Is Your Industrial Roofing System Ready for Spring and Summer?

Industrial roof system. weather impact concept.

How can you make your industrial roofing system reach its maximum lifespan? You can start right now by preparing your roof for the warmer spring and summer seasons. Your first step would be to visually check your roof and get a professional inspection to identify any damages caused by winter weather conditions and general wear and tear. Next, move into action to address current issues and fortify your roof against leaks and other damage caused by both warmer and wetter conditions. 

Now is the ideal time to prepare your industrial roofing system for spring and summer

Industrial facilities are often large and complex structures with unique roofing considerations, including the impact of weather. Spring and summer present specific challenges to an industrial roof’s performance, safety and longevity. You can minimize potential risks by understanding these factors and taking steps to maximize performance and extend the life of your roof. 

These factors and prevention tips can help protect your industrial roofing system against the impact of warm weather.

Temperature fluctuations 

During spring and summer, thermal cycling caused by hot days and cool nights brings on the expansion and contraction of roofing materials. If improperly managed, thermal cycling can lead to leaks, blistering, cracking, loose fasteners, seam failures, weakened seals, deterioration and structural damage. Sunlight and increased temperatures can also trap moisture, leading to mould and mildew growth. The issues are even more likely if the roof was poorly installed–for instance if a roof has negative slope to drains and ponds water.

Toronto Industrial Roofing System

What you can do: Ensure proper installation of high-quality roofing systems with good thermal resistance, measured as an R-value. The higher the R-value, the better heat will be prevented from flowing into and out of a structure. Along with the right insulation, a good ventilation system will allow air to circulate and prevent moisture build-up. Proper maintenance is also essential to preventing heat damage, as is having your roof professionally inspected in the spring. 

Seasonal change

Roofs evolve. For example, a contractor may modify the roof surface to prepare it as a platform for restoration work. A landlord may alter a roof to accommodate tenant needs. Such changes may affect the condition of the roof and the building’s temperature, humidity, or other indoor conditions. Common changes include the build-up of organic debris, animal issues, improperly installed signage on parapet walls and signs of wear and tear.  

Commercial roof covered in snow.

What you can do: A contractor can identify changes by inspecting the roof or by conducting infrared imaging of the roof area(s). Drones and aerial image subscription services can also be effective tools to help identify changes.

Heat and UV Exposure

Intensive summer sunlight and heat also present challenges from prolonged exposure to UV radiation, which can degrade roofing materials over time, causing them to become brittle, fade, shrink, and overall less effective.

Green/living industrial roofing system.

What you can do: Roofs should be inspected at regular intervals to determine if these issues are presenting themselves and precautions taken to eliminate or slow down the process of UV exposure. Sometimes repairs are required to alleviate the issues. Design consideration should also be given to installing UV-resistant roofing materials or cool-roofing systems, such as green roofing coverings, and modified bitumen membranes with a high SRI (solar reflective index) rating, indicating the ability of a roof’s surface to return solar energy to the atmosphere.

Severe weather events 

Winter snow and ice can cause severe damage, as can summer weather conditions. Thunderstorms, hailstorms, high winds and hurricanes can hit the Greater Toronto area hard. Damage to industrial roofs can include punctures, tears and roof blow offs. 

Toronto Industrial Roofing System

What you can do: Schedule twice-yearly professional roof inspections with a qualified roofing contractor and perform ongoing maintenance. These steps are essential for identifying and addressing current damage and potential risks. Delays in maintenance can cause relatively small issues to become expensive, disruptive problems.  Also, abnormalities should be reported on a timely basis to minimize damage and maintain warranty coverage in full force.

Water intrusion and ponding

Low-slope roofs are especially prone to damage caused by water ponding, including water infiltration, leaks, structural shift and—in the worst case—a total roof collapse. Ponding can also lead to algae, mould and plant growth creating drainage problems. With ponding water and poor drainage, a buildup of dirt contaminants and organic debris can degrade roofing materials over time.

Aerial view of industrial roof with ponding water.

What you can do: An effective roof drainage system is the best antidote to ponding water. After storms and during inspections, attend to all drainage issues. Regularly clear clogged drains and scuppers, patch low spots, seal seams as needed and repair or replace all damaged components.  

Increased humidity  

Humidity can be the enemy of a healthy roof. With humidity comes the growth of mould, mildew and algae that can affect roofing materials and drainage. Humidity can also corrode metal components and deteriorate some roofing membranes. Moisture that infiltrates the interior environment can lead to potential health hazards, damage inventory and cause structural damage.   

What you can do: Installing adequate ventilation and drainage systems will help regulate temperatures, prevent moisture infiltration and condensation, allow trapped air and heat to escape and provide fresh air intake.   

Vegetation and debris accumulation 

Winter can leave damage from organic matter like branches, leaves, moss and twigs. The spring and summer bring additional growth and debris, including moss, pollen, and organic growth in ponding water. Organic matter can trap moisture after rainfall, accelerate roof deterioration and clog drainage systems if not promptly addressed.

What you can do: Regular cleaning and maintenance is the answer to organic debris building up on the roof. Clean the roof according to the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid your warranty. Your facilities staff may be able to remove some debris, but your roofer may be better prepared depending on the roof type, condition, safety issues and other factors. In addition, prune overhanging tree limbs when you can safely do so to “clear the building” or call an arborist who will have the necessary equipment and skilled manpower. 

HVAC equipment 

Installing HVAC systems, exhaust fans, vents, and other equipment can create penetration points for water intrusion, compromise your roof’s integrity, increase energy costs and affect indoor comfort. Also, abandoned or improper replacement of HVAC systems often contributes to active roof leaks. 

What you can do: It’s never too often to reinforce the importance of your twice-yearly professional roof inspection, which can reveal if flashing around the HVAC equipment needs to be repaired or replaced. In tandem with having an efficient, properly installed HVAC system and flashing, make sure your roofing system is also energy-efficient and properly installed. When there is abandoned HVAC equipment that will not be put back into service then have it removed from the roof and the roof openings deleted to restore base building condition.

Call on professional roofing experts to protect your industrial roofing system

Spring and summer can easily sneak up on you. Without the right preparation, heat, humidity and other seasonal factors can damage your industrial roofing system, weaken its performance or shorten its usable life. You can get ready using the tips in this article, while always remembering the importance of regular maintenance, timely repairs and twice-yearly inspections by a roofing professional. Another essential factor for success is investing in high-quality roofing materials and hiring contractors known for high-quality workmanship, integrity and experience with the unique needs of industrial facilities. 

The roofing experts at Elite Roofing look forward to being your partner on your commercial, industrial, or institutional roofing project in the Greater Toronto Area. Contact us today to learn about our wide range of high-quality roofing services.