Grease accumulation from kitchen exhaust upblast fan on asphalt roof

Dangers of Grease Accumulation on Commercial Rooftops

Often, checking the condition of restaurant rooftops and rooftop grease containment systems is overlooked and placed as a low priority. Don’t make this mistake! Checking the roof of your establishment is very important and should be done regularly and thoroughly. There are many dangerous and harmful consequences for not doing so, all of which take time and money to fix.

Rooftop grease accumulation can happen many ways, the three main issues being:

  1. Poor wastewater management
  2. Grease leaking from the fan
  3. Airborne particles

We suggest reading our post entitled What Causes Grease Buildup On Your Roof? for details on these issues.

Now that you know how grease accumulation occurs, what exactly are the consequences?

Roofs containing black coal, gravel, tar and practically any natural or bituminous material can become soft and malleable after prolonged exposure to grease and other kitchen residues, such as fat.

  • Adhesives, glues and tapes can lose their stickiness and break, leading to broken or collapsing sections of roof.
  • While thermoplastic membranes are stronger than other materials, they can still blister and crackle when exposed to grease. Other membranes, such as ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM), will swell when exposed to grease and break apart.
  • Unchecked grease is a huge fire hazard no matter where it is, and if a fire ignites on the roof, it is in an even more dangerous location. Most likely the fire will burn for a bit before being seen by someone, and on the roof, the fire can spread quickly.
  • Overflowing is an issue. If your rooftop grease containment system overflows, it can lead to grease leaks onto the roofing. It isn’t just grease overflows you have to worry about, however; water from a rainfall could make it’s way into a broken rooftop containment system and overflow the containers as well.
  • Water runoff from the roof onto the ground poses a safety and environmental threat. You could get fined, as well as contaminate the earth around your restaurant.
  • Often, warranties exclude rooftop grease leaks. This leads to very high expenses when repairing and replacing grease-saturated sections of roof.

Don’t risk not having a secure, functioning rooftop containment system. Take special care to ensure that your roof is safe and well protected from grease, oil, and fat by scheduling quarterly checkups with a well-respected commercial kitchen cleaning expert. Happy cleaning!

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