Recognizing the early signs of a roof leak is critical to avoid significant repair costs and potential health risks to your employees or customers. Addressing issues quickly can also improve the energy efficiency of a building and extend the lifespan of the roof.
In this article, we’ll explain the typical signs of a roof leak, its causes, and information on commercial roof leak repairs. After reading, you’ll have a better understanding of how to identify and address roof leaks to protect your building and assets.
4 Common Signs Of Roof Leaks In Commercial Buildings
Most commercial roofs are made of TPO, EPDM, metal, and modified bitumen. These types of roofing systems are either flat or have a low slope, which is more vulnerable to leaks than steep roofs with high water-shedding capacities.
Typically, commercial roof leaks are difficult to catch and mainly go unnoticed until significant damage has occurred. Fortunately, there are several signs that you can look out for to identify potential leaks early on and get the help you need.
Here are the five most common signs that indicate you urgently need a commercial roof leak repair service.
#1 Water Stains On The Ceiling Or Walls
One of the most noticeable signs of a roof leak is water stains on the ceiling or walls. These stains are often brown or yellow and may be circular or irregular in shape. They are caused by water seeping through the roof and pooling on the ceiling or walls, leaving behind a visible mark.
It’s essential to note that not all water stains are caused by roof leaks. They can also be a sign of HVAC and plumbing issues. If the stains are located near the roof, it’s best to have them inspected by an experienced commercial roofing contractor to determine the cause and severity of the problem.
#2 Damp Or Musty Odors
Another telltale sign of a roof leak is a damp or musty odor. When water penetrates the roof and saturates the insulation or building materials, it can lead to the growth of mold and mildew. These fungi thrive in moist environments and cause unpleasant smells that are noticeable throughout the building.
If you detect a damp or musty odor in your commercial building, it’s essential to investigate the source of the smell. Sometimes, the problem may be a minor leak that can be quickly repaired. In severe cases, mold and mildew can pose health risks to employees and customers, which no business owner would want. That means you urgently need a reliable contractor to carry out the necessary building roof leak repairs.
#3 Mold Or Mildew Growth
In addition to health concerns, mold, and mildew can also cause significant damage to building materials and reduce the structural integrity of the roof. That’s because these organisms feed on any organic material they find, such as wood, drywall, soil, dead leaves, and cellulose. Look for mold growth on the ceiling and around the edges of the roof. They also thrive on wet surfaces with high cellulose content, like carpets and rugs.
#4 Bubbling Or Peeling Paint
If you notice spots on your walls or ceiling where the paint or stucco is bulging or blistered, it may be a sign of a roof leak. You may also see bubbles forming. All of this occurs when moisture builds up behind the paint and causes it to separate from the surface underneath. Similarly, paint that is flaking or peeling off, could indicate water damage caused by a leak in the roof. This often means that the water damage has been ongoing, and the leak has been present for some time. In this case, it is crucial to schedule a commercial roof leak repair service before things get out of hand.
While understanding the signs of a roof leak and calling professionals is a priority, getting too many commercial roof leak repair services may not be feasible. To truly protect your building, taking steps to prevent the underlying causes of leaks and roof damage is crucial.
Causes Of Commercial Roof Leaks
Roof leaks can have multiple underlying causes, including issues related to the roof’s age, maintenance, severe weather, installation, and foot traffic. Let’s learn more about these culprits:
#1 Puddles Of Water Or Damp Spots On The Roof
Puddles of water or damp spots on a commercial roof can cause roof leaks. These puddles form when water accumulates on the roof due to poor drainage, a damaged roofing membrane, or a clogged gutter system. If left unaddressed, standing water can damage roofing materials and cause metal components to rust.
It’s important to note that the materials used for commercial roofing systems vary depending on the building’s construction and climate. Regardless of the roofing material, the presence of puddles of water or damp spots on the roof may indicate a potential leak that requires prompt attention from a reliable commercial roofing contractor.
#2 Age Of The Roof
Over time, all roofing materials deteriorate and become less effective at keeping water away. The lifespan of a commercial roof depends on the roofing material, the installation quality, and how it’s maintained. However, most commercial roofing materials need a replacement after 15-25 years of service. To get the best out of your roof, you should use good quality materials, ensure it was installed correctly, and follow a proper maintenance plan.
#3 Poor Maintenance
Failure to perform routine maintenance on a commercial roof can lead to various issues, including leaks. Regular inspections, cleaning, and repairs can prevent minor problems from turning into major issues.
#4 Severe Weather
Heavy rain, snow, hail, and wind can all cause damage to a commercial roof. It’s essential to have the roof inspected after any severe weather event to identify and address any damage on time.
#5 Poor Installation
Poor installation is often a leading cause of early roof damage and replacement. To prevent this, you must work with a reliable flat roof repair expert who knows the local building codes and has experience in commercial roofing.
#6 Foot Traffic
If the roof is accessed frequently, it may lead to unexpected cracks or punctures due to foot traffic, dropped tools, or heavy machinery, which can lead to leaks.
Ignoring signs of roof leaks can lead to further damage and costly repairs. Therefore, it’s imperative to take prompt action and address any issues as soon as possible to prevent potential safety hazards and business disruptions.
Commercial Roof Leak Repair Options
To fix commercial roof leaks, there are several repair options available depending on the extent of damage and roofing material. Here are some common solutions:
- Hiring a professional: Professional contractors are essential for identifying and repairing leaks quickly and efficiently.
- Commercial roof patches and sealants: A quick and affordable option for small leaks, but not a permanent fix.
- Roof coating or membrane replacement: This is a solution for severe damage where a new layer of protective coating or roofing membrane is applied.
- Preventive maintenance: This involves regular roof inspections, cleanings, and prompt repairs.
By following the proper steps, building owners can make informed decisions and take the necessary steps to protect their buildings and ensure their longevity.
If you own a commercial building in Pittsburgh, PA, and its roof leaks, we can help you.
Commercial Building Roof Leak Repair & Preventive Maintenance Services In Pennsylvania
At Hepler Contracting LLC, we understand how stressful and overwhelming roof leaks can be. Your building is more than just a structure, it’s an investment and a crucial part of your business operations. That’s why our team is here to help you by providing a free estimate on your commercial roof repair service. Our skilled professionals are experts in identifying and repairing roof leaks quickly and efficiently while ensuring minimal disruption to your business. We take pride in providing high-quality service and solutions that are tailored to your specific needs. Call us at (412) 694-8785 for more information and a detailed estimate. We’re here to assist you every step of the way.