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What is Roof Maintenance?

November 6, 2020

The purpose of a roof maintenance program for healthcare, industrial and institutional facilities is to help extend the service life of an existing roof system.

In general terms, if the roof system is asphalt-based, such as modified bitumen or built-up roofing, any deteriorated flashing should be re-secured, then primed with asphalt primer and new flashing adhered over the existing flashing. If the roof system is single-ply—TPO, PVC, EPDM or similar, ONLY compatible repair materials from the roof system manufacturer should be used.

The surface of the flashing condition must be properly cleaned and then new flashing material can be “welded” or adhered to the existing flashing. In cases of serious deterioration and/or water infiltration, the existing flashing may need to be removed and replaced with an entirely new flashing system. Thorough familiarity with single-ply roof system repair requirements is a must. 

Some of the specific tasks our semi-annual 30-point roof and building envelope inspection maintenance program include:

  • Checking perimeter edges for signs of deterioration at the sheet metal/roof membrane juncture.
  • Checking parapet walls for cracks or penetrations in walls or separation at coping joints, slippage or deterioration at flashing on roof-side of the parapet wall, any wind damage to metal components, and the condition of the base flashing interface with the roof membrane. 
  • Checking roof penetrations (vent pipes, roof curbs and various other penetrations) for deterioration of flashings at these locations. Note that vent pipe flashings may be subject to loose securement of the flashing to the pipe itself. Where deterioration is identified, pitch pans should be primed and filled with new sealant.
  • Checking base flashing at fan curbs as they are often subject to slippage from lack of securement by fasteners. Especially vulnerable are corners of the base flashing at roof-top curbs, where expansion/contraction stresses may create openings for leaks at corner conditions. The same issue can apply at the laps of the base flashings, where flashing may become loose or open due to expansion/contraction. 
  • Thoroughly inspect existing roof-top HVAC units to identify foreign objects, such as screws, rivets and metal shavings that need to be removed, or where exterior HVAC panels may have fallen or been dropped during servicing and punctured the roof.
  • If roof-top traffic-surface walk pads exist on the roof, they should be inspected to confirm they are solidly adhered to the roof surface. Of course, any blisters or similar issues found should be addressed per good practice.
  • Roof drains and exterior leader-heads, gutters and downspouts should be inspected to remove debris that may collect on these units. Discarded soft drink cans can clog gutters/downspouts and leader-heads. This can lead to water backing up in the downspout or roof drain pipe and forcing its way back into the building interior. All roof drains should have well-conditioned strainers tightly in place. Debris, such as leaves or pine straw, should be removed as well.
  • At metal counter-flashings, inspect for missing rivets, screws, open joints or corners, and deteriorated sealant. Inspect for deteriorated or open conduits that could allow water into the building envelope.

A re-roofing project is a big capital investment. A solid roof maintenance plan is a relatively small investment that will ultimately save owners money. To schedule an assessment of your roof system, contact Pete Taylor.

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