Most of the time, Commercial roofing can seem like a pretty straightforward process, but there are so many things that can go wrong either before, during, or after the installation that can leave you with your head in your hands, dreading what comes next.
Here are a few scenarios that we hope you never have to endure. Check out these 6 commercial roofing emergencies.
1) Bearing the Load
Imagine the scenario: you are in need of a new commercial roof. You go through the bidding process and find the right roofer for your needs. You go through the installation process and come out on the other side with a new roof.
It seems straightforward, right? Well, it might not be if you don’t hire the right consultant. A real horror story goes something like this.
You bring in the contractor of choice to perform the job. The contractor, who has a reliable reputation, follows the consultant’s documents that layout an effort to recover a built-up roof. There is even a little extra gravel to make sure the roof is well-covered.
Here’s where the problem comes in: the structure is only meant to support 20 pounds per square foot. There are already 10 pounds per square foot of built-up roofing. Now, there is 17 pounds of re-covering roofing material per square foot. That’s not even including added drainage pipes or any other fixtures that may be added to aid in the drainage process.
You can see where this is going. Because the load is already precarious, all it takes is light snow or a buildup of water to bring a whole lot of water down onto your head and create a massive mess. The less here is to hire a competent consultant to make sure that your structure can withstand the work being done.
2) Get it in Writing
Another scenario that has happened all too often is one like this. A property manager has just taken over the job. Her predecessor had a new roof installed on the building just a year ago yet there are major, persistent leaks happening.
Further inspection reveals that the new roof had been installed over existing roofing material and it had been done poorly. The roof is no longer waterproof and has in fact seen a huge collection of moisture that leaves the vast majority of the roof saturated.
The manager goes to find the contract so that she can resolve the issue with the contractor. And then it sets in: there is no contract. The previous manager didn’t get one even though the previous installation cost $48,000.
Now, the new manager is left to explain to the owner of the property why the roof has to be replaced yet again and why there is no recourse against the roofer who performed the initial job. The moral here is always, always get a signed contract.
3) Closer Inspection
Having a roofing inspection performed is a great thing to do for existing buildings. But don’t wait until after the roof is installed before having someone look at it. Bringing in a professional to look things over before the installation can save your butt.
Take, for example, a contractor that was roofing an addition to an existing building. Instead of taking the proper methods to fill the pitch pans with grout, the roofer filled it with gravel from an adjacent roof. There would be no way to tell what happened without having someone look at it beforehand.
Then the vibrations start. This causes the sealer to crack prematurely, which then allows water to enter the building. The cracking continues until it is actually replaced with something more appropriate for that installation.
While this might not be as bad as paying for two roofing installations, leaks are nothing to scoff at. They can cause major structural damage to a building if left unchecked. Not only that, there is the chance that mold and mildew could follow. These can create serious respiratory issues for all involved, which then opens the business up to expensive lawsuits.
The moral here is to make certain that you have the roof inspected before and after the roof has been installed. This way, critical errors can be caught immediately before they have a real chance to cause serious damage.
4) It’s More Than Just Surface Appeal
Similar to one of the above scenarios, a facility executive begins to see issues with a roof that had been purchased the year before. They got it at a great price and even did their due diligence by having a visual roof inspection performed.
The problem here is that the inspection did not include scores of the roof as part of the overall scope of work. The roof, which is brand new at the time, looks to be in excellent condition and no one bats an eyelash.
Just a year later, the splits already begin to take place throughout the roof. There are some splits as large as 20 or 30 yards, but oddly enough, not every section of the roof was damaged. As you progress across the roof, you notice that the condition gets worse. The splits don’t’ quite follow the seams of the material and appear to be at random locations.
In order to determine what happened, cores were taken from both the bad and good areas of the roof. As it turns out, the roofer had started to leave gaps between the insulation boards and the gaps got progressively larger as he moved across the roof.
The roofer in question had underbid the project and was trying to save money by leaving those gaps, reducing the amount of material that had to be bought. The result of these gaps is that the membrane was no longer being supported.
The movement that happens in every kind of roofing material led to the membrane to relax and stretch at its weakest location, eventually causing it to snap. Moisture continues to get into the broken system, causing more blisters to appear over the roof.
Fixing this takes extensive work that costs your business hundreds of thousands of dollars. The moral here is to make certain that it is understood what is going on beneath the surface of the job.
5) Small Roofs Can Have Big Problems
Just because your roof is smaller does not mean that you are immune from some seriously large problems. For instance, consider a 40-by-20-foot building that has a coal tar pitch roof. The water eventually ponded heavily on the roof and developed a leak that no one could find. This building houses equipment for the local electric company and the water ends up in the electrical works.
The problem here is that there were no readily observable problems. An examination around the location of the leak revealed nothing out of the ordinary. Something like water staining may have been an indication. Since the water was puddling near a wall-floor intersection, the consultant thought that the water might have been coming from below.
Not only that, there had been a recent wall painting that got rid of the stains that may have revealed where the leaks were. With no signs of an issue, it can be tough to peg the problem. The leaking becomes worse and now there is a huge section of the roof that has structural damage.
The point here is that nothing is ever what it seems in the roofing and to uncover every stone until you find the problem. Commercial roofing emergencies can manifest in smaller roofs.
6) Bad Actor Roofing Contractor
Unfortunately, scams are apart of just about any aspect of life. There are scam artists looking to take advantage of people. All you can do is try to avoid them.
Here is an all-too-common scenario: a massive storm has just hit the area. In its wake, it has done substantial damage to your commercial building. The roof needs heavy repairs or a complete replacement.
Suddenly, a contractor appears on your property telling you that they can provide you with a timely replacement at a price that seems too good to be true. Here’s a little spoiler alert: if the price is too good to be true, it likely is.
The contractor performs the work and leaves. It isn’t long before you start to notice issues with the leak. Areas cracking, peeling, and otherwise not doing the job that they are meant to. Leaks begin to be a huge issue.
You go to find that local contractor’s information. Their phone is disconnected and there is no known address. You begin to panic as it sets in that you were had. A scam artist showed up, took your money, performed a subpar job with subpar materials, and left town before you would notice the difference.
Again, if the price is too good to be true, it likely is. Always vet a contractor before agreeing to anything because not vetting that contractor can result in tens of thousands of dollars lost. Sadly, these kinds of emergency repair scams happen all the time and there is a long list of horror stories.