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Structural Risks to Commercial Buildings in Extreme Heat

Summer has just begun and according to recent news outlets, millions of people and structures across the country are experiencing severe weather including thunderstorms and a deadly heat wave that is sweeping the South. Just as the heat takes a major toll on us, extreme weather, and operational conditions affect the structural members of buildings. The most common and concerning type of structural damage occurs from roof condensation. More specifically, roof condensation is caused by the rapid cooling of warmer air.

What is it?

Roof condensation is moisture that develops at the roof ceiling area and is trapped by foil insulation or other types of radiant barriers. If left untreated, it can destroy the entire roof structure. This problem can be very costly.

Roof Condensation

How does it form?

Humidity/ Building Construction/ Roof Leaks/ Tenant Operations

What to look for?

Dark Streaks from Purlin Hangers, Corrosion  

Roof Condensation What To Look For Dark Streaks

RISKS of Roof Condensation

If left untreated, it can destroy the entire roof structure. Moisture causes rust and decay on metals including hangers, nuts, bolts and in severe cases the plywood (rooting) and plywood nails (necking) that gives strength to the roof system in turn holds the walls up. Damaged hangers and roof nailing need to be checked and needs to be repaired. This problem can be very costly as time goes on. It can turn into replacing the whole roof system in severe cases.

DANGERS of Roof Condensation

If untreated, roof condensation damage can be very dangerous. Roof supporting members (sub-purlins, Purlins and GLB’s) metal hangers deteriorate and can cause a failure and could fall to the floor or severely damage the roof structure.

What proactive measures can be taken…

  • Underside of roof Inspections for condensation clues
  • Tenant operations, changes to allow moisture to vacate the building
  • Inspect and look for roof leaks, skylights, all roof top equipment, and any penetrations through the roof membrane

Why conduct regular inspections…

Early detection is helpful for many reasons and one primary is the cost factor. The cost to repair the damage from roof condensation when detected early on is significantly less than potentially waiting until the roof hangers and roof nailing has completely deteriorated!

Saunders Construction has over four decades of experience repairing roof condensation issues. If you are interested in our roof condensation solution services, contact us Saunders Construction is the premier seismic retrofit and structural repair company in California. We service five states, California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Utah.

Posted Under: roof condensation, Seismic Retrofits