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How to Fix a Leaking Roof

By Luke Armstrong

Commercial buildings require maintenance to continue offering prime functionality. An important part of building upkeep is maintaining the roof, which typically starts to show signs of deterioration 15-20 years after the initial installation. When unforeseeable situations cause a roof to spring a leak, property managers are advised to act quickly. Extensive water damage can spread rapidly due to the excess moisture. The hazards of a leaky roof are numerous, as are the causes. However, there are steps a property owner can take to repair the roof when an unexpected leak appears.

Dangers of Leaking Roofs

The dangers of leaking roofs include all of the following:

  • Ceiling water damage. A leaking roof will saturate interior ceilings, causing structural damage. Expanding ceiling plaster that results from the excess moisture requires pricy repairs. Damaged paint and plaster alongside walls is another unsightly consequence of water damage.
  • Mold and mildew. Mold and mildew growth can spread throughout a building’s structure when the roof leaks. The growth of fungi is difficult and costly to remove.
  • Electrical damage. Shorted wires are affected by a leaky roof, especially when the wires are located in the ceiling. The mix of water and electricity pose as a deadly hazard.
  • Personal injury. Water puddles on the floor of your building are a threat to employees who may accidentally slip and fall.

The most significant element of a leaking roof is the structural damage that occurs to rafters, ceiling joints and wall framing, among other deterioration, like rotten roof framing and wood deterioration. The impact of water leaking through the roof is significant and requires immediate attention.

Common Causes of Roof Leaks

Be sure to follow these steps on how to fix a leaking roof before the next rainstorm!

Commercial roofs can leak for a multitude of varying reasons. A clogged drainage system can cause a flat roof to resemble a shallow pond. Water is heavy, and standing water atop a roof is likely to add strain to the rooftop structure.

Property managers should inspect the drains, gutters and downspouts to ensure water flows freely away from the building. Improper water routing necessitates a roof repair.

Unsecured pipes and drains that project out from the roof are all prone to leaks if not sealed properly. Examples of additional roof penetrations include the HVAC unit, vents, gas lines or hot stacks, which must be inspected to ensure continual water tightness.

Over time, a commercial roof’s roofing membrane may show signs of wear, including cracks, splits, shrinkages, or punctures. The damage allows water to seep into the roof’s insulation beneath as well as into the building interior. Roofing contractors who are contacted in time can repair the aged roof membrane rather than replace the whole roof.

Prevent Roof Leaks

The best path to fix a commercial leaking roof is to prevent it before the leak starts. Commercial roof inspections should be routine. Flat roofs that feature low spots should be examined, since vulnerable areas like these are where most leaks are likely to happen.

Maintain the building’s gutters and downspouts to ensure water drains properly. Poor drainage from the gutter system can lead to leaks in lower levels, such as a basement, leaks around the perimeters of the roof and eventually the foundation. Repair costs are high in comparison to taking steps to prevent any chance of a roof leak.

How to Repair a Roof Leak

Despite all preventive efforts, a roof leak may occur. In such a scenario, take steps to fix the leak. All of the steps below include how to fix a leaking roof:

  1. An initial response should be to protect the space underneath the leak to avoid additional water damage.
  2. Move electronics or furniture out of the path of the leak and protect flooring using tarp. Plastic sheeting can also be temporarily installed along the walls.
  3. Place hazard signs around the water to prevent accidental slips and falls.
  4. Look for where the leak starts by running a hose over the roof and having someone visually take notice of where the water enters the interior. It’s necessary to find the exact location of the leak in order to seal it.
  5. Asphalt shingles that indicate damage should be replaced. Loose, crumbled and easily removable shingles require immediate replacement.
  6. Remove the worn shingle, prying out any nails. Clean off any remnants of roofing cement. Insert a new shingle and secure with nails, covering the nail heads with roof cement.

How to Repair Shingle Damage

If you notice asphalt roof shingles are curled, soften the shingle with mild heat, such as an electric hair dryer, and then straighten them. Never use an open flame source, because certain shingles are flammable or not flame retardant.

How to Repair Blistered and Cracked Shingles

Roofing material that displays cracks or blisters should be repaired promptly.

  1. Blisters should be cut through with a utility knife to remove any excess water. Work only with thoroughly dry blisters.
  2. Spread a layer of roofing cement under the loosened roofing material.
  3. Pound roofing nails alongside the repaired blister.
  4. Spread a generous layer of roofing cement over the whole area.

Areas around vent pipes should be inspected for damage to the caulking. If you notice damaged caulk, reapply new caulking to ensure a tight seal. First remove the old caulk with a putty knife. Clean and dry the space prior to applying caulk to the cracks. If significant damage is visible to the boots around vents or flashing around chimneys, major replacement work is recommended.

Professional Roof Repair Services

Reliable Roofing is one of the most trusted roofing contractors in the Chicagoland area for a number of roofing services.

When the roof damage is significant, don’t hesitate to contact a professional roofing contractor, such as Reliable Roofing, to tackle the issue. The highly skilled technicians at Reliable Roofing are equipped to handle every level of commercial roof repair, whether it involves minor damage, substantial leaks or complete roof restoration.

Roof repair services include the following:

  • Free inspection
  • Storm damage repair
  • Shingle repair and replacement
  • Leak repair and prevention
  • Warranty repair work

Reliable Roofing is licensed, bonded and insured to offer customers complete peace of mind on any work performed. As a member of the National Roofing Contractors Association, Reliable Roofing offers cost-effective solutions to a wide range of commercial roofing issues. Business owners can depend on Reliable Roofing; the team responds to calls within 24 hours. Reliable Roofing is committed to offering high-quality roofing services to business owners with commercial properties situated in the Crystal Lake, IL area.