Save Money With Professional Semi-Annual Flat Roof Inspections

Improper flat roof penetrations found during a flat roof inspection.

What’s one of the biggest mistakes a landlord can make in Canada? While building owners want to maintain the value of their property, many forget one one of the most important steps—scheduling semi-annual flat roof inspections. Keeping your roof in top condition is important anywhere, but Canada’s harsh weather makes it critical.

Most commercial and industrial building owners know that roof leaks can lead to extensive damage, yet wait until they spot initial signs of a leak—or worse, wait until the leak becomes a substantial problem—before calling in a professional roofer.


What’s the risk of not scheduling regular roof inspections?

When a commercial or industrial flat roof isn’t inspected regularly, a small problem can grow exponentially. Here are some problems you can run into with failing to get a professional semi-annual roof inspection.

Scenario 1: Let’s say a wall is discoloured, leading the building owner to suspect a leak in the roof. They immediately call a professional roofer who notices that a seam is starting to come undone. The owner may pay a small amount of money to have it repaired with a patch.

Scenario 2: A major wind storm rips through the area, causing the small seam to separate further. The wind lifts a portion of the flat roof, causing significant damage that requires repairs or a partial replacement. A landlord could lose money and time, interior areas of the premises could also be damaged, equipment and stored goods could be lost, and there may be safety risks to those using the building if it is not repaired quickly. 


External wall damage caused by missing roofing downpipe.
External wall damage caused by missing downpipe at roof scupper drain discharge location.

Takeaway: A pre-scheduled semi-annual flat roof inspection would have revealed the damaged seam at its earliest stages, allowing for quick repairs before the damage escalated.  


Semi-annual flat roof inspections reveal hidden problems

Why Get Inspections If You Don’t See a Problem?

In Scenario 1 above, the landlord has been fortunate enough to spot a leak before it causes much damage. It also helps if the owner “eyeballs” the flat roof occasionally to spot signs of damage, especially after a storm. But that’s not enough to adequately protect your building.

Semi-annual roof inspections often reveal problems that have not yet resulted in active leaks, such as a damaged membrane and soiled insulation, which can lead to potential damage and the need to repair the roof or areas under it. For example, moisture may seep into the insulation, damaging the building’s interior, causing mould or mildew to grow or reducing the insulation’s R-value (decreasing energy efficiency). The landlord may need to replace the insulation and make other “surprise” repairs.


A semi-annual professional flat roof inspection can prevent roof drain problems.
This roof drain heaved and is a source of active leaks.

Takeaway: Occasional visual inspections by the landlord or property manager may show obvious damage, such as a missing gutter or damaged metal copings. A casual inspection won’t reveal problems that would have been discovered through a comprehensive, professional inspection. 


Extend the life of your flat roof

The expected lifespan of a flat roof is 20 years or more, which may be cut short without regular inspections. Remember that Canadian ice storms, high winds, and the freeze-thaw cycle can cause more rapid deterioration than in fairer climates–making regular roof inspections especially important .

Another significant reason for regular roof inspections is that the more time passes, the more likely it is for small problems to grow into major headaches. In general, the longer you wait, the more money you’ll spend on repairs. Equally important, regular inspections are a preventive measure. By alerting the owner to potential problems, such as a partially clogged drainage system, the roofer can clear the system of obstacles rather than having it cause a potential leak. 


Excessive ponding water on a flat roof.
Excessive ponding water on a newly replaced roof area with no provision for a roof drain.

Takeaway: Just like a car, roofs require regular inspections if they are expected to last their full life span rather than face early deterioration and unnecessary damage. 


Keep your property budget in check

It can be tough to stick to a building maintenance budget. In particular, unanticipated, significant, and frequent repairs can cause you to go over budget and cause cash flow problems. Regular inspections reduce unexpected outlays. An inspection allows the landlord to resolve potential or small roofing issues before they cause major damage. 

A semi-annual roof inspection will also provide an up-to-date assessment of the roof’s remaining useful life, cost for deferred maintenance today, and capital outlays in the coming years. Based on these factors, building owners can create a budget and timeline that makes sense in the context of their business and operations planning.


Improper flat roof penetrations found during a semi-annual flat roof inspection.
Improper flat roof penetrations through a curb cover.

Takeaway: Semi-annual roof inspections help make your cash flows more predictable and generally decrease unexpected repairs that can impact your budget. 


When is the right time for a flat roof inspection?

How often you should have a professional roofing inspection? When you suspect a problem? Every year? Below are general guidelines for when to get a professional roof inspection:

Semi-Annually: Ongoing inspections enable a roofer to spot potential problems or those that have gone unnoticed. You can pre-schedule these inspections with Elite Roofing.

Post-Weather Event: Large amounts of rain, heavy winds, or hail can all lead to leaks, water ponding, roof punctures, damaged drainage systems, or problems. A professional check will ensure your roof is in good condition or point out any post storm damage.

Discoloration or Growths: Discoloration and growths such as mould and mildew might indicate leaks or moisture that need attention. Call a professional roofer right away if you notice these tell-tale signs.


Damaged tall cone cap on a flat roof.
The chimney exhaust vent cap is no longer in place allowing water to go onto the heat exchanger inside the unit heater in the warehouse below.

The main lesson: It pays to schedule semi-annual flat roof inspections

At Elite Roofing, we know inspections and timely repairs prevent costly problems down the line.

There’s no need to make unnecessary mistakes. Experience shows that our customers save money and extend the life of their roofs when they schedule semi-annual inspections.

To schedule your semi-annual flat roofing inspection, in the Greater Toronto Area, call Elite Roofing and Contractors Limited. Talk to us about how we can expertly protect and maintain your roof. Contact us today