Guide To Membrane Roof Separation
Certain types of membrane commercial roofs, such as those made from single-ply EPDM, can be prone to shrinkage. A shrunken membrane has gaps that allow moisture leaks to occur, which can cause a lot of damage. If you have this type of commercial roofing, read on to know when you may need repairs.
The goal is to spot issues early, which can be achieved if your maintenance team inspects the roof at least once a month. Signs of a shrinking membrane are relatively obvious — the membrane will begin to pull back from rooftop penetrations like vent stacks, or it will separate at the seams where two lengths of membranes meet.
If seam gaps have been present for a while, more severe symptoms may appear inside the building. These include issues like water leaks or mold and mildew damage in rooftop insulation. The membrane may also begin to peel up around the edge of the seam gap as moisture makes its way under the membrane.
There are a few things that can cause a single ply roofing membrane to separate. Age is the main culprit, so if you have an older roof, it may simply be time to consider a replacement. Installation defects, such as installing in overly cold weather that doesn't allow the adhesive to set up, can also cause separation to occur prematurely.
Issues with adhesive, which can include insufficient adhesive use or the wrong type of adhesive, results in weak connections and eventual gaps. In some cases, the problem is with the decking or base beneath the membrane — if it deteriorates, then the membrane may begin to separate along seams, as well as from the roof itself.
Repair is sometimes possible, particularly if the problem is caught early and the decking is in good condition. Decking issues require that a new roof is installed, as do issues with membranes that have reached the end of their working life.
Most repairs begin with resealing the separated edges by applying fresh adhesive so that the membranes don't pull apart any further. If the shrinkage occurred around a rooftop penetration, such as a vent stack, then new flashing is installed to cover and seal the gap. Membrane patches are installed over gaps along the seams of two membranes, After patching, a sealant is painted over the membrane to prevent future leaks that could lead to further separation
Contact a commercial roofing service if you notice any signs of roof membrane shrinkage.