A residential property could have triple-reinforced titanium steel walls, and it still wouldn’t be worth a darn without a sturdy roof. It’s through the roof and rooftop features that many problematic elements can enter a building, from wind to rain to ice to debris. And because of that, the roof must be adequately fortified and properly maintained. Otherwise, the integrity of the building – along with resident safety and property value – are bound to suffer.
Basics for Beginners
Roofs are not just complicated, relatively delicate structures—they’re also harder to keep tabs on than a facade, or windows that people look at all day. Fortunately, there are myriad experts – from property managers to A/E/C professionals to trades persons who work solely on roofs – who can do the job for your building and keep your roof in good repair.
“A roof should be inspected every few years,” says Frank Sausa, Vice President of Altura Construction Company, Inc., in Garfield, New Jersey. “If a leak gets severe enough, a homeowner’s ceiling can literally collapse. The most common cause of leaks that we see is when the rubber boot around plumbing vents deteriorates. Additionally, we often conduct repairs around chimneys, skylights and valleys, utilizing shingles, leak barrier ice and water shield, synthetic paper, step flashing, counter flashing, and, most importantly, kick-out flashings.”
Between formal inspections by a roofing professional, associations should be doing routine maintenance on their own. “Inspection of roofs should be part of the basic building maintenance, and reviewed at a minimum of a few times per month, especially during and after heavy rains or snow,” says Dennis DePaola, Executive Vice President of Orsid Realty Corp., in New York City. “Not only should the roofing surface, pitch pockets, and flashings be checked, but the floor below should be looked at as well, in order to catch even the smallest amount of water infiltration as early as possible, before any major damage occurs.”
Of course, roofs are not ‘one size fits all,’ and a maintenance schedule therefore depends on the make and age of one’s model, as well as the weather to which it’s subjected. “Appropriate frequency of inspections of a roof may depend on its age, but annually is probably a general minimum,” recommends Christopher R. Berg, President of Independent Association Managers, Inc., in Naperville, Illinois. “Severe weather conditions may necessitate specific inspections, particularly for shingled roofs. If you can see the roof from the ground, loose or missing shingles can be spotted by the board or management on a simple walk. However, many problems would only be identified via closer inspection. For example, an examination of the attic may identify leaks and problems that wouldn’t be apparent elsewhere, such as insufficiently ventilated bathroom moisture or dryer lint.”