Commercial Flat Roof with Clogged Roof Drain

Clogged Roof Drains Inspection and Maintenance

by | Dec 16, 2021 | Commercial, Commercial Roof Service, Roof Asset Management

Think a clogged sink drain is a problem, wait until you get a clogged roof drain. Better yet, do not wait! Clogged roof drains can be catastrophic to your commercial flat roof’s health because they create persistent ponding. These water ponds exploit voids in membrane roof seams and membrane punctures:

  • A void appears when water penetrates a weakness in the seam and freezes. The resulting ice acts like a lever to pop the membrane seam. Water further opens the seam during alternating periods of Winter thawing and freezing.
  • Punctures can occur when a branch from a nearby tree pokes the roof. A dropped screwdriver during a rooftop heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment service call can puncture a single-ply, membrane roof, too. Punctures behave like alternative paths for water to drain off the roof, thus bypassing clogged drains.

The resulting voids and punctures enable water to intrude into the layers beneath your roof. This water intrusion damages the roof deck, insulation, and interior walls, resulting in business disruptions and costly repairs.

Is A Flat Roof Perfectly Level?

No. A flat roof is sloped to drain not retain water. A convenience store’s flat roof demonstrates the simplest design. Water flows down a slightly higher side to drains located on the roof’s opposite side. Most warehouse roofs have one or more ridges that channel water to drains located in their valleys. Figure 1 shows an industrial warehouse roof having one center ridge. Drains are located along the perimeter of the two sides parallel to the ridge. Figure 2 shows a more complex warehouse store roof having three ridges and two valleys. Your roof’s size and topology determine how many drains it has and where they are located.

Industrial Warehouse Roof with A Center Ridge

Figure 1: Industrial Warehouse Roof with A Center Ridge

Warehouse Store Roof with Three Ridges And Two Valleys

Figure 2: Warehouse Store Roof with Three Ridges And Two Valleys

Commercial Roof Asset Management Program Elements

Twice-a-year roof inspections and required maintenance are critical elements of a Roof Asset Management program. A roof inspection service includes identifying and reporting observable voids, punctures, and clogged drains. A roof maintenance service includes removing rooftop debris and cleaning clogged roof drains. A Roof Asset Management program proactively schedules both services.

The good news is that Spokane Roofing Company can repair 80-90% of problems very quickly after an inspection. We review the results of the inspection with you and explain any repairs we recommend. Experience has taught us that a simple, efficient process gives our customers the best value.

Jeff Sitton, Spokane Roofing Company

Consistency And Division of Labor Build Success

Our inspection and maintenance teams handle every job the same way, from start to finish. Our goals are to achieve as little variation as possible and to create a one-call fits all approach. A consistent approach makes it easy for our clients to know what to expect and when to expect it.

Division of labor means that the person who inspects your drains, for example, will not be the person who maintains or repairs your roof. Different employees have different job functions and specialties. We employ roof reporters, inspectors, estimators, schedulers, maintenance technicians, repair technicians, and quality-control managers to perform the final inspection. Each team member contributes to a healthier roof and your satisfaction.

5 Ways to Repair, Clean, And Prevent Clogged Roof Drains

  1. Call Spokane Roofing year-round whenever you discover a commercial roof leak. Our service team can inspect your roof, mitigate further damage, and repair the leak as soon as the weather warms.
  2. Signup for a regularly scheduled roof inspection and maintenance program. Cleaning clogged roof drains yourself is a bad idea; let the professionals do it right.
  3. Periodically trim trees and large shrubs to heights below your building’s roofline. Have an arborist remove trees that overhang your building’s roof.
  4. Keep building grounds, parking lots, and driveways clean. Remove any debris that a strong wind can pick up and carry on to your roof, including leaves, pine needles, cones, spiked seed pods, dirt, ash, plastic bags, and litter.
  5. Install walkway pads connecting rooftop HVAC units and roof access points (hatch, ladder). Walkway pads are twice the thickness of 60-mil membrane roofing and more puncture resistant. Walkways help rooftop workers to stay clear of vulnerable areas, too.

Keep Your Commercial Roof Drains Flowing

Semiannual roof inspections and maintenance are two keys to keeping your roof drains flowing. Spokane Roofing Company has served Greater Spokane’s commercial roofing needs for more than 110 years. We know the best ways to take care of your flat roof. I can say with confidence that our system is the simplest and most efficient you will find. Nobody else is close. Call us today at (509) 838-8633 to repair a commercial roof leak, schedule a Spring roof inspection, or clean clogged roof drains.