No matter how big or small your facility is a roof is a huge investment – one you don’t want to repeat any sooner than necessary. If you consider the cost of a new roof, even one extra roof replacement during the life of your building can cut into your profitability. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to extend the life of your roof as long as possible.
1. Routine Maintenance
Regular inspections and routine maintenance are the best things you can do to optimize the life of your roof. According to an article by Buildings, annual roof maintenance costs are only about one percent of the cost of a new roof. On the other hand, failing to do regular maintenance can knock 5-10 years off of the life of your roof.
Proper routine maintenance starts with inspections. Start with twice-yearly scheduled inspections, and add more frequent inspections as needed: after a storm, after maintenance has been performed on part of the roof, at the end of winter, etc. In addition, instruct your maintenance workers to look for problems anytime they’re on the roof for other maintenance. The longer a problem goes undetected, the more damage it’s likely to cause.
Problems to look for during a roof inspection include:
- Flashing defects
- Signs of animal activity
- Storm damage or debris
- Wear and tear from foot traffic
- Equipment that has been left behind
- Evidence of water leaks
- Evidence of air leaks
- Puddles or ponding water
When you find a problem, the rule of thumb is “repair, don’t patch.” A patch is a temporary fix, like covering a leak with duck tape. It doesn’t solve the problem; it just defers the maintenance. A repair, on the other hand, restores the roof to its “like new” condition. Before you make any repairs, however, check your warranty to see if there are any restrictions or conditions that may apply.
4. Be Smart with Your Roof Pipe Supports
The quality of your roof pipe supports can have a huge impact on the longevity of your roof. Let’s start with the support base. A poorly designed base – or one that’s overloaded – can puncture your roof’s membrane, leading to leaks and other problems. As far as the roof pipe supports themselves, DIY supports or supports made from inferior materials can collapse, dropping their load down onto the surface of your roof. In addition, poorly designed supports may not distribute the load properly, putting undue stress on portions of the roof.
5. Go Green
A green – or “living” – roof can last up to twice as long as a conventional roof. That’s because the vegetation and the growing medium protect the roof itself from exposure to UV rays and harsh weather. The reduced energy costs that go along with a green roof are a bonus.
6. Use Walkways
Walkways protect the surface of your roof from foot traffic. Not only do they act as a barrier, you can also use them to direct people where you want them to go, steering them away from the more vulnerable or dangerous areas of the roof.
7. Use Ramps and Steps
It’s inevitable that your roof pipe supports and equipment will eventually need maintenance. Provide steps and ramps to make it easy for maintenance workers to reach elevated structures. If you don’t, they’ll be forced to use ladders, which, in addition to being a safety hazard, can puncture your roof.
In a lot of ways, a roof is like a car. It’s such a big expense that it only makes sense to do everything you can to protect it. How is the health of your roof, and when is the last time you gave it a checkup?