The roof is the most vulnerable part of any commercial facility. It takes a beating from the elements, both day and night, without protection. Its job is to protect everything else: the building contents, employees and patrons. An in-tact roof is essential to the business’s livelihood. That’s why a leaking roof needs to be addressed right away — to limit the amount of damage to the building, both physically and monetarily.

The best way to combat leaks is to stop them before they form and roof damage occurs. Getting your roof checked by a professional roofing contractor might seem like a chore, but not when compared to the alternative of discovering a leak after it’s caused structural damage. You may not know how to fix a commercial roof leak, but if any are located during the inspection, the contractor can repair them. Just like that, your commercial building is protected. If the leak is discovered via the accompanying damage, there are now multiple problem areas to repair, costing you more money than planned. 

Preventive maintenance pays off, but not everyone has the time or resources to be proactive. If you do notice a leak in your roof, follow these steps to mitigate it:

Step 1: Locate & Mark the Leak

There are a few signature signs that indicate a leak, including stains on walls or ceilings, blisters on ceilings and foul odors. A blister is a raised area with moisture trapped beneath it, formed by a leak.

With flat roofing, most leaks occur in low spots. The fewer low spots, the lower chance for leaks to develop. The leak might also be stemming from clogged gutters, roof membrane cracks, pests or plumbing, heating or cooling issues.

When it’s located, mark the area with a bright-colored piece of tape. This helps contractors know how to fix a commercial roof leak and helps insurance agents find the source of the leak in case it dries up.

Inland Coatings identifying a roof leak

Step 2: Take Precautions to Minimize Damage

Before even considering fixing the leak, clear the area and dry what you can to minimize equipment damage and loss of supplies. If you cannot move equipment, top it with a plastic tarp for protection. Then, place a bucket or container underneath the leak to stop the spread of water and further water damage until the leak is repaired.

Remove employees from the area, as well. With moisture and leaks come the risk of mold, which can be harmful to their health.

Now that the preliminary steps are out of the way, how do you fix a leak once it’s formed? Let’s get into it.

Step 3: Enlist a Few Commercial Roofing Contractors

Make the decision: Are you going to fix it yourself or are you going to call in the pros? This is not a fix you want to be making time and time again, so if you choose to DIY, ensure you feel confident and ready to tackle the project. If you choose to get help, now is the time to bring in your trusted contractor, or bring in a few different contractors who perform roof inspections. They can take a look and provide estimates for you to compare. 

They’ll know exactly how to fix a commercial roof leak. Oftentimes, one of these three options is recommended: repair only the damaged area, replace the entire roofing system or restore the topcoating. If it’s a repair or restoration project instead of a new roof installation, reference our post on how to apply rubber roof coating for a step-by-step walkthrough.

Step 4: Contact Your Insurance Agent

Once the leak is no longer a threat to the building, call your insurance agent to discuss the options. They’ll tell you if your insurance policy covers the interior damage, roofing services or roof replacement, and help you review the roof manufacturer warranty to determine if leaks are covered under that, as well.

Step 5: Repair the Leak

Roof maintenance is done in the same way as when you’re coating the entire roof. The first step is to thoroughly clean the affected area. The next step is to apply the appropriate primer based on your specific roof type. Our products are formulated differently for different types of roofs, providing lasting protection. Let the primer dry overnight and follow it with the seal-coating application the next day. Depending on the location of your leak, you can apply the primer and coating with a paint roller or brush.

Inland Coatings close up of rubber repaired roof leak on left, zoomed out image of patched leak on right

For the best results, apply the coating with an even thickness. After allowing it to dry, apply a second coat if you choose to do so. Once that coat is dry, the repair is complete and you’ve successfully learned how to fix a commercial roof leak. 

Roof leak repairs can be overwhelming and stressful, but Inland products can remedy the problem. Commercial roof systems will seal the leak and protect your building and belongings for years to come. For assistance in finding a high-quality contractor to fix or restore your leaky roof, contact Inland Coatings.