Answers to common questions regarding commercial roof maintenance

Is commercial roof maintenance necessary?

Yes, just like mechanical systems, cars or anything exposed to the weather, commercial style roofs need maintenance. The sun, heat, cold, storms, technicians servicing roof top units – all add wear and tear, and can physically damage a roofing system. Proper periodic maintenance can identify problems caused by these factors and either repair potential leaks or address problems before they start.

I have a manufacturer’s warranty; doesn’t that mean I don’t have to do anything to my roof for the life of the warranty?

No, roofs need maintenance regardless of the warranty status. Warranties do not cover preventative maintenance or repairs due to damage. Storms can cause debris to blow on a roof. These can make holes in a roof. That type of damage is not covered by a manufacturer’s warranty. Occasionally a service person drops a tool, or a removed access door to a unit puts a cut in the roof. That is also not covered. We have even seen instances where birds or animals peck or claw holes in the roof. Repairing this is also the Owners responsibility.

If my warranty does not cover maintenance, what does it cover?

First look at the type of warranty that you have. Some cover material only; others are labor and material. Material only warranties will provide you with some material if a leak is caused by a material failure. Labor to make the repairs is not included. Labor and material warranties will cover the labor and material necessary to repair a leak. Some warranties are prorated over time, others are “No Dollar Limit” for the duration of the warranty period.

The manufacturer’s warranty will cover (to the extent of the type of warranty issued), the repair of a leak caused by a material defect or installation problem.

What if I see a lap or penetration flashing starting to open but I do not have a leak? Will that be covered if I call the manufacturer?

If the problem is from regular aging and not a defect, the owner is responsible for the maintenance to repair the item.

I don’t have any leaks. Why do I need to do roof maintenance?

Regularly scheduled roof inspection and preventative maintenance is meant to find potential problems before they cause leaks and stop problems you may not be aware of.

Sometimes cuts or holes in a roof don’t show up as a leak right away. Sometimes the underlying insulation or insulation facers absorb water so small leaks don’t show up inside. As more water is taken in, the roof membrane can become unadhered, the insulation can get soft, and a host of other problems can develop. By the time the leak appears inside the building, it is too late, and a large repair is necessary.

Preventive maintenance will also address items like age related seam or flashing shrinkage or bridging. Repairing these before they get to bad will prevent potential leaks and all the aggravation and problems caused by leaks.

During preventive maintenance visits, the roof is cleaned from debris. Debris on a roof can blow in storms and make holes or collect around and clog drains. Clogged drains causes water to build up on roofs where it not only adds weight, but could find its way into low penetrations, and cause added stress on old seams and flashings.

How often do you recommend roof maintenance inspections and preventative maintenance?

We usually recommend maintenance twice a year, once in the spring after the winter/spring storms are done and the leaves/pollen are out, and then again in the fall after the leaves are down and the summer’s sun is done baking the roof. Of course, an owner can have inspections/maintenance done more times or fewer times depending on location of the building, uses of the building, and financial considerations.

Can anyone perform roof maintenance inspections and repairs?  

No, roof maintenance inspections and repairs should be done by a trained roofing professional. Roofing work is dangerous. People must be trained in safety and protection when working or going on roofs. Roofing materials are made by different manufacturers. A trained professional can identify the type of roof system present, and perform the repairs using materials compatible and appropriate for the type of system and materials present. If incompatible or improper materials are used, not only could the manufacturer’s warranty be voided at the repairs, but the roof membrane could be damaged by chemical reactions from incompatible materials.

M Gottfried, Inc., is licensed and trained by most of the major roofing manufacturers. We have served the Fairfield, New Haven, Litchfield County regions of Connecticut and Westchester County New York since 1947.  Our skilled technicians are well versed in the proper procedures and use of materials to maintain your roof and keep it performing at its peak performance whether it is recently installed, in its middle years or aging toward the end of its useful life expectancy.

What’s my next step?

Call M. Gottfried, Inc. at 203-323-8173, or email us at info@mgottfried.com and schedule us to come to your property, inspect the roof and present you with a maintenance/repair report and a quotation.

How can I find out more about M. Gottfried, Inc.?

Please visit our website: mgottfried.com to discover more about who we are and what makes us leaders in the roofing industry.