9 Steps to Get Ready for Your Commercial Roof Inspection for Spring

Roof drain. Commercial Inspection Checklist concept.

We can all heave a sigh of relief now that winter is over. Now it’s time to get your commercial roof ready for spring with our commercial roof inspection checklist. First, we need to recuperate from the damages caused by snow, ice, and the thaw-melt cycle. Next, we have to prepare for a whole new set of challenges that can spell disaster for a roofing system if your commercial roof isn’t prepared for spring time.

Prepare your commercial roof for the challenges of spring weather

Wind and torrential rain can be a roof’s enemy, as can sunlight and heat. In fact, if it’s 32°C outside, the roof’s temperature can exceed 65°C. Materials can degrade if a roof takes the full impact of UV rays in hot weather.

On top of that, humidity, thermal shock, and torrential rain can all lead to disaster if a commercial roof isn’t in top condition. Being aware of damage from the fall and winter and preparing for warmer weather will keep minor, inexpensive repairs from growing into significant, expensive ones.Ponded water on a roof. This is a concern when not taking care of your commercial roof inspection checklist.

With the right preparation, you can ensure your roof is ready to withstand what Mother Nature brings in the upcoming months. Here are some tips to help you reduce potential roof damage, protect your facility from leaks, and maximize your commercial roof’s lifespan.

1. Do a visual roof inspection

Low-slope roofs common to commercial buildings typically require more frequent inspections and routine maintenance than steep roofs. A little early detection and preventive maintenance goes a long way toward saving your business money in the long run. 

Inspecting seals on a commercial roof. This is a concern when not taking care of your commercial roof inspection checklist.

Inspect the surface of the roof for visible signs of damage, including these steps:

  • Note any membrane damage in the field area or at flashing upturns, open seams, rusted or loose metal components, and missing caulking around pipes, vents, skylights, or other protrusions.
  • Check around vents, HVAC equipment, parapet walls, vertical knee walls, and other areas susceptible to damage.
  • Check for signs of general wear and tear.
  • Look for any signs of algae or moss growth
  • Check for evidence of leaks caused by pooling water

If you find any areas of concern, call a professional roofer to take a closer look and make repairs as necessary.

2. Remove “leftovers” from tradespeople

Your roof will see foot traffic multiple times a year for HVAC and electrical work, Solar PV, restoration work and various maintenance or building projects by owners or tenants.

You will need to clear items that workers may unintentionally leave behind, many of which could cause punctures or other damage. Materials that may be left behind include loose tools, unused building materials, loose nails and screws, hardware, debris and other equipment.

3. Check building interiors

Water damage and leaks may not be visible on the roof’s surface. There may be signs of leaks such as water spots on your ceilings, walls or floors. It is a good idea to do an interior walkthrough to check these items.  In multi unit buildings or residential suites it is difficult to obtain full access so roofers rely on tenants and building operators to bring issues forward.

4. Schedule an infrared scan

Once every few years, do a scan of the roof assembly, since these problems aren’t always visible to the naked eye. Causes include water, heat retention, roof punctures, or heat loss through wet/soiled insulation. Ask your roofer about a moisture survey with an infrared scanner

5. Trim tree limbs

Tree branches and limbs can cause substantial damage to your commercial roof during storms and high winds, including punctures. Leaves from overgrown branches above or near the roof can cause debris to accumulate, clog downspouts, blocked gutters and scuppers, leading to algae growth and water damage.

Always use proper tree trimming tools and protective equipment to avoid damaging your roof.

6. Clear roof drains, scuppers and downpipes

Clogged roof drains can cause standing water that will reduce the lifetime of your commercial roof. You likely did a clean up of organic debris in the fall, but spring cleaning will remove new blockages that have accumulated since then. 

The first step is to clear away any dirt or debris surrounding the drain to prevent more organic matter from flowing into the drain while cleaning it. Next, remove the drain dome cover to see if clogs are blocking the outlet or piping. You can remove easily reachable debris with your hand. Often we find items like tennis balls or bottles lodged inside roof drains.  If the drain is still blocked, a plumber will need to be engaged to use a pipe snake to pull debris through the drain until it is clear or else complete a camera inspection to determine the source of the problem.

Roof drain on a commercial roof. This is a concern when not taking care of your commercial roof inspection checklist.

Also check for missing or damaged drain baskets, and have a professional replace affected ones, as required. Pay attention to clogged scuppers and downpipes as needed, too.  

7. Inspect metal flashings and skylight seals

Inspect for loose, corroded,  damaged, or missing metal flashings at locks and seams to see if additional securement, caulking, re-securement, or replacement is needed. Check for corrosion, rust, leaks or water damage and inspect for structural damage. Also check the seals around skylights, a common cause of leaks.

8. Schedule twice yearly professional roof inspections

Not all roof damage can be spotted on the roof’s surface, especially by an untrained eye. Call a reputable, qualified roof inspector to detect any damage and advise you on repairs.

Commercial roofs should be inspected twice a year, in the fall and spring. It’s easiest to schedule these inspections in advance for peace of mind and to ensure that existing and potential issues are resolved quickly.

Spending a relatively small amount now can save you big bucks in the long run. It can even prevent possible roof failure or lost revenue from being unable to operate during major repairs.

9. Follow a routine maintenance plan

Call your roofing contractor to discuss regular preventive maintenance and upkeep to keep your roof at peak performance and extend its longevity. Maintenance will include debris removal, cleaning, making minor repairs as possible. Schedule larger repairs that can’t be done on the spot. Your roofer will recommend a plan that makes sense given your building’s location, environment, and commercial roof structure.

Routine check of commercial roof as a part of the commercial roof inspection checklist.

Get ready for spring with Elite Roofing’s commercial roof inspection checklist

Spring maintenance is essential for keeping your commercial roofing in good condition and avoiding costly repairs in the future. With preparation and our commercial roof inspection checklist, your roof will be ready to withstand the challenges of the upcoming months.

Since 1956, Elite Roofing has partnered with commercial property owners to build, inspect, and maintain the roof systems. Trust our local family-owned business to get your roof ready for spring. Contact us today to see what Elite Roofing can do to protect your business.