YOUR ROOFING MATERIAL MAY BE STRONG, BUT IS YOUR ROOF DECK?
One of the most commonly overlooked issues with roofing projects today and in the last twenty years is the strength of the roof deck. Many building owners and facility managers assume that just because their roofing material is strong enough to support the expected structural load, or the weight of the repair equipment or whatever else is going to be on their roof, that they can install any new material and perform any repairs they want. That is not the case, however, as many times the roof deck isn’t strong enough to support the additional weight.
A Full Roofing System
A full roofing system consists of more than what you can see from the roof surface. There is a roof deck, typically at least one layer of insulation, and then the roofing material that you see on top. A major problem on many buildings is the fact that the roofing material is strong enough to support whatever is being thrown at it, but only if the roof deck is also strong enough. Buildings have collapsed in the past because the roof deck was incapable of supporting the weight of the roofing material plus additional weight of equipment and more materials.
Importance of the Roof Deck
Not only can a weak roof deck cause the roof to collapse in on the building, it can also lead to minor problems that will cause you headaches and cost you money. While these buildings are much less catastrophic than a full-on collapse, they are still headaches and problems for you.
A weak roof deck can lead to “bowing” or sagging, which will then lead to ponding water on the roof surface. Ponding water is not a problem many building owners welcome with open arms, and just covering up a defective roof deck will not eliminate these problems, the new roofing material will likely mimic the problems of the material beneath it.
A sagging roof can also damage features on the inside of the building, as lights hang unevenly, ceiling fans don’t spin properly, etc. Nothing works exactly right when it is out of level, so small accessories may begin to fail faster under a sagging roof.
Another concern of a sagging roof from a weak roof deck is the allowance of leaks into the building. A sagging roof deck compromises the integrity of the roofing material that was designed to be installed on a flat surface, so when it is on an uneven surface it may not perform properly.
Don’t make roofing decision without understanding the implications on the entire roofing system, roof deck and roof surface. If you recognize the importance of analyzing the strength and condition of the roof deck, you will be ahead of the curve and are far less likely to make a mistake when installing your new roofing material.