8 Tips & Warning Signs for Mall Roof Maintenance

Fixed budgets for commercial maintenance roof costs create a problem. Fortunately, there is a simple solution. It is important to spend time on roof maintenance before you have to spend money. Once the roof maintenance budget is spent, it is difficult to make the decision to put more money towards it. Especially given that preventative maintenance is not an emergency (though, it is trying to prevent one) . 

Roof maintenance does not have to cost an arm and a leg, but it does cost

 time, attention, and a little bit of research. (Unlike the cost of roof repair, which Anthony Vross of Buildings.com does a great job of breaking down). That does not mean you don’t have to account for roof maintenance in your budget. Adding inspection time to CAM (Common Area Maintenance) fees is more than enough to account for time you should spend each year on your roof inspection, as well as addressing roof repairs when needed.

Let’s take a look at some good roof inspection practices, as well as roof warning signs that could indicate the possible need for a repair.

1. An inspection should take place at least twice a year.

Especially for malls in more temperate areas with heavy snowfall. Performing an inspection every six months is diligent work, but any significant weather events should also be taken into account, such as a heavy snowfall or storm. Be sure to check after these events for standing water and high-wind damage.

2. Its everywhere: debris

Branches, leaves, trash, tools, materials and other items can degrade the quality of a roof – water can gather under the item and cause rusting, deterioration, etc. Always check for anything on the roof that does not belong, or has insufficient flashing.

3. We already took care of that: sites of previous leaks

If you have had a roof repair already, be sure to check the site for any signs of the problem resurfacing. Once an area has been compromised, it is all too easy for it to come under distress again.

It’s important to us for our clients to have roofs in good shape. It’s even more important to recognize signs of roof distress. If you see any of these problems, it might be time to call us

4. Water those: Ceiling stains

A brown blotch, a small drop on a ceiling tile. If there is a stain on the ceiling, and the pipes aren’t leaking, it’s time to call a professional. If you are able to see the leak, that means that it got through insulation and drywall and any other material to become visible. Damage has been done. And it can quickly become an emergency when a customer slips and falls onto a lawsuit. Luckily, with technology like thermal imaging, identification and repair is not a guessing game, and we can get your roof back in good working order in no time.

5. Anyone else smell that?: Mold / Odor

Similar to the ceiling stains, if it is obvious to your senses, the damage is done. If you can smell or see a mold, there is a moisture problem that could be due to a roof issue. Taking care of the source sooner rather than later is key to taking care of a mold problem.

6. If it’s a puddle, it’s a problem: Standing Water

Standing water by itself does not indicate a problem, but if not properly routed and cleaned can lead to deterioration, which leads to leaks. Not to mention the additional persistent weight that burdens the roof deck.

7. Not the good kind: Bubbles

Bubbles on a roof cover can indicate trapped moisture, or insulation board problems. This could be a minor repair, but if left unaddressed, can become a tear in the material. If the tear goes unnoticed or unaddressed, it creates major problems like rusting, tearing, and leaking.

8. Its worse than you think: Flashing Voids

Any structure on the roof should have adequate flashing coverage around the entire base. A flashing void is as bad as having a tear. All flashing should be inspected at installation, and then checked after every major weather event to help prevent spreading problems.


Keeping the roof in good shape, and recognizing when it’s not should be top priority for mall owners to prevent leaks and collapses. There are quite a few news stories in recent years about collapsing roofs, make sure yours is not one of them.

We have discussed time-spending efforts, but there are more advanced roof inspection techniques like infrared scanning and membrane testing that can detect underlying problems. Problems that cannot be addressed with a visual inspection. To start a proactive roof maintenance plan with us and schedule an inspection, give Preferred Inc – Fort Wayne a call at 260-483-8383.

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Topics: roofing, malls