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Self-Storage Roof Maintenance: 3 Tips for Keeping Units Dry Year Round


By Mick Handloser

According to the national Self Storage Association, there are approximately 7 square feet of storage space for every man, woman and child in America. Therefore, it’s physically possible that every American could stand—at the same time—under the total canopy of self-storage roofing. If it were raining on that huge canopy, all of America would hope to stay dry!

Bad roof fasteners can lead to leaks.Millions of people keep their valuables in storage, so it’s very important to keep these units safe from wet weather. Simply put, a facility’s roof must be properly maintained. Here are three tips to keeping your units and customers’ belongings dry.

Tip No. 1: The Visual Inspection

Before renting out your storage units, make a visual inspection of the interior. On your inspection check:

  • The floor and ceiling for water stains
  • The roller-door rubber gasket pad to see if it’s properly attached
  • The batten insulation for moisture and sagging due to leaks

Water stains on a storage unit floor.If it’s an interior unit, look in the hallway for evidence of leaks under skylights or HVAC duct work. Even if the customer insures his belongings, some items are irreplaceable, so make sure your inspection is thorough every time.

Tip No. 2: Keep Water Flowing Off the Roof

The self-storage industry uses many types of roofing. Some common roof systems are asphalt shingles, EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer), TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin or Polyolefin), built-up roofing and standing-seam metal. A high percentage of storage facilities have metal roofs. These roofs are designed to shed water by means of gravity. If a standing-seam roof holds water for any period of time, it will eventually leak.

The best way to keep the water flowing off the roof is to properly install and maintain water-diverting flashing around all penetrations, at wall joints and any mechanical equipment on the roof. If water is flowing down the slope of a roof and the flow is interrupted by a pipe, debris, a skylight or a screw head backing out of the roof, then backflow is created and water could make it into the building. As long as the water is flowing, the roof will perform as it should. All these items should be inspected and maintained annually.

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