Common Roofing Problem: Clogged Drainage Paths

April 7, 2015

When drains, scuppers, gutters, and downspouts become clogged, problems ensue. The cause of clogged drains, scuppers, gutters, and downspouts is typically carelessness and lack of maintenance. Whether the obstruction is from facility debris (e.g. manufacturing residue, cardboard, rags from HVAC repair technicians, soda bottles left behind) or the environment (e.g. leaves, pine needles, dirt, pollen), it’s important that you remove it from the roof.

Obstructed drainage increases the weight load on the roof, accelerates the deterioration of the membrane, can cause leaks, and promotes the growth of plants and microorganisms.

Prevent It

To keep drainage paths open, be proactive. Trim nearby trees to eliminate the risk of leaves and pine needles clogging drains and scuppers. Quarterly or biannually perform general preventive maintenance that inspects and cleans drains and waterways. Use a checklist and require that rooftop workers remove all debris (e.g. spare parts) from the roof during each visit. Check the roof after every major storm or any storm where strong winds may have blown debris onto the roof.

Repair It

If drains are clogged, it’s important to clear the drain as soon as possible. An especially bad clog may require that a plumber be called to snake the drain. If problems persist, consider installing larger drains, gutters, or downspouts.


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