Get The Latest Blogs Straight To Your Inbox

Safe Solutions to Solve Common Roof Problems

Posted by Art Valentz on May 9, 2019

Your roof is a large flat surface that’s exposed directly to sunlight and the elements. In other words, there’s a high possibility for damage when you’ve installed support systems with a high potential to penetrate your roof. The common roof problems presented below depict massive costs when it comes to facility management. Here’s how to keep them in check with noninvasive pipe support solutions and products engineered by PHP Systems/Design.

Moisture Accumulation

With this common roof problem, you have moisture ponding on the roof, leaking through the roof, or condensing underneath the substrate. These problems have different origins. Ponding is caused by dips in the roofing surface, often caused by heavy pipe supports and walkways. Moisture accumulation underneath the roof may be caused by improper venting or incorrectly installed insulation.

In all cases, it’s much better to avoid the problem through inspection—as opposed to solving the problem via repair. A regular rooftop inspection program should identify faulty equipment, water that pools for over 24 hours, damaged flashings, and damaged vents. This will help remediate the environment that causes moisture accumulation before it actually occurs.


Shrinkage is another major problem that causes the damage to flashings that results in leaks. EPDM shrinkage commonly occurs due to UV exposure, but can also occur from age or installation problems. When it shrinks, it can pull the flashing away from walls and roof edges, leaving a space for moisture to intrude.

While inspections can arrest this problem, shrinkage often occurs as a design flaw. If your contractors select a substandard form of EPDM and it’s designed or installed incorrectly, then shrinkage becomes much more likely.


You risk a puncture every time someone stands on your roof or a sub-standard support system is installed. A low-grade system component or a careless footstep can easily pierce or tear a membrane. Although severe weather can be a factor in punctures, accidental damage during maintenance is much more likely.

You can mitigate this problem with a mixture of training and preventative maintenance. Seek out experienced professionals who know about the best products, how to install them, and can train any permanent-facilities staff accordingly. Prevent accidents by installing roof walkways that divert foot traffic away from sensitive areas.

Splitting & Ridging

In bituminous built-up roofing (BUR) systems, the membrane is made up of asphalt and felt. This mixture expands in warm temperatures and shrinks in the cold. The membrane needs a good anchor to prevent this. Otherwise, the membrane will either split and pull away from the flashing or expand and form ridges until it begins to tear.

Inspection and maintenance will help mitigate this problem once the roof is in place, but it’s easier to prevent it during construction. Once again, you need to find a roofing expert with the experience necessary to prevent this common roof problem with the proper products.

Tenting & Billowing

Both tenting and billowing are symptoms of poor uplift resistance. If the roofing membrane isn’t fastened to the substrate with sufficient strength, the low-pressure area created by high winds will cause the membrane to billow and eventually tear beyond the point of repair.

In these cases, you need to study your wind maps. Local building regulations give you the minimum uplift resistance that you need to achieve for a commercial roof. Anything less, and you could be violating the law.

Mitigate Roofing Problems with PHP Systems/Design

With PHP Systems/Design, most common roof problems can be mitigated by a rigorous program of inspection. We carefully go over your roofing membrane—especially at edges, penetrations, and flashings—and check for pooling water, degraded material, and debris.

Given that these inspections may cause damage of their own, we also recommend that you install a rooftop support system. These non-penetrating walkways provide a safe avenue for workers to navigate your roof, inspect its surface, and perform maintenance. These will allow you to protect both your workers and your roof as you work to improve the lifespan of your building. For more information, contact PHP Systems/Design today!

Topics: Roofing Maintenance, Roof Safety

Need design assistance? We can help!