Steps You Can Take to Avoid a Roof Failure

by JRSBlogWriterSeptember 25, 2018

prevent roof collapse from storms

Imagine showing up for work or school and finding the ceilings on the floor and water everywhere. That’s precisely what happened, according to a report in the Philadelphia Public School Notebook, when teachers and students arrived at one school on a recent Tuesday morning.

The East Coast has been getting pounded by rain and Academy at Palumbo in Philadelphia, the weather had catastrophic effects, but thankfully not tragic. What is even worse, it appeared to be caused by clogged roof drains and guttersa situation that could have been prevented.

Jerry Roseman, the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers’ environmental scientist is quoted as saying, “The roof drains and gutter system were clogged, causing an enormous amount of water to accumulate on the flat roof that then poured into the building at some point over the weekend.” Roseman added, “It caused ceilings to collapse in a few areas, resulting in several inches of standing water in some locations and major damage to other parts of the building.”

How Often Should You Check Your Roof Drains?

To avoid this problem, it’s imperative that you have a regular maintenance schedule that includes checking and cleaning out your roof drains on a regular basis.

How regular should that schedule be? That depends on the region your building is in and how many trees surround the building. If you live in a relatively dry climate or your building is a high rise, you may only need to check your drains once a year. If you live in an area that gets quite a bit of rain or snow, or if your building is surrounded by trees and it’s the fall season, you should be on at least a quarterly inspection schedule.

Regardless of what region you are in, or how tall your building is, you always want to inspect your low sloped roof drains before a major storm or when unusually heavy rainfall is expected. You also want to examine your drains immediately after any construction work has been done on your roof as workers may have inadvertently caused damage to a drain.

What to Look for When Inspecting Roof Drains:

•    Discoloration surrounding the drain indicating that water has been pooling there.

•    Loose or damaged flashing around the drain.

•    Damaged roofing material around the drain.

•    Debris buildup on and around the drain.

•    Missing sealant or cracks in the caulking around the drain.

•    Broken drain covers.

Don’t let a small, inexpensive problem turn into a huge disaster. Avoid costly damage and a potentially deadly situation by regularly inspecting your roof drains.

In fact, take a run up there right now and make sure everything is as it should be. If something doesn’t look right, fix it immediately and rest easy during the next storm.

For more information on Smith’s commercial roof drains, visit our website, or contact us to discuss any questions you might have.