Taking charge of maintenance at a hospital is a big job. You need to keep the parking lot orderly so that emergency vehicles can easily enter and exit, and inside there are countless machines that must be kept in top condition. In the midst of the day-to-day chaos of working at a hospital, it’s easy to forget about the part of your building that keeps you safe: the roof. Over time, it continues to age and deteriorate, especially if you live in an area with severe weather. Here’s everything administrators need to know before considering a hospital roof repair project.
Inspections Are Key
Invest in regular inspections so a professional commercial roofing company can evaluate the quality of your roof and recommend the necessary repairs. Once or twice a year, look for the following issues on the outside of your roof with an expert’s help:
- Cracks around skylights
- Inflation or punctures in the roof membrane
- Dirt, plant growth, or trash in gutters and on the roof
- Rifts in the caulk around HVAC units, skylights, and antennae
- Flashing without screws or nails
- Missing shingles
All of these issues require repairs immediately because they are signs that your roof is damaged and could cause leaking or worse. You cannot just inspect the outside of your roof, though; the inside needs your attention as well. If there’s a space between the upper floor and your roof, have the inspector start there, but the topmost floor must also be checked for these problems:
Ceilings, walls, and window frames stained with water
Areas on the walls that bulge from water exposure
Cracked or rusted joists and other structural necessities
Remember, you can’t just wait until you see a leak or other problem to schedule a roof inspection. Rather, have a plan in place to regularly have the roof inspected before the harsh winter hits, and be proactive in checking it any time a storm hits.
Repairs Are Cheaper Than Replacements
Roofs generally need to be replaced every 30 years, and this is an expensive process. You don’t want to go through it more frequently or else your budget falls apart. As a result, follow through on whichever recommendations your inspector gives. Common advice includes these repair suggestions:
- Replace shingles on awnings or entryways
- Clean out or replace gutters
- Fix structural parts such as joists
- Replace wall caps
- Recaulk the gaps around skylights, HVAC units, and antennae
These tasks may seem annoying, but unless you hire a roofing professional to address them immediately, you risk paying for the much more expensive and lengthy process of getting a new roof ahead of schedule.
Hospitals Pose Particular Challenges
The way that most architects design hospitals make them particularly difficult to repair. Your building probably relies on angled concrete below its metal deck. The angle of this foundation allows water to drain easily, but concrete also absorbs water for a long time. By the time the deck becomes so saturated that it begins to leak, the roof membrane is completely ruined. Don’t forget to check the area around your metal deck thoroughly during inspections.
Another problem that hospitals pose is that the people inside the building tend to have weak immune systems. It’s critical that you catch issues with your roof before they cause health concerns such as an allergic reaction to mold, which can potentially lead to liabilities for the hospital.
Don’t let water leaks or discoloration take you by surprise. Stay on top of your roof’s condition through professional inspections every six to 12 months, and don’t delay on any recommended repairs. That’s everything administrators need to know before considering a hospital roof repair project; if repairs are suggested, your roof and budget can’t wait.