Leaks In Your Flat Roof Cause Rapid Damage To Your Commercial Building

Flat concrete roofs are very popular in commercial buildings – they're much less expensive than sloped roofs and provide a convenient location for your HVAC units. The downside is that they do not drain very well and rely on an overlying membrane to prevent water from making contact with the roof. When leaks occur in a concrete roof, they can very quickly cause damage to your building.

The primary cause of a flat roof leak is a broken seam between membrane tiles or a puncture in the membrane. The membrane is impervious to water and its job is to protect the underlying roof insulation and concrete substrate from water damage. When the membrane has a gap or a puncture, water enters into the insulation instead of draining off of your roof. Here's why this is so damaging to a concrete roof and why it's important to fix a leak as quickly as possible.

Rapidly Causes Structural Damage to the Concrete Roof

Water will rapidly damage a concrete structure. The reason for this is that the water does not quickly evaporate once it has flowed past the membrane because the membrane and the insulation tiles both act as vapor barriers. It sits on the concrete substrate for a long period of time before evaporating and slowly erodes the concrete. A very small leak can cause extensive damage to your concrete roof.

Promotes Mold on Insulation Tiles or Indoor Space

In most commercial flat roofs, there membrane and the insulation are sandwiched very tightly together. When there's a break in the membrane and water enters into this space, it can cause mold to form on your insulation tiles. If the mold is close enough to a vent, it can spread into your indoor space, which will require expensive mold remediation services to remove. You'll also need to replace the insulation tiles if they are molded.

Changes Your Roof's Slope and Leads to Water Pooling

When water destroys the insulation beneath the membrane, it changes the slope of your roof. Flat roofs are not truly flat – they have a very slight slope that allows water to drain off of the roof. When water erodes the insulation or concrete substrate, it can quickly create a valley in your roof that collects water and prevents drainage.

Water that does not drain off of your roof will collect in ponds at the lowest point, which is very dangerous. The water adds weight to the roof and can quickly erode the concrete substrate. This can lead to a catastrophic collapse of the concrete roof, which threatens customers and employees, can ruin inventory and requires your business to be closed for lengthy repairs.

Don't wait until you see mold or water leaking into your building's interior space to fix a leak in a concrete roof. Water does substantial damage to the roof's structure before you notice it indoors. You should have your concrete roof inspected by a commercial roofing service at least twice a year and also have it inspected after any extreme weather events.