(This post has been updated since it was originally published on 3/16/16.)
If you want your commercial roof to last a long time, take good care of it!
The elements in Georgia — especially sun, rain and wind — take a heavy toll on even the best roofing materials. Combined with your roof’s age, how it was installed, the number of penetrations, the number and types of equipment on the roof surface, and other important factors your roof is in a constant state of flux so it needs regular attention. With a preventative maintenance schedule you can keep an eye on everything, catch problems early, complete repairs quickly (and effectively), and have the information you need to manage your roofing system strategically.
That’s why well-maintained roofs last up to 25% longer than neglected roofs. That translates into five to eight years on most roofs, which is a big difference in lifespan.
Here’s how preventative maintenance helps extend the life of your roof:
1. Know what’s going on
You can’t know what’s happening up there without looking. An experienced professional will know what to look for and where, and will be able to inform you about your roof’s overall condition. Knowing your roof’s overall condition will help you create a plan for repairs and eventual reroofing in a way that’s aligned with your business objectives.
2. Focus on known problem areas
Regular inspections include looking at all the various areas where problems are likely to happen. Flashing, penetrations, wrinkles, seams and T-joints are all common problem areas. Better to spot and deal with a problem area before it becomes a leak. Leaks lead to bigger problems and can compromise the integrity of your roofing system.
Wet insulation, for example, doesn’t do its job and it’s a lot more difficult to replace insulation than to manage a problem area before it leaks.
3. Recognize when something has changed
When you have the same technician maintaining your roof season after season, they know when something looks different. Hopefully the technician has also taken photos and submitted maintenance reports — there’s nothing like complete maintenance records to help you make good decisions.
Preventative maintenance helps you track and respond to changes in your roof or your roof’s performance, which in turn extends its life.
4. Complete easy repairs on the spot
A lot of roofing problems can be fixed during the inspection visit. Maybe there’s a small tear in the membrane from someone walking on it, or maybe a piece of flashing needs repair. These can be completed quickly at little or even no cost, depending on your maintenance agreement. Think of it like taking your car in for tuneups. Your mechanic can spot things that are a little off and make adjustments on the spot so when you drive home, your engine performing better. Well-performing roofs (and engines) last longer.
5. Complete larger repairs correctly
When your maintenance technician works for a full-service roofing company and finds a problem that requires a repair crew, the technician will call in a crew with the right skill sets for the job. If you don’t have an existing relationship with a full-service roofing company, the company you call in to fix the problem may not use the best approach for your unique roofing system. It’s best for the longevity of your roof that major repairs to be completed by experts who are familiar with your roof, its history, and its idiosyncracies.
6. Understand roof performance from a strategic perspective
Familiarity with how your roof performs over time allows you to be strategic. Each time your technician inspects your roof it adds to the knowledge bank about how it performs. And the more information you have, the better you can plan. Make sure to get a report and photos after every maintenance visit.
When you work with a reputable roofing contractor who values your business, you can trust them to keep you advised — they will have a system for maintaining your roof, sharing information, making recommendations, offering alternative solutions, and developing capital budgets. Maintenance is the first step in a strategically managed commercial roof.
Whether you own or manage one property or many, scheduling regular preventative maintenance is a smart business decision that extends the life of your roof. At Sentry, we know you have a hectic schedule and it can be easy to skip roof maintenance when you’re busy. Our Sentry Roof Care program includes regular visits so you don’t have to think about scheduling — we contact you to set your appointments, either one, two or four times a year, depending on your needs. And if you’re having an issue with your roof, being a Sentry Roof Care subscriber get you preferred scheduling options. Feel free to contact us for more information.