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Think Standing Water Isn’t A Problem? Think Again

October 30, 2019

To understand and solve a problem, you must define it. Take a look at the roof of your commercial building; does it have standing water pooling in areas across the roof? If so, you are experiencing a problem called ponding. Ponding, defined in the roofing business, is water that has not drained 48-hours after rain or other precipitation. Standing water will create the need for roof maintenance because a roof leak repair will be the order of the day when ponding persists. Water sitting on a roof will be there for an extended period and find a way into your roofing system, that is a given. As water accumulates, the weight will create a sag in a roofing system, creating a larger pool of water and the problem compounds itself.

Many roofing companies can provide a commercial flat roof repair, and it should be done immediately upon discovery of the ponding problem. As the sag becomes more extensive, the issue of standing water grows and creates a cyclical problem that has no end in sight. Toronto roofers can stem the tide of standing water before it makes a roof repair or a commercial flat roof replacement a priority for your building.

The effects of standing water on your roof

Standing water is the extra weight that your roof wasn’t designed to handle. Roofing systems come thresholds for weight, and once the excess weight from the water has exceeded the limits, problems start. The extra weight, left unchecked, will lead to a roof collapse. The math behind this is startling. The weight of standing water is five pounds per inch per square foot on the surface of the roof. As an example, a 10’x10’ area that is an inch deep is 200 square feet of surface water. The excess water adds 1000lbs of extra weight to the roof and creates extreme stress for the trusses and supports. The more water that builds on the roof, it increases the risks of roof collapse. The damage that the water creates could be the end of commercial enterprise.  Damaged machinery, equipment, inventory, and lost production will destroy the bottom line. The human cost of a roof collapse is death or dismemberment for staff, and that is a tragedy to be avoided at all costs. As we know, a flat roof is slightly pitched to help with drainage.

In many cases, there are slight imperfections in any roof membrane, and pinholes are prevalent. No standing water on the roof means no leaks. As long as the water is draining due to the pitch of the roof, everything will be fine. When water isn’t flowing, the pinholes will be entry points for water to enter the roofing system. The problem occurs because standing water will force itself into the pinholes, looking for a way to drain to the ground. The leaks are creating problems, and the roofing system will pay the price as water enters.

Solutions for standing water on the roof

A simple solution that amounts to putting a Band-Aid on a scratch is through the use of solar-powered pumps. It won’t solve the problem, but it will treat the symptom until repairs are complete. It amounts to managing the problem until it can be solved. Through regular roof inspections, you can determine if the equipment is contributing to the ponding problem on the roof. Leaky A/C units, drainage systems that are blocked, and coolers will require repairs to stunt the growth of the water problem. Keeping the drainage system free of impediments is crucial to the health of your roofing system. Roofing materials or debris will obstruct water drainage and create the ponding problem. The weather can’t be defeated. Rain falls – so, work toward the goal of a managed solution, something you can control. A shingled roof will have granules, and loose granules will accumulate in drains causing a blockage that leads to standing water. An inspection will help you detect this problem, and you can clear the drainage outlets to relieve the pressure.

Inevitably, a roof repair, done by a professional roofing contractor, will be the only way to eliminate a ponding problem on the roof. Comprehensive solutions for the challenge include re-pitching the roof, adding more drains, or installing crickets on the roof surface. Don’t engage in repairs your self; hire a roofing contractor to do the work. They have the expertise and know-how to deal with the problems standing water causes. Ponding remediation can be solved with temporary solutions like pumps or plastering over the low areas, but the work must be done. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Protecting your building, and all who use should be paramount in your decision making.