Your Commercial Roof and Extreme Weather
Experienced Commercial Roof Repair
Extreme weather seems to be happening everywhere these days. High winds from tornadoes and hurricanes, heavy rain that causes flooding, long periods of intense heat during droughts and intense cold all impact our properties. Severe weather events don’t happen everywhere, however, the approach to designing and constructing buildings – especially their roofs – that will make it through mother nature’s outbursts is fairly the same across theses different conditions.
First, the whole roofing system is one of the more vulnerable features of a building during a severe weather event of any kind. Particularly if the commercial building has a low-slope roofing system. During extreme weather, your roof is exposed to high wind, hail, punctures, heavy snow loads, or intense heat from the sun – any of which could damage the protective barrier that your roofing system is supposed to provide.
While the roofing membrane being damaged is a major problem, commercial roofing performance in a storm also means paying attention to the roofing substrate, fasteners, adhesives, joints, insulation, edge conditions, and the structure underneath. Basically, all the components of the roof must work in harmony to withstand adversity to keep from exposing other areas of the building, equipment, critical building systems, and any individuals working or shopping inside, to the dangers of extreme weather. So, with the short and long term viability of the property at stake, not to mention the safety of the people inside, you need to have a coordinated approach.
First, let’s talk about precipitation, which could be from rain, hail, snow, sleet, ice, or any other type of water event, or temperature-based situations. The membrane will be the main barrier to whatever hits your roof, but, unfortunately, so will the substrate or insulation beneath it. Some heavy duty membranes might be tested and warranted against hail damage, as an example, 75-mil or 90-mil materials (the manufacturer needs to be checked on this feature). Commercial roofing systems that have a membrane with a protective layer over it, like ballasted EPDM, could also keep the membrane from being damaged by hail. But, that might not be used in locations that are susceptible to high wind conditions where ballast or scrim can be turned into a hazardous piece of flying debris.
The insulation and board beneath must withstand point impacts also, as they can telegraph through the membrane. Because of this, the substrate and membrane must be chosen to work in unison. Also, heavy rain and snow conditions could mean more moisture sits on the roof longer than it should, which could cause flashings, seams and other joints to get stressed beyond their normal variables. Which means worst case scenarios have to be factored in when they are designed and built so they hold up when severe wether strikes.
Commercial Roof Repair Contractors With Integrity
High winds are another major issue with many severe weather events. The commercial roofing industry has a long history of addressing resistance to wind uplift. When high winds blow across the top of a property, a low-pressure condition is created over the roof, causing a typically higher pressure underneath it. The roof can literally be picked up and displaced by the wind’s force. This force, and the resistance needed to hold it down, is measured in psf (pounds per square ft) of uplift resistance. A widely recognized organization that measures wind uplift is FM Global. They have documented standards for reporting and testing commercial roofing performance.They usually classify these reports on the basis of pressures from 60 psf to 999 psf (FM 1-60 to FM 1-999).
Higher wind resistance ratings is not usually about the membrane, but the method that the roof was installed with. As an example, if you have a mechanically fastened roof, the fasteners play a major role in figuring wind uplift resistance, but the materials that the fasteners penetrate will also. So, as you can see, the whole installation, down from the structural deck, up through the insulation layers and up to and including the membrane, must be tested in unison to get an uplift resistance rating. Enough area must be tested to make sure the spacing of fasteners are correct to have the desired results. In a fully adhered roofing system, the adhesive is a main focus, but so is the rest of the system that it is adhered to. These roofing systems also need to be tested as an entire assembly to figure their ability to perform in high wind situations.
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that go in to determining the type of roofing system your building will need to assure its performance in your particular geographic region for your most adverse weather conditions. Here at Taurus Construction, 800-674-3434, we’ve been providing commercial roofing services to Austin, Texas and the surrounding communities for over 20 years. This includes commercial metal roof repair, commercial metal roof restoration, commercial metal roof replacement and commercial flat roofing services. If you need an experienced, professional commercial roofing company to help make decisions regarding your property’s roof, give us a call.