Commercial roofs require a different standard of maintenance and repair. Since commercial roofs are often flat (low-slope), they react differently to the elements and sunlight, requiring regular maintenance as a result.
One of the most common problems many asphaltic low-slope commercial roofs develop is alligatoring in roof membranes. This condition typically indicates that the roofing material has aged and become brittle, causing it to crack under stress from environmental factors such as temperature changes and UV exposure. If left untreated, an alligatoring roof can compromise the integrity of a roof and eventually require extensive repairs or replacement.
Continue reading to explore what is alligatoring on a roof, the causes and effects, how to prevent the issue from developing, and what repairs may be required to fix the problem.
What is Roof Alligatoring?
Roof alligatoring is a process that typically occurs with the aging of asphaltic flat roofs, mainly due to sun exposure. The intense UV rays from the sun gradually cause the roof’s protective membrane or coating to dry out, which results in cracking. An alligatoring roof gets its name because the network of deep cracks resembles an alligator’s skin.
The age of a roof and the duration of untreated alligatoring will amplify the severity of the issue. The situation can be made worse by significant temperature shifts, whether from sunlight, snowfall, or even a building’s heating and cooling systems. Temperature changes can lead to the formation of new cracks and worsen existing ones.
The Causes and Effects of Roof Alligatoring
The causes and effects of roof alligatoring represent a critical issue for property owners, especially those with older asphaltic flat roofs. Roof alligatoring and blistering not only compromises the roof’s aesthetic appeal but also poses significant functional challenges with potential long-term implications.
The causes of alligatoring asphalt and roofing materials include:
As a roof ages, its materials can break down and become more susceptible to long-term damage.
As a roof sits day after day under the sun’s intense UV light, it dries out. Without regular maintenance, roofing materials will split and crack like the earth under the desert sun.
Extreme shifts in temperature, whether due to seasonal changes or fluctuations between day and night, can cause the roof material to expand and contract, leading to cracking and alligatoring.
Roofs that hold areas of water, known as ponding, can lead to increased alligatoring due to the water on the roof surface heating up and migrating through the membrane.
Regardless of the cause, alligatoring can significantly impact a roof’s ability to protect the people and property beneath. Without repairs and proactive maintenance, alligatoring can lead to the development of the following issues:
- Leaks. The cracks from roof alligatoring allow water to seep into the underlying structures of the roof, potentially leading to leaks inside the building.
- Structural damage. Over time, water seepage from alligatoring can cause significant damage to a roof’s structural components, leading to costly repairs.
- Energy inefficiency. Alligatoring can increase heating and cooling costs once a roof’s damaged insulation can no longer efficiently maintain temperature control.
- Aesthetic issues. Cracks in a roof can negatively impact the appearance of a building, which can be problematic for businesses that need to maintain a professional appearance.
The longer a roof goes without repair, the more damage alligatoring can cause to a roof’s long-term viability. Fortunately, our team of roofing experts at Ideal Building Solutions can provide prompt repair services to restore a roof’s form and functionality.
Repairing Alligatoring on a Roof
Repairing an alligatoring roof is a complicated process that requires a team of seasoned roof professionals like our team at Ideal Building Solutions. How do you fix alligatoring on a roof? While the process can vary depending on the type of roof, repairs typically require:
Inspection and cleaning
The initial step is to inspect the roof thoroughly, note all areas where the materials have cracked, and identify any other damage. Once these areas have been identified, the roof must be cleaned to remove dirt, debris, or loose materials.
Prepare the roof surface
Before our team can begin repairs, the roof surface must be adequately prepared. This often involves using a primer or sealant to ensure the repair materials adhere without issue. The preparation process will depend on the type of roofing material and the extent of the damage.
Make the repairs
Once the surface is prepared, repair materials can be applied. This typically involves applying a liquid roofing membrane or similar product over the alligatoring. This creates a new, seamless surface that can help prevent further damage. If the alligatoring is severe enough, a new asphaltic membrane may need to be installed.
Add a protective coating
A protective coating is usually applied once the repair materials have thoroughly dried and cured. The coating can help protect the new surface from UV rays, temperature changes, and other common causes of roof alligatoring.
Monitor and maintain
Once repaired, it’s essential to monitor the roof and schedule regular maintenance to prevent further alligatoring from occurring. Customers who join the Ideal Maintenance Program receive two comprehensive inspections yearly to help identify alligatoring signs before significant damage occurs.
Keep in mind that in some cases, if the alligatoring is extensive or the roof is very old, replacing the entire roof may be more cost-effective than attempting to repair it. Our team will help determine the condition of your roof and provide a recommended best course of action.
Protecting the Condition of Your Roof
Dealing with roof alligatoring is essential in maintaining your property’s structural integrity and longevity. While the repair process can be complex, immediate action can prevent further damage and reduce potential repair costs. Fortunately, our team of roofing experts at Ideal Building Solutions is waiting to help. Contact our team today to schedule an initial consultation and roof inspection.
What causes roof alligatoring?
Roof alligatoring is typically caused by the aging of asphaltic flat roofs, mainly due to sun exposure. The intense UV rays from the sun gradually cause the roof’s protective membrane or coating to dry out, which results in cracking. Additionally, extreme temperature fluctuations, poor installation, and ponding can also contribute to alligatoring.
What are the effects of roof alligatoring?
Roof alligatoring not only compromises the roof’s aesthetic appeal but also poses significant functional challenges with potential long-term implications. The cracks from roof alligatoring allow water to seep into the underlying structures of the roof, potentially leading to leaks inside the building. Over time, water seepage from alligatoring can cause significant damage to a roof’s structural components, leading to costly repairs. Alligatoring can also increase heating and cooling costs once a roof’s damaged insulation can no longer efficiently maintain temperature control.
Can roof alligatoring be repaired?
Yes, roof alligatoring can be repaired with the help of a team of seasoned roof professionals. The repair process typically involves inspection and cleaning, preparing the roof surface, making the repairs, adding a protective coating, and monitoring and maintaining. If the alligatoring is extensive or the roof is very old, replacing the entire roof may be more cost-effective than attempting to repair it.
How can I prevent roof alligatoring from developing?
Regular maintenance and proactive care are the keys to preventing roof alligatoring. This includes scheduling regular inspections, cleaning the roof surface, and performing any necessary repairs promptly. Additionally, it’s essential to ensure proper drainage and ventilation to prevent ponding and excess moisture buildup.