commercial handrail mistakes

The Most Common Commercial Handrail Mistakes to Avoid

Commercial handrails are more integral to a commercial building than one might think. They provide support for people who have trouble walking and also prevent fall hazards. So they must be installed correctly according to OSHA Guidelines. Unfortunately, many mistakes in handrail installation and repair have occurred. Because of this, many injuries have happened, and subsequently, injury costs piled up. 

According to the National Safety Council, “The total cost of work injuries in 2019 was $171.0 billion. This figure includes wage and productivity losses of $53.9 billion, medical expenses of $35.5 billion, and administrative expenses of $59.7 billion. This total also includes employers’ uninsured costs of $13.3 billion, including the value of time lost by workers other than those with disabling injuries who are directly or indirectly involved in injuries, and the cost of time required to investigate injuries, write up injury reports, and so forth.” As a result, keeping building occupants safe means building managers need to know the most common commercial handrail mistakes and how to prevent them. 

Improper Installation

We’ve talked about giving handrails the proper attention due to their importance in commercial buildings. However, some contractors choose to install the railings themselves, which  can lead to them being installed incorrectly. To ensure it’s done right in the first place, hire an expert who specializes in handrails.

Inaccurate Measurements

Another commercial handrail mistake is installing them with inaccurate measurements. All railings must adhere to OSHA guidelines,  but the size of railings will vary depending on intended use and location. Inaccuracies can occur when trying to measure them. Building contractors must understand the requirements for different railings before getting them installed.

Not Adhering to Required Rail-To-Wall Spacing

Depending on the structure, the spacing between the railing and wall differs based on load-bearing requirements. If there are discrepancies in the rail-to-wall spacing, the railing in question may require a repair or replacement by an expert.

Choosing the Wrong Type of Railing

Railings come in various types of material, and depending on the environment, certain substances are more suitable than others. However, using the wrong material for the railing often leads to damages like rust or corrosion. If this is the case, it’s best to get it replaced but the next time you do, use the proper materials. 

Poorly Securing Handrails

Another common commercial handrail mistake is not securing the handrails properly. Installers must ensure that rails are firmly attached to the surface to withstand varying degrees of pressure and prevent falls. If a railing is not secure, an expert can repair it.

Not Cleaning up After Installation

Everything that goes into a building needs the appropriate care, including commercial handrails. Failing to clean up after installation or repairs is another commercial handrail mistake and one that can become a dangerous fire hazard for patrons and employees alike. Ensure that workers remove all excess materials and tidy the area and that the railing itself is clean and functional. 

Non-Continuous Handrails

Handrails are supposed to go across the surface where they are attached. A gap along the surface can prove fatal to people using it to maintain balance. Continuous handrails also help preserve the integrity of the railing so that it lasts longer. If you find that a commercial handrail is not continuous, have an expert install it correctly. Be sure to measure the gap between the rails, and note the material so that an expert can install the appropriate one.

Not Graspable

Handrails are not graspable for various reasons, whether it’s wear and tear or environmental factors. Be sure that all railings are fortified and are appropriate for their locations. And make sure that the rails are not slippery when pressure is applied to them.

Avoid Commercial Handrail Mistakes by Choosing the Right Building Service Partner

Commercial handrail mistakes can be a hindrance to the overall function of a commercial building. But with the right experts, they can be avoided, provided building owners and managers know what the most common mistakes are in the first place. Request a consultation with The EDSwaterproofing Group to learn more about how your building can increase value and safety with an expert in commercial handrails.

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Signs It’s Time to Repair Commercial Railings

Commercial railings are an integral part of any commercial building. They provide support for people as they traverse through the premises. But constant usage and even weather conditions can cause severe wear and tear on railings installed outdoors that could compromise the structure’s integrity. Several visible and hidden signs or indicators show commercial railings need repair. This blog focuses on those signs and how to recognize them. 

1. Visible Damage or Cracks to the Railing

Various factors can cause cracks and damages to commercial railings. Often, it’s due to the constant pressure of continuous usage by patrons that will cause the railings to lose their integrity over time. Environmental factors like wind, rain, or sun can also cause decay of the material, such as worn-out wood or rust on metal rails. It’s crucial to repair these damages immediately, especially if the railing is on a high-rise platform like a rooftop. When deciding how to fix these damages, it’s best to consult an expert who knows the proper procedures to repair commercial handrails.

2. Replacement or Repair of Banisters

By design, banisters or balusters help prevent small children from falling off a balcony, deck, or other elevated platforms. For stairwells, they provide the elevation for the railing along the staircase. Balusters can also offer additional support for commercial railings. But, banisters also tend to loosen or break over time, especially ones made out of wood. Since they are part of the railing, they require prompt attention if it seems like their integrity is compromised. Railings on concrete steps usually have banisters attached to them as one piece. So in the event of damage, the whole piece would have to be reinstalled, which could factor into the cost.

3. Pest Problems for Outdoor Commercial Railings

Most commercial railings placed on outdoor platforms, such as commercial decks and platforms, are traditionally made of wood. While outdoor metal railings face problems like weather conditions that can cause the rails to rust or corrode, wood railings have an enemy in pests such as termites and carpenter ants. These bugs will destroy the railing from the inside out. The best course of action would be to hire an exterminator to come in and terminate them. Then, depending on the amount of damage, an expert can repair or completely replace the rail.

4. Railings Feel Loose

As mentioned above, railings can lose their integrity due to the constant pressure of continuous usage. Because of this, commercial railings, especially ones that rely on balusters for support, can start coming loose or feel wobbly when anyone grips them. To test a railing’s sturdiness, simply push or lean on it. If it seems as though the rail is moving around too easily, then it’s time to repair it. 

5. Failing Grades on Inspections From Governing Bodies

Routine inspections of railings help ensure they are up to OSHA standards. Railings can fail inspection for various reasons, such as missing or uneven rails if they’re on stairways or even due to the reasons mentioned above. If governing agencies give failing grades during an inspection, they will usually detail why in a written report. Building maintenance staff or third-party service providers can refer to this document when doing the proper repairs so that the railings will pass the next inspection.

Streamline Commercial Handrail Repair With The JOBS Group

Commercial handrails should be installed with safety in the mind. To function as designed, they must receive the proper attention and care—meaning routinely scheduled inspections and maintenance and immediate repairs when needed. The JOBS Group helps connect building managers with certified experts who are guaranteed to be perfect for whatever job is needed. Click here to connect with one of our experts today.

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Handrail and Guard Definitions to Know

When installing, repairing, or replacing handrails and guards throughout a commercial building, contractors can use terms and vocabulary that may seem intimidating. Luckily, we are here to help! Knowing some of these handrail and guard definitions will come in handy when hiring a contractor to work on them.

Load Requirement

Load requirement refers to the amount of weight that the handrail can withstand. Uniform load applies to the load capacity of the railing per foot. The weight capacity of a railing in a single point of the handrail is defined as a concentrated load of the rail. Building owners and managers can manage load requirements depending on the materials used.

Toe Board

A toe board is a part of the guardrail placed on the walking surface that serves as a protective barrier to notify people of potential hazards, such as tools or other objects falling from elevated surfaces or someone falling from a floor opening.

Top or Midrails

Top rails are the part of a structure that should always be elevated and make up more handrail and guard definitions to know. Top rails provide support for people when walking, climbing stairs, or navigating any angled platform. Midrails refer to the railing between the top rail and the surface. They provide additional reinforcement for the railing and can also double as support for small children. 

Handrail and Handrail Systems

Handrail and guard definitions also include knowing what forms true handrail systems. A handrail is a rail fixed across staircases and other elevated surfaces to support people while climbing or walking. A handrail system is a barrier in the form of balusters or sheets of commercial glass, on which the top rail is affixed to provide additional support for users. 

Handrail Continuity

Handrail continuity refers to how far the railing goes up. In accordance with OSHA Guidelines, the handrail must continue along the entire length of the stairway or ramp. 

Handrail Size Limitations

Handrails must be within ¼” – 2” in diameter, as this is the size that provides equivalent graspability. Railings must be between 34 to 38 inches high measured across the sloping plain so that it runs smoothly along the stairway or ramp.

Equivalent Graspability

Equivalent graspability is usually applied to handrail gripping surfaces that have a non-circular cross-section. These handrails must have a diameter of a minimum of 4” and a maximum of 6”. The cross-section should have dimensions that are no more than 2 ¼”. 

Bracket Clearance

Bracket clearance refers to the required clearance between a handrail and other building elements. Clearance is different for horizontal and vertical brackets. Horizontal clearance must be 1 ½” “ between a wall and railing and have a maximum of 4 ½” projection. 

Vertical Clearance

Vertical clearance must be 1 ½” between the underside of the handrail and bracket arm. However, the International Code Council (ICC) and Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) have since reduced it to ⅛” for each ½” over 4” of the railing.

Railing Extensions

Railing extensions refer to the amount the railing extends from the ramp runs on either end of the handrail. Railing extensions must extend at least 12” from either end of a wall-mounted ramp rail as well as for staircases.

Handrail Returns

Handrail returns are the individual segments that connect the end of the railing to the wall and another part of the handrail and guard definitions building owners need to know. They help protect people from the sharp edge of the rail. The returns traditionally should be towards the wall. However, there has commonly been a gap between a return and the wall. But this is usually frowned upon by inspectors.

Know the Handrail and Guard Definitions to Ensure Your Building Adheres to All Required Codes

Handrail and guard definitions can be challenging to memorize. But hopefully, this served as a handy little guide for them. The right partner will have several resources to help you become more knowledgeable about all aspects of commercial building maintenance. Connect with EDS to schedule a consultation now.

commercial handrail repair

Top 5 Considerations in Commercial Handrail Repair or Replacement

Handrails are an integral part of any commercial real estate. They provide safety and security for the building’s employees and clients who interact with the building. Commercial handrails offer support for those who require it, and when installed on the rooftops of buildings, can also prevent fall hazards. However, factors such as constant usage by patrons, weather conditions, and more can cause wear and tear, leading to repairs or replacement. But apart from damage, there are a few other factors to consider when facing a commercial handrail repair or replacement. This vlog will explore a few of the things to think about when fixing or replacing commercial handrails. 

1. Is the Railing for a Walkway, Stairwell, or Balcony?

Commercial handrails are different depending on where they are placed, per OSHA Standards. Various locations in buildings have different requirements. 

  • Walkways – Walkway handrails are required to have a projection no more than 4.5.” Circular railings must have a diameter between 0.25 – 2 inches. Non-circular rails require a perimeter of at least 4” but no more than 6.25”, and they must run along the elevation.
  • Stairwell – Railings running along a stairwell must be 30 inches above the ground while going along its elevation. A circular railing should be at least 1.25”, but no more than 2 ⅝” in diameter. Non-circular railings should have edges with a .125” radius.
  • Balconies – Railings along balconies must be at least 30” from the surface. Railings on balconies must have balusters and an ornamental pattern with a sphere that is 4” in diameter.

Before scheduling a commercial handrail repair or replacement, be sure to inspect your handrails and determine their logistics, such as measurements and materials, so that the expert can plan accordingly.

2. How Will the Railing Be Supported?

 Many railings are required to have a mid rail to provide extra sturdiness. These can also serve as support for small children. Along with this, regularly maintaining and cleaning the handrails will ensure their longevity and, as a byproduct, will improve the aesthetic of the building. If appropriate, there’s also the option to strengthen the handrails with concrete ensuring that the railing will be stationary.

3. What Are the Load Requirements for the Commercial Handrail?

Commercial handrails should withstand a load of at least 50 pounds throughout or a concentrated weight of 200 pounds if placed atop the railing itself. Inspectors cannot test these requirements, so the building managers must provide engineering data that confirms the same. 

4. Is the Rail Cost to Repair Going to Exceed a Likely Replacement Cost?

When deciding whether to do a commercial handrail repair or a replacement, it is important to inspect the condition of the railing. For example, if the handrail on a concrete stairwell is damaged to the point where the “repair” basically turns into a full-on replacement job, says Angi.com, it’s much cheaper to get a new one installed. So the managers need to make that executive decision based on what makes the most sense for the safety of others.

5. How Much Will Long-Term Maintenance Cost for a Railing of a Specified Type?

Depending on the material the handrail is made from and how durable it is, the cost of maintenance will vary. Rails can be made of anything ranging from strong metals like aluminum and zinc to plastics, vinyl, and even wood. The resilience of every substance will vary, which will factor heavily into the cost of installation and maintenance. 

Make Better Handrail Repair and Replacement Decisions by Choosing the Right Partner

Finding the right commercial handrail repair specialist can be challenging, especially if you don’t know where to start. JOBS Group connects you with licensed experts who specialize in specific aspects of facilities management, including handrail repairs and replacements. Request a consultation with The EDS to get started.

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What Are Commercial Handrail Installation Services and Why an Expert Is Key

Commercial buildings are required to have handrails installed on the premises. Per OSHA guidelines, railings must address fall hazards, especially on rooftops. From a consumer’s point of view, this may seem like a trivial issue. However, commercial handrails are a vital part of any public establishment to ensure that the customers are safe within the confines of the building. Depending on the area of the structure, OSHA also dictates the materials used and dimensions of commercial handrail installation. On top of installing commercial handrails, it’s important to periodically get them inspected by a professional and subsequently get them repaired or replaced if necessary. For example, commercial handrail installation might not seem as important as laying the foundation of a building. However, ensuring the safety and security of the public who utilize the facilities in the building Is very important.

What Are Commercial Handrails and Where Are They Required?

Commercial handrails are railings that support people as they navigate through an establishment. Commercial buildings are required to install as per OSHA regulations. Handrails are required along staircases, along with mid-rails, which should be placed halfway between the handrail and the surface for reinforcement. Mid-rails can also provide support for small children who need  it. Commercial handrail installation is also required on rooftops and must be between 39 to 45 inches above the surface. Railings must be made of durable material with a smooth texture to avoid injuries. The diameter of the handrail should be at least one-quarter-inch thick. It is best to rely on experts to provide commercial handrail installation services. They will handle everything from installing the handrails to routine inspections and repairs or replacements, depending on the status of the railings.

Working With an Expert in Handrails Lowers Your Building’s Risk to Occupants

Having a handrails expert handle commercial handrail installation is an industry best practice. An expert practitioner will know how to install the railings according to regulations and ensure that there is ample longevity for all the handrails in the building so that it can withhold various amounts of pressure from the people utilizing it. It’s also important for the expert to make sure of the longevity of the railing so that the metals do not corrode or rust, consequently compromising the railing’s integrity. When using a licensed expert for commercial handrail installations, there is a higher guarantee of the building’s railings being sturdy, providing peace of mind to the building contractor.

Tips for Choosing a Handrail Installation Service Provider

Finding Experts in commercial handrail installations is a lot more accessible than one might think. However, the key is partnering with the right expert who will  adhere to the building requirements. Here are some tips that can help find the appropriate contractors for anything required to ensure the safety and security of their building. 

  • Hire an in-house professional – The expert will figure the proper procedure for the specific building and its handrails. Having them be in-house professionals will give instant access to their services. 

 

  • Conduct interviews – When considering a contractor for any job, especially commercial handrail installations, it is important that their skill set closely matches the job’s requirements. Interview the contractor to ensure that they are the right fit for the project.

 

  • Use detailed project descriptions – Write out a clear and detailed description that service providers can use to prepare for the job properly. 

 

Those are just a few tips to get the best specialist for the job. 

Streamline Commercial Handrail Installation With Jobs-amst Building Services

Commercial handrail installation is imperative to the safety and security of any piece of commercial real estate. The best-laid plans for the building will be at risk without care and attention to your handrails. Ensure you choose the right service provider to maximize safety during and after installation. Valcourt building services can streamline the process of installing handrails seamlessly. Click here to get started.

emergency_leak_repairs

What to Expect in Emergency Leak Repairs

Commercial building maintenance will inevitably encounter emergency leak repairs in the structure’s building envelope. While commercial building flood damages account for more than $13 billion annually, as reported by CNBC, there’s another way that water infiltration can enter and damage your building: in the building envelope. Whether damage to the building envelope occurs over time or swiftly, in some cases an emergency repair might be essential. Knowing when it is time to replace commercial windows and doors and when temporary repairs will suffice is crucial for building owners to the total cost of ownership. 

What Are Emergency Leak Repairs and Their Typical Causes?

Unfortunately, no one is safe when it comes to building and maintenance repairs. Situations like commercial roof flashing system failure or cracks in concrete that will sabotage the building’s envelope will develop in a matter of time. Emergency leak repairs keep everything functioning temporarily, and if done correctly, they will fix the issue. Emergency repairs happen when the weather, age, physical damage, and broken windows or doors wear down the building and the protective layers and coatings. Erosion and decay occur naturally, but everyday use and poor weather conditions can accelerate these problems. In addition to these issues, faulty HVAC systems, sprinkler systems, and unchecked damages on the roof and windows can lead to untimely repairs. It can be unpredictable at times, so getting ahead of the issues is best.  

Steps Common in Emergency Leak Repairs

A few common steps can be helpful when tackling these repairs. Typically, the repairs process involves materials like commercial concrete sealers and sealants, as well as documentation and testing. Here are some examples: 

  • Temporary Sealant: When the structure is complete, permanent sealants are used, but age and weather can wear these down. After identifying the issue, one of the first steps for emergency leak repairs would be to use a temporary sealant to prevent further damage. 
  • Temporary Caulking: Much like the sealant, caulking also keeps unwanted issues out of the building envelope and assists with resealing. 
  • Water Testing: Water testing helps confirm that nothing can penetrate the barrier between the elements and the property. 
  • Photo Documentation: Outsourcing to contractors can be nervewracking for small to midsize businesses. If working with a limited budget, you want to ensure that the work is done properly and in a timely manner. Photo documentation will help assure proprietors their asset is protected to the fullest. 

How to Help Prevent Failure of the Building Envelope

Preventing the failure of the commercial building envelope begins with preventative maintenance. Whether building maintenance is performed in-house or outsourced, the right information, knowledge of materials, training for the upkeep of the building and the materials it is made of will be the difference between emergency leak repairs and a replacement or remodel. Utilizing resources for commercial glass repair, replacement and maintenance and hiring contractors will help keep the integrity of the building intact. The skills and professional quality ensure the repair is made correctly the first time and will save money on repairs in the long term if the job is not completed properly. 

Streamline Emergency Leak Repairs With the Right Partner

The best avenue to bolster building maintenance and streamline emergency leak repairs is to hire the right contractor for the job. Contractors with the skill and experience to make the repairs and document their work will keep the building envelope intact and hold them accountable for their job performance. Harm to the building’s envelope is inevitable between natural wear and tear and unpredictable, unforeseen circumstances such as damage to the building or inclement weather. Contact the EdsWaterproofing today for a job done right the first time

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How to Avoid Leaks When Making Window and Door Repairs

Commercial buildings are significant energy  consumers in the United  States, but much of that energy goes to waste. As reported by Energy.Gov, “On average, 30% of the energy used in commercial buildings is wasted.” It’s equally important to recognize that such waste doesn’t derive solely from lighting systems. The HVAC (heating, ventilation, air cooling, and ventilation) system is responsible for maintaining indoor temperature and humidity levels. Leaking windows may result in a greater delta in the indoor air temperature and introduce ample humidity to the building. Such factors increase the risk of mold and mildew growth, putting building occupants’ safety at risk. Meanwhile, making window repairs is not simply about choosing the cheapest glass panes, and building owners and managers need to know a few things about how to avoid leaks when making window repairs to maximize return on investment. 

Know the Status of Your Windows and Door Repairs

The first true step to making proper improvements and knowing how to avoid leaks when making window repairs begins with a thorough evaluation of the building’s status and needs. Building managers cannot really understand the full scale and size of window repair needs without regular, scheduled inspections. Such inspections should consider the risk of air or water penetration, the age of the window, and whether such conditions have damaged the adjoining structural components. 

Choose the Proper Glazing or Sealant

Choosing the correct glazing and sealants is another factor in completing proper commercial window repairs or replacements. Glazing is comparable to a sealant designed to hold the pane in place, but it may dry to different colors depending on its chemical structure. Consider the overall aesthetic when choosing a glaze for your building. Furthermore, selecting the proper sealant for the building envelope also depends mainly on the materials used in the exterior building architecture. Not just any random sealant is the best sealant for making window and door repairs

For instance, the differences between silicone and polyurethane may affect the quality of work performed. Polyurethane may be better suited for wood exteriors or where ultraviolet rays are a concern. Meanwhile, silicone is generally the preferred type of commercial sealant for glass, metal,and tile. 

Properly Install All Sills and Trimming

Much of the risk of window repairs done improperly comes from a failure to reinstall all sills and trim. Poorly attached sills or improper trimming may result from a hasty job or inexperience, leading to premature commercial windows and doors replacement. Regardless, the key is to know the needs of the building intrinsically and use that information to complete all window repairs properly. 

Consider Full Replacement When Repairs Are Extensive

There will always be times when repair versus replacement decisions come under the microscope. In general, repairs are cheaper , but they may not be the soundest option. When damage and repairs are severe and extensive, it may be better to replace the full window and cut your losses. Such measures may sound drastic, but they can help save money in the long run. 

Think About the Impact to the HVAC System, Scheduling Repairs in Tandem

Proper maintenance of ductwork and the HVAC system coincides with proactive window and door repairs. Buildings.com further explained, “While replacing your doors and windows can be an efficient solution for a better-weatherproofed building, it’s important not to overlook your ductwork. If air is leaking out of your ductwork, that means your HVAC system will need to work harder to create a comfortable environment and temperature for occupants.”

Follow Through to Ensure Your Contractor Inspects All Repairs, and Remember to Choose the Right Repair Contractor or Service

Any successful building window and door replacement strategy should include a robust inspection to ensure the repair is up to code and is going to be ideal for the building. However, such outcomes are mainly dependent on the experience of your building partners. Avoid the risks by working with the right partner from the beginning. Connect with EdsWaterproofing to find out more today. 

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7 Signs That It’s Time to Replace Commercial Windows and Doors

Glass is a major component of many commercial buildings and accounts for a large part of the care and attention given to commercial windows and doors in skyscrapers and facilities. According to Facility Executive, the type of glass used, the coatings and sealants used, and their position in the building can help improve energy usage and maximize energy efficiency. In northern climates, this can help keep heat and reflected light inside the building; in southern climates, it can help keep heat out of the building.

With so much riding on the use of glass in windows and doors, it is important to stay on top of facility management and ensure staff replaces commercial windows and doors when necessary. It is important to look for the following signs indicating it is time to replace commercial glass components.

1. Age of the Glass

Replacing commercial windows and doors is necessary when the glass itself gets to an age where it is more prone to breaking and damages. It is usually better to replace older panes before anything serious happens. Preemptive work can save time and money in the long run for building managers.

2. Clarity of Visibility

When management needs to replace commercial windows and doors, one deciding factor is visibility. As glass ages and is exposed to the elements, it can grow cloudy, stained, and otherwise difficult to see through as easily as before. This is a telltale sign that replacements are needed.

3. Changes in Utility Costs

Another sign that glass components need replacing is when utility bills increase. When nothing else changes and it costs more to heat or cool a space, the windows and doors are the first places to look for issues. Replacing glass and checking the seals is key to repair and inspections.

4. Visible Damages

Visible signs of wear, tear, and damage to the glass is a rather obvious sign that it is time to replace commercial windows and doors. Cracks, chips, scratches, peeling, and other indications of excessive damage should not be ignored and must be addressed as soon as possible.

5. Issues Opening/Closing

If there are reports or complaints that it is becoming difficult to open or close commercial windows and doors, it is time to consider glass services or replacements. Sticking, grinding, gaps in seals, and difficulty locking and unlocking can all be signs of underlying issues and structural concerns.

6. Condensation

While it is normal to get water accumulation on the outside of windows due to external weather and environmental factors, the same should not happen on the inside. Condensation is a significant concern and should not be ignored as it shows issues with commercial window and door integrity. 

7. Air Flow

Another sign that building management might need glass repair or replacement services is indications of excessive air flow around windows and doors. Air exchange can be a serious issue in commercial buildings, so it is vital to check for air leaks when checking for water leaks around windows and doors.

Improve Your Building’s Efficiency by Replacing Commercial Windows and Doors Properly and When Necessary

Facility managers and building maintenance teams must keep a close eye on commercial windows and doors to ensure they stay in good working order. So much depends on the safe installation and upkeep of glass in windows and doors in commercial buildings, skyscrapers or high rises, and other facilities in nearly every major city today. It is no wonder the need for professional glass cleaning and maintenance services is in such high demand. Facilities maintenance crews, building management and staff must stay on top of glass inspection and maintenance routines and be willing to replace commercial windows and doors when necessary. Learn more by speaking with an Edswaterproofing expert now and partner with professional glass care experts today.

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The Guide to Commercial Glass Repair, Replacement and Maintenance

Of all the issues commercial building managers have to keep up with, high-rise window replacement and maintenance is perhaps one of the most vital yet overlooked. The biggest reason many building managers decide not to invest in high-performing glass products or choose to put off vital repair and maintenance work simply comes down to cost. Oftentimes, the best quality products are budgeted out of a project simply for the sake of saving money on the initial cost of installation and building maintenance. However, the price tag for quality glass installation should be compared to the long-term costs of building construction and maintenance. In almost all cases, investing in the highest possible quality right from the start will more than pay for itself in less maintenance and repair expenses and overall energy savings. Commercial glass replacement can be pricey but dealing with massive cleanups and replacement costs can cost a great deal more.

Commercial glass maintenance is about more than just keeping windows and doors looking nice. Choosing the right quality glass and glass treatments can greatly reduce energy expenses and lighting costs and help building management to better control waste and maintain sustainability all year round.  According to Glass Magazine, “HVAC systems account for about 40 percent of total energy use in commercial buildings, according to the Department of Energy. Meanwhile, lighting systems capture about 16 percent of electricity costs.” This can greatly expand the expenses associated with keeping large high-rise buildings and offices light and temperature controlled. However, building owners can offset these costs by opting for high-performance glass and glazing products, utilizing smart window placement,  applying commercial glass tinting, and being energy-minded with the rest of their glass-related maintenance and upkeep.

What Is Commercial Glass Repair?

If a window in a home gets damaged and needs to be repaired or replaced, the homeowner simply calls a contractor or window installation expert to take care of things. The job itself is fairly easy and the worst that may be needed is a ladder to reach second-story windows or any decorative windows in an attic or crawlspace area. The process is fairly straightforward. However, this is far from the case when dealing with commercial glass repairs in large buildings, high-rises, and skyscrapers.  

For these sorts of glass repair and maintenance services, only highly trained and specially licensed workers are allowed to handle the glass and ascend to such great heights to deal with these sorts of glass repair and commercial window maintenance needs. In a nutshell, commercial glass repair focuses on addressing issues with cracks, chips, seals, and leaks that occur on glass panes typically found on commercial buildings and commercial high-rises.  These services often focus on larger buildings such as apartments and condos, office buildings, commercial centers, skyscrapers, and other large buildings with many glass windows and panels. It takes a highly specialized high-rise glass repair team to safely handle this sort of work.

Working with a fully trained and reputable contractor or glass company is essential when it comes to commercial glass care and maintenance. From specialized cleaning services to waterproofing membranes, to tints and glazing, many specialized services exist that can present a unique challenge when it comes to the care and upkeep of these glass panels. At these kinds of heights, with so many glass windows and panels, and so much care and attention needed, cutting corners and trying to cut costs by skimping on quality services is never a good idea. It is critical to work with skilled and experienced experts any time any work needs to be done on these sorts of glass panels, glass doors for commercial buildings, and other glass structures. 

What Causes Damage to Commercial Glass?

As is the case with any pane of glass, similar factors can lead to the commercial glass being damaged to the point it needs to be repaired or replaced. The difference is in the details and the specific ways these factors damage and impact the glass. Some of the things that can damage commercial glass include:

  • Environmental elements
    High-rises and larger buildings are known for one major characteristic- they go far up into the sky. That high up, the normal elements that would impact glass have an even bigger and more devastating impact. Wind, rain, sun, and temperatures are more extreme at these heights and can more easily damage glass panes and windows.
  • Natural forces and acts of God
    At these higher altitudes, glass panes and windows can be impacted more by environmental factors. Storms are more intense and wind pressure greater so the chance of glass breaking is higher. Additionally, there are other ‘acts of god’ that can damage commercial glass. These include things like hurricanes, hail storms, and the like.
  • Poor commercial glass window washing
    It is important to keep windows clean, and not just for aesthetic reasons. Dirt can weigh down the windows if it is allowed to accumulate and can create points of added pressure. These points on the glass can be more prone to cracking and breaking. Dirt and debris on the windows can also scratch the surface and create additional weak spots over time.
  • Accidents and mishaps during upkeep

Sometimes certain situations arise that really could not be fully prepared for or avoided. Maintenance workers could accidentally bump the glass while working and cause it to crack or shatter. Someone inside the building could fall into the glass and damage glass windows. Or a freak mishap with a bird crashing into the glass could cause damage to the glass.

  • Minor damage that spreads
    The final factor to consider when talking about how damage occurs comes down to laziness and poor commercial glass maintenance. When cracks, ships, or other issues are noted, it is important to address them right away. Small cracks will quickly grow and chips can create weak areas that will only worsen the longer they are ignored.

When to Repair Glass Versus Replace Commercial Glass

If your glass windows or a glass door for commercial buildings has suffered minor damages, the question that has to be answered is how are you going to deal with it. Obviously, the damage needs to be dealt with, but is it better to repair damaged windows or just outright replace them? This can be difficult to determine at times but generally, the following considerations can help building owners decide what the right course of action is:

When to Repair
It generally is ok to simply repair commercial glass if the minor damages impact small or non-essential parts of the window structure. Leaking caulking and seals, a stubborn window that is hard to open, air and water infiltration, small scratches in tint and glaze coatings, and similar issues can all generally be repaired with relative ease. This does not mean you can put off commercial glass maintenance and repair indefinitely. Caulk and sealant issues can allow for water intrusion and can affect the stability of the window. Scratches and issues with window coatings can make the panes more susceptible to further damage. And it is a major health and safety risk to have anyone in a high-rise office with windows that are meant to be opened that cannot be opened easily. In case of minor damages and issues such as these, the cost of repairing the windows may turn out to be lower than replacing them outright.

When to Replace
On the flip side of the repair or replace debate is a situation where the window or glass in a commercial high-rise has been so damaged or compromised to such an extent that it is too dangerous to leave it in place. Major damage can include large cracks and chips in the glass, deep scratches in the coatings or window surface, windows and glass panes that appear loose, and of course, major breakage or signs of imminent failure of the glass. Keeping up with necessary high-rise window replacement work is vital to preserving the structural integrity of the glass. Any sort of major glass damage or window failure needs to be immediately reported, people need to avoid the area, and professionals need to be called in to remove the damaged glass and replace it as soon as possible. The risks of severe injury far outweigh the costs involved with overall building façade maintenance.

Considerations in Making Commercial Glass Work

When your building requires commercial window maintenance and glass repairs it is important to carefully consider several important aspects of this high-rise and high-risk task. It is no easy feat to get to windows 100 stories in the air and it is an even greater challenge to work on glass windows or replace huge glass panes at those altitudes.

Right from the start, there is an obvious concern over the safety of the workers doing the repairs. They are working at high altitudes, off the ground, moving around cranes and lifts and other pieces of equipment, and working with huge panes of glass. Getting everything up to the right level is a challenge in and of itself. Then they have to repair or replace the window and move new glass panes into place and follow detailed and precise protocols. All the while, they are dealing with high winds, low temperatures, and other hazards. Working with a skilled and professional high-rise glass repair team is vital, not just to ensure a successful repair job, but also to ensure the safety of everyone in the general vicinity.

On the flip side of things is the fact that ignoring the damage to a window or glass door for a commercial building can end up costing a business a great deal financially. A recent report highlighted by Buildings.com estimates that 39% of commercial heating energy use and 28% of commercial cooling energy use are impacted by windows in the building. The same study showed that more than 34% of all commercial space energy consumption waste is attributable to windows. Fortunately, improvements in window design have made it easier to maximize the protection and performance of window and glazing systems. New types of glass and improved window designs can also help guard against issues with heat transfer through the windows. This is why keeping up with commercial glass window washing, routine inspections, and testing, and regular maintenance and upkeep is important for building owners. 

Types of Commercial Glass

With new advances and improved technology, glass can be made in more ways than ever before, a critical consideration for high-rise glass installation. Regular glass like what is used in homes and normal office buildings is not the same as what is found on skyscrapers and commercial buildings. Some of the common commercial glass specifications available include:

  • Heat gain and loss control
  • Visual treatments
  • Shading and sun control    
  • Thermal comfort and regulation
  • Condensation control
  • Ultraviolet control
  • Acoustic noise suppression
  • Color effects
  • Commercial waterproofing
  • Energy requirements
  • And more

Common types of glass used in various kinds of commercial buildings include:

  • Gas-filled
  • Single pane
  • Double pane
  • Tinted
  • Tempered
  • Crack-resistant
  • Impact-resistant 
  • Reflective
  • Bulletproof

Window glass in skyscrapers and high-rises is designed with commercial window maintenance in mind and is usually made of shatter and break-proof glass that is designed to be less damaging if the glass falls from great heights due to window failure. Likewise, considering other features such as insulation properties, reflectiveness, color, and commercial glass tinting, and more should also carefully be accounted for. Commercial waterproofing and sealants are also worth taking note of. Matching the performance characteristics of the building and its location, as well as where in the building itself the glass is located, are also important considerations to keep in mind for commercial glass repairs and maintenance.

Tips to Improve Commercial Glass Maintenance

Keeping up with necessary commercial glass maintenance and the repair of glass structures in high-rise buildings are never-ending. According to a veteran window cleaner interviewed in the New York Times, “a standard 50-floor skyscraper would take 30 to 40 days to clean in its entirety. The Empire State Building, by contrast, with its 102 floors, takes six men about four months to clean — and once they’re done, the window cleaners have to start all over again.” With this level of frequency, glass cleaning, repair, and maintenance need to be as routine as any other interior cleaning and inspection schedule. The following tips can help building managers stay on top of commercial glass maintenance and ensure overall window cleaning safety:

Regularly wash and inspect glass for signs of damage. 

Regular commercial glass window washing is good for general window care and maintenance. The more often the glass gets cleaned the more opportunities there are to do inspections and catch minor issues and concerns before they become major problems.

Schedule a qualified inspection at least biannually or seasonally, depending on climate.

Surface level inspections by window washers and maintenance crews are good but a professional inspection needs to be done regularly as well. Water and air intrusion tests, safety checks, and code enforcement inspections are vital maintenance services as well.

Address any cracks as soon as possible.

Small cracks and chips can quickly become a big issue. Weakened glass is more prone to further breakage and can pose a major safety concern for those in and around the building. Small cracks can be repaired but major cracks require commercial glass replacement.

Ensure scratches are closely monitored.
While they are not as serious and urgent as a crack or chip, scratches on the window surface also need to be noted and monitored. In places of high winds or extremely low temperatures, scratches can open up the glass to further damage and eventual breakage.

Know the types of glass used in your buildings.

Every type of glass has slightly different parameters for what it can and cannot tolerate and support. Knowing what glass is used in the various areas of a high-rise building makes it easier to do maintenance checks and to ensure repairs and upgrades are done correctly.

Know when to repair versus replace panes. 

A quick repair job may get a damaged window stable when dealing with minor issues like commercial glass tinting damage or minor scratches. Other times an immediate replacement is needed to protect the integrity of the building and those in the area.

Test glass for signs of air and water penetration.

Along with visual inspections for signs of wear and tear or damage, professional inspections need to include air and water intrusion tests. These can help easily pinpoint issues with commercial windows and glass door for commercial buildings.

Ensure your team and service provider is using the right type of sealants. 

While maintenance and cleaning of windows are critical for high-rises, it is equally important to ensure the correct materials and products are used. Improper weather-proofing materials and harmful cleaning products can weaken and damage the glass rather than protect it.

Maintain scaffolding and platform equipment for commercial window maintenance.

With extreme high-rises and larger buildings, the need to be in the air on the face of the building is near-constant. Maintaining scaffolding and equipment means inspections and maintenance work can be done more quickly and issues can be addressed more effectively.

Realize the need to maintain the full exterior to keep the glass in the best shape.

Commercial window maintenance also involved elements of the building’s exterior beyond the glass itself. Maintaining the actual physical structure the windows are set in and all related support structures can also help ensure windows and glass panes remain intact.

The Benefits of Proper Glass Maintenance

Proper glass maintenance and commercial glass replacement can bring with it a wide range of benefits, the most obvious being a safe working environment. We have also already touched on how commercial glass maintenance and repair can help conserve energy and create a more structurally sound environment. However, there are other benefits worth considering for hi-rise exterior maintenance and upkeep.

Protects the Glass
Dirt, dust, smog, and debris will naturally accumulate on windows over time. Cleaning glass windows help ensure sufficient light passes through them so the interior space can benefit from natural lighting. This can help maintain higher comfort levels for those inside and will also ensure the living and working conditions of the inhabitants of the building don’t suffer.

Health Benefits
Sunlight is important for physical as well as mental health. Vitamin D comes from the sun, which promotes optimal physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Studies have shown that working in dark, isolated spaces negatively impact worker motivation and performance. By keeping commercial building’s windows clean and letting in natural light, this is avoided.

Prolong Building Longevity
A tall building experiences more impact from wind and debris than lower buildings. The size of the building itself can also stress windows over time due to the pressure and weight the glass experiences. This exposure will weaken glass panes over time and cause cracking and breaking if not maintained. That’s why abandoned buildings lose their windows. 

Reflect Light Not Absorb
The more grime that builds on the surface of a commercial building, the worse it becomes for everyone. Not only does the building become an ugly eyesore in the neighborhood, but it can also affect the surrounding buildings that rely on light reflecting off that building to keep them out of its shadow. Glass will reflect light, dirt, and grime will absorb light.

Considering these and many other benefits of commercial glass repair and upkeep, it becomes all the more apparent why building management teams must stay on top of high-rise window replacement, and high-rise window cleaning and general upkeep.

Lower Building Total Cost of Ownership With a Complete Building Exterior Maintenance Program From the Right Partner.

The features of commercial glass, as well as what basic type of glass used, can vary greatly depending on several factors unique to each building. A skilled and experienced high-rise glass repair team will be able to match your unique commercial window needs to the best maintenance and repair services available.

 Areas that are prone to high winds or high rain need glass with greater resistance to impact damage as well as specialized coatings to help keep things water and airtight. As you get higher above ground, it becomes more critical to use specialized commercial glass to ensure safe and effective building operations. Choosing the right quality glass and glass treatments can greatly reduce energy expenses and lighting costs and help building management better manage expenses with better commercial glass replacement and repair options.

Questions and concerns about what kind of glass to use, what additional treatments or products should be utilized, how often inspections and repair work should be performed, and whether upgrades should be done regularly or only when windows are damaged or need replacing are just some of the issues building manager teams need to consider. It can be confusing to make sense of it all and to make the right choices every single time commercial glass repairs or maintenance are needed. Working with a team of professionals, who have experience dealing with high-rise commercial buildings and commercial glass services can provide reliable guidance when it is needed the most. Request a consultation with Edswaterproofing to et a commercial glass maintenance and upkeep plan, implemented by a certified high-rise glass repair team today.

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Commercial Roof Flashing System Failure Causes and Reasons Not to Ignore It

Commercial roof flashing can prevent water leaks and damages from occurring on a building and leading to more complex and costly issues. Repairing or observing roof flashing has a lot smaller price tag than paying for an entirely new roof. Looking at the difference price-wise between the two,  “The cost of roof flashing repairs is also subject to the total cost of the roofing repair as a whole, and if the whole roof requires replacement due to flashing system failure, technically the flashing repair becomes an $8,000+ cost for a flat roof or around $7,000 for shingled roofs. It’s all subject to the type of roof on the commercial building and how extensive the commercial roof flashing system failure is, explains Forbes. Keeping tabs on the roof flashing system can be difficult to remember, but handling the outcome of not keeping a close eye on the flashings is even worse. Not noticing the damages and failures in roof flashings can lead to water leaks, water damages, and potentially the need for a new building structure.

What Are Commercial Roof Flashings?

Flashing is a material installed to direct rainwater and other precipitation away from the roof and into the gutter to prevent water from causing issues. Some roof areas have a higher chance of causing a leak, especially where the water collects and sits, like valleys where two roof slopes meet. Due to the potentially extreme damage water can cause, flashings get installed at every point where the roof joins another structure—including chimneys, dormers, skylights, and vents. Commercial roof flashing can protect the roof from forming a leak, leading to needing a new structure on a house if left untreated. 

Installing commercial roof flashing can be quite time-consuming due to the many different steps required. Usually, experts install flashing during the construction of a building and complete it before the siding goes up, so the flashing will usually not be noticeable. Additionally, that means for a repair job to be done on the flashing, the siding must get removed to reach the actual flashing. Proper flashing installation requires a professional, and before starting, they will see if the wall receiving flashing has a corner on the roof face. This will alter the installation process due to different pieces being made to fit the edges of the corner. Depending on what aspect the flashing will be against, for example, a plumbing vent, chimney, or if there is a wall corner or not, can alter the installation process and the materials used.

Materials Used For Flashings

Using the wrong material for commercial roof flashing can lead to failure and water leaks through the roof. Usually, determining which material to use for flashing comes down to a material that will not degrade from contact with another incompatible material and flashing material for roof flashing that is impermeable to water. 

  • Plastic and Rubber: This is often primarily used as caulking. Plastic and rubber are excellent water-repellents when applied as flashing.
  • PVC and TPO: Both PVC and TPO are popular types of roofing systems, and the same material can be used as incredibly effective and durable flashing.
  • Roofing Felt: Asphalt-saturated roofing felt can be used as flashing but is not as durable.
  • Aluminum: It’s durable, easy to form, and somewhat inexpensive. When left in contact with an alkaline material like concrete, or treated lumber, aluminum flashing will corrode.
  • Galvanized Steel: Not as durable as other options, but it is very inexpensive.
  • Copper and Lead-Coated Copper: More difficult to bend and form than aluminum but much more durable. Copper flashing is common with the installation of solar panel piping, wiring, and sensor connections.
  • Lead: Super-flexible and durable, lead is a popular choice in the roofing industry. There are some potential health risks, but the use of lead flashing continues, and when properly installed, can last up to 200 years.

Done properly, installing flashing can provide protection (and a sense of relief) against water damage and other serious issues. Rather than wondering what is roof flashing, educate yourself on flashing and the serious risks of ignoring flashing issues. That knowledge could save a lot of money and a building from needing a new structure.

What Are the Types of Roof Flashings?

To properly avoid roof leaks, damaged or improperly installed roof flashing must be accounted for and thoroughly examined. There are various flashes used and they will vary on the material used and when to use them. The roof flashing types include:

  • Ridge Flashing: This flashing is applied at the “peak” of a dually sloped roof.
  • Bargeboard: This is the flashing along sloped roof edges.
  • Wall Abutment: This is where roof edges meet walls.
  • Corner Flashing: This flashing is used where walls meet, and it runs from roof to floor.
  • Inverted Corner Flashing: This flashing is used when the corner of a structure meets a wall. Instead of wrapping around the corner like “corner flashing,” flashing is applied in an “inverted corner” from roof to floor.
  • Eaves Flashing: This flashing runs along the length of flat edges of a roofing system.
  • Drip Cill Flashing: This is the flashing that runs along the lower perimeter or at the foundation.
  • Valley Flashing: The point where two downward slopes meet is where valley flashing is applied.
  • Step Fashing: Commonly used in place of wall abutments or chimney and skylight flashing (on slopes), step flashing is the downward overlapping alternate layering of roofing and flashing material.
  • Metal Edge Flashing: Also known as “drip edge flashing,” installed around the perimeter of a roofing system to direct the flow of water off of it without entering the structure. 
  • Saddle Flashing: This flashing is used where joists meet walls or other support structures, wrapping around connection points to form a water-tight seal.
  • Vent Pipe/Exhaust Flashing: This flashing provides a water-tight seal at the point where the vent or exhaust pipe protrudes through a roof.
  • Cap Flashing: This flashing is usually composed of metal and shields the membrane base’s upper edges, flashing along the top of a wall or column.

Causes of Roof Flashing System Failures

When flashing failure occurs, the root cause is either  loose  or wrinkled flashing. Failures of this nature can occur due to extreme fluctuations in temperature, poor installation, and if the roofing plans were unavailable. If the flashing shows obvious signs of damage or deterioration, this can cause issues with the inner roofing structure and make it more prone to water leaks. Depending on where the leak leads to, a moisture buildup can occur and potentially affect the roof’s wooden structure to rot. If a leak goes unnoticed, this can weaken or compromise the entire roof structure of the building and potentially need replacing. 

Extreme Temperature Changes

A dramatic change in the temperature can cause the roofing to expand and contract. Due to this, the flashing may pull away from the roof, making it ineffective. This problem usually occurs around vertical dormers, parapet walls, story walls, and other vertical roofing surfaces.

Poor Installation

The most common cause of roof flashing failure is improper installation. Installing components such as gutters, flashing, and roofing should always be done by a professional. Hiring a professional, experienced contractor can save the time and money otherwise spent to replace the flashing from poor installation. 

Unavailable Roofing Plans

The flashing can also fail because the original specifications of the roof were not available during the replacement or repair. This can result in the wrong material, technique, or type of flashing used. A reliable roofer should be able to provide you with plans to help avoid flashing issues.

Settling Foundation

When commercial roof flashing has been attached to the foundation of a building, failure almost always occurs. With foundation issues in a building, the cracks and problems do not always show up automatically. The most common places to notice cracks in the foundation are within the door frames and near the roof. Cracks can happen when the house’s foundation and structure finally settle into place. Additionally, the flashing may become loose once settling occurs. If the building has a fireplace or chimney, the signs will be most noticeable in those areas. 

If a leak goes unnoticed or worse, untreated, this can affect the entire building by impacting the drywall inside the building. Moisture can seep in, saturate the building, and cause waterlogging. Serious health hazards could develop, including the formation and spread of mold and fungi. Additionally, due to the drywall losing durability and the added weight of the leak, the drywall will potentially collapse. To avoid replacing the entire building structure or just the roof, fix issues as soon as they arise. 

What to Do About Commercial Roof Flashing Failures

To ensure the commercial roof flashing is up to standard and working as designed, regular inspections and maintenance can help spot the signs of needed repair. Some companies can perform inspections on the roof to check further to see if signs of damage have started. To fix a flashing failure, first look for the signs that the flashing is not working or needs replacing. Check the flashing for damages or bending, corrosion or rusting, loose or missing nails, dried out or missing sealant, or loose flashing.  If any of those problems are present, it might be time to replace the flashing to prevent water leaks and protect the structural integrity of the building. 

Loose Flashing

Flashing will commonly have issues attaching to the foundation of a structure, resulting inthe flashing becoming loose quickly. Loose flashing can occur due to faulty installation or, more so, from problems with the foundation. Having a contractor look at the flashing can bring issues with the foundation to light, such as cracks or stress fractures. 

Wrinkled Flashing

If the flashing shows apparent signs of wrinkles, this usually is from the weather. If the area receives extreme temperatures, this can cause warping from constant contraction and expansion of the roofing materials. High temperatures and excessive heat cause the roofing to expand, and lower temps a bitter cold cause contraction. When wrinkling occurs, the flashing will shorten in length and expose areas of the roof that should have coverage. Once the exposure occurs, the water will have full access to the roofing system and quickly affect the building. 

Some may not have the opportunity to check the roof or roof flashings as often as they should. Rather than having to climb on the roof and look at the flashings, there are a few ways to tell if flashing failure occurs. Here are a few other signs to watch for that can signal the issue with flashing:

  • Rust: flashing can corrode over time and cause rusting to become visible. When the flashing shows rust, it will no longer protect the roof against water penetration and require cleaning, sealing, or even replacing.
  • Holes: Even the smallest hole could cause water to look beneath the buildings’ shingles and start to cause issues. Also, be on the lookout for small animals causing holes in the roofing. Holes will require new sealant before causing major problems.
  • Cracks, dents, and bends: Such damages can cause breaks on the galvanized coating on steel, which can cause rusting to begin if not appropriately treated.
  • Missing parts: Parts can come loose and come off the roof due to high winds or extreme weather conditions. Immediately repair or replace any missing pieces of flashing.
  • Leaks inside the building: Signs of water leaks or damages inside the house make it more apparent the flashing has issues. The first places to check would be the fireplace, windows, attic, and skylight for signs of leaks. 
  • Damaged shingles or siding: If there was an installation error with the flashing and water does not shed the roof through the gutter, the shingles may also show signs of water damage such as bending and darkening, especially closer to the flashing.
  • Mold or stains on fascia boards: Mold is a potentially dire health risk for anyone living in or visiting the building. Improperly installed drip edge flashing can lead to mold and water stains developing on fascia boards.

Improve Roof Flashing System Longevity by Partnering With The JOBS Group.

Flashing can protect a building from water damage and other significant issues through proper installation and care. Commercial roof flashing can provide peace of mind against water damages or the need for a new structure on a building. Proper installation and upkeep of roof flashings are vital to maintaining the waterproofing properties for longevity. Staying on top of the proper maintenance and inspection of buildings and flashing needs can be difficult to prioritize. Rather than falling woefully behind on essential tasks while trying to manage your building, choose a partner that can help. Contact EDSWaterproofing today to save your roof flashing and building.