How Do I Make a Roof Maintenance Plan?
New roofs, old roofs – it doesn’t matter; they’re all issuing the same battle cry for maintenance. “Everyone needs a roof maintenance program and plan. It doesn’t matter if it’s a standalone restaurant, car wash, warehouse, or multi-functioning facility with many roofs,” says J. J. Longerbeam, Vice President Service, D. C. Taylor Co., Cedar Rapids, IA.
It also doesn’t matter how old the roof is. When you buy a new car, you perform maintenance and oil changes. The same theory applies to your roof and routine maintenance. No matter the stage or age, regular inspections, cleaning, and repairs are the best way to ensure lasting performance.
There are five main steps to create a roof maintenance plan.
Step 1: Gather information.
In order to build a plan for the future care of roof areas, collect all past records pertinent to the roof – its age, roof system type, previous roof maintenance, and any current leaks. When you have a record of your roof’s history and you know its projected life, scheduling a program for repairs and reroofing is easier.
Step 2: Establish a baseline.
In order to prepare and plan for a facility roof maintenance program, you need to have a professional inspect the roofs to determine the existing condition of each roof area. Ask your roofing contractor to:
- Assess all of your roofs.
- Assign objective asset health values for each.
The roofing professional will determine if the roof system is currently functioning as intended. “If the roof is 35 years old, for example, it may no longer be maintainable, and planning can shift from maintenance to reroofing,” says Longerbeam.
Step 3: Set the frequency.
The amount of vegetation around the facility (that could clog drainage ways), the frequency of foot traffic on your roof, the sensitivity of operations under the roof and, oftentimes, your budget – will all be factors in deciding whether General Preventive Maintenance is performed once or twice a year, quarterly, or even monthly. Your roofing contractor can assist you with establishing the optimum schedule.
Step 4: Determine maintenance activities.
Your roof system manufacturer’s warranty suggests a maintenance program but doesn’t prescribe specific services. That’s best determined through a discussion with your roofing professional. Most programs involve the following activities.
Routine Roof Inspections
A professional roof inspection assesses the condition of more than 20 components of the roof and should be scheduled before and after the seasons with the most extreme weather (e.g. in spring and fall). Remember, you’ll want to ensure the roof is in good condition before hurricane, tornado, or monsoon season hits.
Inspections don’t just tell you the condition of the roof and its elements; the roofing professional can also help you determine the priority of repairs and provide an estimated cost.
Cleaning Drainage Paths
Not only can environmental debris and growing plants impede proper drainage (leading to ponding water and leaks), but saturated leaves and dust can quickly become rooftop compost and allow wind-borne seeds to take root. Clearing downspouts, gutters, drains, and scuppers facilitates proper drainage of water from the roof.
During General Preventive Maintenance service, you can expect deficiencies to be identified and the following minor repairs performed.
- Resealing terminations, including pitch pans.
- Fixing small punctures, tears, and cracks.
- Replacing missing fasteners with new fasteners, oversized if necessary.
- Replacing deteriorated caulking or sealants.
- Installing fasteners in like membrane where protruding fasteners were removed.
- Applying caulk to open sheet metal seams.
Step 5: Look long-term.
A roof maintenance (or roof asset management) plan can help you forecast future roofing-related spending. It will be far easier to secure capital for a large reroofing project, if projected budgets and a history of past service activities can be presented. Consider planning maintenance activities for five years out and lock in pricing with your roofing contractor now.