Commercial Roof: Repair Or Replace?

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If your business is like many commercial buildings, it likely has a flat roof. Although these roofs are relatively durable, they will need to be repaired or replaced eventually. When it comes to most flat roof designs, there are two options: recover or full replacement. The following can help you determine which is the best choice for your building.

Is there damage to the underlying structure?

The underlying structure of the roof -- underlayment, sheathing, and trussing -- is the true determiner on whether you need a full new roof or not. If the underlying structure has been damaged, either from age or from outside issues like a leak that lead to rotting wood, then a full tear down of the old roof is unavoidable. The commercial roofer will tear off the old roof, repair or replace the damaged portions of the structure beneath, than install a new roof.

In what condition is the roof membrane?

Flat commercial roofs are typically covered in a membrane. If you have few leaks and much, if not all, of the damage is only to the membrane, then you probably won't need to spring for a full replacement. Instead, you can simply have a new membrane installed. This is especially true if most of the damage is due to birds. Birds droppings are acidic, which means they eat away at the roof membrane. If you catch the damage early enough, you can simply replace the membrane since the damage won't have breached the roof underlayment beneath.

When was the roof last replaced?

Commercial roofs are designed to last decades, which means it isn't uncommon for a roof to outlast ownership of the building. If you know your roof is more than 10 to 15 years old, you may want to have it inspected. Although it may appear to be in repairable condition, often older roofs were poorly insulated. This means your energy bills are likely much higher than they need to be. Poorly insulated roofs also but stress on HVAC systems because they become overworked during extreme temperatures. It may make sense to replace instead of repair if your roof is old enough to have poor insulation.

Are there other concerns with the roof?

A minor leak or the early signs of damage can be repaired without a replacement or even a membrane replacement. A roof coating is an option if your roof hasn't been recoated previously and if damage is minor or in the early stages. Your roofer will plug any leaks then apply a coating that meets the needs of your roof. For example, a roof showing early signs of UV damage can benefit from a UV blocking coating.

Contact a commercial roofing service for more help.