Is Your Roof Ready for the Season?

In this column for BHA News, Gregg Wallick, President & CEO of Best Roofing, explains how having a plan for roof maintenance can help you weather the worst of the storm and hurricanes of South Florida.

The inevitable storms and hurricanes that batter us fairly regularly in South Florida will soon be upon us. While every element of storm preparation is important, the roof system is probably the most critical and most often overlooked. Consider that your roof system must keep water from entering the building despite rain, hail, ultraviolet rays, foot traffic, various mechanical servicings, and building expansion and contraction.

During a storm the roof is a transfer point of wind energy and part of your first line of defense against immediate and future damage. How your roof is built is as important as what it’s made of. Your roof system should properly account for the following factors: access, deck, slope, weight, traffic, local weather conditions, wind zone, codes, insurance and budget constraints. Proper maintenance — and sometimes retrofitting of braces or hurricane straps —can help ensure that damage will be minimal when tough weather hits.

Every condo association board should give someone the responsibility of looking after the roof of their building. The roof should be treated as a depreciating asset to ensure the benefit of its entire service life.

Here are some things you can do to help you prepare your roof before South Florida’s rainy/storm season.

Create an historical file

Every condo association board should create a file of the following items:

  • Roof specifications
  • Material manufacturer specification and product data the different components of the roof
  • Roof warranties from the manufacturer of the material and/or the roofing contractor
  • Contact information of your roofing contractor

Conduct Periodic Inspections

Your roof should be inspected at least twice a year by a qualified architect, engineer, roof consultant or roofing contractor who has a good understanding of the basic components of the roof system. Spring and Fall are good times to do this because they are prior to and just after the severe Florida rainy and hurricane seasons. Additional inspections should be ordered after severe hail and wind storms or after any installation of new mechanical equipment. If you haven’t already assessed your property’s vulnerability to wind loading, now is the time to do it.

Utilize Preventive Maintenance

The results of the inspection process will determine your preventive maintenance needs. It is very important that you select a contractor who specializes in this area. Preventative maintenance is a special part of the roofing trade, very different from conventional roofing contracting. Hiring a roof technician properly trained in all roof systems, who has served an apprenticeship of diagnosing the proper corrective procedures, is as important as taking your car to the mechanic that specializes in a specific make and model.

Considering that your roof protects a significant portion of your real estate and personal assets, a few dollars in preventative maintenance are a worthy investment. If it’s been a while since your last roof inspection, you should anticipate a significant charge to bring your roof up to a manageable level. Once you’ve established a routine inspection/maintenance pattern you can expect costs to range between $0.01 to $0.10 per square foot, per inspection. Considering the cost to reroof a building can run from $5.00 to $20.00 per square foot, extending the service life of your current roof through proper maintenance is worthwhile. When the restoration work is completed, don’t forget to add the new information to your historical file. List what was repaired, how it was repaired, how much it cost and who did the work.

The best emergency strategy is an established relationship with a qualified roofer. Don’t risk making the repairs yourself. It is dangerous for untrained individuals to climb up on a roof and attempt to make repairs without professional guidance. It can sometimes even result in more costly damage. •

Gregg Wallick is the President and CEO of Best Roofing Inc. and one of the foremost Forensic Roof Specialists in the country. He understands the complex high velocity building code requirements and has been designing commercial roof systems for over 33 years. Gregg is a former Director of the National Roofing Association (NRCA), a member of the Board of Governors of Alliance for Progress, and Chairman of the Board of Everglades University. He regularly teaches “Commercial Roofing 101” for property managers and condo boards. He received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Miami and is a former Captain of the University of Miami Hurricane Football Team. He can be reached at (954) 941-9111 or gwallick@bestroofing.net.

From BHA News Vol. XXIII No. 1, Spring/Summer 2013