Many commercial buildings are opting for a single-ply roofing system due to its low cost, ease of maintenance and other advantages. However, even this type of roof has many benefits for many types of buildings; it can also suffer from problems just like every other type of roof. Understanding what problems can occur can allow you to recognize them and address them before a major repair, replacement or other damage occurs. Here are some common problems that can impact a single-ply roof.
- Broken flashing: The membrane of a single-ply roofing system can shrink and pull away from the flashing, causing the flashing to fail. These sheets of metal help to secure the membrane to the roof and if they pull apart, significant damage can occur from wind uplifts.
- Pitch Pockets: Pitch pockets, or pitch pans, are pieces of flashing placed around an irregularly shaped roof penetration. These pockets require a sealant to prevent water intrusion. These areas are susceptible to leaks over time. These areas should be focused on when designing a single-ply roof to avoid future problems.
- Water Vapor: Water vapor is created by a difference in moisture levels on each side of a surface. For a vapor permeable surface like the membrane of a single-ply roof, the moisture levels on each side can pose a problem. If there is more moisture on the interior (inside the building) than the exterior (outside the building) then the vapor will pushed out. However if the moisture content of the environment is greater outside than in, it can be driven into the building, and potentially turn to liquid water. A water vapor retarder can prevent water vapor from getting to a point to where it can condense and create water intrusion.
These are only three potential problems that can damage a single-ply roofing system. However, with proper insulation and design a lot of these problems and the issues they create can be avoided. If you are considering a single-ply roof for your commercial building or are experiencing any of these problems, trust a local, experienced roofing company. For over 50 years Cribbs Incorporated has been helping home and business owners with their roofing needs.