Maintenance Inspections: Some Helpful Tips
Maintenance inspections can help extend the life of a roof through routine care and early detection of potential problems. This is not only good practice with any capital investment, but can also help stretch already tight budgets just a bit farther. A maintenance inspection is only successful if properly performed and documented. Damages must be identified and repaired properly to avoid further damage to the roof. Take note of separation of seams, fasteners backing out, any cracking of sealants, coatings, or the roofing surface, ponding water, etc.
ALL roof components should be evaluated. Every curb, stack, drain, scupper, vent, etc. It is best to do this systematically. Roofing Contractor magazine recommends beginning at the perimeter of the roof, circling and moving toward the center in 4 foot increments. This distance provides an even sized “row” and helps ensure visibility of the roofing surface and components (D’Annunzio 34-35).
Each component should be inspected on an individual basis. All flashing should be very carefully inspected for even the smallest of flaws. Studies report that nearly 80% of all roof leaks occur at penetrations and flashings ((D’Annunzio 34-35). It does not take a large opening for water to enter the roofing system, and subsequently the building. Water can travel along flat roofs. A leak may very well occur 20 feet away from where the water entered the roofing system.
The membrane and roofing system itself should be closely evaluated. Any damage should be immediately repaired, using compatible materials.
Measure, note, and photograph any damage found. Minor damages can be repaired during the inspection, however, before and after photographs and a record of the repair is suggested.
Safety should be a factor for whomever inspects the roof. A team of two is preferable as it provides for added safety, ease of recor
ding data, and an additional person to spot potential problem areas. Harnesses and tie-offs are never a bad idea. Be mindful of ladder safety when accessing the roof.
References: D’Annunzio, John A. “Keys to Performing Annual Maintenance Inspections.” Roofing Contractor. Jun 2013: 34-35. Print. <http://www.roofingcontractor.com/articles/89572-keys-to-performing-annual-maintenance-inspections?v=preview>.