The Summer Solstice is upon us! And with the change in season, comes more heat, humidity, rain, hail and sometimes worse. 

Roofs are exposed to the elements 24 hours a day, every day of the year. In summer, the roof surface temperature can exceed 200 degrees F. Contrary to popular opinion, the maintenance-free roof system does not exist. All types of roofs require a certain level of attention. In fact, from the moment of installation, the roofing system undergoes continuous deterioration. Temperature fluctuations combined with pounding thunderstorms, hail and wind punish the roofing surface. In short, the elements are the biggest deterrents to the roof system over its service life.

During extreme weather months during the year, building operators should examine the roof periodically to be sure seams are intact and there are no loose terminations or punctures in the field membrane or flashings. An inspection should be made at least twice a year (spring and fall) and after every major storm so that small problems can be addressed before they become major issues.

Facility Managers, Property Managers and Building Engineers alike play a crucial role in the long-term performance of a single-ply roof. The facility executive avoids expenditures for such items as deck damage repair and associated costs resulting from typical maintenance practices, which simply respond to leaks.

The most important reason to implement an annual roof maintenance program is to extend the service life of the existing roof system. Comprehensive repairs not only make the roof last longer, but also provide cost savings to the facility executive. A good maintenance program will detect or prevent leaks and other roofing problems.

According to The Roofing Industry Alliance for Progress, proactive repairs can save you 11 cents more per square foot per year than reactive repairs. That’s a $900 cost difference for an averaged size roof. Proactively maintained commercial roofs can last an average of 21 years. The average for reactively maintained roofs is 13 years. Annual commercial roof maintenance costs are only 1 to 3% of the cost for a complete roof replacement.