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The Risks Associated with Ponding Water on your Roof

An undamaged, functional roof is a necessity to your business whether you're solely manufacturing products or have a storefront location where customers come to shop. Too many businesses take their low-slope or flat roof drainage system for granted, ignoring the potential risk of stagnant water, thinking, “what harm can a little puddle cause, after all?”

A small amount of pooling water on your industrial roofing system may not appear to be a huge concern at first, but ponding can cause serious damage to your roofing materials, which can be costly. The easiest approach to avoid these problems is to educate yourself about them. Take a look at the following list of potential issues that arise when water pools on a roof.

1. Risk of Breeding Mosquitoes and Other Insects

Nobody wants hordes of blood-sucking parasites circling their property. Allowing water to accumulate on your roof's low spots attracts mosquitoes and other insects (that are both a nuisance and a danger, as they can carry pathogens that may cause serious illness). Other bugs, such as termites, cockroaches, and beetles, may be attracted to the area, causing damage to your roof, and could be gnawing their way into other parts of your building. Bugs in and around your commercial facility can also lead to health-code violations, disgruntled customers, and costly repairs.

2. Animals May Come for a Drink or a Dip

Aside from bugs, other animals are less interested in breeding in stagnant water, although they will come to drink. The most common creatures drawn to pools of water on commercial rooftops are raccoons and rodents such as squirrels, mice, and rats. Geese, ducks, seagulls, and pigeons may also splash around in the water and be enticed to nest on your structure. Rather than dealing with this nightmare scenario and having to call pest control after it occurs, make sure that any flat roofing is in good condition and drains efficiently.

3. Damage from Frozen Water

Ponding water can be particularly troublesome throughout the winter when temperatures drop below freezing. Ice damage is the result of ponding water during the chilly winter months, and it can happen in a variety of ways. The first blunder made by commercial building owners is failing to maintain their buildings throughout the fall season. Autumn storms can cause pools of rainwater to accumulate, and falling leaves can cover the roof and prevent roof drains from functioning correctly. Sitting water left on the roof in the fall and into the winter is a threat of freezing.

Additionally, melting snow needs somewhere to go, and ponding can occur if the drainage system is faulty or weakened. When the temperatures drop, the ponds re-freeze, causing problems that may necessitate costly repairs or perhaps roof replacement. Water expands when it freezes, causing gaps and fissures. When those expanded spaces fill with water and freeze again, the problem becomes even worse. Before winter approaches, have your roof inspected to ensure it is in good working order. If your roof has ponds of water from fall storms, contact Interstate Roofing to drain water from your roof and to assess the structure, and make any necessary roof repairs so the problem doesn't grow worse.

4. Unwanted Rooftop Garden

Rooftop gardens are beautiful, but unintentional vegetation is the polar opposite. You probably don't want a "garden" of weeds, moss, and algae. Your customers don't want to see that, and a dirty roof overgrown with vegetation may turn them away. However, vegetation on the roof is more than just an eyesore. Roots can get into cracks in your roofing membrane and rip it apart. Adding to the problem, vegetation (and the waste it produces) clogs gutters and drains that are designed to avoid ponding. It may also attract insects and other animals, resulting in increased garbage and damage. Animal droppings act as fertilizer in this situation, creating a positive feedback loop. Unless the damage is restricted to a small region, the only option at that time may be to start over with a new roof. To avoid the cost of a roof replacement, make sure water isn’t pooling on your roof.

5. Discoloration and Staining

Discoloration and staining are minor concerns in the context of disasters like the ones described above. Yet, a discolored or stained roof is still a cause for concern. Roof deterioration and staining can tarnish your company's image. If the roof of your commercial facility is highly visible to the public, the discoloration has the potential to cost you business. If you think you're safe because you have a metal or dark-colored roof, think again. Discoloration is a problem that affects all types of roofing. You can end up with gray areas on a black roof and water stains on metal from all-too-common acid rain—even more so if the rainfall ponds. There's no way to prevent these issues unless you make sure your roof has the appropriate slope and drainage. Some coatings can help avoid damage like this, but you shouldn't put them to the test by allowing water to pool on the roof. Make sure to consult Interstate Roofing in regards to coatings and to ensure that the drainage on your commercial building is appropriate for the roof slope.

The impacts of ponding water on your business's roof should be enough to persuade you that it's time to double-check your commercial roof design. If you've ever had ponding water problems, have your roof inspected for damage.

When you’re ready to have your roof inspected, or if you have questions regarding ponding water, call Interstate Roofing at (608)783-2106

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