Is a “flat roof” the same as a “low-slope” roof? How about “industrial” and “commercial” — are they different kinds of roofs? And who should you turn to when you have a need for industrial roof repair? We can tell you one place not to go: the roofer who does mostly residential roofing and squeezes in “commercial” roofing now and then. This is only some of what you need to know about getting the best industrial roof repair for your property.
Words, Words, Words
No roof anywhere is well and truly flat. Some roofs are pitched (angled) so minimally as to appear flat, but every roof has to shed water. The typical low-slope (not flat) roof usually has a pitch less than 2-in-12, meaning it slopes down two inches over every 12 inches, 2:12. The smallest pitch is a quarter-inch per foot, 0.25:12, or 2 percent.
How about a “commercial” roof versus an “industrial” roof? Your local drive-thru fast food place is a commercial property. It could be decked out in flashy red shingles, but it is a commercial roof. Commercial roofs include shopping malls, stand-alone retail shops, and office buildings. Sales and services generally happen beneath the protection of a commercial roof.
Industrial roofs are typically where the heavy lifting of business occurs. Industries which produce goods, warehouse products, and deal with dangerous materials or methods are housed under industrial roofs. They may belch chemicals, breathe fire, reverberate with clanging and clinking sounds, and run day and night.
Roofs over industrial buildings take significant punishment and suffer from seriously harsh environmental conditions. An industrial roof may be the last item on a facility’s manager’s mind. Despite being subjected to chemical fumes and wide temperature changes, industrial roofs generally do not get the routine maintenance received by commercial roofs.
Industrial roofs need attention and repair, but most facilities crews are not equipped to perform the work. Your maintenance crew may be marvelous, but do they know what your industrial roof is composed of? Do they have safety equipment to prevent falls over the roof edge? Are they familiar with EPDM, PVC, and TPO roofing? Could their industrial roof repair work void any roof warranty you may have?
When you need industrial roof repair, give your maintenance staff a break and instead turn to a commercial roofer with plenty of experience in industrial roofs. Not every commercial roofer handles industrial roofing.
Many commercial roofers split their time between residential (steep-slope) and commercial (low-slope) roofing. Look beyond such a roofer. You need a roofer skilled in industrial roofing.
Think about it. How good can a roofing crew be at the heavy demands of industrial roofing if Monday they are slapping down architectural shingles, Tuesday they are attaching residential metal roofing, and Wednesday they are finally getting around to looking at a Mod-Bit roof? Such a shift in focus, skills, and technique means no crew is fully adept at any one roofing type. They need to be honing their skills on commercial and industrial roofs most of their working hours.
The harsh reality of industrial roofs is they are ignored or even neglected until a roof leak endangers employees, risks damaging equipment or inventory, or causes nasty mold and mildew odors. What should you do when you encounter a roof leak on your industrial roof?
Obviously, you want to start by contacting your local commercial roofer, the same roofer who has looked after your roof under a blazing sun and through harsh winters. Your commercial roofer can perform four vital steps to deal with your industrial roof leak:
- Inspect and determine the leak’s cause
- Plan the most effective, cost-efficient repair
- Repair the industrial roof to maintain its warranty, match its materials, and delay full roof replacement.
- Inspect the repair and help you plan for further work
Leaks in low-slope (okay, okay: “flat”) roofs are notoriously difficult to track down. Your commercial roofer is best equipped to find the cause of the leak and fix it fast. After the repair, your roofer can spend some time helping you develop a plan to prevent future leaks.
This plan can include:
- Building a case history of your building
- Identifying the type of roof material
- Noting all previous repairs
- Performing a Roof Condition Assessment
- Completing proactive repairs to prevent future leaks
- Following up with reactive maintenance when needed
- Keeping your industrial roof free of leak-causing snow and ice
Allow your commercial and industrial roofing contractor to develop a knowledge of your industrial roof. You will save money, delay roof replacement, and keep your industry humming.
Please contact Vanguard Roofing today to discuss our strategies for industrial roof repair in the tri-state area. We can work with your schedule, your shifts, and your budget. We have decades of experience in all aspects of industrial roofing: repair, maintenance, inspection, and replacement.