What You Need to Know About Your Roof: Do You Have a Roof Below Your Current Roof System?
Many companies, and even builders, give very little attention to their commercial roof. The main concerns usually lie in the interior of the building space. However, it’s important to be aware that the roof comprises approximately 60 percent of the building’s exterior. Ultimately the majority of your maintenance budget will eventually go toward roofing repairs. For this reason, it may be important to know all you can about your roof, such as whether there is a roof system below your current roof.
Your roof system includes the roof deck, insulation, flashing, membrane and accessories. If everything is not in order, your problems might literally come crashing down around you. The roofing materials, as well as the maintenance history, and what’s below your current roof are all factors that will determine the lifespan of the roof. If you don’t know these issues, you could be facing huge problems in the future.
Problems you may encounter if there is a roof system below your current roof
- Pre-existing design flaws. The previous roof system may have built-in maintenance issues that could be a source of continuous headaches.
- Modifications not compatible with the original design. Commercial roof repair may require replacement of a roof-mounted HVAC system or new drainage work. It’s vital that these changes be implemented within the guidelines of the initial system to ensure compatibility. If they weren’t, you could be left with a situation in which past problems might simply be covered up.
- Voiding of the warranty. Typically, warranty coverage is very specific. Covering up problems instead of fixing them could leave you vulnerable to a void of your warranty and leave you responsible for expensive repairs.
What determines the type of roof system you need
Pitch – this predicts how the roofing system will perform over the life of the roof. It dictates what materials should be used and how fast water and dirt will fall off. In fact, manufacturers may even void a warranty if specific conditions aren’t met when installing a new roof on various slopes. Flat roofs are typical in commercial roofing projects. This is considered as any roof that rises less than three inches per horizontal foot.
Location – some areas are tougher on commercial roofs than others. Heavy winds, severe temperature shifts and direct sunlight can make a huge difference in the kind of commercial roofing system that is right for you.
Maintenance requirements – if you own a manufacturing company, chances are that you have a team of qualified repairmen at your disposal. On the contrary, a retail or professional services company may not.
While there is no such thing as a maintenance-free roofing system, you can seek out buildings where the materials are the most durable for commercial roofing projects. For example, you might want to look for metal instead of shingles.
How to tell if your roof needs restoration or commercial roof replacement?
If the commercial roof on your building is more than 10 years old, chances are an issue or two has already come up. It might be rusty, leaky or have weather-damage.
Of course, you want the most cost-effective, long-lasting solution but knowing what that is can be difficult. The cost of a new roof has a hefty price tag, often hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Roof restoration is less expensive and disruptive than replacement but roof failure may force your hand. Before panicking or considering an immediate relocation, asking the following questions could help you decide.
What is the overall condition of your commercial roof?
In addition to rust and leaks, you should also check for moisture in the insulation and whether the seams and curbs are up to par. You should also have a good coating that is compatible with your current roofing system and that works effectively to prevent excess water and damage.
Does the roof look bad?
Numerous conditions can accelerate the aging and appearance of your roof. Mother Nature can be its greatest enemy. Wind, falling debris and fluctuating temperatures can wreak havoc on your roof. This could lead you to consider roof repair or restoration sooner rather than later. You can restore your roof to make it more resistant. Aesthetics can also be a factor, as you want to provide a pleasant appearance to customers, prospects and other key stakeholders. However, if it already shows wear and tear, a replacement may be in order.
Is your commercial building located in an area with extreme climate conditions?
Sometimes, your commercial roof is just one disaster away from needing a complete replacement. Salty air, excessive rainfall and severe weather can cause your roofing system to expand and contract unpredictably. If one or more of your buildings are in such areas, it’s vital to perform regular inspections and maintenance to ensure the longevity of your roof. When you do this, it’s possible that periodic restorations may save you time and money.
What to expect from your roofer
Photographic evidence – no one expects you to inspect the roof yourself, but you still need to know what’s up there. Pictures, with an explanation of what you’re seeing, will be part of the report
Schedule for repairs – some problems need to be fixed right away and others might be minor issues that can wait. A quality roofer will provide these details so you can make informed decisions about next steps.
Advice, free of charge – to keep your commercial roof in top shape, it’s vital to take care of it correctly. Your roofer should explain how to do this, such as using only licensed workers for any commercial roof repair, minimizing foot traffic and having your facilities team perform a visual inspection after any big storm.
Commercial roofing is more complex today than it was in the past. Before making significant changes to this large investment, it’s crucial to have all the facts. You should also hire a qualified roofing company, technician or consultant to discuss all your commercial roof needs.