Scuppers & Gutters & Drains – Oh My!

Drainage for flat roofs is critical for prolonging the roof’s life and integrate. Commercial building owners especially need to be aware of the drainage since the larger square footage has more potential for water to pool and accumulate. Roof leaks can be costly, not only from a structural damage stand point, but also from the lost of time, inventory, equipment and revenue. Preventing roof leaks can often be ensured by hiring the services of someone like Buxton Water, who specialize in drainage services among other things.

 

There are three main drainage systems commonly found on commercial and industrial flat roofs.

  1. Scuppers: Scuppers are outlets installed around the perimeter of a roof where the wall extends above the roof itself. These outlets allow for the normal runoff of rain water. While a less expensive drainage system, scuppers do require that the roof have some slope to the structure to insure water flows toward the outside drains. Debris can easily block one or more of the scupper outlets, creating a dam that lets water stand on the roof and eventually penetrate and leak.
  2. Gutters: Gutters work similar to scuppers, in that the water flows to the outside perimeter of the building. Gutters work on buildings where the roof edge is even with the top of the wall. They are attached to the buildings edge and are open pipes that collect water as it flows over the roof’s edge. The water is then directed to down spouts than direct the water away from the building. Like scuppers, they also collect debris which can clog the downspouts. A clogged downspout will still let the majority of the rain water flow off the roof, it will dump the water at the gutter’s lowest point, which may cause it to pour down on a door, loading dock or even a location that may let the water run back into the building.
  3. Interior Drains: By far the most expensive solution, interior drains are a series of drains placed at specific intervals across the roof that are connected to a network of gutters and pipes that move water toward the exterior drainage points. Interior drainage systems are need for larger buildings where having an adequate outward slope isn’t feasible. Although the drains are normally covered by a screen, it’s still important that the screens remain clear of debris to allow the maximum water drainage.

 

As with residential roofs, periodic inspection of a commercial roof and it’s drainage system should be incorporated into the building’s maintenance program.

 

Tucson Roofing specialist, Crest Contracting Roofing Division, specializes in commercial and residential roofing repairs and replacement.