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Consequences of Ponding Water on Commercial Roofs

April 8, 2020

When properly designed, most commercial roofs – even flat roofs – have enough slope to drain water after a rain or snow event. Add to that the fact that evaporation helps to dry up roofs as well. So, if you have water that remains on a roof 48 hours after a rain, you can be confident to refer to it as “ponding water” and all that comes with it. When left unaddressed, ponding water will eventually start breaking down your roof system and weakening its performance attributes. Below are other consequences of ponding water on commercial roofs.

Ponding Water on Commercial Roofs Causes Overgrown Vegetation

Ponding water almost always contains dirt and debris. The collection of dirt and water will likely cause vegetation, plants, and fungi to grow on the surface of the flat roof. Major structural issues ensue when the root systems of plants and fungi penetrate the roof surface. Weeds, grasses, algae and other vegetation thrive from excess moisture on the roof, which can lead to debris that clogs roof drains and causes further problems.

Ponding Water on Commercial Roofs Encourages Insect and Pests Infestation

Water attracts insects, plain and simple. Commonly it’s mosquitoes, but depending on the part of the country you’re in, there can be many other types of bugs as well. Worst case is when these insects move from the roof to inside the building and your issues and costs to exterminate them grow dramatically. Ponding water also attracts birds, and likely accompanying the birds are nests, unwanted noise, excrement and debris.

Ponding Water on Commercial Roofs Causes Discolouration

Ponding water will discolour a roof over time, particularly a white roof. This can cause a roof’s reflectivity to suffer and make any visible roof less attractive.

Ponding Water on Commercial Roofs Causes Ice Formation

Ice formations from ponding water may develop and cause physical damage to the membrane from freeze-thaw cycles.

Ponding Water on Commercial Roofs Causes Indoor Leaks

Moisture gains entry into weak points or imperfections in the roofing system, leading to leaks into the interior parts of the commercial building. Even worse than a leak is the nightmare of a roof collapse. The substantial weight of the ponding water could simply cause the roof structure to fail.

Ponding Water on Commercial Roofs Weakens Roof Features

Deterioration of the substrate occurs as ponding water weakens the roof’s structural integrity at the roof deck. Consistent exposure to water promotes rust in the roof’s metal parts and damages the roof’s concrete features. Wood and tectum also weaken when in continuous contact with moisture.

Ponding Water on Commercial Roofs Damages the Roofing Insulation

Ponding damages the roofing insulation. Wet insulation has no thermal or structural integrity. Its rotting organic fibres and loss of binders cause the insulation to become significantly weaker. Thermal resistance is also greatly reduced. Plus, the insulation undergoes dimensional changes.

Know more about the consequences of ponding water on commercial roofs from All Safe Roofing. We are a top, innovative industrial and commercial roofing company that provides the highest quality workmanship at competitive rates.

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