Roof Maintenance

Routine maintenance inspections of your roofing system should take place twice a year, once in the spring and again in the fall. The fall inspection of your roofing system is important to ensure that it is ready for the inclement weather of the winter months. The following are some areas that should be reviewed during the fall inspection.

  • Sealants
    • All edge terminations, pitch pans, stacks, and curbs should be inspected for proper adhesion and visible signs of cracking or wear.
  • Drainage
    • Drains must be kept free of debris such as bottles, sticks, and leaves. A proper-sized leaf grate will help prevent clogs. Commercial grade push brooms can be used to sweep leaves and other debris away from drainage paths: these materials should be removed from the roof. Additional inspections of the drains may be needed in areas with heavy foliage to keep the drains cleared throughout the year.
  • Parapet Walls
    • Parapets should be inspected for deteriorated coping, cracked or missing mortar joints, and any signs of deterioration. Always remember to practice safe inspection routines near any roof edge. Keep in mind that some roofing systems can be slippery due to frost, morning dew, rain, snow, etc.
  • Tie-Ins
    • Roof tie-ins should be inspected for proper adhesion between the roofing systems. The sealants used for completing the tie-in should be examined for cracks, splits, or gaps which could allow water infiltration.
  • HVAC
    • Rooftop units should be inspected for missing or unfastened panels and properly functioning condensate lines. These situations can produce moisture that is commonly and mistakenly believed to come from roof leaks, which can lead to unnecessary costs and aggravation.
  • Debris/Snow and Ice Removal
    • All debris that could lead to damage to the roofing system such as nails, screws, broken bottles, etc. should be removed from the roofing system. If at any time a shovel is needed for removing debris or snow, it is recommended that a plastic scoop shovel be utilized to minimize the risk of damage to the roof. A metal shovel or plastic with a metal edge, has sharp edges that can snag on plates/fasteners, seams, etc, and create a hole in roofing membranes. If removing ice from the roof, it is recommended that you use an ice melting product (such as salt) rather than chopping or trying to break up the ice, which could possibly damage the roof.

Frequently Asked Questions about PVC Roofing Systems. Part 3

Q: What makes PVC systems more cost-effective in the long run?

A: Life Cycle Cost analyses have proven that PVC roofing systems are among the least costly over time for two major reasons: long service life and energy efficiency. The longer a roof lasts without major problems, the less costly it is on an annual basis. Energy savings of up to 40 percent every year due to the reflective properties of white PVC roofs can add up to tens of thousands of dollars during a 20- or 30-year life-span. Custom prefabricated PVC roofing systems also contribute to cost-effectiveness because they generate less waste, require less time and labor to install, and reduce the potential for rooftop human error, because up to 85 percent of membrane seaming can be completed in a controlled factory environment.

Q: Environmental groups seem to think that PVC is one of the most hazardous products ever created – dangerous to human health and the environment. How do you answer that?

A: During the last 35 years, there have been literally dozens of scientific studies and more than 26 full-scale LCAs relating to the safety and environmental impact of vinyl production, use and disposal. Study after study by a wide range of scientific, governmental, academic, and industry groups has confirmed that vinyl production in the United States today is very safe, and that finished vinyl products, including PVC roofing membranes, are inert, posing no risk to human health and with very little impact on the environment. In fact, many PVC products – including reflective PVC roofing systems – often make a decidedly positive contribution toward sustainability. According to Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace in 1971 and current chairman and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies:

“It’s completely unacceptable for activists to call PVC ‘toxic’ when PVC’s effects on health and the environment have been investigated at every stage from manufacture through use and on to final disposal – in all cases vinyl has been shown to be safe and environmentally sound.”

The Five E’s of High-Performance Roofing

In the final post of our three part series we take a look at High-Performance Roofing (HPR). HPR systems have five important, closely related attributes that make them cost-effective, leak-proof, reliable, long-lasting, and environmentally friendly.

They are called the “Five E’s,” and they can help building owners make informed roofing choices:

  • Energy: HPR systems help reduce energy consumption and improve the energy efficiency of the building envelope. This is a primary benefit of cool roofing, but reduced energy use also contributes to a better environment.
  • Environment: HPR systems help reduce the overall impact on the external environment while also creating and maintaining a healthy, productive indoor environment. This is the key objective of green or sustainable roofing, which also places a premium on energy efficiency and endurance.
  • Endurance: HPR systems must meet or exceed traditional performance standards in terms of longevity, all-weather reliability, water absorption, wind and fire resistance, low-maintenance and simple repair. No matter how “cool” or “green” a roof is, it still has to protect the building in all types of weather – a reality that is sometimes neglected in sustainability discussions.
  • Economics: HPR systems must be cost-effective based on both initial cost and, more importantly, the entire life-cycle cost. No roofing system will gain wide acceptance if it does not make economic sense to building owners and managers.
  • Engineering: Smart engineering and design are the great enablers of High-Performance Roofing systems, and all four of the other E’s. Engineering impacts everything from intelligent design and installation to life-cycle costs and long-term performance in all weather conditions.

High-Performance Roofing is a critical part of any High-Performance Building. A HPR system is a protective, performance-enhancing umbrella that protects the High-Performance Building from the elements, enables uninterrupted facility operations, and contributes to the health and productivity of the building occupants. HPR is also one of those rare cases where there does not have to be a tradeoff between “green” and performance, or “green” and cost. The best HPR systems cost less over time because they reduce energy bills, minimize environmental impact, require less maintenance, and keep the weather outside, where it belongs.

The Art Of Specifying A New Or Replacement Roofing System

Putting a new roof on a building is a major undertaking. Assembling the right team to plan and carry out the project can help ensure that the job proceeds smoothly, and that the finished product looks and performs up to expectations.

Who’s Involved?

An important first step is determining who to include in the decision-making process. While the exact titles will vary with each project, two individuals or groups are key. One is the employee most familiar with the current roof, any problems it’s been experiencing, and the solutions that have been used.

Not surprisingly, it’s also helpful to include the individual who will have final approval over the decisions to install the roof and the amount to be spent. Depending on the company, this individual may be the facility manager, building owner, purchasing manager, company owner, or head of finance.

In addition, roofing systems slated for installation on new construction often require the input of an architect or designer. Including them early on in the process helps ensure that all concerns are addressed up-front.

Another key member of the roofing team is, of course, the contractor chosen to install the roof. Facilities professionals evaluating contractors should consider the experience each contractor has with different roofing systems.

The Contractor’s and Manufacturer’s Roles

Before re-roofing begins, the contractor should complete a thorough investigation of the current roof and determine what, if any, problems have arisen.

The contractor also should ask the building owner or manager about any constraints the installers might face, such as, if there are times during which the noise that accompanies a roofing job would interfere with building operations.

Building owners and managers should also stay in contact with the manufacturer of the roofing system. If the contractor that installed the roof retires, for example, the manufacturer should be able to help the building owner locate another one.

Other Considerations

When a new roof is installed, the initial cost typically is top of mind for most building owners and managers. However, there are other costs that facilities managers should factor into roofing decisions. The warranty also plays a key role in the overall costs of the roof. What does it cover and what does it exclude? Some warranties cover damage to a building’s interior that results from a leaking roof, while others don’t.

Equally important to consider are the ongoing roof maintenance costs and its expected life. The less it costs to maintain a roof and the longer it lasts, of course, the lower the overall cost will be.

Assembling the right team, keeping the lines of communication open, and considering both the initial and long-term costs of different roofing systems help ensure a successful roofing project.

Faces of Duro-Last: Drew Ballensky

Drew Ballensky - General Manager, Duro-Last - Iowa and Cool Roofing/Architectural Spokesperson
Drew Ballensky - General Manager, Duro-Last - Iowa and Cool Roofing/Architectural Spokesperson

Drew Ballensky joined Duro-Last in 1996 as plant manager and was responsible for start-up and production activities at the Iowa facility. He also handled customer relations activities for several years before taking on his current role as general manager and spokesperson for Duro-Last’s cool roofing and architectural market initiatives.

Drew received his Bachelor of Technology from the University of Northern Iowa and MBA from Florida State University. Prior to Duro-Last, Drew worked for Butler Manufacturing as an industrial engineer and a manufacturing engineering manager. He moved on to Champion Products where he was an operations financial analyst before serving as a plant manager for Nordico Manufacturing. Drew then co-owned a construction business.

By combining his manufacturing and construction experience with his more recent involvement with new energy technologies and the regulations intended to encourage their use, Drew has become Duro-Last’s energy-efficiency and cool roofing guru. Drew frequently writes articles on sustainability issues for industry media and the Duro-Last roofing blog. He also facilitates classes on cool roofing for The American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Drew enjoys opportunities to interact with a wide variety of roofing industry people, from contractors to sales reps to building owners to specifiers and even to our competitors through the organizations he participates in. These include the Chemical Fabrics and Film Association where he is the president, the Vinyl Institute, the AIA, and the U. S. Green Building Council.

Drew likes working for a company that has a product and system that just makes sense and is easy to believe in. “Our history of product quality and customer support provides a good foundation for any conversations I have about roofing systems. It’s also a pleasure to be able to confidently discuss Duro-Last’s ability to help facilities meet sustainability goals, which is clearly one of the key decision-making factors in the marketplace these days,” said Drew.

“I welcome any questions or comments you have about cool roofing and invite you to ask them here,” concludes Drew. You may also contact Drew directly at 641-622-1079 or