As the country's Baby Boom generation ages, the demand for quality housing and care for seniors increases. If you're the developer or executive manager of a new facility catering to the needs of the elderly, your responsibilities are wide-ranging and often focused on making the building's interior comfortable, bright, practical and easy to navigate. Residents and their visitors also appreciate a handsome exterior and landscaping. While all these things are easily visible, the roof is one critical area of the structure that's practically invisible to the casual observer, residents and those who work inside the facility. Yet the roof – the covering that protects the entire square footage of the building from above – requires every bit as much attention as the surfaces and systems within the structure. Your roofing contractor will be your biggest ally to manage this important part of the building from construction to ongoing maintenance and repairs.
Types of Roofing
The architectural style of the facility you develop or manage is a major determining factor in roofing material selection. When you consider bids from commercial roofing contractors, such as Central States Roofing, keep in mind the popular types of roofing material that are used for care and assisted living facilities:
- Composite shingles. Made of asphalt with fiberglass, or recycled materials such as rubber, composite shingle roofing gives a comfortable, residential appearance to senior care and assisted living properties. Shingles have relatively low installation costs and manufacturers offer valuable warranties.
- Tile roofing. Made of clay or concrete, individual tiles may be flat or curved. Tile is one of the longest-lasting types of roofing available and has high aesthetic value when paired with classic architectural themes. The reddish-orange hue of terra-cotta colored tile, for example, goes beautifully with Southwestern design. Dark blue tiles pair well with a white stucco exterior for a Mediterranean architectural theme.
- Metal Roofing. Metal roofing panels with weathertight couplings make a handsome, long-lasting roof for a facility with contemporary architecture. Senior residents and their families who value sustainability will be pleased to learn that the material is mostly made of recycled metal, and special coating finishes make it energy efficient.
Roof Inspections and Maintenance
Just because it's (mostly) out of sight doesn't mean that the roof can be out of mind, too. The roof's ongoing structural integrity is important for keeping out moisture, controlling interior temperatures, and protecting your residents and staff from inclement weather conditions. Schedule visual inspections of the roof by your facility maintenance staff at least monthly to check for:
- Loose or missing shingles or tiles. This type of inspection should also be done immediately following storms and high wind incidents.
- Buckled or loose seams on metal roofs. These can be caused by ongoing heat or cold situations, and by normal settling of the building on its foundation.
- Puddling water and visible low or raised areas of the roof. This can be an indication of unseen damage that has occurred to the underlayment or roof decking, often due to slow and unseen leakage.
- Loose flashing. The sheet metal pieces that cover the gaps between the roofing material and objects that penetrate the roof, such as a chimney and vents, can loosen due to normal expansion, contraction and even tiny seismic shifts.
- Interior staining. The routine inspection should also include a thorough look at the inside ceiling for signs of water staining that can be caused by a leak that isn't visible from the outside.
When a problem is identified, the repair and maintenance work should be done by your roofing contractor. Failure to do so could result in the use of improper techniques and materials that could cause further damage. Manufacturer warranties may also be voided if repairs are not done by a qualified contractor.