Florida Rainy Season Roof Maintenance Tips for Commercial Buildings
The rainy season in Florida runs from May through October, when air mass thundershowers build in the heat of the day and drop heavy rains in the afternoon. In some areas, you can set your watch by it. This time of year also brings decaying tropical storms and the occasional hurricane. Although a hurricane hasn’t hit Florida in some time, many people speculate the big one is just around the corner.
For many commercial building owners and property managers, the rainy season means big headaches. From roof leaks and hail damage to flooding and lightning strikes, the rain brings with it an array of challenges. But by taking a few easy precautionary steps before the rainy season begins, one can ensure their roof will make it through this season without major problems.
A roof is one of the largest financial investments a building owner can make and something that is easy to protect. Roofs in Florida experience extreme weather conditions like hail, rain, lightning strikes, fierce heat, seismic shifts, foot traffic, and plane crashes (no kidding). However, the biggest reason Florida roofs fail is due to a lack of preventive maintenance. Not inspecting your roof can eventually cause the need for a major repair or total re-roof. The goal with preventive maintenance and inspection is to identify issues with the roof system before they become significant problems (not to mention, preventive maintenance is required by manufacturers’ 10, 15 & 20-year material and labor warranties).
A well-maintained commercial roof is the best way to protect the entire building from sustaining storm and water damage. Below find some areas to consider and our top tips for maintaining your building’s roof and keeping safe this rainy season.
Rainy Season Areas to Consider
- Photos & Video: Take digital photos or video before and after the rainy season to easily monitor roof changes. Also, this can help facilitate an insurance claim should you need to make one.
- Disaster Plan: Who will you call the moment something goes wrong? Lightning strikes and hurricanes happen – what’s your game plan? Hurricane season starts June 1. Check your county website to download the latest hurricane guide and download quick and easy apps like the Red Cross Hurricane App to make sure you always have the latest information and resources at your fingertips. (download here)
- Roof Traffic: Most roof problems are the result of human error. For example, workers going on your roof for maintenance can unknowingly cause damage to the membrane. Make sure to install walk pads on the high traffic areas of your roof to mitigate this issue, and inspect the roof following any major HVAC or window washing projects.
- Communication: Encourage your tenants to inform you of any problems or leaks they encounter immediately. By communicating early and often with tenants they will know what to look out for and can be a great asset to uncovering issues with the roof.
Proactive Inspection and Repair
Roof inspection and preventive maintenance are critical in maximizing a roof’s lifespan and should be completed on a semi-annual basis. Advanced Roofing recommends two inspections every year: one in the spring and one in the fall following the rainy season. It is also recommended that you have your roof inspected for any major storm damage, such as a lightning strike, hail, or fire.
An aggressive preventive roof maintenance plan can help prevent major problems at a fraction of the cost by identifying and fixing them before they get out of hand and expensive. According to GAF Roofing Solutions Preventive Maintenance Manual, “the annual cost to owners not having a preventive roof maintenance program can cost up to $54,700 per year.”
Rainy Season Roof Maintenance Tips:
- Gutters: Clean gutters and drains regularly to prevent leaks and backup. During the rainy season, a clogged gutter or drain can put a strain on a roof and is also the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos and roof gardens.
- Lightning: Summer storms bring fierce lightning strikes to many parts of Florida. Make sure to review your building’s lightning protection system following major storms, roofing, and HVAC services, as the lightning rods tend to get knocked down.
- Mold: Heavy rain and strong humidity can create the perfect atmosphere for mold growth which can lead to structural damage and tenant allergies.
- Pests: Birds, stray cats, squirrels, spiders, and raccoons would all like to make your roof their new home. By blocking small entry holes and removing these critters immediately, you can mitigate this issue.
- Sun: Solar radiation can shorten the life of many roof systems. Scan your roof after extremely hot days to ensure sealants are working properly and there are no cracks in the membrane.
- Trash: Check for garbage behind skylights, HVAC equipment, valleys in the roof, pipes, and any other penetrations that can collect debris
- Wind: Driving wind and rain can loosen fascia boards, roofing shingles and tiles, creating leaks when the precipitation is moving sideways. Strong winds can also knock down trees and power lines. Make sure to walk the roof after every storm to detect damage.
Hire a Roofing Professional
A professional roofing contractor can create a customized inspection and maintenance program tailored specifically to your building’s needs. Following inspection, a roofing expert can provide you with a detailed report outlining any issues. This report is a valuable source of information for property valuation, budgeting, insurance claims, and legal ramifications.
Also be sure to select a roofing contractor with experience in your building’s type of roof system. Additionally, check to see if the company belongs to any roofing associations like FRSA and ask to see multiple references. Some other good tips to selecting a qualified roofing contractor are: choose a roofing contractor that’s been in business for more than 25 years, has additional captive insurance, $100+ million bonding capabilities, low Safety EMR, and boasts a stellar rating with the Better Business Bureau and third party review websites like Google.
Read our tips for selecting a roofing contractor, click here.
To schedule your rainy season roof inspection, call us toll-free at 800-638-6869. We have friendly roofing experts on hand ready to help.