Non-destructive moisture testing and preventive maintenance.
Roofs should not be forgotten or left unattended without care or maintenance. There is an old US saying “ if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” - logic - but not in the case of roofs. Roofs are an exception because they may be broken and you do not know it. Roof owners too often assume that if water is not leaking into the building their roof is in good shape, this can be a very expensive assumption for many roofs have problems long before water leaks into the building. Roofs can not be forgotten ,or left unattended, and neglected, with any expectation of a problem free long life. Records show that the unattended roof will fail before it reaches half its designed life.
From the time a roof has been installed it should be maintained and inspected on a regular basis with problems and defects attended to and corrected as soon as they are located. Roofs exist in the most extreme, and potentially damaging, environment to which any part of the structure is exposed, in fact it should be said that roofs are one of the most important elements in a building and are subjected to the most extreme conditions, they can be the coldest, hottest, wettest, wind swept, part of the building. Roofs are subjected to bird attack and pollution, chemical attack, ultra violet, acid rain, and used as a work platform and thoroughfare for maintenance of air handling units, masts etc. All in all roofs suffer a hard life and because they are hidden away they are treated as “out of sight out of mind” and neglected. Roofs have little, or no, chance of full term performance without help in the form of preventive maintenance. A proper formulated preventive maintenance program should include required scheduled inspection and timely repairs of problems and defects. The benefits from a well managed, and well run, preventive maintenance program are:
- Extended roof life.
- Leak free buildings.
- Effective and efficient insulation.
Moisture is one of the most damaging elements in a roof. Almost all roof failures have one thing in common: - Moisture. Moisture can enter the roof from the outside, it can be built-in, and it can be generated within the building and condenses within the roofing system. Moisture can leak into the building and cause damage and disruption but it can also be trapped within the roofing system for a long time before leaking into the building. Whether it is apparent or not, moisture in the roofing system will cause premature failure of the roofing system, reduce thermal efficiency of the insulation system, cause corrosion to the fastening system and structural deck, vapour barrier etc., cause blistering, splitting, deflection, delamination, all leading to further problems. It is important that moisture in the roofing system is located, detected, its extent quantified, its source determined, and corrective action taken as soon as possible before the “rot” sets in. This is where non-destructive moisture detection should form a major part in any good preventive maintenance program.