Roofing Southwest Blog > How We Inspect Roofs

How We Inspect Roofs

June 15, 2018

Any experienced facilities manager will tell you that commercial and industrial roofing should be inspected at least once every year, more if there have been severe storms. And of course, any roof inspection will look at the surface of the roof. However, a good roof inspection will include a lot more that a quick look at the surface!


The first place to start is to make sure your roofing paperwork is in order. Do you have a copy of any and all warranties? Do you have the names and phones numbers of all the manufacturers? How about the names and phone numbers of companies that have touched the roof in the past — inspectors, roofing contractors, architects, HVAC, maintenance and more? Do you have copies of all the repair orders and the results of the repairs? Last but not least, do you have a roof plan, drawn to scale that shows where all the equipment is located, as well as the location of all past repairs. Having all your ducks (and paperwork) in a row will make future inspections and repairs much easier.


Check Below First

It isn’t enough to just look at the roof. The first step is really to check what lies below the roof. Facility managers should take a hard look at walls and glazing and keep a sharp eye out for cracks and water stains. Water that comes from cracked foundations and leaking pipes, retrofitted conduits or other penetrations are often mistakenly attributed to roof leaks, and the real problem goes unnoticed.


Get the Whole Picture

  • Now you are ready to look at the roof, but make sure you get the whole picture when you are up there!
  • Check to see if the roof is covered with debris, plants or have birds or other critters moved in.
  • Look for and remove any old equipment (HVAC, exhaust, vents, etc.) still on the roof.
  • Check to see if the coating (the top layer of your roofing material) is holding up well.
  • Make sure the roofing material covers the whole surface evenly (particularly gravel or ballast)?
  • Check to see if UV rays have broken down the roofing material, leaving it weather and cracked, like aging skin?
  • Check to make sure the drainage system is working — indications of standing water are likely signs that there are problems.
  • Look for failure in the roof membrane at changes in plane or penetrations in the roof — if the membrane is drooping, it is a good indication that the flashing was installed improperly.
  • Check to make sure any expansion joints were correctly joined or terminated.
  • Finally, check to make sure that all roof penetrations are properly sealed.
  • Look for any missing materials, bubbling, or damage that indicates repairs are needed.


Your best bet is to hire a professional roofing company who can give your roof the thorough inspection it requires, quickly and efficiently.


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