wind come through.

The third part of that is, you really wanna get a professional looking at your roof after any significant weather event. Whether it's a thunderstorm, a hail activity or event, or a micro-burst as we know can happen during the summer, it's always good just to get some trained eyes, if your facility doesn't have maintenance guys who can handle that type of activity, just to get another look at it, and generally that's just a walk through to make sure that something as minor as a panel on an HVAC unit hasn't fallen off and rolled across your roof, and you haven't noticed it leaking yet, but it's near it.

So if you have any questions regarding roof inspections, roof replacements, and more importantly, roof maintenance, feel free to get in touch with us here at DC Roofing of Arizona.  As licensed and insured roofing contractors, we'll give you an honest assessment of your roof.

An experienced commercial roofing company analyzes a particular building and identifies unique solutions, from making use of an energy audit to recommending a highly energy-efficient solution for your rooftop. It is best to hire a licensed, professional roofer to carry out the inspections and maintenance of the roof, as typically the plant owners have no knowledge or experience in the commercial roofing trade.

There are a lot of commercial roof options for your flat roof when it comes to materials, some of which include metal roofs as a common commercial roofing system, restoration options over your existing roof include spray foam, modified bitumen, reflective coating roof, builtup roofing (BUR), single-ply coating systems, Torch Down, EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer), single ply membranes, TPO Membrane Roofing system, TPO over gravel and more. For more information on the best commercial roofing products and services, contact us today.

Tearing down the roof usually means limiting your business activities for at least a few days, which can cost you even more in revenue. If you want to maximize the life expectancy of your roof and get the most out of your investment, consider implementing a commercial roof repair and maintenance program. 

When it comes to roof maintenance compared to roof repair or replacement, the money you pay compared to the work and money you'll save on a full new roof installation makes for an easy choice. Whether you decide to schedule a maintenance plan where qualified roof contractors with professional equipment will provide regular, complete service inspections to ensure your roof is in good shape is up to you. But it's a top point to understand that having a professional inspect your roof today rather than waiting for some big storm to call your insurance company to learn what kind of best estimate they'll offer you can take a lot of future stress out of your business life. Don't wait to see water leak or other problems develop - get regular roof maintenance team on your roof at least once a year and prevent future damage before it's too late.