Repair or replacement of specific roofing elements can be justified when the causes of damage to a roof membrane are from impact, an isolated incident of poor installation, or some other non-systemic cause. In those cases, once the roof is repaired the expected service life of the system will be restored.
One procedure that should be included as part of any roof repair is an investigation for the presence of moisture below the roofing membrane. Even though the membrane may appear to be in good condition on the surface, the presence of subsurface moisture from other sources may create problems that can only be addressed by the removal of an apparently good membrane.
If extensive subsurface moisture is present below the existing membrane, all the wet areas of the roof system should be replaced since wet insulation, wood blocking and gypsum will deteriorate and may lead to further problems, such as mold growth.
In any case, the source or sources of moisture must be found and confirmed; otherwise, the conditions may return soon after the membrane is replaced. The continued presence of moisture attributable to an adjacent wall or condensation from the interior of the building may eventually cause structural damage to the roof deck. The cost of investigating for subsurface moisture is justified when compared to the difference between the cost of a new roof system and the cost of a new roof system plus structural repairs.
Tomorrow we will discuss recovering roofs. Please check back then to continue following this five-part series.
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