Commercial roof leaks are a genuine problem that no business or commercial facility can choose to ignore. There are common causes for commercial roof leaks in Pennsylvania faculties, and there are cures for roof leaks that can avert damage to both the exterior and interior of a commercial structure. The causes of leaks and the remedies for them are numerous. Here are some signs to watch for, the causes, and what you can do about them. 

Signs to Watch for in a Commercial Facility

 Some of the first things to watch for concerning leaks in a commercial building are ceiling and wall stains. It won’t matter whether your facility has ceiling tiles or some other type of ceiling covering, as stains and discolored areas will show themselves regardless of the covering. Any exposure to continual water drips or major leaks is going to show up on a ceiling.

Mold and an unpleasant and lingering odor could also be signs of roof leaks in a commercial building. Mold can develop in areas where moisture sits or pools. If water is making its way into a building, there is the likelihood that mold will increase, and odors will permeate different areas of a structure. 

Dripping water and standing water can be definitive signs of a leaking roof. When you can see puddles of water on a floor or drips coming from the ceiling above you, there is a serious problem. 

Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks

Proper drainage is essential in the prevention of roof leaks. A flat roof’s surface, and what’s below it, will take a beating without a place for water to escape. Standing water is the culprit and the cause of leaks. If there is a lack of proper drainage, leaks and other problems are going to occur. Ponding or standing water can also add weight to a roof and cause significant strain on a roofing system. If a drainage system is in disrepair and isn’t properly directing water, the system may need to be repaired or replaced.

 A commercial roof requires several drainage points, and that comes with a properly installed drainage system. An inefficient drainage system is often the cause of roof leaks. On a commercial flat roof, water is going to require specific places to drain. There should be regular drains, downspouts, gutters, and scuppers. Scuppers are roofing details that provide drainage through metal-edged exit points, which go on to further drain through a downspout point, a protective wall (parapet) along a roof’s edge, or a gutter leader head. A leader directs and channels water to downspouts. All of these water exit points require regular checks for corrosion or damage, and they also need cleaning to ensure that they are clear of any debris that could block drainage and the movement of water from a roof.

Lack of roofing repair

This is another cause of concern with roof leaks. The most critical areas of repair are usually the outer or exterior edges of a roof, inner parapet walls, and flashings. 

 The flashings themselves can cause problem leaks. They are made to protect the outer edges of a roof membrane’s covering. Damaged flashings or poorly installed flashings can loosen from wind and storms, making roof cover edges vulnerable to moisture and water seepage within a building. 

 Expansion and contraction are forces that affect flashing with seasonal weather changes, and flashings can often break or tear and cause the failure of a roofing system. Any building maintenance manager should be aware of flashings and any problems that occur with them, as they are usually one of the most likely causes of leaks on commercial roofs. 


Roof penetrations can often cause roof leaks. They can be drains, pipes, heat and air units, conduits, vents, gas lines, and other protrusions that could puncture the membrane of a roof. Most any roof penetration is susceptible to leaks and requires proper securing to make sure that a roofing system gets the protection it needs. Roof penetrations are just another set of rooftop items that require consistent upkeep and observation. All penetrations necessitate water-tight sealing through protective devices like flashing, pipe boots, rain collars, pitch pans, and field wraps. 

Damaged Membrane

A damaged or aging membrane can also cause commercial roof leaks. Causes of this damage include people walking on it, continual exposure to weather conditions, sharp object penetration, or mechanical damage. If a membrane sustains tears, cracks, splits, blisters, or shrinkage, leaks can occur and go right through the membrane to the insulation. Patching can be of help for small spots, but for larger areas, replacement of both the membrane and underlying insulation may be necessary. The primary purpose or function of a membrane is to stop water from getting inside of a building, which makes a membrane a critical part of leak prevention. 

Aging Roof System

An aging commercial roof system is just one more concern with roof leaks. A flat roof system can deteriorate anywhere from 15-20 years after installation, and most of the different conditions and problems already mentioned can happen at that aging point. Once it comes to that, a maintenance manager should assess the condition of the roof and call in a commercial roofing expert to schedule a serious repair or a complete replacement. 

 A commercial roof can suffer any number of problems, but leaks and moisture issues are at the top of the list. If you are in Pennsylvania, or the general region, the experts at JDT Construction are ready to help secure your commercial roof from leaks and any other problems. Their years of experience in the field have proved their expertise with all roofing issues, including roof leaks and any associated problems. If you have questions or concerns with moisture and water damage to your commercial roof, complete the online contact form, and a roofing expert will get back to you with the information and help you need to repair your commercial roof and stop the leaks.