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Cedrick Forrest Jan. 24, 2023

Roof Damage: What You Need to Know About Commercial Roof Leaks to Preserve Coverage

Commercial roof damage claims arise from weather events, accidents, and sudden failures like HVAC leaks. It can put a stop to your business and hurt your bottom line. To protect your business, it’s important to know some things to look out for when it comes to leaky roof damage issues.

Here are a few of the different causes of roof damage leaks in commercial buildings:

  • poor drainage

  • failed flashing

  • pooling/ponding

  • failed seals

  • injury to the membrane

  • perforations

  • pooling water

To extend the life of your roof and avoid coverage issues, make sure you keep up with routine maintenance; this is essential if you have to file a commercial water damage insurance claim. If you fail to keep up with regular maintenance and/or fail to make necessary repairs, you may have your property insurance claim denied.

The building’s design and construction plans should include a plan for water drainage off your commercial roof.

Areas that need routine maintenance:

1. Drains

2. Gutters

3. Downspouts

4. Scuppers

Keep these items clean so water can properly drain off your roof.

Improper Drainage

If you notice puddles of water on your roof then you may have roof damage. Standing water can eventually leak through the membrane. The additional weight of the ponding water can also affect the structure of the building. If the ponding persists and you fail to fix the drainage issue, your insurance company can deny your roof damage claim citing your failure to properly maintain your roof.

Open Penetrations

There are certain unavoidable roof penetrations on flat commercial roofs.

  • Pipes

  • HVAC Units

  • Drains

  • Gas lines

  • Vents

These particular areas are susceptible to leaks if improperly installed.

Weathered Flashings

Flashings are shiny pieces of metal that you see on top of your roof at the bases of many skylights and chimneys. They are put in areas where the roof conjoins. They are also installed in interior wall roof edges. Poor installation or worn flashing can allow water to seep into the roof system. Proper maintenance will prevent the insurance company from citing wear and tear as a go-to reason for denying your roof damage claim.

Pierced Membrane

Commercial roofs contain a waterproof layer called a membrane. When there is a tear in the membrane, water can leak through it and soak the insulation. Patching is a quick fix. When the roof is beyond patching, it may require total replacement. Make sure you contact your insurance attorney to manage your roof claim.

Old Roof

A well-maintained commercial roofing system can last up to 20 years; depending on the roof type. As your roof ages, it is less likely to withstand hurricane winds. Make sure you check for roof damage after wind storms, thunderstorms, and hurricanes. An aged roof may allow for breaches at any of the referenced vulnerable areas mentioned above.

If you have contacted your insurer and had your property damage claim denied, it is essential that you contact a skilled property damage lawyer to assist with this often-complex process. The attorneys at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm are experienced, willing, and ready to advocate on your behalf to ensure that your property is repaired and that your rights are not jeopardized.


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