The hurricane season is upon us, and commercial roofs could suffer damage. Your roof can be damaged by heavy rain, wind gusts, and debris. Low-slope roofing is especially vulnerable during extreme weather, which presents additional risk to your perimeter, corners, and flashing areas. We’ll be discussing how to prepare for hurricane season now, what to do when you are aware of a potential storm, and what to do after it strikes. We’ll show you how rooftop support systems can help reduce the risk of hurricane damage.
Hurricanes And Roof Damage
We’ll be discussing two issues, both related but distinct: How hurricanes can cause damage and what roof structures will be affected.
Facility managers can face huge challenges when high winds blow. These winds create a force known as uplift. This is when high-pressure air from large commercial buildings tries to flow into low-pressure areas created by strong winds above them. The force of uplift can blow off a roof if it is strong enough. Strong winds and uplift can also pull the membrane off roofs at lower levels. They can also separate the roof membrane from its perimeter or remove flashings from penetrations. These are all costly repairs.
Wind-driven rain is another threat to roofs. High winds can exploit any small cracks in the roof membrane and pour water into them with tremendous force. This could cause roof problems like mold and leaks, and can also have negative effects on your tenants’ health.
There’s also windblown debris. Even in the most favorable scenario, Category 1 hurricanes can still bring windborne tree branches that can damage your roof membrane. If the wind is strong enough, cables, pipes, and other structures can be detached from the roof. This can cause significant damage.
Although we’ve been focusing on the roof membrane, hurricanes can cause severe damage to any part of your roof. They can cause damage to roof equipment, roofing insulation, and other areas. How can facility managers reduce the impact of such damage?
Hurricane Preparation Goes A Long Way
Although hurricanes can be devastating, facility managers can take a lot of time to prepare. The hurricane season is June through November. This means that building owners can prepare their roofs throughout the year.
Inspection is the first step. The most dangerous vulnerabilities in commercial roofing are those caused by hurricanes. A pinhole in the membrane can become a mile-long tear when it is hit hard by the winds. It is your job to inspect the roof membrane and repair any cracks, flashings, penetrations, or other imperfections.
Next, secure your environment. You should also trim any long branches that are near you. This will reduce windblown debris. You should also ensure that your roof equipment is secure. It is possible to inspect your equipment using pipe supports or cable trays.
Your last task is to repair damage caused by a hurricane. You can only weather the storm if you are prepared. But you shouldn’t get complacent. Even if a hurricane does not cause significant damage, it is important to repair the damage before the next extreme weather event or hurricane strikes.
HVAC plant platforms specialize in custom roof supports that help commercial building owners inspect, maintain, and repair commercial roofs