Preventive Maintenance Guidelines for Building Roofs

Maintaining your roof takes time and discipline. The Massachusetts Dept. of Capital Assets summarizes their building roof preventive maintenance guidelines.

Preventative maintenance for roofs is not as easy as it looks. Maintaining roofs isn’t too demanding but requires specialization and time commitment. Regular checks and maintenance is a must, even when funding is low. When it comes preventative maintenance for roofs, if an organization does not have that expertise in house, it is best to reach out to an external agency with that level of expertise.

According to statistics, it is estimated that every dollar spent on a comprehensive framework for roof maintenance is five dollars saved in expenditures for repairs and extended roof life at a 400% ROI. Generally, preventive maintenance software is estimated to have a 545% ROI. Two key elements in roof asset management include inspections and repairs. While these are broad indicators, sub-categories are defined based on specific needs that vary, such as climate and temperature changes, roof access options or the roof type.

Roof inspections involve three types of tasks

  1. the initial inspection, seasonal inspection and damage inspection. The purpose of the initial inspection is to make sure that proper installation has been undertaken and there are no issues.
  2. Seasonal inspection is a routine inspection that must be executed twice every year – typically, in fall and spring. The seasonal inspection is mainly preventative and makes certain that no defects have emerged over summer or winter such as high temperatures and wind damage.
  3. Damage inspections are usually performed when there is some kind of severe weather like a thunderstorm or hail.

These preventative maintenance guidelines usually require roofs to be inspected based on the number of factors that might cause wear and tear to the roof. Besides natural causes, these include foot traffic, chemical damage, and wind damage. Walking over roofs result in minor cuts and punctures on the top later and affects the compressed roof insulation. It is best to minimize foot traffic as much as possible to maximize the life of the roof. In addition, single-ply roods experience chemical changes that weaken their life line. During inspections, experts look for changes in color or consistency of roof membrane which might lead to cracking. High winds can damage the roof membrane in several ways, leading to puncturing from carried branches or displaced ballasts.

Last but not least, the inspection of roofing has to include both exterior and interior inspection that is targeted towards the state of the roof membrane. Exterior inspection involves assessing whether water has penetrated into the membrane – this can be done by walking on the roof and checking for spongy insulation patches. Interior inspection by contrast, is checking the ceiling and upper floors of the building for possible water damage. Building owners can take on some aspects of preventative maintenance through maintenance staff and maintenance software.


References: Division of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance
Preventative Maintenance Guidelines for Roofs