Get In Touch Checkmark Icon
commercial roofing work

Commercial Roof Inspection (What to Expect)

Posted By: Matt Watson

When it comes to the longevity and functionality of a commercial building, the condition of its roof plays a pivotal role. A sturdy and well-maintained roof not only protects the interior from external elements but also ensures the safety of occupants and assets.

Still, given the vast expanse and complexity of commercial roofs, ensuring their integrity requires vigilance. Looking to get your commercial roofing system inspected?

But not sure what to expect or where to go from there? Don’t worry!

In this guide, we talk you through the nuances of commercial roof inspection, including:

  • Understanding the unique characteristics of commercial roofs
  • The importance of regular inspections
  • Everything you need to know to safeguard your commercial property investment

What Makes a Commercial Roof Different?

Commercial roofs differ significantly from their residential counterparts in several aspects:

  • Size and Complexity: Commercial buildings often have larger roof areas with intricate designs, multiple levels, and various penetrations such as HVAC units, vents, and skylights. This complexity requires specialized knowledge and equipment for inspection and maintenance.
  • Material Diversity: Commercial roofs can be constructed from a variety of materials, including built-up roofing (BUR), single-ply membranes (TPO, PVC, EPDM), metal, modified bitumen, and asphalt shingles. Each material has its unique characteristics and maintenance requirements.
  • Usage Patterns: Unlike residential roofs that primarily shelter living spaces, commercial roofs may house equipment, machinery, and other utilities. Heavy foot traffic, equipment installation, and rooftop activities can impact the roof’s condition over time.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Commercial properties must adhere to specific building codes and regulations, including those related to fire safety, energy efficiency, and environmental standards. Compliance with these regulations often influences roof design and maintenance practices.

Understanding these differences is crucial for property owners and facility managers to effectively manage the upkeep of their commercial roofs. If your commercial roof maintenance isn’t going the mile, don’t hesitate to reach out to qualified commercial roofing contractors for more thorough expertise.

Reasons to Schedule Commercial Roof Inspections

Regular roof inspections are essential for maintaining the structural integrity and performance of commercial roofs. Here are some compelling reasons to schedule roof inspections:

Preventive Maintenance:

Routine inspections allow early detection of potential issues such as leaks, cracks, or deteriorating materials. Addressing these problems promptly can prevent costly repairs or premature roof replacement.

Extend Roof Lifespan:

Proper maintenance through regular inspections and timely repairs can significantly extend the lifespan of a commercial roof. Investing in preventive measures is more cost-effective than dealing with major roof failures.

Protect Assets and Occupants:

A well-maintained roof protects the building’s interior, equipment, inventory, and occupants from water damage, mold growth, and structural compromise. Regular inspections help identify vulnerabilities and mitigate risks.

Compliance Requirements:

Many insurance policies and warranties mandate regular roof inspections and maintenance to remain valid. Failure to comply with these requirements may void coverage or warranty protection, leaving the property vulnerable to financial losses.

Preserve Property Value:

A well-maintained roof enhances the overall value and marketability of a commercial property. Regular inspections and maintenance demonstrate responsible property management and can positively impact resale or lease negotiations.

Given these compelling reasons, proactive roof inspection and maintenance should be integral components of any commercial property management strategy.

7-Step Commercial Roof Inspection

roof inspection

During a commercial roof inspection, trained professionals assess various aspects of the roof’s condition. Here are key areas typically evaluated:

1) Roof Membrane:

Inspectors check for signs of damage, such as punctures, tears, blistering, or seam separations, in the roofing membrane. They also assess the membrane’s adhesion and integrity.

2) Flashing and Sealants:

Flashing around penetrations, edges, and transitions is examined for proper installation and integrity. Sealants and caulking are inspected for cracks, deterioration, or gaps that could compromise waterproofing.

3) Roof Penetrations:

HVAC units, vents, drains, skylights, and other penetrations are inspected to ensure proper sealing and waterproofing. Any signs of leakage or damage around these penetrations are addressed promptly.

4) Roof Drainage:

Proper drainage is essential to prevent water pooling and ponding, which can accelerate roof deterioration. Inspectors assess the condition of drains, gutters, downspouts, and scuppers to ensure adequate water flow.

5) Roof Structure:

The underlying roof structure, including decking, insulation, and support systems, is inspected for signs of moisture intrusion, rot, corrosion, or structural damage.

6) Environmental Factors:

Inspectors consider environmental factors such as weather conditions, sun exposure, wind loads, and nearby vegetation that may impact the roof’s performance and longevity.

7) Interior Inspection:

In some cases, inspectors may conduct interior inspections to identify signs of water infiltration, mold growth, or other indicators of roof leaks.

By systematically evaluating these components, inspectors can provide a comprehensive assessment of the roof’s condition and recommend appropriate maintenance or repairs.

Signs of Damage to Watch Out For

While a professional inspection is the most reliable method for assessing roof condition, property owners and managers can also watch out for common signs of damage or deterioration:

  • Water Stains: Discoloration or water stains on interior ceilings, walls, or insulation indicate potential roof leaks.
  • Blisters and Bubbling: Raised areas or blistering on the roof membrane may indicate trapped moisture or inadequate adhesion.
  • Ponding Water: Pooled water on the roof surface, especially for more than 48 hours after rainfall, suggests inadequate drainage or low spots.
  • Cracks and Tears: Visible cracks, splits, or tears in the roofing membrane compromise its waterproofing capabilities.
  • Loose or Missing Flashing: Damaged or missing flashing around penetrations and edges exposes vulnerable areas to water intrusion.
  • Vegetation Growth: Moss, algae, or vegetation growth on the roof surface can indicate excessive moisture retention and potential roof degradation.
  • Sagging or Uneven Areas: Structural issues such as sagging or uneven roof sections may indicate compromised support or decking integrity.

Property owners and managers should promptly address any signs of damage or deterioration to prevent further escalation and mitigate potential risks.

The Cost of a Commercial Roof Inspection

The cost of a commercial roof inspection can vary depending on several factors, including the size and complexity of the roof, the type of roofing material, accessibility, and the scope of the inspection. On average, roof inspections typically range from $200 to $1,000 or more.

Factors influencing the cost of a roof inspection include:

  • Roof Size: Larger roof areas require more time and resources to inspect thoroughly, resulting in higher inspection costs.
  • Roof Accessibility: Accessibility challenges such as multiple levels, steep slopes, or obstructed pathways may necessitate specialized equipment or safety measures, increasing inspection costs.
  • Type of Roofing Material: Different roofing materials have unique characteristics and maintenance requirements, which can affect the complexity and duration of the inspection.
  • Scope of Inspection: Basic visual inspections may be less expensive than comprehensive inspections that include moisture testing, thermal imaging, or drone surveys.
  • Contractor Experience and Credentials: Experienced and certified roofing professionals may command higher inspection fees due to their expertise and reputation for quality service.

While the upfront cost of a roof inspection may seem significant, it is a wise investment in protecting the long-term integrity and performance of the roof.

How Often Should You Schedule Roof Inspections?

The frequency of roof inspections depends on various factors, including the age of the roof, environmental conditions, usage patterns, and maintenance history. As a general guideline, property owners and managers should schedule roof inspections at least twice a year, preferably in the spring and fall.

Additionally, it is advisable to conduct roof inspections after severe weather events such as hailstorms, hurricanes, or heavy snowfall, as these can cause damage that may not be immediately apparent.

For newer roofs (less than five years old) or roofs under warranty, more frequent inspections may be warranted to identify and address any potential issues covered by the warranty.

Older roofs (over 20 years old) or those showing signs of wear and deterioration may require more frequent inspections, possibly every three to six months, to proactively manage maintenance and repair needs.

Ultimately, the goal of regular roof inspections is to detect and address problems early, minimizing the risk of costly repairs or premature roof replacement.

A Trusted Roofing Contractor for Your Commercial Roof

commercial roof

Commercial roof inspection is a critical aspect of property maintenance and risk management. By understanding the unique characteristics of commercial roofs, recognizing the importance of regular inspections, and knowing what to look for during an inspection, property owners and managers can safeguard their investments and ensure the long-term performance of their roofs.

From preventive maintenance to early detection of potential issues, proactive roof inspection practices offer numerous benefits, including extended roof lifespan, asset protection, and compliance with insurance and warranty requirements.

By investing in professional roof inspections and adopting a proactive approach to maintenance, commercial property owners and managers can mitigate risks, minimize downtime, and maximize the value of their assets for years to come. Contact Springfield Roofing to set up your commercial roof inspection plan.

Share to...