Though never considered a good sign, a leaky roof is just the beginning of a commercial building owner’s problems. A roof that has one leak signals there is a weak spot, and where there is one, there may be more. Unfortunately, multiple leaks in a roof that require continuous patching may eventually become ineffective and require an expensive roof replacement.
And while it is true that a leaky roof is just the beginning, it is possible to prevent or minimize the likelihood of it happening by enlisting the help of a reputable roofing company. Regular inspections and maintenance can go a long way toward preventing leaks and related damage before they start.
Potential Signs of a Roof Leak
When most commercial building owners think of a leaky roof, images of water-stained ceilings can come to mind, but in reality, the signs of a leak can go beyond that and may include:
Actively dripping water.
Some buildings may experience more than just a wet ceiling. The leak may progress to actively dripping water in the interior of the building. This is major cause for concern as the collection of water could lead to mold growth and pose a risk to the electrical system.
Unusual increase in energy bills.
A leak can cause more than just a troublesome wet spot. Typically, before it gets to that the moisture has to penetrate the insulation. Not only can wet insulation become incredibly heavy and put stress on the ceiling, but it may also make it harder to properly cool or heat a building and that can result in higher energy bills.
A surface that is wet from constant exposure to water is at risk of growing mold. This growth is harmful in that it can signal that a leak has been present for some time, and it may also have the capacity to make those exposed to the fungus sick.
If a roofing system is penetrated by moisture and then traps it inside, it can result in the roof appearing to have blisters or bubbles. Moisture bubbles that have not yet turned into full leaks may be identified by a roof inspection.
If the flashing of a commercial roof is damaged, it can pave the way for a leak. Such destruction is typically caused by animals, severe weather, and even incorrect installation. A building owner that suspects one of these events should call for expert help as quickly as possible to stop a potential roof leak in its tracks.
In some cases, it may be possible to smell a leak before you see it. If an unusual and unpleasant odor develops in the building it can signal that mold has begun growing and could be making those inside develop respiratory issues.
Should any of the above signs be spotted in your building, it is essential that you call a respected roofing company right away to correct the issue.
What Can Happen When a Leak Isn’t Addressed Quickly?
Roof leaks cause damage, and buildings are not designed to retain water that enters from the exterior of a building. A leak that is not addressed quickly can produce a variety of issues, including:
- Pose a health risk
- Cause ceiling damage
- Compromise the integrity of the structure
- Compromise a building’s electrical system
- Require a roof replacement
There are two primary elements that can determine how far a leak is able to progress before being noticed:
- Visible evidence in the form of water stains, dripping water, or mold
- A roofing inspection that is performed regularly to catch leaks that may not be visible from the interior of a building
Roof Inspections and Maintenance Can Help Prevent Leaks
Regular roof inspections and maintenance can play an integral role in preventing leaks from developing. Be sure to work with a company that implements modern leak detection technologies such as Core Sample Analysis, Infrared Thermography, and Tramex Moisture Scanners.
As part of a roof inspection, experts can look for and correct some of the following issues that can lead to leaks if left unaddressed:
Ineffective drainage system.
A roof that does not have an effective drainage system can cause water to pool and add extra weight to the structure. In some cases, it may simply require the removal of debris that has collected so the drainage system can work more effectively.
Water pooling in one spot of the roof.
In structures that have flat roofs, it is critical that the surface be even and level to prevent water from pooling in certain areas. This creates water weight that the roof is not designed to support. During an inspection, a professional can determine if there are any parts of the roof that are sagging and then recommend a plan to correct the issue.
The sealing of a roof is designed to keep water out, but if it is not done properly or develops a hole from some sort of damage, it can open the door to a leak.
The membrane can help with waterproofing a roof and preventing leaks. An inspection can ensure that the roof’s membrane is still intact and has not been damaged from being exposed to the elements.
Since a leaky roof is just the beginning, it is in a commercial building owner’s best interest to work with a reputable professional roofing company for regular inspections and maintenance. This is the best way to prevent costly leaks from turning into an entire roof replacement.