A commercial building with a damaged roof.

As a business owner, you understand the critical role that a well-maintained commercial roof plays in protecting your investment. However, even the strongest roofs are susceptible to various problems over time. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the most common issues encountered with commercial roofing systems and provide practical solutions to address them effectively.

I. Introduction

A commercial roof serves as the first line of defense against natural elements such as rain, snow, hail, and high winds. Weather-related issues are among the most prevalent problems faced by commercial roofers and can lead to significant damage if not addressed promptly. With proper maintenance and reinforcement, these problems can be mitigated, ensuring the longevity of your commercial roof.

II. Weather-related Issues

  1. Heavy Rain:
    • Causes: Poor drainage, clogged gutters, or damaged roof flashing.
    • Solutions: Regular inspection, proper gutters and downspouts maintenance, installation of roof coatings.
  2. Snow and Ice:
    • Causes: Inadequate insulation, inefficient gutter systems, or ice dams.
    • Solutions: Adequate insulation, proper attic ventilation, installation of heat cables, and regular snow removal.
  3. Hail Damage:
    • Causes: Impact from hailstones leads to granule loss, punctures, or fractures.
    • Solutions: Inspection after a hailstorm, repair damaged areas, consider impact-resistant roofing materials.
  4. High Winds:
    • Causes: Loose or missing shingles, compromised flashing, or inadequate fastening.
    • Solutions: Regular roof inspections, secure flashings, reinforcement of vulnerable areas.

III. Roof Leaks and Water Damage

Roof leaks and water intrusion can be detrimental to the structural integrity of your commercial roof and the interior of your building. Here are some common causes and solutions:

  1. Aging Roofs:
    • Causes: Deteriorated roofing materials, worn-out seals, or inadequate maintenance.
    • Solutions: Regular roof inspections, timely repairs, or roof replacement if necessary.
  2. Poor Installation:
    • Causes: Improperly sealed seams, faulty flashing, or incorrect membrane installation.
    • Solutions: Professional installation, remediation of installation defects, and maintenance.
  3. Clogged Gutters:
    • Causes: Accumulated debris or leaves blocking the flow of water.
    • Solutions: Regular gutter cleaning, installation of gutter guards, or downspout extensions.
  4. Roof Coatings:
    • Causes: Existing roof coatings deteriorate, lose adhesion or develop cracks.
    • Solutions: Reapplication of roof coatings, ensuring a seamless and protective barrier.

IV. Ponding Water

Ponding water refers to the accumulation of water on flat or low-sloped commercial roofs, and it can lead to roof deterioration. Let’s explore the causes and solutions:

  1. Inadequate Drainage:
    • Causes: Poorly designed or clogged drains, sagging or damaged roof structures.
    • Solutions: Installation of tapered insulation to promote drainage, repair or replace damaged drains.
  2. Improper Roof Slope:
    • Causes: Incorrect pitch, settling of old roofs, or inappropriate design.
    • Solutions: Consult with commercial roofing services to assess the roof slope and determine necessary corrections.
  3. Adding Drains:
    • Solutions: Identifying low spots and adding drains in strategic locations to facilitate water removal.

V. Roof Membrane Damage

The roof membrane is the outermost layer of your commercial roofing system, and it is prone to various types of damage. Let’s uncover the causes and solutions related to membrane damage:

  1. Foot Traffic:
    • Causes: Frequent access to the roof, improperly placed equipment, or untrained personnel.
    • Solutions: Designated walkways using protective walkway pads or implementing access restrictions.
  2. UV Radiation:
    • Causes: Prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays leading to membrane degradation
    • Solutions: Installation of reflective coatings or UV-protective membranes, regular inspections to identify damage.
  3. Chemical Exposure:
    • Causes: Exposure to harsh chemicals, pollutants, or substances from nearby industries.
    • Solutions: Using chemically resistant roofing materials, regular cleaning, and application of protective coatings.

VI. Blistering and Bubbling

Blistering and bubbling can occur on the surface of your commercial roof, indicating underlying problems. Here’s what you should know about these issues and how to address them:

  1. Trapped Moisture:
    • Causes: Improper attic ventilation, moisture infiltration, or inadequate insulation.
    • Solutions: Repairing moisture sources, improving ventilation, or installing adequate insulation.
  2. Poor Installation:
    • Causes: Incorrect application of roofing materials, insufficient adhesive, or improper drying.
    • Solutions: Professional installation or reinstallation, addressing defects and ensuring proper adhesion.
  3. Improper Ventilation:
    • Causes: Inadequate airflow and ventilation causing heat and moisture buildup in the roofing system.
    • Solutions: Installation of proper ventilation systems or the addition of roof vents.


Regular maintenance, timely repairs, and proactive steps can help mitigate common commercial roofing problems. By taking the necessary precautions and working with professional commercial roofers, you can extend the lifespan of your roof while ensuring the safety and protection of your business. Don’t wait until a small issue becomes a major problem – prioritize regular inspections and address any roofing concerns promptly. Remember, a well-maintained commercial roof is a solid investment in the long-term success of your business.


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