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Roofs are the most vulnerable part of the building envelope

Sunlight, precipitation, wind, flying objects, sometimes even foot traffic, and in the case of the photo below, hoof traffic, all of these things combine to make the roof of a building susceptible to a lot of risk.

This is an actual roof that I read about in an article at – cool!


Poorly installed roof systems and products and their associated flashings are, in my opinion, the most common cause of roof problems during a roof’s life cycle…not goat traffic.

I sold commercial roofing products and construction services for most of the 1990’s for a company called Centimark, the nation’s largest roofing contractor.

I learned a few things from being in that business about roofs – here are my top 5:

1. Roofs are indeed the most vulnerable part of the building envelope

2. during a re-roofing project, the “tie-in” is the most vulnerable part of the building envelope – just wait and see what happens to a “bad tie-in” during a storm

3. corners and edges are the most vulnerable part of the roof’s construction, therefore these areas should have a more detailed nailing and/or attachment pattern


4. gutters, particularly internal gutters, and their downspouts, often require frequent cleaning and maintenance – extend gutter leaders and other drainage paths away from the building and insure that there is a positive flow away from any ground level interiors

rusted out

5. flashings and terminations need to be checked every 6-12 months either by binocular views from the ground, or by a simple walk over inspection, just to verify that the flashings are durable and doing their job to stay watertight – while there, check the roof field for performance issues

Even on the hottest summer day, roofs are doing their thing – some better than others!


Remember that the roof is indeed the most vulnerable part of the building envelope. Everybody show your roof some love, please…


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