Roofing Issues Every Homeowner Should be Aware ofMay 14, 2015
The roofing system over a residence or commercial building is the best it will ever be immediately after installation. Every day after that adds wear and tear with the possibility of unforeseen damage. When damage does occur, it can be a major expense, so it is always worthwhile to at least eyeball the roof periodically for any obvious problems. There are many different kinds of roofing systems, meaning there are many different kinds of damage they can sustain, but all of them can be minimized by quick recognition and owner reaction. Here are some of the most common kinds of damage to look for:
Before a roofing system even has a chance to settle in and provide protection, there can be a fatal flaw in the installation that reduces its life expectancy and makes it vulnerable to other damage. The more complicated roofing systems like Built-up Roofing (BUR), which are comprised of alternating layers of reinforced fabrics and bitumen, are especially subject to defects during installation which make them easy targets for weathering afterward. About the only way for a customer to avoid this is to ensure that the installation crew is well experienced in the kind of roof they’re installing.
Tenting and blow-off
Wind can cause tenting, billowing, and even blow-offs of roofing components, and sometimes this is just due to age of the materials, but it can also be caused by improper installation. If the curing agent which binds roofing material to the structure is not given time to properly adhere, it will be much more liable to damage from these kinds of weather pressures.
Blistering is very common with BUR roofing systems, as is splitting, ridging, and surface erosion. These can be relatively minor occurrences and some can even be safely ignored, but larger instances should be dealt with before they become major problems. Most of these are due to the methods that must be used in built-up roofing, i.e. the application of a hot bituminous system. When the roofing system is applied with a heating torch, the roof membrane must be heated properly, or proper binding will not occur.
Leakage and other moisture damage
According to Guardian Roof Systems (www.guardianroofsystems.com), leaks can occur on any kind of roofing system, but they are more likely to occur when the original integrity of the roof wasn’t up to snuff. With BUR roofing, most leaks occur at the flashing details, and when single-ply membrane roofs are installed with poorly glued or poorly heat-welded seams, they become much more likely to develop leaks. Even a small leak can quickly damage the surrounding material, and a small problem will develop into a major one.
Punctures and penetrations
According to Lauren at Ridgeline, punctures and penetrations of any roofing system generally occur after installation, and are usually due to high traffic on the roof itself. Most roofing systems are not made to withstand the weight of humans walking on top of them regularly, and when this does happen, small penetrations can occur which grown into larger ones later. To avoid this, either have a roof walkway installed which can support more weight, or simply avoid walking on the roof altogether.
How to address repairs safely
Finding a problem with roofing early on is always the best-case scenario, before it has a chance to develop into something really bad, but it is not advisable to walk on the roof to spot these situations. By far the best thing to do is to contact a qualified local roofing expert and have a periodic check conducted to determine if maintenance is required.