2 FM quick reads on Roof inspections
1. How to Inspect a Roof
Any roof inspection should look at the roof, of course, but the roof surface is only one item that should be checked. The first thing to look at is your files. Do you have all of the paperwork you need? How about a copy of the warranty? Do you have the names and phone numbers of the companies that have been involved with the roof — previous inspectors, roofing contractors, architects, manufacturer technical services? You should have a copy of all the repair orders and the results of the repairs made. Finally, there should be a roof plan, drawn to scale, that not only shows all the equipment on the roof, but also the locations of any leaks and any repairs made.
The walls and glazing should also be checked. Too many times, leaks from wall, sealant and window failures are disguised as "roof" leaks. Look for cracks and water stains that may be symptomatic of problems in these areas. The worst offenders are pipes, conduit and other penetrations through the walls. Too often these are left unsealed, especially when they are installed as retrofits.
Once those steps have been taken, you are ready to look at the roof. The best place to start is with an overall look at the roof. Is it covered in debris, like leaves, plants and old air conditioning equipment? This is a sure sign that the roof has been neglected. Look at the surface of the roof. If there is a coating, is it intact? If there is gravel or ballast, are the rocks evenly distributed and covering the whole surface?
You should also check the drainage system. If there are large areas of standing water that never seem to go away, it may be possible to solve the problem simply by removing the gunk from around the drain. Or you may need to snake the roof drainpipes or down spouts.
2. Time For The Spring Roof Inspection
Today's tip is about roof inspections. It's almost spring - which means March Madness, Spring Training, and roof inspections! Now is the recommended time to get up on your roof and see how it did over the long winter.
Before you - or one of your loyal lieutenants - get out the ladder (or open the roof hatch, or however else you get to your roof), the first thing to do is checking your roof warranty to find out if there are any restrictions regarding repairs that may need to be made, or, if you haven't been up there since it was installed, if you're even able to walk the roof without voiding the roof warranty.
Next, talk to occupants about whether they've noticed anything unusual - like water pouring through the ceiling. Do a walk-through of the interior of the building - especially unoccupied areas - to check for leaking. Walk around the building's exterior to look for cracks in exterior masonry or pre-cast panels. These could be indications of a roof leak as well. If you find leaks or areas that might be leaks but that you can't tell for sure, it's probably a good idea to hire a consultant or contractor right away to determine the extent of the damage, including whether or not the insulation is wet. You could also do some infrared imaging to check for moisture, if you have the right equipment.
Then, walk the roof to look for ripples or areas where water may be ponding. Look for any loose seams or any other obvious signs of distress. Take special care at the corners and edges, as most roof problems begin in these areas. Finally, carefully inspect flashings and roof drains, and the area around any rooftop equipment.
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