Roof leak in a commercial building, with white walls and mold growth.

How a Leaking Roof Damages Your Commercial Building

Any indications of a leaking roof spell trouble.  But when you notice them in your commercial building, it’s particularly alarming.  After all, a leaking roof can impact your staff, customers, inventory, and business hours.  If you notice the tell-tale signs of a leaking roof, it’s time to act fast.  You want to immediately address the root of the problem to minimize as much damage as possible.  

CAN A ROOF LEAK CAUSE LONG-TERM DAMAGE? 

Absolutely!  In our 30+ years at SUNVEK, we have witnessed catastrophic, long-term damage in commercial buildings when a small leak wasn’t promptly repaired. 

Below are some of the main dangers of a leaking commercial roof.  Addressing the root of the problem and investing in commercial roof leak repair can immediately help mitigate these consequences, saving you time, money, and stress. 

MOLD AND MILDEW GROWTH

One of the problems with commercial buildings is they tend to be larger than residences.  They feature more roofing space, and you may not notice right away that the roof is letting in water.  The water can pool in a forgotten dark corner.  When left long enough, the humid area can sprout mold and mildew.

Mold and mildew will present as a discoloration.  You’ll notice it on walls or ceilings.  Mold usually looks black, though it can range from light to dark brown.  Mildew usually presents as a brown stain.  Unfortunately, depending on the location of the mold, it can get into the HVAC system and spread throughout your business.

WASTED ENERGY 

If your insulation has suffered water damage, it’ll stop working effectively, affecting your R-value.  In short, instead of repelling energy, wet insulation conducts it.  This reversal means you’ll lose precious warm or cool air.  In fact, saturated insulation can lead up to a 40% loss of its R-value, leading to higher energy bills as you look to keep your commercial building at a comfortable temperature.  

Our piece “How to Calculate R-value” delves more into this facet of your building. 

CUSTOMER AND EMPLOYEE HEALTH AND SAFETY CONCERNS

A big issue with the growth of mold and mildew in your commercial building is that it can harm the people in your building — most notably your employees and customers.   Mildew and, especially, mold are major allergens for even healthy people.  Those who suffer from respiratory illness or who are immune-compromised are particularly susceptible.

The water itself can also be a hazard.  A small pool of water tends to be nearly invisible.   If an unsuspecting customer or employee steps into the puddle and falls, you could be held responsible and face an expensive and time-consuming lawsuit.

Read our blog “Moisture Stains on Your Commercial Ceiling” for more information. 

CEILING AND WALL DAMAGE

Water also wreaks havoc on building materials.  First, the discoloration from mold or mildew doesn’t just disappear when the surface becomes dry.  You usually have to clean the area and re-paint.  Before you get to it, you may even notice that the paint is bubbling and peeling from the moisture underneath.

Excess moisture can also cause issues with the structure of the materials.  For example, drywall is essentially compressed plaster.  When it gets and stays wet, the plaster starts to lose cohesion.  Eventually, it will begin to sag and may fail.  In extreme cases, the ceiling might fall, or a wall might collapse.

ROTTING WOOD

A lot of wood goes into constructing typical buildings, including many commercial facilities.  You may not have the same wooden framing as a house, but it is possible to have wall sheathing, interior framing, trusses, ceiling joists, and wood rafters. Wood doesn’t like excess moisture any more than drywall does.

Wood absorbs moisture.  When the moisture content equilibrium is disrupted, the wood starts to expand and contract.  This movement affects its structural integrity.  With long-term exposure to moisture or a wet-dry cycle, wood will buckle and even rot.  When this level of damage occurs, extensive repairs are necessary, which can be both expensive and time-consuming.  It is better to stay ahead of the problem and address it before it reaches this point. 

ELECTRICAL SHORTS

Consider how much electrical wiring you have running through your commercial building.  The wiring itself is cased in moisture-proof coatings.  However, these coatings may become brittle over time, cracking with movement and exposing the wiring beneath.  Areas where the wires connect might not be as well-protected.  Outlets, light fixtures, electrical panels and switchboxes are all potential sites of water hazards from a leaking roof.

The danger here is that the wet wires start to short out.  If you’re lucky, all that happens is it triggers the main breaker.  However, if the wires keep shorting out, they can throw sparks.  That means you face the danger of fire in your commercial building.  No one wants that. Additionally, water and electricity together present the risk of electrocution.

COMMERCIAL ROOF LEAK REPAIRS 

The bottom line is that a leaking roof can result in lost revenue in your commercial building and additional expense.  Don’t lose money, time, or sleep because of an issue that can be rectified.  With extensive experience, our team at SUNVEK can take care of your commercial building with precision, honesty, and dedication. Contact us for commercial leaking roof repair today using the form below. 

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