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Along with the elements, age, and everything else that contributes to roof wear, restaurant owners have a few of their own roofing challenges to handle. When it comes to the roof, restaurants are surprisingly hard on the structure. Unlike other commercial spaces, the heat and cooking byproducts (most notably grease) from a restaurant can cause problems. That is, they can cause problems without preventative maintenance.

Whether you’re new the culinary game, you recently bought a new restaurant space, or you’re already starting to have problems, you need to understand the potential issues that your business brings to your building.

What do you need to know about restaurants and roofing? Take a look at what you can do to keep your business’s roof in top shape and fully functional.

Exhaust Fans

You know and appreciate the serious job that the exhaust fans in your business do. They suck the grease up, moving it out of your kitchen and away from your employees. Not only does this reduce the smoke and odor, but it helps to keep your workplace safe.

Even though exhaust fans make the kitchen a better place to be, they don’t magically whisk the grease away to a far off place. Instead, they vent the greasy smoke up and out – and most likely, over your roof. If your exhaust vents are on your restaurant’s roof, they can easily damage the material’s membrane.

Beyond physical damage, vented grease that accumulates on the roof is a fire hazard, slip and fall hazard, and a potential environmental hazard (if it runs off the roof and into a water supply).

Material Makeup

Different roofing materials react differently to grease exhaust discharge. If you’re not sure what your building’s roof is made from, ask a professional roofing contractor for an assessment and explanation.

Greasy gunk and other exhaust debris from your commercial kitchen can land on the roof, causing EPDM membrane seams to split. These membranes are used on flat roofs and have exceptional abilities to withstand high temperatures and the elements. But over time, the grease can loosen adhesives and cause the bonds to fail. In addition, the membrane itself may swell.

A tar and gravel, or built-up roof (BUR), membrane may also have integrity issues when it comes to grease exhaust damage. These materials may soften in the presence of oil and become spongy.

If your roof has a thermoplastic membrane (such as PVC, TPO, CPE, NBP, CPA or EIP), it can blister when exposed to oil and grease.

Prevention Methods

How can you reduce the risk of grease exhaust? You can’t turn off the fans, plug the vents, or stop the exhaust from discharging. These activities are absolutely necessary if you want a functional (and safe) kitchen.

One of the easiest ways to stop grease damage is by preventing it from touching the surface of your roof in the first place. Along with the negative effects that dripping grease has on your roof itself, the oily mess may violate local codes.

If you’re serious about stopping the mess and making your building a safer place for everyone to be, a grease collection device is the way to go. These devices don’t stop the grease from venting. Instead, they collect it and soak up or filter the oil.

Keep in mind, creating your own catch pan by rigging up a bucket or bowl isn’t an acceptable answer. You need a professionally made and installed device to filter the gunk away from your roof.

Along with a filtering collection device, schedule preventative check-ups to help ensure the integrity of your commercial roof. The pros can inspect the area, look for trouble signs, and make repairs and replacements as needed.

Do you need a commercial roofing inspection or repair? Contact Mid-Miami Roofing, Inc., for more information.