12/14/17 2:52 PM 5 min read

Preventing Costly Commercial Roof Blow-Offs


A roof blow-off is a disaster that no commercial building owner wants to experience. This unfortunate incident can occur when the commercial roof system fails entirely, or sufficiently enough to allow the system to be completely freed from the roof surface, exposing the structural decking to the elements and allowing rain or snow to directly enter the building in catastrophic fashion. These types of incidents almost always occur during inclement weather situations: thunderstorms, blizzards or anytime there are high winds. Buildings located on or near the shores of a large body of water, or in open farm country can also be quite vulnerable.

Practically every warranted roof system developed by a reputable material manufacturer accounts for wind resistance. These factors are determined by the system being installed as well as items like building height and size. Most new roofing systems require the installation of layers of insulation to the roof deck. This insulation is either fastened with screws and plates or adhesives. If this insulation is improperly applied, it can allow for the system to become vulnerable during a high wind situation. The smallest opening in hundreds of feet of roof membrane is enough for the wind to penetrate, then slowly loosen the system until it acts like a ship’s sail. Once this occurs, it’s just a matter of time before the entire specification is ripped from the roof surface, exposing the decking and the occupants inside to the elements.

Roberts Roofing Company recommends proper maintenance and inspection of your commercial roof system to diagnose and repair the criteria which might be leading to a potential blow-off before it happens. The correct fastener length and adhesive thickness must also be thoroughly researched before the application of a new roof system is applied to prevent potential blow-offs down the road.

See related blog: Annual Commercial Roof Inspections

In the event of a blow-off, there are some basic treatments that can provide some relief until the roof can be completely repaired. The application of tarps over the blown off section can alleviate some of the damages that pouring rain may produce upon an exposed section of roof deck. The tarps can be applied with weights and in extreme cases, nails and other fasteners. The cutting away or complete removal of loose and flapping roof membrane can prevent damage from flying debris if it were to completely come loose in a high wind scenario. Mortar and uncured cement may be applied to rips and tears in a roof membrane during a rain storm until the weather recedes and repairs using proper materials can be made.

It is important to make sure that your roofing contractor is up to date on current values for wind resistance when installing your new commercial roof system. Roof blow-offs can be covered by insurance assuming the proper coverage is held, but an insurance company inquiry revealing an improperly installed roof system could leave the you, the building owner, out in the wind.

Roberts Roofing Company has been a leading provider of innovative commercial and industrial roofing solutions in Cleveland, Ohio since 1981. We provide commercial repair, replacement and maintenance to serve companies of all sizes in Ohio and the surrounding region, offering a combination of technical expertise, custom solutions and quality workmanship to every project.

To find out more about selecting a commercial roofer in Cleveland, Ohio, simply fill out the form on this page and a member of our team will be in touch. Or, you may call us at 440.745.8578.