Common Forms of Surface Damage in Commercial Roofing Systems

A commercial roofing system protects the business assets, operations, and occupants. Its longevity and efficacy are thus a top priority for business owners and facility managers. The best way to ensure its health is to perform regular inspections and invest in the resulting recommended repairs.

Be advised: the frequency of those regular inspections may vary according to age. According to one top-rated commercial roofing company in Spartanburg, SC, “Younger roofs under 10 years old can benefit from yearly inspections. However, roofs over 10 years old may require seasonal inspections.” This is due to the fact that older roofs may have more wear and tear and are more likely to need repairs or replacement. And, these inspections can catch any issues early and help to prevent costly damage in the future.

Nowadays, reputed roofing companies offer free roof checkups for commercial properties. So, when these checkups are conducted at the appropriate interval, it will possibly bring the attention of the owners towards roof damage and further help them create repair strategies. For the average business owner and facility manager, a familiarity with the forms of roofing damage most frequently found during inspections allows business owners and facility managers to make informed decisions regarding their roofing maintenance.

Single-Ply Membrane Roofing

Types of Damage:

  • Punctures, holes, and tears
  • Bubbling or blistering
  • Sagging

Likely Causes:

Single-ply membrane roofing systems are typically made of flexible materials such as TPO or EPDM, known for their durability and energy efficiency. However, some common causes of these types of surface damage include:

  • Foot traffic and installation or repairs to heavy equipment (such as HVAC systems), causing punctures or tears
  • Improper installation or poor workmanship, leading to adhesive failure
  • Extreme temperature fluctuations causing the membrane to expand or contract, resulting in blistering or bubbling
  • Water leakage and poor ventilation, in which water damages the insulation, releasing gasses that form bubbles in the membrane surface

Multi-Ply Membrane Roofing

Types of Damage:

  • Delamination
  • Splits and cracks
  • Blistering and ridges

Likely Causes:

Multi-ply membrane roofing systems, often called built-up roofs (BUR), comprise multiple layers of reinforced fabric and modified bitumen. Though they are known to be robust systems, they can still suffer from surface damage due to factors like:

  • Age, as older roof materials are more vulnerable to delamination, or separation of layers, leading to decreased performance
  • Prolonged exposure to UV rays, which can cause splitting and cracking in the material
  • Moisture trapped within the roofing system, leading to blistering and ridging

Shingle Roofing

Types of Damage:

  • Curling and cupping
  • Granule loss
  • Broken or missing shingles
  • Moss growth

Likely Causes:

Shingle roofing systems are popular in commercial applications for their attractive appearance and versatility. However, surface damage to it can be quite detrimental to the property if neglected for too long, and it is hard to repair without the help of Roof Plus – commercial roof repair or a similar company. This damage could be can by one of the following reasons:

  • High winds, causing shingles to curl, cup, or dislodge entirely
  • UV exposure over time, leading to granule loss, which weakens the shingle’s protective properties
  • Impact from heavy objects such as tree branches, which can break or remove shingles
  • Trapped water, providing ideal conditions for unwanted plant life

Metal Roofing

Types of Damage:

  • Corrosion and rust
  • Dents and punctures
  • Panel separation, loose fasteners, and other seam issues
  • Damaged flashing

Likely Causes:

Metal roofing systems are becoming increasingly popular in commercial buildings thanks to their durability and energy efficiency. Common causes of surface damage include:

  • Prolonged exposure to moisture or harsh chemicals, leading to corrosion and rust
  • Hail or other impact damage, causing dents and punctures
  • Improper installation or expansion/contraction due to temperature changes, resulting in panel separation or seam issues


Business owners and facility managers should be aware of the importance of regular roofing maintenance, as it plays a crucial role in extending the lifespan of the roof and ensuring the safety of their business. By working with a professional roofing contractor like A. Brooks Construction Kanga Roof, they can ensure that the business facility’s roof is kept in good condition, thus preventing the need for costly repairs or replacements.

While roofing maintenance is a broad category involving many moving parts, surface damage is often the most obvious and easy to understand for the layperson. By understanding the different types of surface damage on the most common commercial roofing systems, facility managers can be more equipped to spot potential problems early and take necessary precautions to maintain optimal business operations.