The Effects of Neglecting Your Roof

Posted by Josh on August 12, 2014  /   Posted in Commercial Roofing, Roof Maintenance

HOW WILL PUTTING OFF REPAIRS AND NEGLECTING YOUR ROOF IMPACT YOU LATER?

Many building owners put off repairs of their roof and neglect their roofing system because they think they are saving money, time, effort, or something else. The problem is they are only considering the short term when making this decision, and possibly not even properly considering the short term effects. Delaying repair on your roofing system has both short and long-term effects that many building owners often don’t consider or don’t think are serious. What are the short and long-term effects of putting off repairing your roof? Let’s take a look.

Short-Term Effects of Roof Neglect

In the short-term, neglecting the roof on your building can have four major adverse effects on your building. Most of these problems intensify over time and can become major problems, whereas they were just minor annoyances in the beginning.

Leaks

Result of Neglecting your RoofThe first adverse effect of neglecting your roof is that your roof will most likely begin to leak, and once it starts it only gets worse. Even small blemishes in the roof that are noticed but ignored can lead to a leaking roof.

Once the roof has begun to leak, it will only leak more until repaired. Leaks don’t plug themselves; they actually expand themselves and allow more water through. If you have a multi-layered roof, you may not see that water is entering the building unless you get on the roof and inspect the roofing surface. The lesson learned from leaking roofs? When you notice problems, handle them appropriately immediately. Don’t put leaks or other problems off until it is too late; fix them when you find them and move onto the next issue that will most certainly pop up.

Increased Energy Bills

Another short-term effect of neglecting your roof is increased energy bills. The same holes that let water leak through also let your cold air out in the summer and hot air out in the winter. By allowing holes to exist in your roof surface without repairing them, you could be paying significantly more on your electric bill every single month.

Don’t waste energy and money pumping excess air into your building with holes in its roof; repair the areas with holes and take care of two birds with one stone – stop the leaks and stop wasting energy.

Mold

Clogged gutters, wet insulation, and a wet roof layer can cause mold which can be very dangerous for the workers in the building. Mold is a problem that is extremely expensive to take care of once it has set in, so don’t let it. Regularly check and clean your gutter systems, regularly check that no insulation is exposed to the elements, and regularly check that your roof has no leaks. If you do these three things, you will be in a good position to prevent mold from entering your building.

Animals and Pests

The final of the short-term effects of neglecting your roof is the risk of becoming infested with animals and pests in your roofing system. If the damage to your roofing system is bad enough and the holes are large enough, you could see large insects, rodents, and other small animals such as raccoons entering your building through the roof. Depending on what kind of access they can get, you could very quickly have a whole family of pests living in your roofing system.

Again, don’t let the problem get out of control, and don’t let one problem (a leaky roof) lead to another problem (animal infestation).

Long-Term Effects of Neglecting Your Roof

So there are many short-term effects that often get overlooked when facility managers consider making repairs to their roofing systems. What about long-term effects? What happens when you ignore the roof for an extended period of time?

Severe Water Damage

Remember those leaks that have been dripping on your warehouse floor that you were ignoring? Well they’ve led to complete destruction of the insulation in those areas and are causing mold to grow. The ceilings are sagging from additional weight, and your workers get headaches every day by 3 o’clock from breathing in mold all day. Wouldn’t it have been nice if you hadn’t neglected your roof 18 months ago and had forked over the little cash required to fix the problem then? Now you are looking at 3x the expense, two weeks of shutting operations down for repairs, and you’ll always wonder if you got all the mold out. Don’t take that chance, take care of your roof at the first sign that it is in need of repair.

Decreased Worker Safety

Imagine this: you hear from one of your employees that they noticed a leak in the roof over the warehouse. They tell you about it in May, but the rainy season is mostly over and you don’t want to take the time or spend the money to fix it. You figure you’ll keep a bucket under it and mop the floor if needed.

This is one of the effects of neglecting your roof

Unfortunately, one of the effects of neglecting your roof can be a total roof collapse.

After about two months, you begin to notice that the roof leak is a little bit bigger now, the drops are larger and they are coming down more readily. The only problem is that it’s now your busy season and you just don’t have time. Even if you had the time, your company just lost a huge contract and you’re cutting back everywhere possible, including repairs.

Before you know it, it’s January and you haven’t repaired that leak – or leaks. The roof has continued to deteriorate and now there are about 10-15 leaks in your roof at any given time. You don’t even know if there are leaks in areas of your roof with more layers that could be holding it in. In fact, you don’t even know about all the leaks your workers can see because they have just started putting buckets under the leaks themselves rather than alerting you. The first big snowstorm of the new year hits, and your roof is in far from optimal condition.

As your roof takes on more and more weight due to the snow, it begins to creak and sag and one morning you come into work and the roof has collapsed. You are grateful no one was in the building at the time of collapse, but you still have big problems. Your plant will be shut down for months, your workers are laid off, you’re not making product, you’re not making money. In fact, you’re spending a ton of money repairing your roof when you were supposed to be cutting back!

This is a bit of an extreme scenario, but the danger is very real. Most of us remember what happened to the Vikings Stadium this winter when it wasn’t able to support the snow that had accumulated. A roof that is holding excess water within its layers, or that has deteriorated to the point of heavy leaking, is not as structurally sound as designed and puts everyone inside the building in danger.

Decreased Property Value

This effect speaks for itself. Try to list your building on the market today and bring in a potential buyer with buckets full of water or stains on the floors from the leaks in the roof. Good luck trying to explain why those steady drips aren’t a problem to the buyer wanting to poor huge amounts of money into your building.

Even if you get the leaks and other roof problems repaired, the evidence of past roofing issues remains to all future buyers. You and those within your company worked hard to raise the money to buy this building, treat it right and take care of it! Don’t let laziness or fear of spending money cost you more money at sale time.

Increased Repair Costs

Finally, and possibly most significantly, neglecting your roof leads to more significant repair costs down the road. Each day you don’t make the repairs you know you should, the cost to make them at a later date goes up. It’s like paying interest on a loan, the longer you wait, the more it is.

If you had only cleaned your gutter system before and after each fall season, you wouldn’t be replacing the entire system. If you had just walked your roof with a maintenance team member twice a year, you wouldn’t be replacing 60,000 square feet after the winter ends. One thing is guaranteed when it comes to roof repairs: if you don’t make them now, you’ll have to make them later. They don’t go away, they don’t fix themselves, and they will become worse.

Conclusion

So, it is extremely important for you to always be on the lookout for roof failures and any signs of damage that needs to be repaired. When you find these things, you should at least seriously consider making the repairs as soon as possible. However, we know that sometimes it is not possible to make repairs at a certain time, either due to financial, scheduling, operations, or other reasons. If this is the case, make sure you write down the issues you found and what you need to do to fix them. As soon as it becomes possible to make the required repairs, make them! Don’t allow yourself to forget about them or think “Well, nothing has happened yet, I can wait a little bit longer.” No. Don’t put off till tomorrow, repairs that could be made today.

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