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Commonly Missed During Roof Inspections Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by [deleted]

During Roof Inspections Commonly Missed Problems

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


With so many potential problems to look out for, inspecting commercial roofs can be a tedious task. Missing an area of standing water or deteri­orating edge metal can lead to extensive damage to the building. Being thorough and checking off a list of common and not-so­-common roofing problems is one solution to ensure you have inspected every potential issue a roof might have. :

Only Inspecting the Roof at the Top

A common mistake is inspecting the roof while on it and not checking it out from another view. Before starting inspection on a commercial roof, walk the perimeter of the building and look for any incons­ist­encies in the edge metal. Write down any irregu­lar­ities you spot while on the Roof Inspection Checklist ground and make sure to look them over in more detail while on the roof. Irregu­lar­ities can include: fading roof edge, deteri­orated appear­ance, oil canning, rust, unattached metal, .. etc.

After the outside perimeter is inspected, an inspection of the building's interior should be performed, looking at ceilings, walls, and any attic space for signs of mold, mildew, or water infilt­ration. Just because signs of leaks are found, does not mean the infilt­ration occurs in the roof directly overhead. The leak may start at one portion of the roof and snake its way through the building till a weak spot is found.

Not Listening to sounds walking on the roof

Walking on a flat roof can be dangerous. Before beginning inspec­tion, ensure proper safety measures are taken – like harnessing yourself to the roof in case of a misstep. As you are walking, make sure you are listening for any sounds underfoot that can point to water that has infilt­rated the insula­tion. Wet insulation is hard to detect by touch or sight from the roof. However, walking can indicate issues if you hear squishing noises, feel the roof sink as you walk, or see water release from the membrane when pressure is applied.

Commercial Roof

Not Checking Membrane Overlaps

Water infilt­ration often occurs in areas where the membrane laps with skylights, vents, equipment, etc. These areas are vulnerable to deteri­oration and can cause extensive damage. When inspecting the roof make sure that water is not directed to run towards these lap joints. Continuous rain water running past these lap joints will cause them to become damaged. Ensure there is proper sealant and no gaps in the membrane laps.

Not Checking Fasteners

Often roofing contra­ctors mistakenly use the wrong fasteners for the edge metal. Missing Fasteners edge manufa­cturers will typically specify the type of fastener that must be used and/or supply the fasteners required with the edge metal.

If improper fasteners are used on the edge metal there is a greater chance of the metal blowing off in a wind event, and often a manufa­ctu­rer's warranty will be voided if an installer fails to adhere to using the specified fasteners. It is important to make sure the correct fasteners are used, no fasteners are missing, and the fasteners are in good shape.

Not Follow­ing-Up Twice a Year

It is recomm­ended that building owners have their buildings inspected once in the spring, once in the fall, and after every major storm. More than likely, they will have their building inspected maybe once a year. Following up can save money by catching problems early