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The Roofer’s Starry Night

By show of hands, who can tell what’s wrong with the metal decking on this roof? I’ll go ahead and assume everyone reading this has their hand in the air. I also apologize if your co-workers are now wondering why you’re sitting there with your hand raised at your desk!

What you see here is a severe case of roof leaks left unattended and subsequent damage to the structural steel deck. Initially, the building owner had ignored the small puddles that formed on the floor because the industrial setting allowed for a small tolerance for water infiltration. That tolerance grew as the puddle grew and then nobody wanted to deal with the assumed repair bill so the puddle grew even more.

Not repairing roof leaks can lead to major deck deterioration.

The outcome of ignoring roof leaks

Steel roof deck needing replacement

Fast forward a few years and now the time has come to replace the roof system. A brief under-deck inspection showed areas of concern from the ground and a complete tear-off was recommended to see just how much damage had been done.

As you can see, the damage was wide-spread. What may have started off as a leak costing a couple hundred dollars to repair eventually turned into the need for tens of thousands of dollars in replacement costs…just in steel deck replacement. In this instance, replacement is the only option since there isn’t enough surface area to nest.

  • Nesting new decking is simply overlaying a new piece of steel over the existing steel and fastening them together. The level of deterioration shown in this photo is so extensive that you simply can’t secure the new steel.
  • Replacing the steel deck involves cutting the deteriorated areas and completely removing them. New steel deck is then put back in place and secured to the building’s framework (purlins). Replacing does cost more than nesting.
Contact us today!

Is your roof leaking?

Don't put off having roof leaks repaired, the consequences can lead to expensive deck replacements! Contact us today!
Contact us today!

Safety concerns

More importantly, nobody ever stopped to think about the safety concerns created by this. What happens if debris starts falling through these openings? What happens if someone is walking on the roof in this area? There weren’t any signs on the roof saying, “Caution! This area has been leaking for years and may not be safe to walk on.” A minor injury would have been the absolute best case scenario here.

This is by no means just an industrial issue either. I’ve seen numerous office settings where umbrella leak diverters or other homemade contraptions were the norm. Don’t get me wrong, when Mother Nature is coming into your building these are perfectly acceptable SHORT-TERM fixes. Diverting the water to the nearest trash can doesn’t count as fixing the leak.

Active rook leaks

The moral of this story is don’t ignore your roof leak issues! What appears to be a minor annoyance at the time can result in serious catastrophic loss and high replacement costs. Call a professional roofer and have the necessary repairs performed. A few hundred dollars now can help save a lot more down the road.

Don't wait another day!

Is your roof leaking?

Don't put off having roof leaks repaired, the consequences can lead to expensive deck replacements! Contact us today!
Don't wait another day!

About the Author:

Mike works with our new and existing clients to solve the problems created by their existing roofing systems. While an aging roof system may be ready for replacement, a new roof will not always eliminate the existing problems. Mike’s goal is to identify and remove the issues most contractors overlook. A quality contractor is the one that will take the time to learn what the needs of the building owner are, identify the needs of the building itself and assemble a solution that best accommodates these needs.


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  2. Avatar
    Eli Baine May 15, 2015 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    This is a classic property-owner problem. It just gets too easy to put off important maintenance or repairs. You may even forget about it completely. A roof, however, is one of those things that should not be ignored. If you have a leak, it is not just the roof that is compromised, but also the structure beneath it. Some problems are hard to notice, but when they are found, you should take action right away.

  3. Avatar
    Tobias Armstrong April 4, 2016 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Thanks for taking the time to explain the consequences of not paying attention to roof leaks. If it’s on a home, leaks can lead to little problems. But in a commercial setting, leaks can really have some pretty dangerous consequences. Thanks for reminding me to check my own roof more often!

  4. Avatar
    Laurie Alves September 11, 2016 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    Excellent Piece. To ignore a leak is to increase the inevitability of the need for roof replacement. Great Roofers such as yourself that take the time to educate about Roof Maintenance will assist building owners to prolong the life of their roofs. Thanks for educating in this manner. Great job!

  5. Avatar
    Bill May 26, 2018 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    Great info! Thanks for sharing this info. Roof leaks can be such a pain.

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