Common Roofing Issues in Industrial Buildings and How to Address Them

common roofing issues in industrial buildings.

If you own or manage an industrial facility, are you familiar with the most common roofing issues in industrial buildings requiring repairing, upgrading, or replacing your roof? The roofing needs of industrial buildings are demanding and very different from those of residential, office and commercial buildings. The roof might need to meet the standards, guidelines, and regulations set by either government or industry organizations–whether the facility is a food manufacturing plant, an automotive supply warehouse, or a distribution center for an online retailer.

Critical need for high-quality, well-performing roof in industrial facilities

In addition to meeting government and industry requirements, your roof takes on a heavy burden. For example, it may support heavy loads—such as supplies, meet demanding operational requirements, and comply with strict safety codes for manufacturing, storing, and distributing products. 

A well-performing roof is essential to meet these objectives:    

  • Extend the roof’s useful life
  • Reduce expenses for roof repairs   
  • Prevent damage to the interior
  • Protect products, machinery, and other assets
  • Keep employees safe and minimize accidents
  • Accident reduction
  • Meet quality standards, regulations, and industry guidelines
  • Maintain structural integrity

Proper design, correct installation, high-quality materials, regular inspections, and ongoing maintenance will keep problems at bay. Still, over time-especially as a roof ages—an industrial facility may need roof repairs from time to time. If problems are more serious, the roof may require a partial or full replacement.  

Call a trusted roofing company

Your maintenance staff may not have the knowledge, training, or equipment to inspect the roof or do simple repairs—safely. Don’t take any chances. Don’t hesitate to call a trusted roofing company that follows required safety protocols for all roof-related roofing activities. The roofer will thoroughly assess the situation and recommend a course of action—do necessary repairs and take preventive measures, do a partial replacement, or consider a full replacement.

Your roofer may identify and recommend how to address one or more of the following 7 common roofing issues in industrial buildings.

It’s helpful to know about the most common problems that can occur with an industrial roof. Here are 7 common roof issues, along with potential solutions. 

1. Roof leaks

Leaks are the most common issue for industrial roofs. Even a well-maintained roof can experience moisture infiltration, leaks, and other problems. Many of these items are discussed in more detail later in the article. If you can safely perform a visual inspection, you might see problems that you can report to your roofing contractor and insurance company (if applicable), including:  

  • Penetrations or tears in the roof membrane
  • Material degradation in areas prone to wear and tear
  • Damaged roofing material
  • Water ponding
  • Missing or damaged flashing
  • Damage from overhanging tree limbs
  • Snow drifts

2. Ponding water

Water that sits on the roof for extended periods can result in leaks, water seepage, mould and mildew growth, safety issues, and other problems. It is necessary to clear vegetative and organic debris, clear snow drifts in the winter, and remove any hindrances to water flow.  

Excessive ponding water on a flat roof.

Recommendations may include adding drains, installing roof saddles around rooftop equipment to divert water, or adding roof supports, stands, or pads to elevate rooftop equipment.  Sometimes the reason for ponding can be attributable to missing structural reinforcement around some rooftop equipment.  This should be investigated and followed up.

3. Damaged, worn-out, or missing flashing

Membrane upturns and metal flashings, which drain water away from protrusions and upturns, can become damaged by severe weather events, the freeze-thaw cycle, clogged gutters, rust, and other conditions. Potential solutions include patching, resealing, or replacing problem areas.

4. Material degradation

Many situations contribute to material degrading, including harsh regular wear and tear, weather, UV exposure, moisture, poor ventilation, ponding water, chemical exposure, temperature fluctuations, biological growth, or chemical exposure. Two telltale signs of material degrading are blistering and cracking. The problem may be that the materials are showing signs of aging. If the roof is newer, the problem may also be faulty installation or a problem with the material manufacturer.

Roof Replacement on a Residential Apartment Building Built in 1960 by Elite Roofing.

If the roof is newer, the roofer may make the initial contact with the manufacturer. In case of premature degradation, it pays to carefully document all inspections, maintenance, and repairs to review with the insurance company and manufacturer. Depending on the degree of deterioration, talk to your roofer about steps to prevent further damage or, if necessary, solutions to repair or replace particularly damaged areas.

5. Obstructions from HVAC and other rooftop equipment

HVAC and other protrusions can obstruct water flow, resulting in snowdrifts, ponding water, and leaks. Equipment may have been installed incorrectly, unsecured, placed in a poor location, or has abraded the roof.

flat roofing hvac equipment.

If rooftop equipment seems to be causing obstruction, potential solutions include adding flashing, sealing, gaskets, sealants, barriers, roof pads, stands, or saddles to divert water away.

6. Damage from heat vents and ductwork

Heat vents and ducts are common causes of condensation, heat damage, deteriorating roofing materials, and corrosion—all potentially leading to leaks or other damage. Possible solutions include:

  • Use vapor barriers and insulation materials with appropriate R-values
  • Install heating vents at a safe distance from roofing materials  
  • Use heat-resistant materials or insulation barriers
  • Ensure proper flashing and sealing
  • Use corrosion-resistant materials such as stainless steel for aluminum for flashing, gutters/downspouts, rooftop equipment, roof anchors and supports, fasteners, etc.
  • Apply protective coatings or paints to metal surfaces

7. Insulation Problems

Moisture that seeps into installation can result in biological growth, energy loss, air leaks, reduced comfort and productivity, or even structural damage. If you need to replace or upgrade your insulation, your roofer will consider these issues:     

  • Your industry’s requirements, compliance with fire safety regulations, providing a comfortable and safe environment for your employees, and protection of your products and assets
  • The proper type of vapour barrier
  • Optimal thermal performance and energy efficiency, with required R-values based on climate conditions, building usage, and energy codes
  • Fire safety requirements   
  • Roof ventilation systems to promote air circulation and prevent moisture buildup

It pays to keep your roof in good condition

Keeping your roof in good repair will save you money in the long run and enable you to run your operations continuously, comfortably, and safely. When you experience one or more of the common roofing issues in industrial buildings discussed in this article, always hire a roofing company with experience in your industry. To help prevent problems, keep your roof in top condition by scheduling professional roof inspections twice a year, keeping up with ongoing maintenance, and acting quickly when you spot signs of potential roof issues.  

Hire Toronto’s experts in roofing for industrial buildings

Your roof is a critical component of your industrial building. If your roof leaks or is in poor condition, you risk losing revenue, industry reputation, employee safety, and more. Elite Roofing is the Greater Toronto Area’s choice for roofing industrial buildings. We are known for our high-quality material, best practices, expert workmanship, and business integrity.

Trust us to install, upgrade, or replace your industrial roof, and know we’ll be there when you need us with 24/7 emergency service. Contact us today and get the Elite Advantage.