Why Is My Commercial Roof Leaking? 9 Common Causes Of Commercial Roof Leaks

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Did you know that the roofing materials market could reach $154.20 billion by 2025? There is a need for roof repairs and replacements. 

Are you wondering what the common causes of commercial roof leaks are? Not to worry! In this guide, we’ll go over warning signs to look out for and why roofs leak.

Want to learn more? Keep reading to find out!

Commercial Roof Leaks: A Guide

At some point in a roof’s life span, you may face issues with its structure. An older roof will wear out over time. Sometimes an installation goes wrong on a newer roof, and you don’t find out until later.

Depending on your climate, your roof could become affected by harsh winter elements. Create a snow removal plan to protect it from weather damage.

1. Blocked Drainage

When commercial roofs get installed, contractors look for where water will drain. There are vulnerable points like gutters, downspouts, and scuppers.

These areas need regular cleaning to make sure they are clear so that water can move off the roof. When water isn’t draining well, you could have standing water on your roof. This adds a lot of weight to your building.

2. Pipes and Vents in Roof Membrane

You’ll find roof penetrations on most commercial roofs. You might have an HVAC unit, pipes, gas lines, or vents coming through the roof membrane.

These areas are susceptible to leaks. You can use a spray coating or get them sealed during the roof installation. 

Have a professional inspect and seal your pipes, vents, and HVAC units. Keep an eye on them over time for any signs of water entry.

Sometimes it’s not the roof that is causing the leak. For example, skylights are standard features found on commercial and industrial buildings. The sealant in a skylight can dry out over time.

Water coming in from these leaks is mistaken for a roof leak. Call a professional to examine your roof to narrow down the issue.

3. Pools of Water

If your commercial roof is uneven, water can pool in various spots causing it to leak or sag. Most buildings have massive roofs, and water can weigh a lot. This extra weight can bog down your roof and create cracks.

Roof designs tend to include a slight slope so water can move towards drainage spots. As roofs age, they can face problems with standing water.

Track your roof for any signs of sitting water. Keep an eye out for gutters, downspouts, or wall scuppers that aren’t working well. Standing water tends to occur around larger rooftop units.

Even if standing water doesn’t lead to leaks, you could face issues down the road. The weight of the water can make the issue worsen over time. Roof leveling will help resolve drainage problems.

If you have a flat roof, the water doesn’t have anywhere to go. Moisture can seep into the roof, causing fungus and mold. To overcome this issue, make sure your roof’s inspected often. 

4. Damaged Roof Membrane

Roofing membranes help with sealing flat roofs, making them waterproof. These materials do get damaged over time by the sun and weather. You may start to see shrinkage, blistering, cracks, or holes that expose the insulation of the roof.

Water will enter your roof and into your commercial building. Replacement or repair of the membrane is your best option.

5. Broken Flashing

Flashing protects the exterior edges of your roof’s membrane. It is a metal edge installed around the perimeter of your roof. It caps the spot where the roof ends at the exterior walls.

Flashing also keeps water from slipping in through the roof-wall joint. It can also seal your vents and chimney.

Through fluctuating weather and temperatures, flashing can expand and contract. It becomes looser over time, and water can slip in and pour underneath the membrane.

If the flashing breaks, your roof could deteriorate over time from moisture damage. Make sure to get it fixed right away.

6. An Older Roof

Flat roofs tend to have a long lifespan. You’ll have plenty of time before you need a replacement. If you have an older flat roof, you might want to consider talking to a commercial roofing expert. You can figure out when you’ll update your roof.

7. Bad Roof Design

If you have a weak design for the flat roofing system, rainwater may not drain well. This results in standing water or guttering blocked with debris. You may have increased leaks due to this poor design.

Install extra rainwater outlets or add a tapered insulation scheme.

8. Cracking in the Roof

Flat roofs experience a lot more pressure compared to slanted roofs. If the pressure becomes too much, your roof can start to crack. If you see cracks in your roof, make sure you call a commercial contractor right away.

A crack can expose the interior of the building and roof to precipitation. This is also a sign that your roof’s structure’s compromised. You may need a replacement or repair.

9. Loose Shingles

Depending on your climate, harsh weather can cause roof shingles to fall off or loosen. When shingles age, they crack more often. If you have missing shingles, rainwater can slip in and saturate the raw roofing material.

Contact Us Today

We hope this article on commercial roof leaks was insightful. Make sure you inspect your roof often and keep an eye out for cracks or standing water.

Want to learn more? Contact us today to chat with a roofing professional.