Roofs Should Be Thoroughly Inspected Before Deciding
Commercial building owners will likely choose between roof restoration and replacement at some point during their tenure. Some in the industry point to replacement as the superior option because it allows proprietors to start fresh and cut bait on a failing roof. Others strongly favor restoration and argue that the majority of roofs are replaced prematurely, despite a more affordable and sustainable option being available.
Several articles on the web compare restoration and replacement, but few, if any, break them down by aspects that are most helpful to consumers. Regardless of what you read, no decision should be made until your existing roof has undergone a full inspection by a roofing professional. It’s most ideal to employ a contractor you trust, or to seek out multiple opinions. When comparing restoration and replacement, here are some of the factors to consider:
You’d be hard pressed to find a building owner looking to spend the most possible money on their roofing system. In fact, almost unanimously, the opposite is true. With most things being equal, commercial proprietors will always choose the least expensive option. Why? Because it makes the most business sense. Excluding the risk of long term financial implications, cutting costs on roofing services conserves resoureces which can be distributed elsewhere. Let’s take a look at the costs of restoration and replacement.
The cost of roof restoration (coatings) varies by coating-type. But on average, roof restoration costs approximately $3.00 per square foot. For a commercial roof of 10,000 square feet, the cost of restoration would be approximately $30,000.
- $3.00 per Sq Ft
- $30,000 (Average Roof)
The cost of roof replacement is considerably greater. Replacements cost approximately $4.25 per square foot, which would make the cost to replace a 10,000 square foot roof approximately $42,500. Building owners will also want to consider the extra labor costs for tear-offs and disposals and the cost of suspending business operations (if applicable), each of which we will expand on later.
- $4.25 per Sq Ft
- $42,500 (Average Roof)
A commercial roofing service is not only a financial investment, but a time investment as well. Depending on the building’s industry (business, healthcare, etc.), time will be more or less of a factor. For example, a healthcare facility responsible for 24/7 care of ill patients will value time more than a business office building, which only operates from 9 AM – 5 PM, Monday through Friday. In the latter case, the service could be scheduled during non-business hours, while the former is not afforded that luxury. Let’s compare the duration of restoration and replacement.
The time of installation for a roof coating varies by coating-type and roof dimensions. But most professional coatings are installed within 1-5 days, and dry within 8-24 hours. Coatings are considered especially easy to install, and with smaller roofs, can even be installed as a DIY project. The majority of commercial systems however, must be restored by a certified professional.
Replacement jobs are not quite as expedient as their alternative. Replacing a commercial roof takes around 2 weeks on average, but can take up to a full month in some cases. Like with roof coatings, the roof’s dimensions will influence how long the service requires for completion. One thing that is certain however, is that replacements take longer to perform than commercial roof restorations.
Restorations Can Last Between 10 – 25 Years
As commercial building owners know, an investment is about more than the upfront cost. Before making financial commitments, the long term implications should be fully explored. In the commercial roofing market, the implications are contingent on a roof’s longevity. Of course, how long a roof lasts depends on a litany of factors, not the least of which is the roofing system’s material. For instance, a metal system is expected to outlast a modified bitumen one, something that should be considered when evaluating options. Other factors to consider include age, climate, and severity of existing damages. Let’s compare the longevity of restoration and replacement.
Not to repeat ourselves, but the longevity of a roof coating is dependent on the same factors we cite above. The roof’s dimensions, material, and applied coating-type will strongly influence how long the restoration lasts. The consensus seems to be that an initial coating will last 10 years. But there’s a caveat, an additional coating can be applied at the expiration of the first one. Some have reported that coatings can add anywhere from 10-25 years to a roof’s lifespan.
Part of roof replacement, is installing a new system. After tearing off and disposing of the former system, a new roof must be installed. Obviously, the longevity of that roof will depend on its type as well as the competence of the roofers performing the installation. Options include built-up, metal, modified bitumen, single-ply membranes, and more. Expect a roof replacement to last anywhere from 10-50 years.
As commercial building owners have grown more environmentally-conscious along with the rest of society, the emphasis on sustainable materials has increased. As one might imagine, massive roofing systems, made up of some combination of gravel, plastic, rubber and tar, are non-biodegradable. Disposing of these materials is not only costly from a financial standpoint, but from an environmental one as well. Roofs are disposed of in landfills, and as the material decomposes, it releases methane, which is a harmful greenhouse gas believed to directly contribute to climate change. Let’s review the environmental impact of restoration and replacement.
Roof coatings work towards sustainability. By salvaging existing roofs, they prevent tear-offs and disposals which as a result, reduces landfill waste considerably. Many in the industry believe that functional roofs are replaced far too early in their respective lifespans, and that the environmental impact is severe. Aside from reducing methane-producing waste, roof coatings may also help the environment in other ways. Cool roof coatings can discourage the Urban Heat Effect in which nearby buildings’ roofs collectively heat up highly populated urban areas.
- Discourages Urban Heat Effect
- Waste Reducing
Perhaps the greatest criticism of roof replacement is its environmental impact. Many industry experts point to replacement as an often unnecessary measure, that is preventable through maintenance and restoration. When roofs are replaced, they are torn-off and disposed of. The materials are dumped in landfills and eventually decompose. During decomposition, roofing materials produce methane, which many in the scientific community point to as a culprit of climate change. Although landfills are more vigilantly regulated today, there was once concern of disposed roofing materials leaking into water streams. While less likely today, that fear has not completely subsided. Worse yet, disposals add another expense to an already costly service.
- Methane Producing
Jumping to conclusions about a roofing solution is unwise, especially when there are many additional factors to consider. For instance, restoration isn’t always a viable option, even if you deem it to be your preferred choice. If damages to an existing roof are too severe, a roof coating won’t solve the problem. There are certainly cases where replacement is the only option which makes the competence of your inspector critical. So while sometimes the decision is made for you, there are other times when circumstance will play a major role. Two additional factors to be cognizant of are; business disruption, and liability insurance. Let’s take a look at other factors for restoration and replacement.
Coatings are far less-disruptive than replacements. For buildings that can not afford major disruptions (i.e. hospitals) it becomes a very appealing option, if it weren’t already. Since the procedure is non-invasive, excessive noise will be avoided. Furthermore, the time taken to perform the restoration is far less than that of replacement. Some restorations can be completed in 24 hours. As for liability insurance, every commercial roofer should have it. Verified coverage is critical In the event of an accident, injury, or property damage.
- Less Disruption / Distrubance
- Not Always an Option
- Requires Liability Insurance
The downsides to replacement are fairly well documented. Replacing a roof is a major disruption, and one some building owners have no desire to endure. For unique roofing projects, like those of hospitals, replacements can be a major disruption. Even for more traditional buildings, the projects’ timeframe of 2 weeks or more, can prompt the suspension of business operations, furthering the expense of the service. It should be stressed however, that if an inspector finds severe damages on the roof, replacement might be the only option. As for insurance, contractors should reveal certificates of insurance with liabilities of $5 million or more, with the building owner’s name listed on the document.
- Disruptive / Disturbing
- Requires Liability Insurance
Roof restoration is the most ideal choice for several reasons. First, it’s less expensive which is always a strong consideration. Second, it can be performed in a more efficient and less disruptive manner. Finally, it reduces environmentally harmful landfill waste which is important to many businesses in 2018. With all that being said, it’s important to stress that while restoration is a vastly superior option, it is not always a plausible one. There are some cases in which replacement is the only option, which is a conclusion that can only be drawn by a professional roof inspector. The upside of replacement is that a new roof can last up to 50 years if properly installed.
The next step is to schedule a roof inspection. Walker Commercial Roofing offers roof inspection services, as well as roof restoration and roof replacement services, if necessary. As the leading commercial roofing company in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX, we pledge to provide an honest assessment of your existing roof’s condition, and present viable solutions moving forward. We specialize in commercial roof coatings, which highlights our vigilance in pursuing affordable roofing options, first and foremost. If worst comes to worst, and replacement is mandated, you can trust that the contractors at Walker Commercial Roofing will handle the job with precision and care, and prevent a similar fate from manifesting with your new roofing system. Call 817-484-5411 for commercial roofing services in Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX.