Small Repairs Will Save a Building from Major Structural Damage

July 20, 2021 Laura MacCormac




How, as a Property Manager, can you possibly know if there are structural weaknesses in a building you’re managing?  Can you rely on residents to tell you if they notice a small yellow spot on the ceiling?  Do they even look there?

Unnoticed ceiling stain property management

How would anyone detect mold and rot if it’s above the ceilings or under the floors?  By the time something has gotten bad enough for someone to notice and tell you, it’s likely that it has already spread, and the damage is extensive. 

Between weather events, expensive insurance and building collapses, there are reasons to take pause and consider what proactive steps you are taking in building maintenance. Is the roof in great shape?  Or is it out of sight and out of mind?

According to the Journal of The American Institute of Architects, “40 percent of all building-related problems are due to water intrusion—and water usually intrudes through roofs.” (Aaron Seward)

Whether you are a Property Manager of a townhouse complex or high-rise condominium, or a Council Member on a Condominium board, it’s important to understand how minor roof issues can destroy a building.

In this post, we will explain why roof maintenance is imperative and how to make sure it gets done regularly.


What is Roof Maintenance, and Why Does it Matter?

Everyone knows about vehicle maintenance.  Even people who don’t drive know that vehicles need maintenance, or they won’t last as long as they could.


roofing for property managers

Roof Maintenance is a term that gets used but not everyone really knows what it is.  Many Property Managers have told us they do roof maintenance, but what they really mean is that they get repairs done right away when they find out there’s an active roof leak, instead of leaving them to get worse.

Roof Maintenance is a proactive plan that prevents major damage.  A maintenance plan is when assessments and repairs are scheduled.

Knowing this difference is key because by the time you find out there is a leak, a lot of damage has been done.  Part of the roof has become defective because it has let water in. The water has already been above the ceiling for some amount of time, probably long enough to rot beams and grow mold.

So maintenance keeps every part of the roof strong and prevents leaks while making repairs as leaks are reported results in building damage.

To recap, here are the options:

Regular roof maintenance = Prevent a leak before it causes any damage

Respond to calls from residents = Well established leak, some collateral damage

Get it repaired when it gets worse = Extensive damage including structure and contents


How to Keep a Roof Maintained

Get the Condo Corp in Agreement

Communicating to the Condo Corp that there’s a better way to maintain the roof needs to be done carefully and deliberately. Change usually presents a hurdle and some members might not be willing to jump onboard right away. 

Here are some important points to communicate:

Lack of maintenance leads to premature failure

A roof leak and the damage it causes can take years to be discovered.  By then, structural damage may be present.

Maintenance prevents urgent issues competing for priority, and expensive surprises.

Now is the perfect time for a roof assessment because we don’t know about any problems.

Even if there haven’t been many leaks or roof issues so far, they will become more frequent as the roof ages. 

Have an initial Detailed Roof Assessment.

The first roof assessment is more detailed because the technicians need to examine the whole roof.  They will take photos of the entire roof and close ups of each area. This gives everyone an idea of the scope of work that needs to be done right away, and scopes of regular scheduled maintenance in the future.

In order to give you an accurate quote the technicians need to record roof measurements, types of roof membrane, number and size of vents, drainage system and what materials need to be used to make any repairs.

This initial assessment results in a detailed quote with photos explaining everything about the roof and recommending the best way to keep it maintained.  This puts everyone, you, the Condo Corp and the Roofing Contractor on the same page.

Get Roof Repairs Done

Sometimes there are issues that are urgent that no one knew about before the roof was assessed.  This is because it can take years for something small to turn into a catastrophe.  A small weed might have long roots that pierced the roof membrane and a patch needs to be done.

A roof that has not been maintained will require more repairs.  The sooner those repairs are done, the less damage they will cause later.  You can look forward to more predictable roof maintenance in the future.

Schedule Future Roof Assessments.

Why not get your next roof assessment on the schedule now?  Even if you plan on having it a year from now, there’s nothing wrong with putting it in everyone’s calendar.  This ensures that technicians are made available on the dates you want.

Your budget becomes easier to manage and big problems are much less likely to happen.


Tips and Reminders for Roof Maintenance

  • Regular repairs will save a building from major structural damage.
  • Make sure the Condo board is on side. Be ready and available to answer questions.
  • This is going to make your life less stressful because it is a way of managing the unknown.

The roof is the first line of defense and it needs to function properly to prevent big problems. Buildings really can rot away without detection for a long time. This is a surprise no one is prepared for.

Now you have one less worry with scheduled roof assessments knowing that you have the trained eyes of roofing technicians on your side and a confident council.

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