Maintaining your flat commercial building's roof is essential for keeping the interior of your building free of moisture and mold and mildew problems. Fall is an good time of year to complete some basic cleaning, maintenance, and repairs to your roof to make sure it is ready for the upcoming winter season. Here are several tips and some insight to keeping your flat roof in good repair and ready for winter.
Clean and Check Drain System
Because the flat roof on your building is an easy collection point for many types of debris blown by the wind, it is important to check and clean it often. If the drains and scuppers become clogged by branches, leaves, and dirt, the roof will collect water during wet weather where it will pool and eventually find its way into your building's interior. For a fall maintenance on your roof, it is recommended to clean out the drains and scuppers along with your rooftop surface each month when the leaves begin to fall from their trees in your area. During the rest of the year it is recommended to check and clean off your roof's drainage system every three months to make sure they remain flowing well.
Pick up large pieces of debris from trees and other sources, then use a broom to sweep smaller debris, such as leaves, blossoms, dead insects, and other organic material. Be careful when you sweep and walk upon the roof as you don't damage or tear the roofing membrane.
Next, remove the mesh screen from the drains on your roof and brush them to clean stuck-on debris and to clear the mesh material to allow proper drainage. Remove any debris that has become lodged within the inside of the drain and the roof's scuppers. If your drains do not have mesh screens, install them to help prevent your drains from becoming clogged.
It can be helpful to make sure the drainage pipes are not clogged by running water down them with a garden hose. If you discover a blockage, you can try spraying the blockage from the pipe by spraying water with your garden hose up through the bottom of the drain. If this does not dislodge the clog, try clearing it with a plumber's snake attached onto an electric drill. If the clog still remains, you may want to call a gutter professional to remedy the situation and restore your roof's drainage.
Inspect and Repair Roof Damage
After you have cleaned your roof drains and scuppers, inspect the surface of your roof for any signs of improper drainage. If you notice any low spots on your roof, which can be apparent by an evaporation watermark ring surrounding the low spot, this is a sign water has been pooling in the area. The pooling of water on your roof can lead to roof leaks, so you will need to have it repaired as soon as possible. This type of damage is best repaired by a professional roofing company, as they will need to level the roofing materials to eliminate the low spot.
Inspect for other types of damage, including cracks, holes, and bubbling of your roofing membrane. If you encounter a crack or hole, clean the area around the damage with a clean, wet rag, drying it fully. Apply a layer of roofing cement onto the crack and around it several inches. Apply a patch cut from roofing membrane to fit over the area of roofing cement. Press the patch onto the repair.
Repair a bubble by cutting an X into the membrane and dry out the interior of the bubble. Apply roofing cement inside the bubble and press the flaps of the X closed. Apply more roofing cement over the area surrounding the repair by several inches and affix a roofing membrane patch onto the area.