5 Step Guide to Resolving Persistent Leaks: Roof Fixings

Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring what we believe, are the five key things to look out for on your Industrial and Commercial buildings when persistent leaks are causing you concern

Whenever a client engages us to assist with investigating and remedying persistent leaks on industrial buildings, we inspect five key areas before conducting deeper root cause analysis. Usually, one of these key areas is the primary source of persistent leaks – Roof Fixings, Gutters, Rooflight/Skylights, Weathering Flashings, and Sheet Laps.

We will explain why roof fixings can be a source of persistent leaks on industrial and commercial buildings. Then, we will discuss some short-term solutions that you might adopt in emergency situations. However, once you start to experience issues with your roof fixings, it will be a slow and inevitable journey towards replacement.

Persistent Leaks from Roof Fixings

5 Step Guide to Resolving Persistent Leaks on Industrial Roofs when Roof Fixings are Identified as the Root Cause.

Fixing Functionality

First, let’s understand what roof fixings do and why they are an important element on industrial buildings. Roof fixings play a crucial role in securing your roof sheets to the underlying framework of the building. Sheets are secured by fixing roof screws into the purlins that define the structure of a roof.

Most modern fixings come accompanied with a stainless or carbon-based washer (of varying sizes) that also has a subsequent neoprene material, of similar diameter, affixed to the underside of the washer. Its purpose is to ensure that when the fixings are secured to the purlins, through the sheets, that the neoprene washer is compressed (on the external side of the sheet), to a recommended level, to create a weatherproofing barrier. Over torquing or over-drilling fixings can have a detrimental impact on the roofing sheets – causing dents in and around the fixing location. It’s important to get the installation just right for optimal performance over time.

Persistent Leaks from Roof Fixings
Persistent Leaks from Roof Fixings
Persistent Leaks from Roof Fixings

Emergency Works

At Industrial Roofing Scotland, we are experienced in providing short-term remedies to counteract persistent leaks associated to roof fixings. Although the duration of temporary fixes can vary, the following temporary repairs may provide enough time to find a long-term solution. We have several clients who engage us to complete emergency works, but know we’ll always recommend a long-term solution as part and parcel of how we operate. For clients, knowing that persistent leaks are resolved temporarily, affords time and space to fully consider our recommended actions.

Persistent Leaks from Roof Fixings

Temporary Fixes

If you have identified that it is your roof fixings that are a source of your persistent leaks, then some of the following remedies can be applied to stop the penetration of water into your building temporarily:

Sealant & Mastics: The application of sealants and mastics over the affected area can help reduce persistent leaks temporarily. Be careful to select the appropriate types of materials that will work with the type of roof you have.

Cover Over: A quick and easy way to temporarily cover over areas effected by persistent leaks is to use a heavy grade tarpaulin. Remember to secure the tarpaulin to the roof in a safe way and always use best practice HSE guidance for accessing your roof – particularly if the roofing structure is over 20 years old.

Missing Fixings: Sometimes the fixings have come loose and are no longer in place. In this instance, using wider diameter fixings that can utilise and cover over the existing holes on the roof and recreate that watertight seal, are a good solution.

Persistent Leaks from Roof Fixings
Persistent Leaks from Roof Fixings

Other Solutions

Metal Plate: If the source of the persistent leaks is over a wider area, you can install temporary metal plate over the problematic area, a patch for example. Again, this area will be protruding above the existing profile of the sheet and should be installed appropriately to withstand water penetration using the right fixings, sealants, and coatings for short to mid-term fixes.

Emergency Roof Coatings: There are various types of roof coatings that can help prevent water ingress as a temporary fix. Generally, a thick paint-like material is applied over the effected fixings and surrounding area which helps to recreate a watertight seal. More advanced formulas come as a multi-coat installation and should be carried out by professional installers, these remedies can offer medium to long-term resolutions in some instances.

Super Imposed Sheets: If the fixings are perished sheet wide. Superimposing the same type of profiled sheet and re-fixing it to the structural steel is another option. In this case, all the current fixings are removed, any debris is cleared, and a new sheet is laid over the existing sheet and reinstalled to manufacturer guidelines.

If you seek a quick fix for persistent leaks, one of the measures mentioned above might provide the time and space needed to find a long-term resolution.

Please note: Working at height on industrial roofs is inherently dangerous and we’d always advise employing a professional company to resolve even temporary issues. We access various types of industrial buildings each week, relying upon our experience and know how to ensure that the works are completed in a safe and controlled manner.

Long-Term Solution

When fixings fail beyond repair, replacing them is the best choice. Here are some key considerations and advice when you reach this stage:

Firstly: Always consult with a fixing manufacturer to ensure that whatever you are proposing to replace the fixings on your roof with, are suitable and fit for purpose. Manufacturers can test the existing fixings and ensure an appropriate replacement can be offered in its place.

Due Diligence: Always plan the replacement of fixings considerately. The fixings you use must be able to secure the roof sheets to the building’s framework. Failure to appropriately secure the sheets back to the purlins will only lead to even bigger problems further down the road.

Certification: By engaging with specialists, whether on the fixing replacement side or on the re-installation side, you always guarantee that you have the right information at your disposal to make an informed decision. By following proper procedures and gaining certification for both the fixings and installation, you can ensure that the roof fixings will give you the longevity and security you desire for the long term

Persistent Leaks from Roof Fixings

In Summary

Many things can affect the decisions you take to secure your industrial and commercial buildings roofs when persistent leaks are a problem. Our best advice is always to try and replicate the original installation method wherever possible. Before adding after-market remedies and solutions, consider this; the original installation method has probably secured the building for between 15-25 years. Reinstalling those elements that are failing at this point will potentially secure your building for the same duration… giving you long-term benefits apposed to short-term hassle and stress, by constantly using temporary fixes.

Persistent Leaks from Roof Fixings

If you need help to identify the cause of persistent leaks...

If you are suffering from persistent leaks on your industrial or commercial building, give us a call and we’ll arrange to inspect and remedy those problems, in the short term, but also offering that long-term solution as standard.

Stay tuned to our next 5 Step Guide where we’ll delve into detail around resolving persistent leaks from industrial gutters.

Contact us today for an informal chat about your issues or needs. Call 01592 372573 or fill out our online enquiry form, and our team will reach out to discuss your requirements.