A commercial roof is a major investment and its upkeep is essential for safe and effective operations. It should come as no surprise that weather-related damage, punctures, and age-related issues are among the top causes of commercial roof damage. In this article, we’ll discuss the five most common causes of commercial roof damage, and how you can take preventative measures against them.

1. Weather Damage

Weather plays a big role in the destruction of commercial roofing systems. Hail, high winds, and heavy rains can wear away at shingles, cause them to crack or break, or even damage the underlying roof structures. To minimize weather damage, install high-quality roofing material, check for proper drainage, and inspect your roof regularly.

1a. Hail Damage

Hail is one of the most common and destructive sources of weather damage to commercial roofs. Hailstones vary in size and can cause cracks, holes, and other structural damage to the roof. Regular inspections and building-code upgrades can help protect the roof from hail damage.

1b. Wind Damage

Wind damage is caused by strong winds lifting and shifting shingles, or tearing off parts of the roof entirely. It’s important to install roofing materials with a high wind resistance, and check for wind damage after heavy storms.

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1c. Heavy Rain

Heavy rainfall can cause standing water and leaks on the roof, leading to eventual problems like water stains and mold growth. Installing a properly graded roof and using high-quality flashing materials will help reduce the risk of water damage.

2. Animal Damage

Animals like birds and squirrels can cause damage to commercial roofs. They can damage the surface of the roof and create openings through which water can enter. To deter animals from nesting on your roof, install grated surface covers, or consider having a hawk nesting box nearby.

2a. Bird Damage

Birds often make their nests on the roofs of commercial buildings. The weight of the nests and droppings can slowly wear away at the shingles, leading to cracking and other damage. Installing screens or covers over the eaves of the roof can help minimize bird damaging activity.

2b. Squirrel Damage

Squirrels can also cause damage to commercial roofs. The chewing and digging behavior of squirrels can create openings in the surface of the roof, leading to water damage and other structural problems. To protect your roof, keep tree branches trimmed and remove food sources.

3. Debris Damage

Debris like branches and leaves can accumulate on a roof, clogging gutters and drains and leading to standing water and weak points in the roof. It’s important to regularly inspect and clear the roof of debris to prevent long-term damage.

3a. Leaves

Leaves can clog gutters and drains, leading to standing water and eventual roof damage. Regularly cleaning the roof of leaves is a must to prevent these issues.

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3b. Branches

Large branches from nearby trees can cause serious damage to a commercial roof. Inspect the roof regularly for fallen branches, and trim down any trees that are close to the building.

4. Fire Damage

Fire can quickly cause structural damage to a commercial roof, as well as damage to any insulation and other interior parts of the building. To prevent fire damage, make sure the roof is properly ventilated, and regularly inspect flues and vents.

4a. Poor Ventilation

A poorly ventilated roof can lead to a buildup of flammable gases that can cause a fire. Make sure the roof is properly ventilated to reduce the risk of fire damage.

4b. Flues and Vents

Faulty flues and vents can also lead to fires. Regularly inspect the flues and vents for any problems, and have them maintained or repaired if necessary.

5. Age

Age is one of the most difficult causes of commercial roof damage to prevent. Over time, roofs will naturally begin to break down and decline in quality. Roofs should be inspected and maintained regularly to extend the life of the roof and reduce the risk of extensive damage.

5a. Deterioration

With age comes deterioration. As the roof ages, the surface may become brittle and weak. To prevent damage, regularly inspect and maintain the roof.

5b. Leaks

Leaks in the roofing structure often occur as the roof ages. Having regular inspections and sealant applications can help reduce the risk of leaks.

People Also Ask

Q: How often should a commercial roof be inspected?
A: Regular roof inspections should be done at least once a year to assess the condition of the roof and identify any potential damage.

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Q: What are the most common signs of roof damage?
A: Common signs of roof damage include curling, cracking, or missing shingles, as well as water stains, damp spots, or mold growth.

Q: How can I prevent roof damage?
A: Regular maintenance and inspections, as well as using quality roofing materials and minimizing exposure to weather damage, can help reduce the risk of roof damage.

Q: How do I repair damage to my commercial roof?
A: All roof damage should be repaired as soon as possible. Depending on the type of damage, you may need to call a professional roofer for repairs.

Q: What are the most common causes of commercial roof damage?
A: The most common causes of commercial roof damage include weather damage, animal damage, debris damage, fire damage, and age-related deterioration.


Commercial roofs take a beating due to the various weather elements, animals, debris, and fire they’re exposed to. Over time, age and wear may cause significant damage that can be expensive to repair. To limit the risk of damage and extend the life of your roof, regularly inspect and maintain it, install high-quality materials and minimize exposure to weather, animals, and debris. With proper maintenance, you can save time and money in the long run.