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The Enemies of Your Roofing System

Your roofing system’s performance is affected by numerous factors. Given the fact that your ultimate goal is to have a roofing system that lasts a long time with low lifetime maintenance costs, we need to know what we’re up against.


Heat and ultraviolet rays cause roofing materials to deteriorate over time. Think about it, direct sunlight causes the material to heat and cool rapidly, causing deterioration. Usually, this occurs faster on the sides facing south.


When water gets underneath the membrane, flashing or other materials, it can work its way along the roof deck to a penetration point in the deck, resulting in a roof leak. Often, water can sit on the deck for a considerable amount of time which encourages deck and insulation deterioration and may significantly increase the cost of reroofing the system.


High winds can cause all sorts of damage to the roofing system. If condensation lines are not securely attached to the roof, they will swing back and forth, causing slices and punctures to the membrane. Flying debris and equipment will also cause serious damage to the surface, allowing points of water penetration. Extremely high winds can cause extensive damage.

Moss, Algae, and Vegetation:

Moss and algae can grow directly on the membrane, especially around AC fluid lines. Once growing, it holds even more moisture to a roof system’s surface, causing deterioration. In addition, vegetation roots also can work their way into the system and structure. Make sure all vegetation is trimmed away from the building.

Trees and Leaves:

Tree branches touching a roof will scratch and gouge roofing materials when the branches are blown by the wind. Falling branches from overhanging trees will almost certainly puncture most membranes. Leaves on a roof system’s surface retain moisture and cause rot, and leaves in the drainage system will cause the roof to ‘pond’ water.

Missing or Damaged Materials:

When a piece of your roofing system is missing or damaged, the roof structure and the building interior are vulnerable to water damage. The problem is likely to compound, as the missing or damaged piece will cause surrounding areas to be damaged as well.


The most preventable enemy, punctures, usually occur because of carelessness on the part of people visiting the roof: HVAC technicians, window washers, painters, maintenance staff, smokers, and tenants. Punctures can also occur because of debris left, blown or tossed on the roof.

Flashing Deterioration:

Fact: most leaks on a roof occur at the flashing areas (perimeter walls, roof penetrations, etc.). Without good, tight flashings around vents, AC units, roof hatches, skylights and wall/roof junctions, water can enter the building and cause damage to the building interior.


The biggest enemy of the roof is often the owner. Roofs, like any equipment, require periodic routine maintenance to fix little problems early, before they become big and expensive. Discover simple, comprehensive and cost efficient programs for you (plus how much it could save you) at www.MyRAMCON.com


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