Never underestimate the destructive power of Mother Nature. If you have ever had one of those storms that caused weather damage to a roof you might not know the extent of it until the next time there is a storm, or you hire a contractor to come out and inspect it. Sometimes heavy winds and rain or snow can cause issues that remain undetected until a larger problem becomes visible. If you know how to keep your roof maintained, you have an advantage over the effects of natural occurrences that affect every roof.
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Tree Limbs and Other Debris
If your building is located in an area that is prone to heavy winds, tornadoes, or hurricanes you never know what might fly through the air and land on the roof. There are stories of small cars being picked up off of the ground and thrown onto roofs because of violent tornadoes.
In any event, high winds can cause different types of damage, depending on the circumstances and the type of roof.
In some cases, when the building is located in the midst of a bunch of trees, high winds can break the limbs off of the trees and force them to land on the roof. Sometimes these tree limbs can be an insignificant issue that merely needs to be cleared away, however, sometimes the tree limbs can break through the membrane of the roof or even the structure of the building.
When there is visible damage the best thing to do is call a roofing contractor to fix it as soon as possible. However, not all damage is visible at first.
Since the roof is so high up, it may be difficult to see any new debris that arrived during the storm. The best way to determine if there is any unwanted clutter on the roof is to go up there and check it out. If you are not qualified to get on the roof, it is best to call somebody that is.
Some of the things that can happen from debris being on the roof are mold growth and rot damage. Not to mention the risk of clogging up any drainage channels that could cause puddles on the roof.
High Winds Are Bad
Whether it is a tornado, a hurricane, or just regular plain old high winds the powerful movement of the air can cause a lot more damage than most people realize. Depending on the type of roof that the building has, the risk of damage can be higher or lower.
For example, although there are fewer commercial roofs that are equipped with shingles, the ones that are, have a potential issue with the shingles being ripped away by the heavy winds. Since the shingles are nailed into the roof in a manner that protects the next layer of the roof from the rain when they are missing it gives a direct way of entry for the water to seep in through the cracks and damage the underlying wood.
Once that wood under the shingles becomes wet it can grow mold or fungus and start to rot away causing more and more damage as time goes by. Eventually, that rotting area of the roof will decay away and leave a gaping hole where it used to be.
Whether it is a shingle roof or a flat roof with modified bitumen if something hits the roof hard enough to penetrate the barrier that keeps the water out when it rains once the water leaks through it can cause extensive damage that worsens over time.
It is a good idea to get a commercial roof assessment any time your building has suffered a severe storm with heavy winds. It is more logical to assume that there is damage to the roof as a result of the storm than to assume that there is no damage. Either way, until you prove otherwise, you are only assuming.
Although it is relatively rare, lightning does strike roofs and causes severe damage. Lightening packs a powerful bolt of high-voltage energy that can knock holes in a rooftop. Some of the minimal occurrences of lightning strikes can cause mild damage to the shingles on a roof, but bolts of lightning can also cause intense heat and fire.
As a matter of fact, some building owners that are in areas where there is a lot of lightning activity install lightning rods on their roofs so that the current is absorbed by the grounded metal rod before it has a chance to hit the home.
If you feel that your roof has been struck by lightning you can call the emergency line if you see fire and smoke, but do not attempt to investigate it until the storm passes and it is safe to do so. Getting out on a roof in the middle of a lightning storm is not a good idea.
When a roof gets damaged because of a lightning strike the only thing to do is contact a professional to have the damage assessed. Even if you do not see any immediate damage, a roofing contractor may go up there and discover that the lightning bolt caused the membrane of the roof to be damaged. This is the type of scenario that can lead to extensive damage and an entire roof replacement.
It is always better to spend the money to have an expert look for damage and fix it before it gets worse than to wait for the entire roof to collapse because of a small leak that isn’t detected in time.
Roof Leaks During a Storm
When you are in your building as the rain pounds the outside of the walls and the roof the last thing you want to see is a stream of water pouring from the ceiling or a vent. In most of the situations like this, there is not much to do other than get some buckets and try to keep things as dry as possible until the storm passes.
It is a safety hazard for anybody to be on a roof in a storm. You may be able to contact an emergency service that will come to your building and help you stop the leak while it is raining, but you also have to understand that most businesses will not do this.
The main reason why roofs end up leaking during a rainstorm is that there was damage there before the storm even happened that nobody was aware of. Yes, there are companies that will come to the business in order to help stop a leak during a storm but the whole situation could easily be avoided if the building had gotten a roof inspection by a professional before the storm happened.
What to Do?
The best thing to do if your building suffers roof damage because of a storm is to call a qualified commercial roofing contractor to inspect the roof and give you an assessment of any damage that could be present, or could become present if there are issues that are present that have not been noticed. In most cases, the contractor will see problems before they happen and can nip them in the bud before things get worse. Don’t try to fix your roof yourself, unless you are a professional and have enough insurance to cover yourself if you fall.