When is it Too late for Maintenance or Coating? - July 2020

By Mike SIlvers, CPRC, FRSA Technical Director
Sun, Jul 26, 2020

They are critical to provide a full-service approach for their customers. Proper maintenance or coatings applications can significantly prolong the life of a roof system. This is especially true with low slope roof coverings. The presence of roof drains, scuppers, parapet walls, perimeter edge flashing, mechanical equipment, pipes, conduit lines and cables, as well as many other penetrations and conditions, warrant careful inspection. Where applicable, any deficiencies or obvious causes for future problems should be addressed. Having trained personnel that perform these tasks regularly are an asset for your company and your customers. 

Maintenance and coatings, which are often done by maintenance personnel, are usually solid profit centers for contractors and should be viewed as such. It can be tempting to do as much of this work as you can find and usually rightfully so. Typically, it’s a winwin. There is a difference between maintenance and a repair. Most roofing contractors will try to repair, that is, to stop water intrusion on most roofs, often on some pretty poor roof coverings. This is, after all, what we strive to do. It is imperative, though, that when we attempt to repair a roof covering that is at or past the end of its serviceable life, that we share that with the owner. That brings me back to the question, when is it too late to propose doing maintenance or coating a roof? I think that’s when “it is at, or past it’s serviceable life.” If there is nothing left to maintain, or no life left to extend, it’s kind of like doing surgery on a dead person. Over the years, I’ve told many customers with worn out roofs that we will attempt to stop the leaks (no guarantees), but this roof is well past effective maintenance. A nationally known attorney said in a seminar years ago that it is hard to explain to a judge why you took an owner’s money to coat a roof in order to extend its life when it had no life left to extend! The same could be said for long-term preventative  maintenance. Read More


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