Roof Flashings fall into two general categories. The first is at the perimeter of the roof, and the second is at roof penetrations. In most situations, the flashing itself is not the problem. It is where two pieces of flashing come together, or where the flashing comes together with another material.
A membrane roof can either be rubber or TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) single ply. They both provide great long-term protection from the elements with little maintenance, but they are not maintenance free.
The first thing to note about maintaining a tile roof is stay off the roof as much as possible. Each time you walk on the roof, you can damage the tiles. So if you do need to get on the roof, wear “soft soled shoes” such as running shoes, and walk with the pad of your foot on the surface of the tile, or walk in the metal valleys of the roof.
First, a couple of quick don'ts about a wood roof. Stay off the roof as much as possible. Each time you walk on the roof you can damage the shakes and shingles.* It does not take long for the wood to dry out and become brittle and split under the weight of your foot. So if you do need to get on the roof, wear soft-soled shoes such as running shoes and wait until rain has brought moisture to the shingles and shakes. While walking your roof, place the pad of your foot on the surface of one shake or shingle.
The best time is to inspect your roof is before it gets too hot (if you think a summer day is hot, climb up on the roof) – or too cold (when temps might be too cold to repair the membrane) – and before the rains arrive. In other words: late spring or early fall.
Tar is a petroleum product that breaks down under ultraviolet rays. Sunshine damages roofs the same way it damages our skin. To inspect the field or open area of your roof, walk the roof and look for areas where the asphalt has cracked or split. Apply asphalt roof cement. Note blistered areas and avoid walking on those blisters.
Window maintenance is not simply cleaning the windows every spring and fall. During cleaning, inspect windows for damaged weather-stripping and dual-paned windows that have lost their seal. Make a list and contact a local glass and glazing company to perform the repairs. Note that not all glass is equal. If new glass is needed, consider upgrading the glass to “low e” or other energy saving options. If the windows are facing north, “low e” class is not needed.
Exterior lighting is easy to overlook. The lights turn on by themselves well after everyone leaves, and turn off by themselves well before everyone arrives. The exception is often the business owner who is first to arrive, last to leave. He or she is responsible to ensure the parking lot is safe, but should be the last person grabbing the extension ladder to replace a bulb.
Regardless of the type of finish on your building exterior, it needs to be washed and cleaned once a year. This removes dirt, debris and anything growing from the building surface. In the dry air of the Southwest, it is hard to imagine anything growing on the building walls. But this can happen in mountainous areas. You can wash the walls with a power washer, but lower the power output to avoid damaging the paint or surface.
Despite conventional wisdom, even xeriscape landscaping is not maintenance free. Whether you use xeriscaping or traditional landscaping, it's necessary to keep up with seasonal maintenance tasks.
Irrigation: Continue to water plants, but not nearly as much as in summer. Scale back the amount of water, and change watering times to mid-day or afternoon to avoid watering when temperatures are below freezing.
I can guess what you’re thinking. “Maintenance of site drainage? You have to be kidding.”
Every geotechnical report has a section on the importance of sloping the ground away from the structures, and the importance of keeping water away from the foundation. Failure to do so can result in damage to the foundation.
On two separate past projects of ours, the building owners decided to change the grading around their buildings. This isn’t always a problem, but on these projects, it turned out to be a big deal.