Roof Maintenance

03 – March 1970

A roof is designed and expected to provide many years of service. However, it is often the most neglected part of the building – “out of sight, out of mind”, until it begins to leak. A planned preventative maintenance program will assist in realizing the best value from the roof, which is probably the most economical part of a building to maintain.

Under such a program the following details should be checked and repaired as required:

  1. Gutters and Down-pipes – They may require cleaning and/or painting.
  2. Roof Drains – They should be kept clear to permit the easy flow of water. Ponds on the roof indicate low spots and may indicate the installation, where feasible, of additional drains.
  3. Flashings – All metal work should be checked for damage, corrosion, broken joints.
  4. Roof Surface – Accumulations of debris may, in time, damage the roof membrane and will often impede drainage. Gravel is frequently blown away at corners. Buckles or blisters may indicate physical damage. Discharge from higher roofs may be damaging the membrane.
  5. Parapet Walls – Repointing of brick or block walls may be required. In some cases it may be necessary to re-cap and waterproof the wall. Caulking may need renewing.
  6. Appurtenances – Plastic pans need frequent refilling, ventilators and flag-poles or T.V. antennae should be checked. Both the metal and glazing of skylights should be examined. Particular attention should be paid to the flashings around powered units which develop vibrations.
  7. Walks – Accumulated rubbish which prevents proper drainage under the walk should be removed.

CRCA recommends semi-annual inspections (fall and spring) on a planned basis. CRCA members are fully qualified to provide this service which should be done by someone with experience to recognize what is and is not urgent.

In addition to the regular maintenance program there are some precautions against abuse which every building owner should heed:

  1. Do not allow the roof to be used for daily activities unless a proper deck is constructed to protect the roof membrane.
  2. Restrict access to the roof to authorized persons.
  3. Install cat walks for use of all except the most occasional traffic.
  4. If any work is to be done on or above the roof employ a well qualified contractor who will accept full responsibility for any damage to the roof.