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Commercial Roof Leaks: Common Causes & Expert Fixes

When the roof on your office or one of your building’s leaks, you might be tempted to break out a bucket to put under the leak and forget about it — but that never ends well. Commercial roof leaks require your immediate attention or the damage can spread, leading to a much bigger and more expensive fix. If you’ve seen the tell-tale signs of a leak after a heavy rain, you need to read this…

At Pequea Valley Exteriors, we’re a dedicated industrial roofing company that services all types of flat roofs including EPDM, TPO, metal, and much more. In today’s blog, we’re focusing on the most common causes of commercial roof leaks for each roof type. Keep reading to get answers — or bring out one of our experts to quote you a price to fix the issue permanently!

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Main Causes of Flat Roof Leaks

flat roof leaks

Our expert Amish roofers have been specializing in commercial roofs for decades. During this time, we’ve seen and fixed countless flat roof leaks. We’re sharing the most common reasons for the roof leaks based on the type and age of your roof — as well as explaining the best solutions to restore your roof to a better-than-new condition.

  • Puncture Damage — One of the most common causes of flat roof leaks comes from puncture damage to the roof membrane. This happens by accident (often during HVAC service) when something metal is dropped on the roof and cuts a hole in the waterproof top layer. The hole then begins to let water in the next time it rains. Since the damage is localized to one area and not a sign of the roof’s overall quality, this can be handled fairly simply and inexpensively.

    Main Types of Roofs Affected: EPDM, TPO, PVC

  • Clogged or Damaged Drains — Since flat roofs aren’t sloped like most home roofs, a more complex drainage system is needed to prevent ponding water. However, if that drainage system becomes clogged or damaged in some way, it can lead to large pools of water on the roof after a rain. Over time with no ability to drain, that excess water can slowly leak into the roof. This cause of flat roof leaks can be fixed by clearing and replacing any less-than-effective drainage pieces. Once again, this roof repair tends to be fairly quick and inexpensive.

    Main Types of Roofs Affected: All

  • Excess Foot Traffic — Your flat roof has been engineered to resist the elements for years at a time, but it is less effective at resisting heavy and careless foot traffic. Too many people walking on the surface of the roof can actually weaken the top layer that holds the waterproof properties. If you’ve recently had a lot of work done on your roof and you start to notice this type of commercial roof leak, the recent foot traffic may be the cause. Depending on the size and depth of the damage, we will patch the area or we may add a protective roof coating.

    Main Types of Roofs Affected: EPDM, TPO, PVC

  • Worn Out Seams — This is one of the most common causes of flat roof leaks and one of the more expensive issues to fix as well. Whether a roof is made of rubber sheets or metal panels, the seams between those materials are a major weakness. Over time, these seams deteriorate, allowing large amounts of water to leak into your roof. For this type of large scale leak, we recommend our roof restoration system that reinforces the seams, making them stronger than when the roof was new.

    Main Types of Roofs Affected: EPDM and metal roofing (primarily r-type)

  • Rusting Out or Rotting Screws — The metal roof panels themselves that make up these roofs are durable and leak resistant — they stay tough. However, the screws or fasteners that keep them in place are their weakness. These screws are susceptible to either rusting out or rotting out and leaving holes in your metal roof that let water leak through. If you call us out to hunt for a flat roof leak on your metal roof, this is one of the first places we’ll look. Just like with the seams, our roof restoration system reinforces the screws on a metal roof.

    Main Types of Roofs Affected: R-type and standing seam metal roofing

  • Leaks Around Protrusions — If your roof is used to housing necessary pieces of equipment like ventilation pipes, an HVAC system, or something else, this can cause persistent flat roof leaks. The reason for this is that small gaps between the necessary equipment and the roof surface can form, which allows rainwater into the roof. If you first notice leaks after work has been done on one of those roof top systems, this may be the cause. The good news is that effective commercial roof leak repair work can seal these gaps fairly quickly and inexpensively.

    Main Types of Roofs Affected: All

Every single new client of Pequea Valley Exteriors qualifies for a FREE roof inspection — learn about everything included!

What Happens if You Leave Leaks Alone?

interior commercial roof leak

We always tell our clients: if your roof leaked once, it will leak again. Leaks aren’t a fluke and they don’t go away on their own. Generally, if you leave a roof leak alone (and simply catch the extra water in a bucket,) it can do some serious damage. Firstly, the leaking water can cause the insulation under the roof to grow mold and rot. In addition, extremely excessive leaks can actually go beyond the roof insulation itself and cause damage behind the walls of the building. Simply put, the longer the damage is left alone, the more costly it will be when you finally do replace it.

For the more severe causes of commercial roof leaks like damaged seams or screws, where the entire roof needs work, getting the work done immediately is important. If we catch one of these issues early, we can apply our signature Conklin roofing system for restoration. Unfortunately, we’ve seen many cases where a leak is left alone for too long and the full roof needs to be torn off and replaced.

Trust Us to Fix Any Commercial Roof Leaks

If you catch water dripping from your roof after a rainstorm, don’t reach for the bucket — and don’t put it off. The longer a flat roof leak is left unattended, the more damage it will do. Bring the expert roofers at Pequea Valley Exteriors to your business today. We’ll provide you a comprehensive roof inspection and give you a quote to repair your commercial roof leaks!

Reach out today to schedule your free inspection!

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