While commercial roofs are designed to last for decades, no roof can last forever! If your roof was designed or installed incorrectly or is not properly and regularly maintained, it can become worn or damaged and this can shorten its lifespan. It can be hard to know if you should replace or repair your commercial roof. In this article we offer a few things for you to think about.

Warning signs your commercial roof needs attention

  • No Drainage System in place
  • Damaged Flashing
  • Damaged Membrane
  • Open Pipes or Drains on the Roof
  • Roof Cracks or Punctures
  • Weathered and Aged Roofing
  • History of Leaks or Damage
  • Stains on Ceilings
  • Rising Energy Bills

If you do have a worn or damaged commercial roof, getting it inspected by a specialist is always going to be your best option. They can advise you on when and whether you need repairs or a replacement, which can help you plan and budget accordingly.

In the meantime, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you’re likely to need to repair or replace your commercial roof.

How old is the roof?

If your roof is older than 25-30 years old, it may be coming to the end of its useful life. You can continue to repair and maintain it but once it gets very old, you’ll need to invest in a full replacement.

What is the extent of the damage?

If the damage on your commercial roof is limited to a particular area that can easily be repaired and the majority of the roof is still in sound shape with good insulation, you may be able to get away with a simple repair.

It is generally agreed that if 25% or more of the roof is damaged, the insulation is not performing, or you have had many previous repairs that are not holding up, it is probably more cost-effective to replace the entire roof.

Where is the damage and how does it affect the building’s use?

Is the damage over an area of your commercial building that is critical to business operations or located over an expensive piece of equipment?  If you have previously repaired this area before and continue to incur issues, you may need to consider a re-cover or replacement.

What do you use the building for and where is it located?

If the building is key to your business operations and houses people or expensive equipment, you might consider investing in a replacement roof with the latest technology to protect your valuable assets and business operations.

Are you looking for a short-term fix or a long-term solution?

If you have plans to sell your commercial property in the next few years and can reasonably repair the roof to meet inspection requirements, a routine maintenance repair, including patching minor leaks, would be adequate. If you are looking for a long-term solution to increase the lifespan of your roof with the latest technologies, it makes more sense to replace the entire roof.

How much will the work interrupt business processes?

If you have experienced roof damage during a crucial time in your business, you may wish to delay a full replacement. In this case, you might decide to focus on making only essential repairs now and then schedule a replacement at a time that causes the least amount of disruption.

Do you suspect asbestos?

If you suspect asbestos, you’ll first need to get your roof inspected by a licensed professional. Check out our Asbestos Roof Guide for more information or go straight to our asbestos removal services.

Once you’ve asked and answered these questions, you’ll need to look at your options. Here are four possible solutions.

Roof repairs

If the roof is generally in good condition and not near the end of its life expectancy, you can get by with repairs to your roof. Repairs are a lower-cost and practical solution and ideal if you are thinking of selling the building in the near future.

Roof re-cover

Many people decide to re-cover a commercial roof if the current roof is in good condition with good dry insulation. If you only have one membrane on your roof, which has reached the end of its life expectancy, this is a good alternative to a replacement. You can re-cover the membrane once without having to remove the existing roof. This is obviously a more cost-effective solution to a full replacement and less disruptive. New extended warranties may also be available.

Roof coating

If your commercial roof is not physically damaged, you can have a simple coating applied to it to extend its life. This gives extra protection from leaks, reduces heat loss, and is the least expensive method of roof repairs. The process of roof coating entails applying a thin liquid membrane to your roof.

Benefits include extra resistance from leaks, reflection (rather than absorption) of UV rays resulting in cooler indoor temperatures and lower energy consumption, improved appearance, less disruptive to your business.

Full roof replacement

If your roof has suffered extensive damage, it should probably not be re-covered. In addition, if it has already been re-covered before, you won’t be able to re-cover it again. If 25% or more of the roof is damaged, it is best to replace it. The benefits of a full replacement include a lower maintenance cost, fewer ongoing problems, latest weather resistant and durable technologies, longer roof lifespan, and energy savings.

Check out our Commercial Roofing Services.

Still not sure whether to replace or repair your commercial roof? Contact us on 0800 456888 for advice.

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