Performing a roof maintenance inspection

There are many misconceptions regarding roof maintenance and roof warranties.  Some building owners and property managers believe that once you install a new roof you do not to worry about for 10, 20 or even 30 years. Contrast that with the installation of a new HVAC system. The property manager has filters changed regularly, coolant and fluid levels checked and changed, and institutes a maintenance schedule to ensure the units last as long as possible, even though it too has a warranty.

A roofing system should not be considered any differently than any other building system. The roof is out in the harmful UV light of the sun, experiences expansion and contraction from heat and cold, is exposed to damaging storms and wind, and even has to stand up to service personnel that may drop a tool, or place a sharp edge of unit panel on it. For these and other reasons, roof maintenance is a necessity. Roofs should be evaluated and maintained on a regular basis to ensure that none of the listed items have damaged or stressed it.

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FAQ’s about roof maintenance on roofs with or without warranties

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. Roof maintenance is not covered by manufacturer’s warranties. 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.

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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?

Failing EPDM corner flashing example of need for roof maintenance and warranties
Failing EPDM corner flashing found
during our inspection is a potential leak source

Repaired EPDM corner flashing
Corner is properly patched and repaired
heading off a potential leak

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

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

Found hole in EPDM roof
Found hole in EPDM roof

Opening in penetration pocket
Penetration pocket filler shrunk
and caused a gap between
the filler and side

The value of roof maintenance inspections on both roofs with warranties and those without

Regularly scheduled roof inspections 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 roof 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.

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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. This will depend on location of the building, uses of the building, and financial considerations. A newer roof with warranties will require less maintenance inspections than older roofs or roofs without warranties.

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 and schedule us to come to your property, inspect the roof and present you with a maintenance/repair report and a quotation.

Please Email and let us know your needs, 

or call us with your questions  at 203-323-8173 

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