“I hate my roof—what are my options?”
Does this sound like you? If you are experiencing issues with your commercial roof, don’t despair—you do have options.
Although commercial low-slope roofing systems (or “flat” roofs) are designed for long-term performance and can last as long as 30 years, problems can arise much sooner if the roof has been designed incorrectly, installed improperly, or poorly maintained. Depending on the scope of the issues you are having, there are a few options for addressing them: repairing the faulty components, performing a re-cover, or if all else fails, completely replacing your roof.
If you are having minor problems with your roof, you may not need a complete replacement or even a re-cover. You might just need to repair a few elements.
Benefits of making repairs:
- Less expensive than a re-cover or full replacement
- Fixes your immediate concerns and extends the life of the roof
- Buys you time to save for a future replacement
When to make repairs:
- The membrane (base material) is still in good shape and hasn’t met its life expectancy
- Roof insulation is adequate, dry, and not crushed
- You want to keep costs down and budget for a future replacement.
Perform a Re-cover
If your roof’s issues are more extensive, but the roof is still functioning properly for the most part, you may be able to re-cover your roof rather than doing a complete replacement.
Benefits of re-covering your roof:
- Less costly than a full replacement
- Less disruptive to your daily life
- Faster installation
- Comes with a new warranty
When to perform a re-cover:
- Insulation is adequate and in good shape
- The membrane has met its life expectancy (but is still intact)
- Drainage functions properly and is sufficient
If your roof is on the older side, has been neglected, or the membrane is too damaged for a re-cover, you may need to completely replace your roof. Also, if your roof has been re-covered before and now has two roofing layers, another re-cover may not be an option.
Benefits of a full replacement:
- Lower maintenance costs going forward
- Energy savings due to added insulation
- A better long-term investment
When to perform a full replacement:
- Insulation is showing buckling, soft spots, or saturation
- The roof is in need of major repairs, and the repair costs spike higher than your typical repair budget
- You want to take advantage of new roofing technologies like a solar or Energy Star rated roof
- You are looking for a long-term roofing solution
Other Factors to Consider
Aside from how much damage your roof has, the condition of the insulation, and your budget considerations, there are a few other factors to think about when determining whether to repair, re-cover, or replace your roof.
First, are you looking for a long- or short-term solution? If you’re not planning to own the building for very long, it may make more sense to repair or re-cover your roof than to invest in a full replacement. However, if you’re planning to stay put for the foreseeable future, a replacement may be the better choice for you.
Next, if you are deciding between re-covering and replacing your roof, consider the price difference between the two (which will depend on many factors, including how easy your roof would be to tear off). If the difference is small, go with the replacement as it will come with current Energy Code R Value and positive water flow—much more bang for your buck.
Also, if the activities in the building create moisture (due to a pool, manufacturing process, or refrigerated or freezer space for example), a repair or re-cover may not eliminate your water issues. If an incorrect roof was previously installed or there is improper ventilation, you will need to go for a full replacement.
Many other issues could come into play when making this choice, including your location, the type of system currently in place, your contractor’s construction schedule, building occupant requirements, and the short- and long-term use of the building. In other words, it’s not always a clear-cut decision. That’s why it’s important to get the input of a trusted roofing contractor like All Elements.
Not Sure What to Do? All Elements Has You (and Your Roof) Covered
If you’re not sure whether making repairs, re-covering, or replacing your roof is your best option, All Elements can help. When you call, we’ll schedule a time to come out and inspect the condition of your roof to see how extensive your problems are. Then we’ll give you our recommendations for moving forward.
Even if you aren’t having roof issues yet, we highly recommend taking part in an annual maintenance program. This type of program will cover basic upkeep like cleaning scuppers, inspecting base flashings, basic caulking issues, and a visual inspection of roof surfaces. Regular maintenance like this can cut down on more extensive repairs and extend the life of your roof.