When Should You Consider A Roof Moisture Survey For Your Flat Roof?

Posted on: 15 November 2022


Roof moisture surveys are an excellent way to reveal roofing issues that may not be apparent to the naked eye. In many cases, a roof moisture survey can reveal significant problems that can cause leaks or even present fire hazards if water is dripping on electrical wiring or heavy machinery. A moisture survey is a critical tool in your maintenance and repair arsenal if you own a building with a flat roof.

Of course, that doesn't mean you need to survey your roof every month or even annually. Instead, it's crucial to understand when these surveys provide the most value. This article will discuss three of the most common scenarios where a roofing moisture survey can help protect or improve your building's roof. 

1. When You Notice Problems

There are a few telltale signs that the waterproofing on your flat roof is failing. These include obvious trouble, such as leaks inside the building, but there are some more subtle indications. If you routinely inspect your roof, pay attention to areas where the roof feels damp or where water seeps upward from beneath the membrane. These symptoms are often signs of moisture trapped in the roof.

Once you notice trouble, a roof moisture survey can help you understand the extent of the problem and develop a plan to correct it. Even if you only notice issues in a few spots, the moisture intrusion may be more widespread than you realize. A survey will reveal any additional problems and highlight high-risk areas, such as moisture intrusion near electrical equipment.

2. Before Installing New Roofing

Even well-maintained flat roofing membranes will eventually fail. It's necessary to repair and replace these membranes as they wear out to maintain your roof's waterproofing. However, a failing roofing membrane can allow moisture to become trapped in roofing insulation or even in the roof deck itself, leading to more expensive damage and repairs.

Installing a new roofing membrane over an old, leaky one will not solve these problems and can leave moisture trapped against your roof. A moisture survey will alert you to these problems so you can avoid "papering over" a severe issue. Once you know you have trapped moisture, you can rip out your old roofing and address these problems before installing your new membrane.

3. After Your Utility Bills Skyrocket

Most flat roofs include substantial insulation above the vapor layer. This insulation is a crucial part of your building's envelope. Problems with your insulation can allow warm air to escape in the winter or drastically increase your cooling load in the summer. Unfortunately, moisture intrusion can severely damage this insulation and affect your building's overall energy efficiency.

If you notice your utility bills creeping upward and there's no other obvious cause, a roofing moisture survey may be a good next step. The survey can reveal widespread moisture problems affecting your insulation, allowing you to make repairs and bring your utility costs down.

Contact a local roofing service to learn more about getting a roof moisture survey