Loss Control Insights
Protect the Roof That Protects Your Operation
A small leak in a Midwest school roof allowed water to penetrate the building, leading to hazardous mold problems. In another part of the country, loose roof flashing on a building was torn off by high winds and damaged a nearby property. These are just two examples Mike Duffield, EMC risk improvement manager, cites when talking about the importance of roof maintenance and repair.
Based on his experience, property owners often overlook small roof problems until they get out of control. Some of those problems can be easily found by looking up at the roof for loose flashing or inspecting interior walls for signs of moisture. “Both are indicators of potential problems that can result in expensive repairs and inconveniences for occupants,” comments Duffield, who also recommends hiring an established, licensed and bonded roof inspector to get a more thorough evaluation of the roof’s condition. “It’s also important that inspections include a repair plan for the items that indicate signs of problems,” adds Duffield.
Identifying the Visual Clues of Roof Damage
The Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) offers the following visual clues as possible signs of roof damage:
- Prolonged standing water or ponding on the roof can lead to premature aging and deterioration of the cover, which will lead to leaks.
- Bubbles may indicate trapped moisture within the roof cover, which can lead to leaks and reduce the life span of the cover and the roof cover system’s effectiveness against a windstorm.
- Gaps in the roof flashing greatly increase the potential for roof cover failure during a high wind event.
- Tears in the roof cover or worn, cracking seams can allow water to enter below the cover.
Duffield encourages property owners to follow IBHS guidelines for scheduling inspections every six months. “Fall is a great time to schedule this type of inspection because inspectors can look for damage caused by spring and summer storms and identify any potential issues before winter snow and ice set in.”
Protect Your First Defense From Natural Hazards
Every day, your roof is exposed to weather and other elements that may contribute to decay and deterioration, increasing the risk of damage to the roof itself and the contents below it. Remember, a little maintenance can result in a lot of savings, especially when compared to the cost of repairing damage from an undetected leak or a catastrophic roof failure.