How To Avoid Roofing Emergencies

Disaster Prep Your Biggest Assets

La Nina peaked in October to December of 2020 but the impact continues as we’re seeing unusually heavy rainfall across the islands and a significantly increased volume of leak calls. The main problem? A lack of regular roof maintenance leading to water intrusion.  

While advances in technology have changed the landscape of roofing in a great way – my advice over the years remains the same – be proactive in taking care of your rooftop. Water intrusion can lead to very expensive building damage. Limiting the effects of water intrusion at the forefront reduces loss in the aftermath. It benefits everyone – owners, businesses and customers who frequent the facility.

Assess the vulnerable areas of your roof system.

For low slope flat roofs, every roof penetration is a point of vulnerability. Transition points in the roof system are weak areas that should be inspected. Water can easily get in between the seams of membrane or rolled asphalt roofs. Roof drains, scuppers and gutters should be clean and clear to prevent blockages and allow the water to drain off the rooftop properly. Rooftop mechanical equipment should be inspected for rusted panels that often are culprits for water intrusion.

Pitched roofs are more likely to have material blowing off. Any roof over 10 years old should be inspected. Even though your roof may have a 50-year shingle, time and the natural elements will naturally degrade and weaken it.


Identify potential rooftop hazards & leak culprits. 

  • Debris-forming dams can overwhelm roofs during heavy rains. Debris builds up over time, if not periodically cleaned, it gravitates to the lowest points on the roof which are your drains, scuppers and gutters. Roof systems are built to deflect and channel the water away from the building. Ensuring all water exit points are unobstructed to perform when needed is crucial. 

  • Wind born projectiles – rooftop equipment should be properly secured, debris and loose items should be removed to prevent them from becoming wind born projectiles.

  • Punctures & tears – lead to water intrusion. Sheer water weight and pressure during heavy rains will force water into open voids. (Multiple contractors accessing the rooftop often results in damage to the rooftop that often goes unnoticed with the install, maintenance and removal of rooftop equipment.)


Make the minor repairs needed – don’t delay.

When the heavy rains come, there is not much that can be done except help divert water to reduce interior damages or make temporary repairs. Proper repairs cannot be made until there is dry weather.  Making the proper repairs ahead of time will help you avoid costly damages from wind and unwanted water intrusion in your building.  

We’re just coming out of the rainy season but hurricane season is just around the corner. Engage the services of a trusted roofing professional for a comprehensive roof inspection to help identify vulnerable areas to be addressed. Be proactive – and avoid the stress that emergency leaks inevitably bring.


David Pavlicek is the Director of the Service & Repairs Division at Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing Hawaii Inc. He brings over 40 years of industry experience to the company having worked on a variety of projects spanning commercial, industrial, education, government and military sectors. He has worked on all sides of the industry including the field, distribution channels and as a manufacturers technical rep for leading product lines in Hawaii. Commercial Roofing & Waterproofing is one of the largest commercial roofing contractors in Hawaii having installed nearly every type of roofing system across the islands. Services include roofing, waterproofing, roof maintenance programs, repairs, gutter installation and solar PV. For more information on a Roof Maintenance Program or to schedule an inspection, please contact David at 808-225-6772 or email  

View the article at Building Managment Hawaii.