Signs of Hail Damage on a Commercial Roof

April 29, 2020

Hailstorms are naturally occurring phenomena. Hailstones exceeding half an inch in size or larger can cause considerable damage to your roof. Commercial business owners and property managers should be prepared to address if or when hail damage or leaking occurs.

Hail damage is often easier to identify on residential roof materials. It can be hard for a commercial business owner or property manager to recognize hail damage right away. Hailstone size and density will play the most significant factor in a membrane rupture. Still, additional considerations include wind, the length of the storm, and the specific roofing material on your property. Beyond looking for a ruptured membrane, softer metals such as roof vents and exhaust caps can tell quite a story. Accessories made of thin metal can get damaged much sooner, so it makes sense to check those first when looking for damage. If there are any condensing units, look at those too. If the roof has skylights, checking the trim around the glass, look at the glass itself also – as that would be obvious.

Our professional staff is trained experts in inspecting a commercial roof and looking for leaks and troubleshooting problems. We use modern technology and methods to find and repair leaks.

TPO roofing

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) roofing is a popular roof option for many commercial buildings in the Denver metropolitan area. TPO is a membrane added as a top layer to protect roofing on a commercial or industrial building. Underneath the membrane is insulation and a solid, fire-resistant decking surface. TPO is a lightweight, waterproof, and UV-reflective membrane that safeguards a roof from the Colorado elements. It protects from the rain and snow, extreme heat, and provides durability to resist punctures from hailstones.

TPO membrane application to a flat roof includes overlapping and then heating all seams. Each solid seam becomes temporarily liquid, which then bond together. A seamless waterproof, single layer membrane is the result. Metro City Roofing has the experience and knowledge to install a reliable and effective TPO roof for your industrial or commercial building to ensure maximum protection and longevity.

Damage detection

No one wants to see the results of a leak in his/her roof. It does happen, but the earlier you detect and repair it, the better your building, and your wallet will be in the long run.

Commercial roofs require ongoing maintenance and repairs. Many building owners and property managers do not have their roofs inspected until a problem is visible. At Metro City Roofing, we recommend commercial building owners or property managers schedule inspections multiple times each year, ideally in the spring, fall, and following every significant storm.

The following are signs you may have damage to your commercial roof.

Indoor mold or stained ceiling or walls
If your building has ceiling tiles, continued exposure to water will create a discolored area. Water stains may run down a wall, and you may also have now water damage within the wall itself.

Roof damage

  • New standing or ponding water – Clogged drains will cause water to collect and look like ponds on your roof.
  • Membrane blisters – Aged and weathered membranes will look cracked or bubbled. Blistering, splitting, and surface erosion can cause problems for a roof system if not addressed. Blistering occurs when there is an inadequate attachment of hot bituminous roof systems due to asphalt heated to improper temperature. If not fixed, blisters can accelerate the aging of the roof system. The life expectancy of a roof membrane is 20-30 years, but blisters and other issues can significantly reduce that time frame.
  • Open seams – The edges of the roof membrane can sometimes become unsecured. Tears or puncture holes from hail, something falling onto your roof, or even from someone walking on the roof can cause a tiny tear or hole in your roof. If enough people walk on the roof, damage from foot traffic can cause premature wear or tear the membrane, which can lead to leaks and water infiltration. Consider adding a walkway or extra layers of the membrane that can prevent this from becoming a problem. It is best to refrain from using excessive amounts of caulk to fix these tears. Metal buildings expand and contract often; caulking cracks or penetrations will also move, which can cause further roof damage.
  • Damaged flashings – Metal and plastic flashing on your roof can become unsecured or damaged after severe weather. If loosened, there will be a need to add caulk (and maybe a replacement of flashings) to re-seal all possible water penetration locations. Hail impact to metal roof flashing is easily detected as these are soft metal and will show impact marks. These types of roof damage can cause leaks into your commercial building. Still, they can be quickly identified and corrected with a proper maintenance schedule and by contacting a professional roofer within several days following a hailstorm or windstorm. Routine maintenance plans should include your roofing contractor to inspect, clean, and make any necessary repairs.
  • Damaged coping metal – This is the metal perimeter cap around the exterior of your building. Following a severe hailstorm, coping metal will show visible dents as well as oxidation marks.

Office signage and other exterior damage

You may not immediately see a sign of recent hail damage, but it could be there. Pun intended. Following a hailstorm, your commercial building signage may show cracks or shattered plastic that can include lighting. You may also notice that trees and shrubs have lost leaves and branches.


If you notice any foul smell, this can be a warning sign for hidden mold. Mold thrives in moist environments, so if water continues to enter your building, mold can grow and spread. A mold problem in your commercial facility is dangerous, as it could cause illness.

Visible dripping or standing puddles inside your building

A standing puddle or visible dripping in your commercial building on a wall or ceiling should be obvious. The most significant indication of a commercial roof leak is when you can visibly see water entering your building. Interior leaks can cause damage to your roof, building structure, machinery, and office equipment inside the building.

Water infiltration can destroy the roof membrane and infiltrate to the interior of the building, causing mold, and damaging property. Regular inspection of interior ceilings and the roof itself can prevent water from infiltrating or can help catch it early. If you notice mold inside your building, there is a chance of water infiltration or improper ventilation techniques.

Your priority should be to identify the source of water infiltration, whether it is a crack in the membrane, standing water, or leaking A/C units. Any water infiltration must be stopped to prevent further damage.

Higher energy bills

A roof leak will likely saturate your insulation before the water gets further into your building. Holes in your roof can lead to a decreased insulation factor. When a building is unable to trap warm air in winter or cold air in summer, your energy bills will increase to compensate for the loss of insulation.

What should you do if you have a roof leak?

The following are critical steps you should take if you identify a roof leak.

Minimize interior damage

If you see water flowing into your building, clear the area of people, equipment, and supplies to reduce further damage. Once the area is clear, collect the water in a bucket or similar receptacle to keep it from collecting on your floor.

Mark the entry point

Make sure to mark the location of your leak. This step is essential when you speak with a contractor and insurance agent. We recommend marking any entry points while a leak is occurring, because it may be more challenging once a leak and area has dried.

Check for additional problem areas

Your leak may only be limited to one area, but there is the possibility there are other leaks in your building. We recommend examining your entire facility for more problem areas. If you have a leak and there’s been no recent rain or hail in your area, you should investigate other causes such as plumbing or air conditioning units.

It is essential to remedy any commercial leak before it worsens. The smallest leak, if left, will become more severe, including mold and structural damage.

Document everything

Use a mobile phone to take photos (and ideally video too), so that identified damage reflects a date and time stamp on each photo. Be ready to share these photos with your contractor and insurance carrier, if a claim is needed.

Call a professional roofing contractor

Repairing a hail damaged commercial roof will prove quite troublesome for an untrained individual. We recommend immediately calling a professional to inspect. A professional should have the tools and experience to detect any hail damage or damage in general. The contractor should also guide you through your immediate next steps, which may include filing an insurance claim.

At Metro City Roofing, we are proud of each roof we install and the maintenance we provide to our commercial customers. We will take care of all your commercial roofing needs. We pride ourselves on delivering top quality commercial roof replacements and repair services. Commercial roofing projects are often larger in scale than residential projects and use unique materials requiring specialist knowledge. Our licensed roofers have a wealth of experience in commercial roofing – from minor repair projects to complete replacement projects. Our team has the necessary expertise to deliver the results you need.

Contact Metro City Roofing today to schedule your free commercial roof inspection.