Catching leaks early can prolong the life of a commercial membrane roof as well as prevent internal damage to the building. Learn the tactics used to spot leaks so none escape notice for long.

1. Membrane Blisters

When water gets beneath the membrane, it will begin to detach from the sub-roof. The result is visible blistering in the membrane as air and moisture pockets form beneath it. In some cases, you may be able to locate a puncture where the leak is occurring, but it's also possible for water to flow under the membrane in a manner that causes the blisters to form downslope from the actual membrane leak. 

2. Seam Failure

Roofing membranes have seams at regular intervals, which are held down and sealed against moisture with special adhesives. Over time, these adhesives can fail and leaks will occur if the seams are not sealed again. The leaks are easy to spot, as you can see where the seams are separating. They may lift up or simply pull apart so that a gap with no membrane covering occurs. 

3. Pooling Water

Pooling water on a flat roof is also known as ponding. In dry weather, you can spot the location of previous ponding issues due to the discolored stains left behind on the membrane. Extensive ponding issues will eventually lead to a leak forming at the site where the water is pooling. All ponding stained areas should be checked for leaks, then steps should be taken to repair the drainage in the area. 

4. Internal Damages

Sometimes the signs of a leak make themselves known in the worst way possible—damages on the inside of your building. This can range from actual water dripping into the building and obvious moisture damage to less-obvious musty odors and increased mold growth in the ceiling. Finding the leak can take time as the damages must be traced back to the source, but it must be done so that the internal damages can be repaired.

5. Thermal Imaging

Thermal imaging cameras can be used to pinpoint the exact location of a potential leak, even if there are not yet any other symptoms of the damage. Moisture-soaked roofing materials hold on to heat longer compared to dry material. The camera can be used to scan for these hot spots. A contractor can further inspect the area to determine if the heat is due to a leak or other more benign causes. 

Contact companies like Independent Roofing if you suspect that there may be a leak in your building's roof.