Ten Most Common Causes of Commercial Roof Failure


Commercial roofing is designed to be tough, but there are measures you can take to extend its lifespan. Preventative maintenance will extend the service life of your roof and protect your investment. Knowing what can cause roof failure is the best way to be proactive in roofing care. Having to replace a roof prematurely is expensive and can be prevented.

Ten Most Common Causes of Commercial Roof Failure

The roof will wear out over the years for several reasons. The environment, foliage, and climate are big factors affecting your roof. Below are the most common factors that cause your commercial roof to wear. Assessment of these factors can help you better prepare and protect your roof for the long term.

1) Exposure

Consider what weather the roof will be exposed to and if there are any pollutants. Are there any chemicals used in the area that may degrade or affect the roof? Were any chemicals used directly on the roof?

2) Structural movement

Roofs are known to expand and contract as the weather changes. This is especially common in areas that experience both hot and cold seasons. Check for defects such as blistering and cracking to identify if this has become a problem.

3) Biological growth

Does your roof have any growth such as algae or vegetation that can wear on the roof?

4) Not fixing problems promptly

When you notice problems in the roofing, do you fix them right away? Leaving them can allow the situation to get worse and more expensive to repair. It is not just the exterior roofing, you have to check the insulation for damage too. Debris collecting can also clog drains and allow for pooling water.

5) Forgetting about maintenance

The number one reason a roof needs to be replaced prematurely is a lack of regular maintenance.

6) Change in the use of the building

Is the building now used for something different? Changes in use can result in changes in condensation on the roof which impacts its longevity.  These 6 factors will wear down a roof over time, and before you know it the roof is in critical condition. In addition to these, there are 4 other culprits that can cause immediate more problems that are just as bad. What causes immediate roofing problems?

7) Extreme weather

Lightning, hail, high winds, earthquakes, snow, and heavy rain.

8) Equipment additions

Adding equipment such as HVAC units, vents, or skylights can cause problems if not installed properly.

9) Trade damage

Problems with the roofing such as punctures, tears, and holes

The Biggest Offenders

Out of all these threats to your commercial roof, the two biggest offenders are damage caused by people on the roof and obstructed drainage. Unfortunately, by trying to make improvements to a roof can lead to unintended damage. Dropping a screwdriver can leave punctures in the membrane. Improper installation of a structure on the roof’s surface can leave a building vulnerable. Both of these threats to your roof are totally avoidable. If you have recognized any of these issues that can cause deterioration or premature commercial roof failure, do not wait. You don’t want it to be too late. These factors can deteriorate your roof before you know it. Start working to prevent long term damage now. Regularly inspect your roofing, uphold a maintenance schedule, and address issues when you find them. Reach out to us if you have any concerns or questions for maintaining the longevity of your roof and investment.

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