3 Building Maintenance Essentials to Tackle Before Summer

Depending on what part of the country you are in, the summer months may bring a welcome respite from harsh winter conditions, oppressive heat, or even both. But no matter where you are, as we transition into the warmest part of the year, it’s important to make sure your building is ready for anything summer might throw at it. 

1. Stay dry: Inspect your roof, drains and gutters
Ice, snow, and winter winds and rains can wreak havoc on building roofs, and the damage can be hard to spot. For example, water from snow or rain can penetrate seams in roofing materials or flashing and then freeze and expand, causing warping. And once an opening exists, water incursion is only a matter of time. Strong winter winds can also damage or dislodge roofing materials, again increasing the chance of water incursion.

If you can safely do so, it’s important to inspect the roof, and roof-to-wall connections, for damage going into the summer season. Closely inspect any bent, damaged or warped materials and keep an eye out for missing components and make any necessary repairs. Also make sure that drains and gutters are free of debris to ensure that the water from summer rainstorms has a quick escape path.

It’s also a good idea to inspect the ceilings on the top floor of the building to see if you spot any stains or other signs of water incursion from the inside. Finally, if you are unsure whether there is potential water incursion in an area, or just want to be extra cautious, consider performing an infrared moisture survey to pinpoint any potential trouble spots.

2. Beat the heat: Inspect your cooling system 
When temperatures start to rise, the last thing you want to be doing is troubleshooting your cooling system or calling for service. After all, reliable HVAC technicians get very busy during hot spells, and so lining up service can be challenging. If you are experienced with cooling system maintenance, this article highlights several preventative maintenance tips that you should complete before summer is in full swing. Otherwise, just be sure to schedule system service sooner rather than later. 

3. Be thorough: Check seals and the building envelope
The energy costs associated with poorly sealing windows and doors can really add up over the course of a summer. And issues with your building envelope can lead to moisture incursion and significant repair costs in the future. That’s why it’s vital to give your entire building a once-over as summer approaches. 

Door and window seals can fail due to frequent shifts in temperature and the associated expansion and contraction of building materials, in addition to regular wear and tear from use. Fortunately, you can easily uncover seal-related issues with a walk through. 

Depending on the size and type of your building, an envelope inspection is more challenging. But it’s important, since small leaks in your envelope can cause extensive damage over time and even lead to health issues related to mold. Generally speaking, the most important areas to inspect for damage or disrepair are transition areas between siding materials or building systems, such as the roof to the walls.

Rain or shine – you’ll be ready
Although summertime weather and conditions often seem more forgiving than winter weather, summer temperature and rain extremes are anything but kind to your building. Going into summer, the most important thing is to ensure that your building is ready for rainstorms and that it’s energy efficiency is optimized. Of course, there’s always the chance of a hail storm or other event that will require different considerations, but that’s a topic for another day.

1Costs can add up quickly when building enclosures have moisture and thermal inadequacies, Buildings.com, October 2017.