Commonly Asked Questions About Commercial Roofing Systems

Unless you spend a lot of time on the roof of your commercial building (which is actually a good practice – more about that below), there may be some important aspects of it that you haven’t thought about. Here are some questions and answers about commercial roofing systems.

Water isn’t draining off my rooftop. What’s going on?

Even though you might have a “flat” commercial roof, it wasn’t designed to be or built as completely level. All flat roofs should have some slope to them to enable water to run off, either into gutters around the perimeter of the building or into drains that channel water through the interior. If you have lingering ponding water, that’s a sign that the roof is sagging, and you may have structural problems caused by the water weight. A roofing contractor can possibly address the water flow problem with rooftop accessories called crickets, but structural problems would need to be corrected by an engineer.

Can a new roofing system actually save me money?

The short answer is yes. The commercial roofing trend in recent years is toward highly reflective thermoplastic systems that can reflect up to 85% of the sun’s energy. This translates into a reduction in summertime cooling costs by as much as 40%. Cool roofs reduce the strain on rooftop HVAC systems and have been shown to extend the life of both the roof system itself and the underlying insulation. All of these benefits improve your bottom line.

Don’t all commercial roofing systems do the same thing?

At the most basic level – yes. Roofing systems have the fundamental job of protecting your building from the elements, in all seasons. Much of their ability to do this depends on the quality of the actual installation performed by the contractor; most commercial roofing problems that develop over time are traced to human error at the time of installation. Some systems offer advantages in certain circumstances. Lightweight thermoplastic systems can often be installed over an existing roof without an expensive tear-off and building disruptions. PVC systems are resistant to greasy exhaust that’s common on restaurant roofs.

As a building owner, what’s my roofing responsibility?

Spend some time on your rooftop. Periodic visual inspections of your roof should be part of your maintenance routine and it’s a good idea to have a formal, professional inspection at least twice a year that can uncover and address potential problems before they become major headaches.

Who should I call for all my commercial roofing needs?

The answer to that is simple: Tusing Builders and Roofing Services. We’re experienced in all facets of commercial roofing, from simple repairs to inspections to completely new roofing systems. We invite you to contact us at your earliest convenience.


Handling Snow on Your Commercial Roof

Winter has arrived in the northern part of the US and with it, accumulating snow. As a responsible building owner or manager, you’ll take the necessary steps to keep your property clear of snow to allow access for staff, customers, and other visitors. But what about snow on your rooftop? It’s not visible, so you’re less likely to manage it. Here is some advice for handling snow on your commercial roof.

  • Pay attention to it. A square foot of wet, heavy snow that’s six inches deep can weigh 10 pounds. Multiply that across (for example) a 5,000-square-foot roof and you’ve got 50,000 extra pounds of roof weight that your building structure needs to support.
  • Light, drifting snow is probably not likely to pose much of a problem; normal wind patterns should blow most of it away. But if a storm has dumped a load of heavier snow on your roof, you probably should take steps to remove it.
  • When you’re on your commercial roof in the wintertime, be extra cautious. Being on a roof during non-snow seasons can be hazardous enough, but dangers are multiplied in the winter. Surfaces will be more slippery, and skylights may be covered with snow and not visible. Ponding water from seasonal storms can depress and weaken sections of your roof that have poor drainage. These areas are less obvious when the roof is snow-covered.
  • When clearing snow, make sure to drop it to the ground away from walkways and building entrances and exits. And use tools that won’t harm the roof surface, such as plastic roof rakes or shovels; avoid sharp-edged tools, as they can puncture roof membranes.
  • Make sure that the snowmelt has a place to go by clearing snow and other debris from the areas around your drainage points. It’s likely that there will be freeze-and-thaw cycles during the winter, and if your drains, gutters, and downspouts are blocked, water will have no place to go. If its re-freezes, keep this in mind: an area of only 100 square feet that’s got three inches of ice on it can weigh 1,500 pounds. If you need to use an ice-melt product, check with the roof manufacturer to get one that won’t harm the surface.

At Tusing Builders and Roofing Services, we’re standing by and ready to assist you with your commercial roofing needs, regardless of the season. It would be our privilege to serve you.