How to repair a commercial roof?

commercial roof with a patch repair around a vent

When repairs are needed

Commercial roof repair are three words that owners and building managers do not want to hear. Owning or managing a commercial building is a big responsibility and expense. The insurance, taxes, utilities, and let’s not forget the cost of maintenance and upkeep! So, when a roof leak is discovered, it is normal for the owner or management to look for commercial roof options for repair that won’t break the bank.

Roof repair for commercial buildings can be something small. However, because of the size of the building, the size of the repair is probably large too, so will the repair cost. Sometimes, commercial roof repair is needed because of the commercial roof air conditioners on the roof have malfunctioned. Or the technician that serviced the unit last may have stepped on it wrong or dropped something heavy.  

How long should a commercial roof last?

A properly installed commercial roof with routine inspection and maintenance will have a longer lifespan than one that is poorly installed and lacking maintenance or needed commercial roof repair. The climate and environment impact the lifespan of a commercial roof. In this respect, commercial roofs are very much like residential roofs.

 Here, we have listed some of the most common materials used in commercial roofing and their life expectancy:

  • TPO – Thermoplastic Polyolefin can last up to 30 years.
  • EPDM – Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer can last up to 35 years.
  • PVC – Polyvinyl Chloride has a life expectancy for as long as 30 years.
  • Metal roofing life expectancy is 45 years.
  • Asphalt shingled roofing can last as long as 40 years. 

There are certain factors that will shorten the lifespan of a commercial roof, or make it last the expected time, maybe even longer:

  1. The Installation – If there are any errors or flaws during the installation process of commercial roofing, the lifespan will be shortened. Any time you need a new commercial roof or need commercial roof repair done, use only an experienced professional roofing contractor.
  2. The Slope – Most commercial roofs appear to be flat, which means water will pool and puddle on the surface if it can’t flow toward the built-in drain. Water will naturally find any low spot and it is there that it will seep under the roofing membrane and begin to leak, causing more damage than just commercial roof repair can fix.
  3. The Ventilation – Without adequate ventilation in are just under the roof (the attic), heat and moisture will build up, the strong UV rays will bake that moisture and mold grows. This all leads to the roof and even the structure itself rotting.  
  4. The Maintenance – By practicing routine commercial roof inspection and performing maintenance as found during those inspections, commercial roof repair can be done to fix small problems from they grow into major issues.
  5. The Weather – The weather has a great impact on the lifespan of a roof because it can cause direct damage to the commercial roof coating. From hailstorms to high winds and everything in between, the elements that roofs are exposed every day will do more damage than many people realize. Inspections after a storm are recommended so that commercial roof repair can be performed before total replacement is required. 

What are the different types of commercial roofs?

Every commercial roofing material has pros and cons, even the ones that are considered to be the best. Among the different types of materials common for commercial roofing are EPDM, PVC, TPO, and metal retrofit roofing.

Most commercial buildings are flat roofs or low sloped roofs, with some having pitched roofs. Below, we summarize these different commercial roof types, along with the different materials they are made from.

  • Flat Roofing – This is the most cost-effective roof, easier and faster to install. Roof coating materials used are bitumen, EPDM, modified bitumen, PVC, rubber rolls, and TPO. Flat roofing is subject to standing water if the drain system isn’t working properly, leading to material degradation and requiring frequent commercial roofing repairs.
  • Low Sloped Roofing – There is a better runoff for the water with this type of roofing, so less commercial roof repairs are needed. This roof style is less expensive and safer than a pitched style roof, but weak under heavy snow.
  • Pitched Roofing – This roofing style is the best option for water runoff, but because it poses a danger for installation, they are more expensive to install, and commercial roof repair is more expensive too.
  • Metal Retrofit Roofing – For a commercial structure that has a metal roof that needs repair or replacement, this is a cost-effective method with a membrane system and reuses the existing roofing, including the commercial roof insulation materials.
  • PVC Membrane Roofing – Time tested and still popular today. A durable, fire-resistant, puncture-resistant keeps it popular.
  • TPO Membrane Roofing – For warm areas of the country, this light color roofing material is chosen for its heat reflection ability. It is subject to shrinkage and is easy to puncture.  
  • EPDM Membrane Roofing – For cooler climates, this darker colored roof is durable with adhesive sealed seams, it is puncture and shrinkage resistant. This type of roofing material is favored by commercial roof repair contractors.
Repaired black flat roof with vents

Can I change a flat roof to a pitched roof?

Yes, and typically this is done by removing the existing roof, then add new framing to the existing structure to create a pitched roof fitting over the existing flat roof.  If roof conversion isn’t possible, contractors can add tapered insulation to the existing flat roof that will provide enough pitch so that the roof can drain lessening the need to schedule commercial roof repair services.

Eight Warning Signs You Need Commercial Roof Repair

  1. Blisters or bubbles on the roof
  2. Sagging areas
  3. Increased energy bills
  4. Moisture in the interior
  5. Gapping seams

Roofing your commercial building is an expense and should not be done without ample information from asking questions and researching the options available. Consider the climate and environment, the age of the building, and your budget. For all of your commercial roof repair needs in Longwood and Orlando, FL, call WeatherShield Roofing Group today at (407) 298-0100!