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How Regular Maintenance Extends the Life of Your Roof

While the importance of regular roof maintenance is a concept that we all understand for cars which have moving parts that all affect each other, it is a concept that not everyone understands for a flat roof.

While the movement is not as noticeable, roofs move and shift with temperature extremes and considering the cost of repairs and re-roofs, regular maintenance can significantly reduce the overall cost of your roof.

Regular Inspections

Just like a car, most roof problems are not immediately visible to look at. Additionally, many people don’t look at their roof regularly and therefore would not notice a problem even if it was noticeable.

Having a roof inspection done at least annually ensures that you have someone knowledgeable checking your roof for all of the common problems. Just like catching a problem early on a car can reduce repair costs (e.g. topping off low oil before it ruins an engine), finding problems on a roof before it leads to a larger issue can prevent extensive damages and repairs.

It is an error to think that you will be aware of all leaks in your roof. There are leaks that go unnoticed because they don’t immediately lead into an often used area of a building, and there are times when small amounts of water seep in through a hole without becoming large enough to reach inside. These leaks are still problems and they are one of the things that regular roof inspections will identify.

Small, unnoticed leaks are often ones that cause the most damage in the end because when left for long periods of time they can deteriorate roof decking or lead to mould, both more extensive problems than a simple roof patch.

Re-roofing a well maintained roof involves simply stripping the old roofing material and putting on a new one, sometimes stripping the old roof is not even required. If the roof was not maintained, however, the job often requires tearing up large sections of water-saturated roof decking or mould.

These larger projects could often have been avoided or at least minimized with regular roof inspections and maintenance.

Regular Maintenance

The products on your roof have been created to keep water out, and when maintained properly they should do the job well. Problems arise however, when they are not maintained and water begins to get under the waterproofing membrane.

Lower levels of roofing products are not made to be wet, in fact, the whole purpose of your roofing membrane is to protect everything underneath it. When water does get through the membrane it significantly reduces the effectiveness of everything underneath.

Especially problematic with older products, water often leads to premature breakdown of roofing materials including the membranes themselves, insulation and decking. Single-ply membranes are not affected by water getting between their layers because they are a single layer.

Older roofing products rely on multiple layers of product (usually 3-4), and are damaged quickly if water is able to get between them. Temperature changes, especially freeze-thaws, cause any cracks and crevices to widen quickly, letting in more water and perpetuating the problem.

Insulation has an R rating which tells how good it is at stopping heat transfer, but that R rating is significantly diminished or eliminated completely when the insulation is wet. Decking quickly becomes soggy and warps when exposed to water, and mould can quickly become an issue and health risk. Maintaining the waterproofing ability of the roofing membrane is essential to the function and life of your roof.

Repair Before the Leak

While it may seem counter-intuitive to some, most leaks can be found before they actually start to leak. Newer roofing membranes should have all of their seals checked yearly, and patches placed on any area where there is a weakening in the seal.

Older roofing products, while not having specific seals, have visual indications that a professional will be able to identify as a weakening or problem area. Repairing these areas before you have any water penetration will significantly reduce the cost of repairs.

We include the cost of many of these smaller repairs and patches in your roof inspection and will avoid larger, more costly repairs later.

Enable Planning

Regular inspections and maintenance on your roof can cut costs of more extensive repairs and help you to plan for the future. Knowing your problem areas and the life expectancy of your roof will allow you to save properly and be ready when the time comes to replace, while regular repairs will make sure that you get the best value out of your existing roof.

To schedule an inspection, repairs or maintenance, or to talk about the necessity of a new roof, call Northern Seal today. We will help you extend the service life of your roof and ensure that you have the information you need to prepare for the future.