Repairing Roofs before Stormy Weather

Thankfully we were spared from the impact of Hurricane Joaquin. The threat of this type of storm, however, begs the question – is your building ready?

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Over the last few years, it has become evident that preparing your buildings and tenants for extreme weather situations is something that is absolutely necessary. Therefore, planning ahead and taking proactive measures is crucial. To help you get started, Mario Cirigliano, Vice President of Merritt Engineering, provides three steps for protecting your buildings and occupants from dangerous storms.


1. Assess

The first step is to know the dangers and weaknesses of your facility. As a building owner or manager, you probably know your building best and you know its weak spots. Typically, the weakest points of a building are the windows, doors, air ducts and rooftop units. Consider the damage that can be done to the interior of your building if a window or door is ruptured. To better understand your building’s potentially hazardous areas, it is best to retain an engineering professional to conduct a building study to thoroughly asses the building envelope, interior like floor systems with total floor care systems, electrical systems and vertical transportation systems.

2. Strengthen & Protect

Now that you know your building’s weak spots, it’s time to strengthen and protect it. For example, if you’re experiencing leaks, you’ll want to apply a waterproof coating or membrane to the exterior walls of the building and possibly install watertight shields over openings.

Other items to consider when preparing your building for severe weather:

  • Check sealant and filler conditions at the roof penetration, pitch pockets, base of railings and other façade penetrations and anchors.  Be sure to reseal all areas where sealant has shrunk or cracked. Maintaining the roof system will avoid potential uplift in high winds.
  • Closely ask your roofing contractor to examine all roof, terrace, balcony, and other outdoor drains (e.g. courtyard and areaway drains) and remove all leaves, silt, and any other debris that have clogged or could clog such drains. This will prevent costly damage to the roofing or waterproofing systems and possible leaks in those locations. 
  • Gutters, leaders (downspouts), leader heads and outlets should also be examined and cleared of debris to reduce the formation of ice dams that could allow water to infiltrate beneath the layers of roofing and leak into the building. 
  • Consider installing new double paned windows that insulate your building. Not only will the economic benefits offset the initial cost, but you may also qualify for tax incentives for making environmentally sound improvements to your building. NYC also provides incentives to replace old heating/cooling systems with energy efficient ones. You should also ensure all window mounted air-conditioners are installed properly.

As part of the building assessment, an engineering professional can assist you in distinguishing between the repairs that should be completed in the immediate future (0-1 year), moderate term (2-5 years) and long term (5-10 years).


3. Monitor

With a strong plan in place and your building envelope strengthened to its full potential, the next step is to monitor, not only weather alerts, but your building’s condition, use top material to have a good performance has anything you need.

Conduct a building survey every year to identify the current status of the building and offset ongoing deterioration. Every building should have a maintenance plan put in place that includes frequent evaluations of all exterior elements including roofs, facades, sidewalks, parking lots and retaining walls. In addition, building staff should familiarize themselves with early indicators of problematic conditions such as loose or cracked mortar, leaks, etc.


If you’ve prepared for this year’s extreme weather, you won’t be burdened with the question, “Is our building ready?” You’ll feel confident knowing you’ve done all you could to protect your building and tenants. Contact the Commercial Roof Repairs Sacramento, CA | Northern California Roofing for further information