A membrane roof is a type of flat roof that is very popular among commercial properties because it is low maintenance, durable, and energy-efficient. However, just like any type of roofing material, it can still sustain damage over time.
One of the most common issues that can plague a membrane roof is punctures. These tiny holes can develop on the surface of the roofing material, either due to aging, foot traffic, or environmental factors. This article discusses some of the most common culprits of membrane roof punctures and what you can do to prevent them.
Foot traffic is a notable contributor to membrane roof punctures. Unlike residential roofs, commercial roofs tend to have more foot traffic due to routine maintenance checks, installation or repair of rooftop equipment, or simple access needs.
Each step on the membrane roof places pressure and strain on the material. Over time, this recurrent pressure can lead to the formation of punctures, especially in areas where foot traffic is concentrated or if the roofing material is already aged and weakened.
Furthermore, the type of footwear can exacerbate the damage. For example, hard-soled shoes or work boots are often more damaging than softer-soled footwear.
These hard-soled shoes can easily nick, scrape, or even puncture the membrane material, particularly if debris has been carried onto the roof on the soles of the shoes. This debris, combined with the pressure of walking, can act like sandpaper grinding away at the membrane surface.
Prevention of punctures from foot traffic involves several strategies. For starters, reducing foot traffic as much as possible by minimizing unnecessary visits to the roof can help. Designated walk paths or walkway pads can also be installed to absorb the force of foot traffic and shield the underlying membrane.
Weather conditions can significantly contribute to the formation of punctures in a membrane roof. Extreme weather conditions, including harsh sunlight, torrential rainfall, hailstorms, and heavy snowfall, can all wreak havoc on a membrane roof over time.
For instance, in areas with high temperatures, the intense UV radiation from the sun can cause the roofing membrane to become brittle, thus making it more susceptible to punctures. Furthermore, the contraction and expansion of the roof material due to fluctuating temperatures can create tension within the structure, making it vulnerable to punctures and other damage.
Rainfall, on the other hand, can lead to water pooling on the roof's flat surface. If the roof drainage system is not working efficiently, standing water can seep into the membrane, causing it to weaken over time. This degradation can lead to the formation of holes or punctures.
Similarly, hailstorms can cause direct hits on the roof, leading to punctures, especially if the membrane has already been weakened by other environmental factors or aging.
Winter weather, especially heavy snowfall, can be particularly damaging. The weight of accumulated snow can put substantial pressure on the roof, potentially leading to punctures or even more significant structural damage.
You should manage and maintain your roof effectively to prevent punctures due to weather conditions, which includes regular cleaning, appropriate waterproofing, and timely repair or replacement of any damaged sections.
Contact a local roofing contractor to learn more.