Common roofing problems in New England and specifically Massachusetts are largely preventable through planning and a little bit of foresight. A variety of factors will impact a roof’s durability over time including quality of the original install, roofing product appropriate to the building, maintenance and weather. The eight roofing problems listed below are common for the New England area and for the most part, are treatable without a major roofing overhaul.
Problem #1: Major or minor roof leaks. Any type of roof leak is a problem.
Solution: An ongoing preventative maintenance program will eliminate or reduce leaks and minimize interior water penetration.
Problem #2: Blow-offs or billowing. This occurs if the original roofing material isn’t properly adhered to the substrate. Single-ply roofs are most at risk for blow-off and billowing.
Solution: Repairs or new membrane. Make sure your roofing contractor provides the proper specification or building code for your area when installing a new roof.
Problem #3: Improper installation or workmanship. A faulty installation increases the possibility of problems and reduces a roof system’s life expectancy. Workmanship tends to be one of the more common problems.
Solution: Check to see if your contractor works with a roofing manufacturer that will warranty the installation. In addition, obtain a checklist specific to the roofing system installed that should be used for information-gathering (data-collecting) and reporting.
Problem #4: Ponding water. The National Roofing Contractors Association classifies “undesirable” ponding water as standing for more than 48 hours. A matter of “deep” concern in the roofing industry is the fact that a 1” deep pond weighs 5.2 lbs./square foot. The additional weight of the load may pose a threat to the structural integrity of the building.
Solution: Look into ways to address proper drainage on the roof by adding roof drains or using tapered roof insulation. And be sure to double-check flashings.
Problem #5: Punctures and other penetrations. For those with single-ply roof systems, damage from foot traffic can be problematic.
Solution: Limit foot traffic and perform regular inspections after contractors or personnel have been on the roof.
Problem #6: Improper repairs. Using materials that are not intended for application on specific roof types can result in permanent damage over time.
Solution: Ask your roofing contractor if they are certified by the manufacturer to install and repair your roof. This is critical for commercial roofs.
Problem #7: Shrinkage. Single-ply roof types are unique. If you walk out onto an EPDM roof, one of the first things you’re going to look for is evidence of shrinkage. The two most commonly seen are flashings pulling away from the wall or curb and crazing and cracking of uncured membranes.
Solution: Make sure you’re conducting visual inspections. Some experts recommend a minimum of two per year…certainly at least annually.
Problem #8: Blistering, ridging, splitting, and surface erosion. These issues are commonly found with BUR roof systems, but can also happen in some single-ply systems.
Solution: Do your homework. Has the contractor worked in the area and/or installed commercial roofing systems you are considering? Always make sure you select a certified and licensed roofing contractor before installing your new roof.
Contact Tom Quinn (978)-706-6000