Why is Your Roof is Leaking? (Pt. 1)

Freshly cleaned rooftop

Kelly is a regional facility manager in charge of overseeing the maintenance and repairs of several company locations across northern California. After a recent round of storms, Kelly has been inundated with work orders for leak calls across her territory. She finds herself wondering what causes these leaks to happen. Why are they so hard to pinpoint when it isn’t raining? And what can be done to prevent leaks from happening again in the future?

Unsurprisingly, Kelly isn’t alone in her struggles. Facility managers and business owners across the country ask themselves these very same questions on a regular basis. In this blog, we’ll break down some of the causes behind roof leaks, why they can be challenging to find and repair, and lastly, we’ll break down the steps one can take to prevent future leaks on your roof.

What Causes a Roof Leak?

What causes a roof leak? There are a number of answers to that question, let’s get into them.

  • Penetrations – The word “penetration” incites the image of tearing or breaking through something. Penetrations in regard to our roofs are anything but negative. Roof penetrations come as a result of roof vents, utility pipes, HVAC curbs, electrical conduits, etc. These make for common leak spots on roofs.
  • Improper Installation – Improper installation is going to result in problems across all walks of life, not just in roofing. However, the scale of those problems is relative, with a roof leak potentially impacting your facility on a grand scale, causing issues that run much deeper than the leak itself.
  • Failure to Maintain – Maintenance is the key to keeping anything in working order and functional. When you fail to maintain any part of your facility, you can expect issues in some capacity, and your roof is no exception. When you neglect to maintain your roof, the potential for weather, decay, and other elemental impacts to cause roof leaks becomes much greater.
  • Open Seams – Open seams often come as the result of improper installation, usually relating back to a poor heat weld. Seams, along with penetrations, are often the biggest culprits when it comes to roof leaks.
  • Physical Damage – Physical damage can come in many forms. Whether the wind blows something across the top of your roof in a storm, somebody causes a problem while they’re on the roof, or something capable of damage gets left behind during new work or maintenance, anything is possible. These can often be the most unsuspecting roof leaks, as they don’t relate to any particular point on the roof.

Why Are Penetrations And Damage Hard To Find When It Isn’t Raining?

A common attitude when it comes to roofs is “out of sight, out of mind.” People tend to avoid their roofs until an obvious problem arises, so they aren’t aware that their roof needs repairs until the elements show them. In that event, active leaks are what you hope to find. Active leaks can help pinpoint the source (or sources) of water entry on your roof, tracing back to the initial penetration or point of damage.
When you come across an active leak, make sure to clearly mark the spot(s) inside of the building where roof leaks are occurring. This makes it easier for the roof technicians to find the source of the leak and can often expedite the repair process.

What Can Be Done To Prevent Future Leaks?

Roof leaks are far from uncommon, so don’t get discouraged when you find that you’re having to manage one (or many). Trust in the steps listed below, and you can keep your roofs integrity in check for years to come.

  1. Get your roof evaluated every spring and fall. Seasonal evaluations can go a long way in making sure you keep your roof performing at its highest level, saving you from spending money, wasting time, and developing further issues.
  2. Control access to your roof to minimize unnecessary foot traffic and prevent potential damage. The only people who should ever have to be on your roof are contractors and service technicians you’ve pre-authorized, assessors performing inspections, and yourself.
  3. Partner with a trusted contractor who can put together a cohesive maintenance plan that works within your budget.

In Conclusion

When you find yourself sitting in Kelly’s shoes, it’s imperative to be prepared and have a plan. If you have questions about roof maintenance or would like to put together a maintenance plan for your portfolio, RoofConnect can help! RoofConnect has a national network of top tier local contractors who can work with you to create a plan to extend the life of your roof. Give RoofConnect a call today – 877.942.5613 or visit www.roofconnect.com.

Stay tuned for Part 2, where we’ll break down the Anatomy of a Roof Leak!

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