Like residential roofing, commercial roofs have multiple layers that help insulate the building and protect it from water damage. Typical commercials use either a single-ply or 2-ply system, but both designs include a membrane as their upper layer. The roofing membrane seals the roof while also protecting against UV damage and thermal transfer.
Since the membrane is a relatively thin layer, it's vulnerable to various forms of damage and wear. Any damage to the membrane can allow water to seep into the lower layers of the roof, ultimately damaging the roof and leading to building leaks. When you're inspecting your roof, be sure to watch out for these three forms of membrane damage that can quickly lead to expensive repairs.
1. Physical Tears
Physical tears typically occur due to impacts, such as from debris in storms. Roofing membrane tears aren't always obvious and may be extremely small. However, any damage to the membrane can allow water to reach the insulating layers underneath. Since these layers aren't waterproof, significant water penetration will cause damage.
Small tears aren't complex for a skilled commercial roofer to repair, but any damage that goes unnoticed may require more than a simple patch job. As a result, it's a good idea to inspect your roof regularly and repair any tears you find as soon as you notice them. The longer you wait to fix these problems, the more costly they will become.
2. Bubbling or Blistering
These symptoms are nearly impossible to mistake. If you see bubbles forming in your roofing membrane, it's a sure sign that you have a significant moisture problem. These blisters occur because the membrane physically separates from the layer below it. You may see bubbling resulting from tears that allow moisture to enter the roof, or they may form on their own as the roof ages.
Blistering isn't a problem you should try to fix on your own. A roofing pro can examine the situation to determine if it requires immediate action. In some cases, it may be best to leave a blister alone, especially if your roof is in otherwise good condition. In other cases, there may be another underlying condition causing the blisters, in which case it's best to address the root cause.
3. Membrane Separation
Separation is a worst-case scenario, and it's one that you won't easily miss. Membranes may separate or blow off during heavy winds. This situation can quickly cause even more expensive damage by exposing the underlying insulation and decking to the elements. If you experience this problem, you'll need to conduct a repair as quickly as possible.
While you can take some emergency measures to protect your roof until a contractor can arrive, never attempt to solve this problem on your own. A separated membrane section often requires significant repair work, and it's best left to a skilled contractor to ensure the repair does not immediately fail.
For more information, go to websites about commercial roofing services.