Maintenance Tips for Longevity
Maintaining the integrity of your warehouse roof is more than just a matter of preserving your facility’s appearance; it’s about safeguarding your assets and ensuring uninterrupted business operations.
As your first line of defense against the elements, a well-maintained warehouse roof protects inventory, equipment, and valuable resources from water damage, structural deterioration, and environmental threats. When warehouse roofing maintenance is an afterthought, there is the risk of damaged assets (which can run into millions of dollars), operational disruptions, and costly business downtime.
While modern roofing systems have long lifespans, routine maintenance is vital to their overall performance. Even minor issues like a loose fastener or a blocked drain can escalate into significant problems and, if not promptly attended to, potentially result in premature system failure.
At Bigham Taylor Roofing, our team collectively boasts hundreds of years of roofing and waterproofing experience working on commercial and industrial buildings, multi-unit residential projects, and distribution centers.
We lead the way when it comes to preventative maintenance, given our history as warehouse roofing specialists, and are experts in prolonging the life of a building’s roof and avoiding costly and sometimes catastrophic events.
In this article, we provide some helpful warehouse roofing maintenance tips tailored to various types of roofing systems and the specific needs of your existing roofing structure. Whether your roofing system is flat, sloped, or made of different materials, these tips will help you maximize the lifespan of your warehouse roofing while minimizing the risk of costly repairs or replacements down the line.
Common Types of Warehouse Roofing
There are many different types of warehouse roofing, each designed to meet specific operational requirements. From the durability of metal roofing and the seamless, watertight barrier of liquid-applied roofing to the versatility of single-ply membrane systems, the choice of warehouse roofing types plays a pivotal role in protecting assets and ensuring your business operations run smoothly.
Here are some of the most common types of warehouse roofing, their individual characteristics, advantages, and ideal applications.
Built-Up Roofing (BUR)
Built-up roofing (BUR), often called a “tar and gravel” roof, is a time-tested and durable system commonly used in warehouse roofing. This roofing method involves the application of alternating layers of hot-applied asphalt and reinforcing fabric, typically felt or fiberglass, creating a robust and waterproof membrane. The BUR system gains its name from the repeated layering of these components. A protective top layer composed of gravel or mineral blends is applied, providing an extra shield against environmental elements to complete the installation.
Incredibly durable and long-lasting, with a potential lifespan of up to 30 years or more when well-maintained, the advantages of BUR roofing are numerous. Its multi-layered structure makes it highly resistant to water penetration, ensuring long-lasting protection for the warehouse. It also boasts excellent fire resistance and can withstand foot traffic and other mechanical stress.
However, BUR roofing also has its disadvantages. The installation process can be labor-intensive and time-consuming, potentially leading to higher initial costs than other roofing systems. The accumulated layers add weight to the roof structure, possibly requiring additional support or reinforcement. Over time, the gravel or mineral top layer may also become displaced, making maintenance more challenging.
The team at Bigham Taylor Roofing has extensive experience working with BUR roofing, none more so than when working on the Mission Grove Condominium complex. One of the largest in Silicon Valley, the complex boasts residential and service buildings and dozens of carports spread across an entire city block. As part of the project, we removed the existing gravel built-up and tile roofs on the residential and service buildings, as well as the gravel built-up roofs on every carport.
On the residential and service flat roofs, we installed a Johns Manville Hot Asphalt Applied, Insulated Cap Sheet Surfaced built-up roof system. For the residential buildings’ sloped roofs, we installed a new Eagle Tile Roof System. The carport roofs were replaced with a Johns Manville Hot Asphalt Terracotta Cap Sheet Surfaced assembly. With the safety of residents paramount throughout, careful planning and execution were required to deliver this challenging modified bitumen roofing project successfully.
When it comes to types of warehouse roofing, metal is one of the leading roofing material choices due to its exceptional durability. Metal roofing is a system composed of corrugated galvanized steel, aluminum roofing, or other metal sheets. Using metal sheets provides robust protection against environmental elements, and its inherent strength ensures a long-lasting solution for industrial structures.
The fire resistance of metal roofing makes it a crucial safety feature, especially in industrial facilities where fire hazards can be a problem. Another advantage comes in its energy efficiency. With its reflectivity and corrosion resistance, a metal roof — primarily aluminum metal roofing — reflects solar heat, helping regulate interior temperatures and potentially reducing cooling costs.
As popular as it is, metal roofs do have their disadvantages. It can be noisier during heavy rain or hailstorms, which may not be ideal for certain warehouse environments. The initial installation cost can be higher than other roofing materials, although its long lifespan often justifies the investment. Over time, dents and scratches may also appear on metal roofs, affecting their aesthetic appeal but not their structural integrity.
We tackled a metal roof as part of the largest project in Bigham Taylor’s history. Working on an 800,000-square-foot warehouse north of Reno, we were tasked with solving dual problems of blow-offs and leaks due to the area’s weather and high winds.
The BT team researched a handful of solutions and consulted with a couple of manufacturers before discovering that a Carlisle system would solve the building’s issues and that the manufacturer was willing to put a 20-year warranty on the roof. Read the case study here.
Single-ply roofing is a roofing system that utilizes membranes made from rubber or synthetic materials. These membranes can be applied in various ways, including ballasted, mechanically fastened, or chemically adhered to insulation, providing a protective layer for warehouse roofs.
There are two main subtypes of single-ply roofing: Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) and Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM).
Due to its lightweight nature, single-ply roofing is easy to install, and it can often be applied directly over existing roof systems, reducing labor costs. In addition to offering excellent UV resistance, TPO and EPDM are known for their energy efficiency, reflecting sunlight to maintain lower interior temperatures and reduce cooling costs.
Certain disadvantages come with single-ply roofing, however. The seams and joints in the membranes can be potential areas of vulnerability, necessitating careful installation to prevent leaks. While TPO and EPDM are known for energy efficiency, not all single-ply membranes offer the same level of UV resistance, and the quality of the material can vary. Single-ply roofing can also have a shorter lifespan than other roofing systems, requiring more frequent replacements or maintenance.
Did you know that single-ply roofing is pivotal in facilitating Title 24 compliance for industrial warehouses and commercial structures? Title 24, a set of building energy efficiency standards, mandates specific requirements for reducing energy consumption. Single-ply roofing, particularly reflective materials like TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin), effectively reflects solar heat, contributing to a more energy-efficient building. By regulating interior temperatures, single-ply roofing assists in meeting Title 24 requirements, reducing energy consumption, and ultimately helping warehouse owners achieve compliance while simultaneously cutting operational costs.
Warehouse Roof Maintenance Tips
Regular inspections are essential to maintain warehouse roofs effectively. By conducting professional bi-annual checks at least twice a year, you can identify potential issues and address them before they become costly. Post-storm inspections are equally vital, especially after extreme weather events. These inspections help identify damages like leaks, loose materials, or ponding water, ensuring that timely repairs are made to maintain the integrity of the warehouse roof.
Roofing preventative maintenance is one of the most important ways to protect your building’s most valuable asset. Bigham Taylor crews are experts at investigating potential threats to your roof’s integrity and maintaining its condition.
Cleaning and Debris Removal
Regular gutter cleaning is essential to ensure proper drainage, which prevents water damage and leaks. Also, have the maintenance crew clean the roof’s surface of debris, such as leaves, twigs, and dust.
When left to build up, this debris can trap moisture and cause decay. These cleaning and debris removal tasks can help warehouse owners preserve the structural integrity of their roofs and safeguard their valuable contents.
Leak Identification and Repair
It is essential to identify and repair roof leaks as soon as possible to minimize or eliminate the risk of damage to your building. Schedule regular leak checks to look for moisture inside the building, such as water stains or mold on the ceiling and walls, which may indicate roof leaks. Once detected, swift and appropriate action is vital to avoid further structural damage and potential damage to a building’s inventory.
Bigham Taylor’s Service Department is available 24/7, answering calls for roof repairs when needed. Building owners and managers rely on us to respond promptly to service requests for leak detection and repairs and to deliver professional communication and excellent service.
A fundamental aspect of warehouse roofing care is material maintenance. UV-resistant coatings can extend the lifespan of your roofing system, especially in regions with intense sunlight. The material’s protective qualities can be reinforced by re-coating with waterproof coatings at regular intervals. Proactive material maintenance not only protects your warehouse’s assets but also ensures the long-term performance of your roofing system, reducing the risk of costly repairs.
Bigham Taylor is an industry leader in commercial and industrial roof restoration systems and coatings. Restoration and coating systems are installed over existing roofs to prolong the life of a roofing system.
We monitor a roof’s condition as part of our regular preventive maintenance services and discuss with building owners and managers when it is practical to extend the life of an existing roof by installing an appropriate restoration or coating system.
A well-maintained roof needs a well-maintained drainage system, and the best way to do that is through regular checks. Not only can ponding water cause serious structural issues and leaks, but standing water can also lead to sagging and weaken the roof’s integrity over time.
If you are struggling with water problems, consider upgrading the drainage system to ensure efficient water flow and prevent water accumulation.
If you need help, our team will help determine an effective, efficient, and economical plan for your building’s roof.
Maintaining the structural integrity and safety of your roofing system requires regular structural checks. During these checks, the supports and joists are inspected, ensuring they are free from signs of wear and tear. We recommend calling a structural engineer if any issues are identified and address them promptly.
It’s also important to ensure you adhere to specified load limits to avoid exceeding the maximum weight load your roof can safely bear, including any additional weight from HVAC systems or other installations.
If you need assistance with the structural integrity and safety of your roofing system, the team can help. We understand what it takes structurally to support existing or new roofing systems, along with various drainage, waterproofing, and venting systems on a roof.
The Masters of Preventative Maintenance for Your Roofing System
At Bigham Taylor Roofing, roofing maintenance is what we do and what we do well!
From commercial buildings to industrial buildings and everything in between, our goal is to maximize the lifespan of your existing roof structure by finding and fixing minor things before they become major things. We deliver detailed reports with photographs that include our findings, recommendations, and plans for the next steps.
Our Preventative Maintenance Services include:
- Debris Removal
- Drain Clearing
- Basic Repairs
- Perimeter Evaluations
- Sealant Inspections
The first thing we build is relationships. The longevity, growth, and success of Bigham Taylor Roofing over the past 45-plus years are thanks to our relationships with property owners and managers, roofing consultants, and general contractors. We deliver transparency and honesty to foster solid and long-lasting relationships.
How Can We Help? Let’s talk about your building and needs, and let the team at BT deliver roofing solutions you can rely on.