Roof penetrations in commercial roofing are a necessity for the variety of equipment utilized in a commercial facility. Penetration areas not alone are the most vulnerable to roof leaks, but they can also make it hard to ensure a positive drainage after a rain or snow event. If water flow is impeded by penetrations, you will have ponding water. In the long term, if left untreated, it might lead to premature breakdown of your roof membrane, mold growth, insect infestation, and many more issues. In these vulnerable ponding areas that cannot be addressed by simply diverting the water flow, facility managers may work with roofing providers to use reinforced materials to attack the problem.
A membrane’s thickness and select ponding water areas are important because the polymer will diminish over time when exposed to elements and deteriorate even more quickly with ponding water. A thicker membrane in these areas will be able to lengthen the roof’s expected life.
If possible, adding a layer of polyester reinforcement to the membrane can strengthen the membrane in the presence of standing water. This also lessens the potential for water to penetrate the membrane.
The denser the material the better it sheds water. Ponding water areas may often benefit from the densest products. It is quite common to see more expensive options being too expensive for the entire roof, but may make sense for ponding water areas.
In warmer climates or areas with low water, consider a darker colored roof like gray for better retention. A white roof helps with cooler climates in more ways than one. It reduces the amount of heat retained on the roof deck, but more importantly, it reflects the heat from the sun back into the atmosphere better.
When ponds of water sit above seams or around penetrations, the deteriorating action makes it more likely that water will penetrate these weakest areas in a roofing system. Look for materials that are seamless or reinforce areas where sheets of material overlap.
When you can replace the roof during a restoration or re-roofing project, that’s an ideal time to deal with ponding areas. When you’re done with the roof, you can check ponding areas where you can’t move water and fix them right then and there.