When a storm is on the horizon, it’s important that commercial property owners take extra precautions to prepare their structures for the worst. This is because even the mildest storm systems can still cause property damage. A building’s roof is one of the most susceptible portions of the property to storm damage. Knowing the best method to prepare commercial property roofs to withstand a storm can help businesses stay protected and avoid costly damage.
Storm Roof Preparation
For commercial property owners, securing your properties before a hurricane or other natural disaster is a common step in storm preparation. However, even thunderstorms and unexpected rain showers can cause damage to a property’s roof, which is one of the most expensive components of a commercial structure. Roof damage can lead to leaks, which can impact the interior of a property. Ensuring that roof systems are intact before a storm can aid in minimizing and managing damage when it does occur.
Some of the most effective ways to prepare a commercial property’s roof before a storm include:
Inspect Roof Drainage Systems
The roof drainage systems of a commercial property should be regularly inspected throughout the year. During any bout of rain, thousands of gallons of water can be dumped onto a roof. Because many commercial properties’ roof systems have a low slope, water needs to be able to reach the drains. If water exits the roof through overflows and runs down the exterior of the building, it could indicate a drain in that area is inoperable or a downspout is blocked. If this occurs, it should immediately be reported to a contractor or roofing consultant to avoid any further water damage.
Consider Wind Causing Water Entry
When a severe storm occurs, it can have wind speeds as high as 35 miles per hour. While roofing membranes on commercial structures should be watertight, HVAC units, vents, stacks, and skylights have openings, which can lead to water unexpectedly entering the building. Typically these rooftop penetrations are designed to remain effective against rain that comes straight down or at a slight slant; however, more intense winds can blow the rain sideways. If this happens, water can more easily enter the building and cause a leak to occur. The potential for this to happen should be considered by commercial property owners well before a storm begins to avoid possible interior damage.
Mitigate Interior Damage
In any commercial property, the most significant items that contribute to running the business are typically located inside the building, so it is crucial to avoid interior damage. When preparing a roof before a storm, property owners should locate their HVAC registers and move anything of value, such as computers, documents, or hard drives that are under the registers. This is especially important if there is already the potential for a roof leak to occur, as roof leaks or ruptured pipes can transfer water into a building’s air ducts. The ductwork installed on the roof often lacks a watertight seal, which allows a pathway through the seams and into the interior ducts and vents. Additionally, if a commercial property has any materials located under any type of vent, HVAC register, or louvered skylight that cannot be moved, they should be properly covered.
Know the Location of a Leak
Roofing contractors are often called to repair leaks to windows, doors, or walls, or leaks under a building’s foundation. If you notice your property has a roof leak, engage the proper contractor to repair the leak as soon as possible. This is especially important to consider because contractors will likely be high in demand after a major storm. Knowing the right professional to contact can help to expedite the repair process and ensure the repair is successful.
Consult With a Commercial Roof Damage Claims Attorney
A damaged roof can cause undue stress on a commercial property owner when a storm strikes. While being prepared for the potential of further roof damage or leaks can help to mitigate the aftermath of a storm, it’s also critical for commercial property owners to have the proper insurance coverage in place. In doing this, it’s best to consult with an insurance coverage attorney with the knowledge and insight to properly assess a commercial policy and identify any possible gaps in coverage. Additionally, in the event a valid insurance claim for roof damage is denied, having the proper legal counsel can help your business hold insurance providers accountable and get you the proper compensation you need to restore your operations.
At Raizner Law, our team of experienced insurance coverage attorneys is aware of the many ways insurance companies attempt to undermine the claims process to turn a profit for themselves. These companies may try to delay, underpay, or deny valid claims entirely. Contact our office today to discuss your claim.