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Tips for Fixing Your Commercial Building Roof Leaks
Tips for Fixing Your Commercial Building Roof Leaks
Tips for Fixing Your Commercial Building Roof Leaks

Tips for Fixing Your Commercial Building Roof Leaks

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Published on January 15, 2024

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If you're in charge of a commercial building, the only thing you don't want is a leaking roof. It can mess up your property and cause a lot of expensive problems, not to mention disrupt your business.

But don't stress out; if you know what to do, you can find and fix roof leaks in your commercial building before they turn into big headaches. The best way to stop leaking roofs is by taking good care of them. This article will help you figure out signs of possible leaks, ways to prevent your roof from getting damaged, and what to do if you think there might be a leak.


Methods of roof leak detection in your building  

Property disruptors should be vigilant for these five indicators signaling a potential roof leak, prompting the need for immediate repairs in a commercial building.

Stained Walls or Ceilings

Dark stains on ceilings or flowing stripes across walls are visible indicators of a commercial roof leak. These stains are easily noticeable and serve as a clear signal that immediate attention is needed.

Dripping

Visible dripping of water droplets, rivulets, or puddling on the floor inside your commercial building is an urgent call for action. Addressing this issue promptly is crucial to repairing the leaky roof and preventing further damage.

Blistered Roof Membrane

Inspect your roof membrane for signs of blistering, which occurs over time due to trapped air and moisture. Look out for bubbles, standing water, tears, holes, exposed seams, damaged flashing, or any similar symptoms indicative of a compromised roof membrane.

Higher Energy Bills

Leaking roofs saturate insulation, making them less effective at retaining warm air in winter or cool air in the summer. Surprisingly, an increase in energy bills can be a sign that your building's insulation is not functioning efficiently, pointing to a potential roof leak.

Musty Odor

Moisture on the commercial roof can lead to mold growth, resulting in a musty odor throughout the interior. Unexplained mold growth is a strong indication that a roof leak may have gone undetected and requires immediate investigation.


Tips for ensuring a leak-free commercial building


Regular debris removal:

To minimise the risk of roof leaks, consistently clear your roof of debris such as leaves, sticks, and dirt. Accumulated debris can hinder proper water drainage, resulting in water pooling and potential damage. Additionally, trapped water may foster mold and mildew growth, weakening the roof. It's advisable to perform debris checks and clearances at least four times a year.

Maintain effective drainage:

Proper drainage is crucial for a leak-free roof. Ensure that the roof's drainage systems remain clean and operational. Clogged gutters can lead to water buildup, gradually compromising the roof's structure. In colder weather, watch out for ice dams that impede runoff. Regularly cleaning gutters and drains will help redirect water away from the roof, preventing potential issues.

Fixing flat roofs:

Blistered or cracked areas are frequently the source of flat roof leaks. Up to 40% of flat roofs face issues within a year of installation. These roofs consist of layered felt and tar, leading to leaks at low spots or damaged areas. To repair a blister, cut the membrane, press out water, use a propane torch if needed, apply roof cement, and nail the blister with galvanized roofing nails. If the water issue is extensive, especially from an adjoining pitched roof, it's advisable to consult a commercial roofing contractor.

Fixing shingle roofs:

Shingle roof repairs are comparatively straightforward, often stemming from issues like cracked, curled, or missing shingles. Look for cracks in flashing, caulking, or roof cement at intersections and around vents or chimneys. Curled-back shingles can be fixed with asphalt cement or compound tubes. In cold weather, soften shingles with a propane torch before flattening. Replace torn, rotten, or missing shingles by lifting edges, removing nails, and securing the new shingle with nails. Round corners at intersections, and replace ridge or tent-shaped shingles similarly.

Fixing a wooden shake roof:

Wood shake roofs are prone to cracks and leaks due to the natural properties of wood. Swelling and shrinking cycles cause broken or split shakes, exposing the felt. Repair involves replacing split shakes and installing wood segments in the keyways to block exposed felt. Use a chisel to carefully split and remove damaged shakes, cut a new shake slightly smaller, install it with overlapping shingles, secure it with roofing nails, set the nail heads, and seal it with a caulking compound. If old nails can't be removed, carve the new shake to fit the gap.

 Addressing ponding water:

If your roof is prone to ponding water, seek professional advice to enhance drainage. Ponding water can accelerate structural deterioration, leading to membrane decay, rusting of metal components, and potential leaks. Additionally, stagnant water encourages mold and mildew growth, which can break down roofing materials. Solutions may involve adjusting the roof slope or installing additional drainage. Consulting with roofing professionals will help determine the most effective course of action.

Utilizing roof coatings:

Roof coatings serve as a valuable tool for enhancing the protection of your commercial roof. They provide an additional layer of defense and significantly extend the roof's lifespan. Roof coatings offer multiple benefits, including creating a waterproof barrier to prevent water intrusion and leaks. They also reflect UV radiation, reducing the degradation of roofing materials. Moreover, reflective coatings contribute to temperature regulation, decreasing the need for air conditioning and lowering energy costs.

Applying waterproof paint:

To shield your commercial roof from harsh weather and potential damage, consider using high-quality waterproof paint. These advanced paints create a protective barrier, resisting the impact of tough weather conditions and chemicals. They act as a shield against elements like rain, thunder, heat, and radiation, preventing long-term roof leaks. Masonry paint, made from ceramic and latex paints, is a popular choice for concrete roofs. Epoxy and acrylic waterproofing paints are also reliable options.

Fixing a vent pipe leak:

To remedy this issue, start by removing the old shingles and flashing, ensuring a clean surface. Take care to eliminate any old caulk present. Subsequently, install rubbery underlayments strategically around penetrations like nails to prevent water seepage. The next step involves applying roof cement to the aluminum base and securing the new flashing onto the pipe with nails. Once the flashing is in place, cover it with shingles, leaving approximately a half-inch around the base exposed. It's essential to wear gloves during this process, given the sharp edges associated with working with metal flashing. Following these steps diligently can effectively resolve roof leaks around vent pipes and contribute to the overall maintenance of your roofing system.


Understanding Commercial Roof Repair Costs

Commercial roof repair expenses vary based on different factors. First, the extent of the repair work affects the cost. Simple fixes, like patching leaks or replacing a few damaged shingles, are cheaper than a complete roof replacement.


Secondly, the type of roofing material influences costs. Asphalt shingles are more affordable at $5 to $9 per square foot, while barrel tiles can be pricier, ranging from $8 to $25 per square foot. For those considering a full roof replacement, the cost can be between $7 and $8 per square foot.


Additionally, the slope of the roof matters—steeper roofs generally incur higher repair costs than flat ones. Other factors include labor costs, the time of year, location, permits, and inspections. Commercial roofing contractors typically provide free repair quotes outlining the necessary work, the timeline, and associated costs. If your building has sustained damage, ensure that your insurance covers the expenses for roof repair.


Commercial roofs play a vital role in a building's infrastructure. To ensure their longevity and minimize costs, regular inspections, estimates, and prompt attention to small repairs or replacements are crucial. When leaks are identified, immediate action is recommended. When engaging in commercial repairs, always prioritize safety by wearing rubber gloves and shoes.

Recognizing the need for professional assistance is essential, as repair work involves various safety considerations. Commercial roofing contractors possess the necessary tools and expertise to conduct thorough assessments, carry out repairs, and handle replacements, ensuring the overall well-being and durability of your commercial roof.

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