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The flat roof of a commercial building is the first line of defense against damage during inclement weather. A roof failure can be devastating to a new or established business; no business owner will want to rent a property that is continually being damaged by water. Any kind of property deterioration can severely eat into a company's bottom line. Fortunately, four quick checks can be performed to make sure that a commercial roof is functioning properly.

Commercial building owners should first inspect the inside of the building. Signs of water stains and water damage to the interior ceiling are sometimes the first clue that a commercial roof is failing. Even a very small stain can signify big problems. A musty or moldy smell can also indicate ongoing water problems in areas that cannot be seen. The building owner can try to determine where the water might be getting in, or they can call in a professional contractor to evaluate the entire system. Roofing contractors will often offer free estimates for repairs.

The next step in evaluating a commercial roofing system is to climb onto the roof and look for standing water. Standing water should not sit upon a roof surface for longer than 48 hours after the end of a storm. The longer standing water remains, the more damage is done to the underlying roof system, shortening the roof's life. Commercial building owners should clear debris and ensure that drains are removing water properly. If there is a pump system installed, it should be checked to make sure it is working properly. If there is standing water on the roof and the system is failing to remove it after these basic maintenance tasks have been performed, it's time for the building owner to call in a quality roofing professional.

Finally, the roof should be inspected for bubbles and cracks. Any breach in the roofing system increases the risk of the entire roof failing. Bubbles and cracks may be just cosmetic, or they might be a sign of the end of the currently installed system. If the roof looks smooth and unblemished, then it should be in good shape. If bubbles or cracks are evident, a trained roofing professional should be contacted to test for more extensive damage.