A roof is exposed to the elements all the time. There are three major elements that deal the most damage to any sloped or flat roofing system: wind, heat and water. Of these three, the most devastating is water.
It’s easy to see how the water brought by a strong storm can damage a roof and affect the property both with its intense pounding and the flooding it might also cause, but that’s not the only way water can deal a blow. Even a little moisture trapped where it doesn’t belong can slowly but surely destroy parts of a building. This can process can be well underway long before you notice that something is wrong.
This is why waterproofing is a huge and critical part of a building’s protection. A building with multiple floors often has a flat roofing system, which doesn’t have the same natural water draining capabilities of a sloped roof. A flat roof doesn’t drain water away from the sides of the building, either, which further complicates matters and is why flat roofs require special waterproofing.
There are many problems that can be traced back to waterproofing failure. From the building’s safety to its real estate value, waterproofing failure can affect a building with multiple floors. Here’s what can happen if your building’s waterproofing fails.
- Severe water damage can make the building unsafe due to structural issues. Property owners can lose tenants or become liable for injuries and insurance issues.
- The building can become uninhabitable over time if water damage remains unchecked. It may still be structurally safe, but moisture also causes the growth of mold and mildew, as well as rot.
- Items in a building, such as computers and other electronics, can also be at risk due to leaks. Electricity and water make for a dangerous combination. Damage to belongings is a common issue when leaks are present.
- Concrete can crack when affected by moisture because the steel reinforcements will corrode and expand. Severe waterproofing failure can lead to this “concrete cancer” which can make the building structurally unsound.
But what causes waterproofing to fail? There are several possible causes. Here are the most common.
Using the Wrong Membrane
If you want your building to be safe from water intrusion, make sure to use a complete waterproofing system. This means a sheet membrane that’s right for the purpose, along with all the other products that should go with it. For a smaller building, a metal roofing system might work. But for a taller building with more floors, think about using a flexible sheet membrane. You can also use a membrane over a metal roof.
The flexibility of the membrane is very important because it will keep the membrane intact even if the building moves. Another factor to consider is its resistance to the common culprits behind membrane roof deterioration, such as UV rays, salt air, and chemicals. If your building has roof penetrations, the membrane should be designed for such purposes.
Using the wrong type of membrane or combining products that don’t match can lead to premature waterproofing failure.
Any roof — from asphalt shingles to sheet membranes to metal roofing — needs maintenance to last long. Even the toughest brands can fail prematurely if upkeep is neglected.
As your building’s roof is a huge investment, it makes sense to maintain it and keep it fully functional for as long as possible. Sign up for ongoing maintenance with your professional roofing contractor so they can spot potential problems before they become actual issues that are costlier to fix. Barring extreme weather events, nothing leads to roof failure faster than neglect.
Water Damage Spreading From the Top
The top floor of the building is typically the first to be affected if the roof fails. A flat roof can allow water to pond, and if neglected, that ponding water can eventually find its way inside the building. This is a serious problem that shouldn’t be ignored. Call your contractor immediately for roof repair.
If water damage in the roofing system and at the top floor is not handled properly and immediately, chances are high that the water will find its way to lower floors. All it needs is a combination of gravity and neglect. This is how water damage usually occurs in multi-level buildings. Over time, concrete cancer can affect the building. When this happens, property owners can lose their investment.
There’s a reason you should never hire an inexperienced contractor to install and maintain your commercial roofing system. Poor workmanship is one of the leading causes of waterproofing failure. A reputable and professional roofing contractor will never take shortcuts when it comes to their work and the materials they use because that will affect their reputation and they might also be legally liable for damage and its effects. Inexperienced contractors or storm chasers are only out for a quick buck and will cut corners every chance they get.
A professional roofing contractor will use the correct methods and the right materials every time. They won’t use subpar materials just so they can charge a lower price. They will explain the importance of high-quality materials to you and will discourage you from cutting corners just to get a discount.
Another element of flat roofing that professionals can handle properly is water drainage. As gravity doesn’t help flat roofing lose water immediately in the same way it helps a sloped roof, roofers should install a drainage system to ensure water doesn’t pool on the roof and causes damage. Without a proper drainage system, pooling water can eventually find its way into the building.
When it comes to waterproofing your building, it’s wise to trust only in a professional roofing company. Get in touch with Done-Right Roofing & Sheet Metal Ltd. for reliable roof repair or replacement. We can handle ongoing roof maintenance, as well. Call us today at (905) 875-2888 or tell us about the service you need here.