Few things can damage property and equipment in a commercial building faster than water, and one of the most common causes of water penetration is an active roof leak. Knowing what can cause a roof leak and how to identify when you have one can save you time, frustration, and a large amount of money you might otherwise spend on equipment repairs or replacements. Below, we’re going over the top four causes of a commercial roof leak so you can do everything possible to prevent it from happening to you.

What is a Commercial Roof Leak

A commercial roof leak is when rainwater, melting snow, or irrigation penetrates the roof of your business or commercial building. Water can seep in through even the smallest of access points in your waterproofing membrane and can cause additional roof damage as well as a myriad of issues – including wet insulation, potential fire, and other irreparable damage inside the building.

How Common Are Commercial Roof Leaks?

According to Architect Magazine, a staggering 70% of all commercial property damage is the result of water intrusion, and the majority of the water intrusion issues are caused by leaking roofs due to the failure of the waterproofing. Roofing is constantly subjected to rain, snow, debris, wind, and construction so leaks are more common here than any other portion of your building.

For this reason, it’s imperative that you know the top four causes of commercial roof leaks so you can identify the problem before it becomes catastrophic.

1. Poor Drainage

All flat roofs need drainage so that water collecting on top of them can be safely drained off. Clogged or blocked drains can cause water pooling which can lead to roof damage and water getting inside your building.

2. Open Penetrations

Chances are you have penetrations running up through your roof for electric, heating, AC, or plumbing. These penetrations, if not sealed properly, can be the culprit for a leaking roof.

3. Damaged Roof Membrane

The roof membrane is the waterproof layer that keeps rainwater, irrigation, and snow out of your building until they get drained away. Any damages to your roof membrane, even seemingly inconsequential damage from falling debris, heavy winds, foot traffic, or construction can lead to steady leaks into your building, often causing quite a bit of damage inside.

4. Roof Age

Roof age is another common cause of roof leaking, as older roofing membranes are continuously exposed to the elements and can degrade over time. Degradation can quickly lead to water penetration and should be tested to better understand the integrity of the roof system.

To ensure your roof stands up to the elements and keeps your property and equipment safe from the potential of countless costs of damage, keep a close eye out for the above causes of commercial roof leaks. If at all in doubt, or if you want some peace of mind that your roof isn’t immediately prone to leaking, contact one of our roof leak experts for accurate and affordable electronic leak detection or infrared moisture scan of your roof.