Often times it can be difficult to express the importance of maintenance on the roofing surfaces. Along with many things in life, if an item is out of sight, then it may be out of mind. Roofs can be a perfect example of this thought process. Very rarely do building owners themselves inspect their roofing areas. Boards of Directors and building owners rely on the expertise of their manager to be proactive with every aspect of the building structure, including the roof.
Budgets and money are always a priority for associations and building owners. In this day and age, money can be tight for owners and every dollar in the budget counts. Spending money wisely for your association or building is extremely important in order to be able to manage the assests of the property. The most important item to remember is that the end-all goal should be to achieve ultimate and maximum roof service life while receiving it at the right price. Having a bi-annual maintenance program for your roofs can provide you with foresight on potential costly future repairs and also peace of mind your your homeowners and tenants.
As stated above, most of us do not look at our roofs on a daily, monthly, or even a yearly basis as we would with landscaping or other building maintence items that are right in front of us all day every day. Our roofs could present costly issues when not addressed in a timely manner, and could potentially lead to premature roof failure. Roofs have the potential to leak for days, weeks and even months before water presents itself inside a building. We quite often believe that if we do not see a leak on the interior of our building that there is not an issue. In reality this is not the case.
There are several nuances on your roof that could create immediate issues such as gutters, downspouts, cracks, sealing around HVAC, vents, t-tops and skylights. If these items along with your roof are inspected at least two times a year then you can be informed of potential issues. The issues can then be addressed and this proactivity will actually save money in the long run. In contrast, if these issures are not addressed, you may have to deal with an issue on the interior of the building such as damaged druwall, flooring and water damage. Restoration expenses could cost thousands of dollars and may be considerably more expensive than a proactive roof repair. Roof inspections, proactive roof repairs and roof maintenance could also prevent portential conflicts with residents and will provide stability within your building.
Short term and long term goals are vital for the lifespan of your roofs. Visual inspections are extremely important. Your roofing contractor should take pictures of your roof and any issues that are noticed. If work is completed you should be able to also see "after" pictrues or a final walk to ensure the work was done accordingly and as proposed. Quotes should be obtained for recommended work for repairs and degrading conditions. Make sure you have a manufacturer's warranty which covers materials and a contractors's warranty which covers the workmanship. These warranties should be clearly stated in writing and understood prior to signing any contract. A manufacturer's warranty will not cover you if your roof is improperly installed. Carefully read and understand your warranty and notate any provisons that may potentially void your warranty.
Another important point is to keep your roof clean and clear of debris. Leaves, branches and debris left on your roof may cause it to deteriorate at a quicker rate. For example, the PH balance in some vegetative material such as pine needles will actually deteriorate the roofing material at an accelerated rate. An additional problem with debris on the roof surface is the fact the debris may be restricting the flow of water exiting the roof. For example, if the roof has a drain system to allow the water to exit the roof, debris can literally close the drain. At this point, since the water cannot exit the roof from a drain, it will find another way to exit. The water may find a vent that is extending through the roof. This vent will lead directly to the interior of the building. Once water enters this vent, damage on the interior of the building will undoubtedly occur. In a more extreme situation, if the water cannot exit the roof, the water will literally pond on the roof turing the roof into a pool. The weight of this water can be so heavy that the roof itself could possibly collapse. Putting a clean-off maintenance plan into place to remove the debris from the roofing surface will help extend the lifespan of the roof, and help prevent costly repairs.
Managers should look to trusted roofing professionals for recommendations on maintenance of the roof areas to help plan for the future. Quite obviously, no matter what type of roofing system is installed on the building it will not last forever. Managers need to have confidence in their roofing contractor to inform them when the roof is nearing the end of its useful life. At that point, the manager and/or building owner can begin to plan for a roof replacement in the future. Planning for a future roof replacement will be much less stressful than to have the unpleasant surprise that a roof needs to be replaced immediately. The best solution for the roofing system on your building will be to develop a trusted partnership between the manager, owner and roofing professional. This partnership will allow all parties involved to remain informed, be proactive, remove stress, and be secure in the future of the roofing system that protects the building.
Call us at 480-292-7929 for any questions. We are open 365 days a year 24 hours a day.
Suzanne White, CAAM, CMCA, AMS
Director of Business Development