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Single-Ply Roofing (TPO & PVC) Maintenance: It’s Common Sense

The use of highly reflective single-ply roofing membranes (TPO & PVC in particular) has been growing in popularity for commercial and institutional applications in Florida. This growth arises from an increased focus in facilities on energy efficiency, sustainability, ease of installation, and cost.

The vast majority of these roofing systems are performing well, but based on an in depth evaluation of more than 520 million square feet of buildings in the last 10 years, many building owners have spent millions of dollars replacing single-ply roofs that, unfortunately, have failed prematurely.

The first question that normally comes up after inspecting a roof that has failed prematurely is, “What caused this roof to fail?” In general, five common factors result in a roof failing prematurely: improper design, improper construction, defective materials, abuse, and lack of maintenance

In most cases, combinations of these factors contribute to roof failure. But the overwhelming driver behind premature roof failure is simply the lack of maintenance. Therefore, as a service to our customers, we want to help you understand the drivers behind the lack of roof maintenance, and what activities you can implement that will maximize the performance of your single-ply roofing system.

The Road Block
Let’s face it, by now you know a maintenance program for a single-ply roof can be a cost-effective, efficient strategy to extend roof life. So why on earth are there owners and managers who fail to implement such a program? Generally, there are three reasons:

Out of sight, out of mind. This old adage often applies to roof maintenance. You and your team are busy and have many responsibilities. If the roof is not leaking or is not harming the facility or its occupants, it is one less item to worry about.

Warranties. The growing practice of using a roof warranty’s length to differentiate single-ply roof membranes has driven the standard 10 year warranty period of a decade ago to a 15 to 20 year warranty period today. Perhaps you believe the warranty will take care of any problems related to a new roof during the length of the warranty period This is a costly mistake.

You see, while the warranty might cover material and labor, depending on the warranty type, it specifically requires you to conduct and document roof maintenance. Failure to complete the maintenance, and the manufacturer can void the warranty.

Funding. Repairing and maintaining a roof is inexpensive compared to the cost of premature roof failure. Not convinced? Give us a call and we will show you the math on your specific roofing system. Premature failure can lead to additional financial and health risks associated with facility downtime, damaged materials and components, structural damage, and claims related to mold and mildew. When budgeting, its important to consider using a life-cycle cost model to evaluate the benefits of roof maintenance. The model should weigh projected maintenance costs against the anticipated increase in roof service life and the financial risks associated with premature failure. You’ll find it pays off.

Maximizing Performance
The truth is, the best time to develop a maintenance program for a single-ply roof is during the design phase of a project or during initial talks of a roof replacement/recovery. The type of roof system that is designed and installed will affect the amount and type of future maintenance. You need to know this.

What If You Already Have A Roof Installed?
The simple fact is, no matter when a roof maintenance program is implemented, the sooner it can begin, the greater the savings will be. At RAMCON, we recommend a 3 step approach to get started.

Call us to conduct a comprehensive roof evaluation. This survey provides a solid foundation for the roof-maintenance program. The information we provide will allow you to plan, prioritize, and make informed decisions regarding maintenance, repair and possible replacement of roof assets.

The next step is a detailed plan to get the roof into a condition where it can be proactively maintained. Are there leaks that currently exist? Let’s get them fixed. Are there pending problems that you have no idea are even developing? We’ll find out. The goal here is to get the system to a point where we significantly reduce or eliminate the ‘x factors’ in the roof performance.

Finally, execute the plan developed and implement a proactive maintenance program. Roofs do not remain in a static condition. If we do not repair deficiencies as they develop in a timely manner, a minor expense can easily and quickly result in increased repair costs and even a premature roof failure.

A RAMCON well conceived and executed roof maintenance plans is one of the most cost effective and sustainable strategies. managers can implement to maximize the service life of fa single-ply roof while demonstrating efficient use of limited company funds.

Now you are left with two choices. You can continue down the path where you respond to roof issues as they develop into leaks, or you can take proactive steps and break the cycle that never ends (leak, fix, leak, fix). It’s proven to be much more cost effective both in maintenance dollars and lifetime performance. Break the cycle and give us a call. We’ll help you in every step of the way.