Summer Hazards for Commercial Roofs

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The cost to replace a roof is much higher than the cost of repair. That’s why it pays to know the telltale signs of problems in your commercial roofing system.

roof inspection, hail storm, hail roof inspection, hail damage on commercial roofYou should be doing a visual inspection of your roof on a regular basis. Each season brings different hazards that can affect your roof. The resulting roofing problems can present with a variety of different symptoms.

In other words, you want to be able to diagnose the probable causes for the symptoms of roofing problems you see. From there, you’ll be able to assess whether or not a need for repair is imminent.

This article will help you do just that.

A Quick Note on Commercial Roofing Materials

The cost to replace a commercial roof can vary depending on the type of material used. However, the cost to replace is almost always higher than the cost of repair, so maintenance is well worth it. There are a wide variety of different commercial roofing materials available, and it would be impossible to discuss the symptoms that each roofing system could present in the space we have for this article.

As such, we’ll briefly mention some of the problems that can occur in asphalt-based systems like BUR, single-ply membrane systems, and metal roofing. These three broad groups cover most commercial roofing systems on the market today.


Blistering is almost always caused by overheating. If you see a few small blisters, and they aren’t grouped together, it’s usually not a cause for concern – especially if you’re getting your roof maintained regularly.

Large blisters, a roof covered in blisters, or blisters that have grouped together are all causes for worry. These blisters can occur in both BUR and single-ply systems, though they’re more common in BUR.

Water can get caught beneath your roofing system – when this water heats quickly, the gases can cause blistering. This is actually a somewhat unusual cause of blistering in recent years. More commonly, blisters are caused by VOCs being overheated – this can occur within the first year of a new asphalt system being installed.

Damage From HVAC Repair or Installation

HVAC units are heavy. People are heavy. Put the two together, and you have a recipe for potential dents in your commercial roof.

Before and after any HVAC installation or repair, take the time to check your roof for any damage. HVAC technicians should be trained to prevent any harm to commercial roofs, so if there’s any damage that wasn’t there before, you’ll want to contact the company.

These dents can occur on any type of commercial roofing.

Thermal Shock

Building materials of all kinds naturally expand and contract as they heat and cool. In the summer, temperature extremes can cause this movement to occur more rapidly, leading to a phenomenon known as thermal shock.

It’s important to keep in mind that your roof is under direct sunlight – the temperature from day to night on your roof can change significantly.

The signs of thermal shock differ from system to system. Here are a few examples:

  • BUR: Gravel loss/migration, networks of hairline cracks (crazing), blisters
  • Single-ply: Openings or voids near seams
  • Metal: Enlarged fastener holes (which can cause leaks)

Loose Flashing

One of the common consequences of thermal shock is a loosening of the flashing on your roof. Loose flashing can lead to leaks and other problems, so it’s important to address it right away.

Moisture Problems

The moisture problems that can develop on your commercial roofing system depend, in part, on how wet summers get in your region.

Problems related to humidity are mostly linked to a lack of proper insulation. The solution to this problem differs from system to system – the methods for insulating a metal roof vary substantially from the methods used to insulate something like BUR. Nonetheless, if there is moisture in the attic of your building, it can affect your roofing system, and you should get it checked out.

In areas where summer rainstorms are common, you’ll want to inspect your roof after every storm. Flat roofing systems are, by far, the most commonly used commercial solution, and the drains on these roofs can quickly become clogged by leaves and other debris.

On a note related to summer storms, branches and other falling debris can dent your roof. While these depressions might not cause leaks on their own, water can begin to pool in them. That increases the weight in one section of your roof, which can lead to leakage.

Most of the summer roofing issues we’ve described here can be managed through regular roof inspections, regular maintenance by roofers, and repairs where needed. Most roofing problems start small, so vigilance goes a long way.

commercial roofing contractors, conklin contractorsWhite Roofing Systems’ team of contractors is here to help with any roofing issues you may have! Our team offers a complete list of commercial roofing services, which includes roof repairs, maintenance plans, roof coatings, and more!

Contact us today for more information.


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