The Bellet Blog

Roof Repairs: Preventative Maintenance

Yesterday was the fourth of July, and many New Yorkers spent the day and evening on their roofs, enjoying the nice weather and watching the fireworks. Many of these roofs weren’t meant to have heavy traffic and could suffer from summer roof gatherings.

Roof repairs in New York City are expensive, but some of the costs can be reduced if the building implements a simple maintenance plan. For example, if you are using your roof for social gatherings, make sure someone goes around and collects the trash afterward so that it does not clog the gutters during the next summer shower. It’s astounding how people will invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a roof and then never maintain it. They don’t clean the drains, they don’t install protective walkway pads for tradesmen, and every year after the Fourth of July, you can find bottle rockets, beer cans, and soda cans up on the roofs.

You do not need to be an expert to maintain a roof. What jumps out at you as a suspect usually is such as stuffed drains, puddles, tears in the membrane, or open joints. Someone from the building or management company should conduct a roof inspection at least every other month, although once a month is more ideal. Bring a camera, notebook, and ruler to track any changes in the roof’s appearance. If you see a small problem that seems to be growing rapidly, you will know to hire a contractor before it gets out of hand. It’s always less expensive to catch a problem early before it snowballs into an entire roof replacement.

Remember, just because you have a roof warranty does not mean your roof repair will be covered. Roof warranties are like car warranties. A car manufacturer will not replace your engine if you do not change the oil. A roofing manufacturer is no different; the company is only obligated to honor the warranty. If owners do not maintain their roofs to the specifications of the warranty, they can be in for a $100,000 surprise.

Roof membrane below Air Conditioning System

It is not a good idea to leave tools, lawn chairs, or other materials on a roof that isn’t supposed to be used recreationally. You should also pay particular attention to the membrane around antennas, cabling, or heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, as these things penetrate the roof and are extremely susceptible to leaks. Often the person installing these items is not a roofer, and if they damage the roof, they probably will not know how to fix it. They may not even realize they damaged it.   

If you are interested in having a professional contractor come out and examine your roof, contact us at 212-982-3000.