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Wind and Your Commercial Roof: What You Need to Know

    Wind & Your Commercial Roof, Blog Cover

    It’s springtime and with changing weather patterns come windier conditions, sometimes dangerous. It may not cross your mind, but you should know that wind can be one of a commercial roof’s biggest enemies. Strong wind can cause severe damage to a flat roof and reduce its ability to protect your building.

    Your facility maintenance plan should include regular inspections of the rooftop, and additional checks after a weather event that includes significant wind. Here are some things to look out for.

    When the wind blows across a flat roof, air pressure above the building is reduced and the relatively higher air pressure within the building pushes upward against the roof. This is called uplift, and the stronger the wind, the stronger the uplift. Uplift can detach a roofing membrane from the substrate, creating wrinkles or bubbles on the surface. These symptoms are not necessarily problems themselves, but when the membrane is pulled up from the deck, water can get underneath and create leaks.

    The perimeter of the roof is where most wind-related issues start, as edge details and other terminations that help secure the membrane can become separated from the building. Even relatively low wind speeds can pry fascia and other components from the roof edge, as well as get under membrane seams and detach flashing from other areas. After a wind event, check to make sure that segments of edge terminations aren’t missing or loose and that membrane seams have no gaps – even small ones.

    Besides creating uplift and perimeter problems, strong winds can cause “scouring” on roofs that use stone as ballast – common on built-up roofing systems and some others. Scouring occurs when the ballast is blown across or even off the rooftop, which creates an unequal distribution of the stone and exposes the surface of the roof to the elements. There may be no immediate signs of damage, but wind scouring can shorten the life of your commercial roof. After a wind event that causes scouring, make sure that the ballast is redistributed properly across your rooftop.

    At All Weather Systems, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss your roofing needs with you – during springtime or any other season. Please contact us at your convenience – 740-323-3174.