Roof replacement project

Chapter 5: Is It Time for Replacement or Can Your Commercial Roof be Repaired?

One of the biggest questions that building owners and managers have when they reach out to our commercial roofing experts here at Heidler Roofing is whether their old or damaged roof needs to be completely replaced. They often ask this with a little bit of fear because it’s a common misconception that replacement is enormously expensive and disruptive to business. However, it’s also a common misconception that the only option for a commercial roof that’s experiencing problems and leaks is a total tear-off and rebuild.

The truth is that less extensive repairs or even restoration options may better suit the situation.

For our final installment in the recent Ultimate Guide to Commercial Roofing post series here on the blog, we’re taking a look at repair versus replacement. We’ll also touch on restoration, which has become more popular with the advancement of commercial roofing materials over time.

Repairing Your Commercial Roof

If you’ve been following a regular preventative maintenance routine for your commercial building’s roof, you’ve likely received reports of needed repairs from time to time. Especially if your roof is approaching the end of its predicted service life, these types of reports may seem to be getting more frequent. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time for a total roof replacement.

It is probably still more cost effective to fix smaller issues as they arise on your aging roof—such as minor storm damage or some ponding caused by drainage issues—even if those problems are increasing in frequency. Your trusted professional roofing contractor can work with you to determine whether things have progressed to a point where the “break and fix” cycle is costing your business more money and frustration than is worth it.

When Replacement Makes the Most Sense

Has your roof been experiencing leakage regularly that’s getting worse and ruining areas of your building’s interior? Or have you suffered major damage as the result of a strong storm? These are a few situations in which replacing your roof might be the best decision, depending on the severity of the issues.

For instance, even if your roof is fully intact after a tornado or strong summertime thunderstorm, you’ll want to call your roofing contractor for a thorough inspection, as large hail and fallen debris like tree limbs can irreparably destroy your roof’s surface and/or substructure. (The good news is that in natural disaster situations, your insurance may help defray that cost of roof replacement.)

Another problem that might necessitate commercial roof replacement is one that is rarer, but unfortunately not rare enough—poor initial installation. Especially if you purchased your commercial building from someone else and don’t know the history of the roof, you may be inheriting a roofing system made with the wrong materials or that was not skillfully constructed. If you notice things like missing flashing or poor drainage on your roof, these can sometimes be signs of an inferior install job, which may need to be corrected through re-roofing.

What About Restoration?

If you’re thinking about commercial roof replacement, you’ve probably come across contractors who focus exclusively on what’s known as restoration work, which promises to make your roof “as good as new” without undergoing replacement. This work is typically done with roof coatings (see our commercial roofing project gallery for several examples of coatings in action) that are spread across the surface of your roof following a careful prep phase, or with single-ply membranes.

Restoration is a viable alternative to replacement in some instances, but do beware of less experienced contractors selling these solutions with overblown promises. What your original roof is made of will often dictate which restoration system—if any—might work for you. Additionally, the type of business you conduct in your building can affect the options available, including whether replacement may just be a better course of action. Professional contractors like Heidler will take the time to help you carefully consider what’s best for your building and your budget in the long run instead of simply recommending restoration every time.

Weighing Your Options and Need Expert Advice? Heidler is Here to Help.

Heidler Roofing’s technical expertise in the area of commercial roofing, as well as our legendary service and highest quality products,  make us your premier partner for roof repair, replacement, and restoration work. If your Mid-Atlantic region commercial building’s roof is aging and starting to “nickel and dime” you with constant small issues, it’s time to give us a call to schedule a thorough inspection.