The topic of roofing can create a lot of questions for commercial building owners. This is typically because it is reactive in response to a sudden and unexpected problem, and the owner anticipates a fix to be an expensive one. However, this is not always the case.

Working with a reputable roofing company that is in the business of saving roofs can prove to be a great decision for building owners. Preventative maintenance can go a long way in avoiding potential problems that could turn into more complex and expensive problems if left unaddressed. Read on to see some valuable questions and answers on roofing.

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In an effort to help commercial building owners, we have put together a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we hear each year and speak directly to each.

Q: What is the best thing I can do to take care of the roof?

A: In a commercial building setting, the best thing an owner can do to take care of their roof is to schedule an inspection and enroll in a regular maintenance program with a reputable roofing company. Regular inspections will reveal any problem areas, and maintenance will prevent greater damage due to progression.

Q: I have a roof leak. What should I do?

A: Leaks can be minor if caught early, or they can be a sign of a much bigger problem, and the only way to find out which type of situation is happening is to have the roof properly inspected. If a suspected roof leak develops, protect nearby equipment and furniture by covering it with plastic or removing it from the area. Be sure to mark any water lines on the ceiling as a benchmark for any leak growth that occurs until a professional roofing company can do an inspection.

Q: How do I know if my facility needs a new roof?

A: A business owner will likely see visible damage that prompts them to think they need a new roof. Conversely, some roof damage is not visible to the inhabitants of a building because leaks are not easily seen, or the roof has not been recently inspected. Either way, only a professional roofing company can definitively say if the damage requires renovation or replacement.

Q: Is there a difference between commercial and residential roofs?

A: While there can be similarities in both commercial and residential roofs, such as their function and need for good drainage, the primary difference between the two tends to be the design. Residential roofs are often shingle based and feature a pitch, whereas many commercial roofs are flat. These two types of roofs are very different, so it is key to ensure the roofing company you select has experience specifically in the type of roof you have.

Q: What is the difference between flat and pitched roofs?

A: Despite their name, flat roofs are not generally made to be entirely flat to enable some natural water drainage and minimize pooling. Pitched roofs work much the same way except with a sharper slope to enhance drainage to a greater degree.

Q: When should the roof be renovated versus replaced?

A: The best way to know if a roof is a candidate for renovation versus replacement is to have a reputable roofing company perform a thorough inspection. If a roofer comes back quickly with a recommendation to replace the entire roof, it should raise some red flags. Roof replacement should be a last resort. If less than 20% of the roof is saturated, it could be a candidate for a renovation rather than replacement. This can equate to saving up to 50% off your budget and getting up to a 20-year warranty on the roof renovation, which is equivalent to a warranty you would get with a full replacement.

Q: I need a new roof, but which one should I get?

A: To a point, selection of a roof has less to do with aesthetics and more to do with structure, effects on energy bills, the building’s location and environment, and what kind of a warranty comes with it. Each of these considerations comes with solutions, and the best way to select a new roof is with the expert recommendation of a reputable roofing company.

Q: How much does a new roof cost for a commercial building?

A: This is not a one size fits all answer primarily due to the following reasons: roof sizes vary, the availability of roof access, the specific condition of the roof, the membrane selection, what type of insulation is used, the installation method, and different types of warranties available. It is important to enlist the help of a professional roofing company who will be honest and do what needs to be done, while staying as close to a business’ budget as possible.

Q: How long will a roof replacement take?

A: Every commercial building is different in terms of its shape, size, and application, which can greatly impact the timeline for a replacement. In addition, some external forces are at play here as well, including getting on the schedule for inspections and obtaining the proper permits. Last, but not least, the weather can delay work if it turns severe. The end result is that the timeline for a roof replacement will be different for every building but can last anywhere from a day or two up to several weeks or more.

Q: When is the best time to replace a roof?

A: While there is no “best” time to replace a roof there are definitely less desirable times. For example, if you live in a part of the country such as New Mexico that experiences an annual monsoon season, or are in a hurricane zone in Texas, those seasons would be best avoided for roof replacement. That said, if a replacement is not a proactive step and is an emergency needed in response to damage, it is often still feasible.

Q: Does the existing roof have to be torn off to re-roof the building?

A: The answer to this question depends on the specific circumstances of the building in question, but it is worth noting that it is not always necessary for an existing roof to be removed to install a new one. However, situations where a roof is found to be unsafe or a building already has two layers of roof, it may require the existing roof to be removed.

Q: Will roofing renovations or replacement affect my building’s function and inhabitants?

A: Roofing renovations have a low to zero effect on a building’s occupants, and most won’t even realize work is being performed. If replacement is necessary, most reputable roofing companies know how to work quickly and with as little disruption as possible to those inside the building. A thorough inspection should alert facility owners to how a roof renovation or replacement would affect a building’s operations.

If you have other roofing questions of your own, please reach out to us today—it just might be the most important thing you do to increase the longevity of your commercial building’s roof.