Common Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks in New Jersey

Common Causes of Commercial Roof Leaks in New Jersey

New Jersey’s commercial buildings are often exposed to diverse weather conditions that can contribute to roof leaks. Understanding the common causes of these leaks can help business owners take preventative measures and protect their investments. This article explores the primary reasons for commercial roof leaks in New Jersey and highlights the role of solutions like foam roof coating and foam roofing in mitigating these issues.

1. Weather Extremes

New Jersey experiences a wide range of weather conditions throughout the year, from heavy snowfalls in the winter to intense heat and thunderstorms in the summer. These extremes can cause significant stress on commercial roofing systems.

  • Heavy Snow and Ice: Accumulated snow and ice can lead to roof leaks as the weight can damage the roofing material and structure. When ice dams form, they can prevent melting snow from draining properly, leading to water seepage.
  • Heavy Rain and Storms: Persistent rain and storms can exploit any weaknesses in the roofing system, causing leaks. High winds can also lift and damage roofing materials, creating openings for water intrusion.

2. Poor Installation

Improper installation is a leading cause of commercial roof leaks. If the roofing materials are not installed correctly, even the best materials can fail prematurely. Common installation errors include:

  • Incorrect Sealing: Poorly sealed joints and seams can allow water to penetrate the roof.
  • Improper Flashing: Flashing around roof penetrations such as vents, skylights, and HVAC units must be correctly installed to prevent leaks. If not, water can easily enter through these vulnerable points.

3. Aging and Wear

All roofing materials have a finite lifespan. Over time, exposure to the elements can cause them to degrade, leading to leaks.

  • Material Degradation: Roofing materials like asphalt shingles, metal panels, and membranes can crack, blister, or warp as they age.
  • UV Damage: Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can weaken roofing materials, making them more susceptible to leaks.

4. Ponding Water

Flat or low-slope roofs are common in commercial buildings, but they can be prone to ponding water. This occurs when water does not drain properly and pools on the roof surface.

  • Structural Issues: Ponding water can add significant weight to the roof, potentially causing structural damage.
  • Water Infiltration: Standing water can seep into small cracks and seams, leading to leaks and water damage.

5. Roof Penetrations

Commercial roofs often have numerous penetrations for HVAC systems, vents, skylights, and other equipment. Each penetration is a potential weak point where leaks can occur if not properly sealed and maintained.

  • HVAC Units: HVAC units often sit on curbs that can deteriorate over time, allowing water to penetrate.
  • Vents and Skylights: Flashing around vents and skylights must be regularly inspected and maintained to prevent leaks.

6. Lack of Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity of a commercial roofing system. Neglecting routine inspections and repairs can lead to minor issues becoming major problems.

  • Debris Accumulation: Leaves, branches, and other debris can clog drains and gutters, causing water to back up and pool on the roof.
  • Neglected Repairs: Small leaks or damage that are not promptly repaired can worsen over time, leading to more extensive damage.

Mitigating Roof Leaks with Foam Roof Coating and Foam Roofing

Foam roof coatings and foam roofing systems offer effective solutions for preventing and repairing commercial roof leaks. These systems provide a seamless, durable, and energy-efficient barrier that can address many of the common causes of leaks.

Foam Roof Coating NJ

Foam roof coatings are applied over existing roofing materials to create a waterproof barrier. In New Jersey, foam roof coatings are popular for their ability to extend the life of commercial roofs and improve energy efficiency.

  • Seamless Application: Foam roof coatings are applied as a liquid that expands and hardens into a seamless, monolithic layer, eliminating the risk of leaks at seams and joints.
  • Reflectivity and Insulation: Foam roof coatings reflect UV rays, reducing heat absorption and lowering cooling costs. They also provide additional insulation, improving overall energy efficiency.
  • Flexibility and Durability: Foam coatings can expand and contract with temperature changes, reducing the risk of cracking and leaks.

Foam Roofing NJ

Foam roofing systems involve applying a layer of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) directly to the roof surface. This method provides excellent insulation and waterproofing properties, making it ideal for New Jersey’s varied climate.

  • Comprehensive Coverage: SPF forms a continuous layer that conforms to any roof shape, ensuring complete coverage and eliminating weak points.
  • High R-Value: The high R-value of foam roofing provides superior insulation, reducing energy costs and enhancing indoor comfort.
  • Quick Installation: Foam roofing can be applied quickly and efficiently, minimizing disruption to business operations.


Commercial roof leaks in New Jersey can result from various factors, including weather extremes, poor installation, aging materials, ponding water, roof penetrations, and lack of maintenance. By understanding these common causes and taking proactive measures, business owners can protect their properties and investments.

Foam roof coating and foam roofing systems offer robust solutions for preventing and addressing leaks. Their seamless application, durability, and energy efficiency make them an excellent choice for New Jersey’s commercial buildings. Regular maintenance and timely repairs, combined with advanced roofing solutions like foam roofing, can help ensure a leak-free and long-lasting commercial roof.


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