Commercial Roof Repair vs. Replacement
You rely on your roof to protect your facility, business assets, employees and clients, so it can be concerning when this building component begins to fail. While most roofs will last for a long time, constant exposure to the elements and extreme temperatures can wear away at your roof’s life span. You’ll notice leaks begin to appear after enough damage has accumulated.
At this point, it’s best to repair your roof to extend its longevity. However, if your roof has progressed past the restorative abilities of a standard repair, a roof replacement may be a better option.
You can repair your roof using different techniques depending on what type it is. A roof repair with spray coating involves spraying elastomeric coatings and spray foam roofing to repair the damage. The repair process works on flat and low-slope roofs made of metal, rubber, EPDM, modified bitumen, shingles, and some other roofing materials. Getting a commercial roof repair may be the best option if your current roof has leaks or tears, standing water, rust, mold, or improper installation.
The sooner you notice an issue with your roof and have a repair completed, the more effectively you can reduce the impact of water damage. A coating repair is the best option because it’ll save you money while quickly correcting the problems your roof is facing.
A roof replacement involves determining which material is best suited for your industrial roof and installing a new model. The two best options for commercial roof replacement are single-ply and spray foam roofing. If your roof is beyond repair, a replacement is necessary to protect your building from further water damage.
If you’re considering whether your building needs a flat roof repair vs. replacement, we’ve created a guide highlighting the advantages and considerations of both.
Types of Commercial Roofs
Many different kinds of commercial roofs exist, and they each come with various benefits and factors of concern for repairing and replacing them.
Metal roofs are environmentally friendly and offer energy efficiency and longevity, even against the most severe weather. Most metal roofs will last anywhere between 40 to 70 years. Over time, your metal roof may begin to rust, and the fasteners can loosen due to expansion and contraction from temperature changes. Leaks most frequently develop on metal roofs anywhere the roof has been penetrated, such as seams, ridge caps, vents, flashings, fasteners, skylights, and HVAC attachment ports.
When deciding whether to repair or replace, keep these things in mind:
Pros of repairing metal roofs:
- Pros of repairing metal roofs: Repairing your metal roof saves money and reduces downtime. Different repair options are available depending on the roof’s issue. The most common choices are replacing worn fasteners, enforcing stack flashings, making a patch and sealing the entire roof. Sealing the roof is best because it protects seams, reduces energy use by keeping your building cooler and extends the life of your current roof. The roof coating will also enhance your existing roof’s appearance and prevent water damage.
- Cons of repairing metal roofs: Repairing your metal roof will not increase its life span as much as replacing it with a new roof would. Some commercial roofs may be past the point of repair, in which case a replacement is your only option.
- Pros of replacing metal roofs: If your roof has significant damage and a complete replacement is needed, you’ll benefit from getting a new, long-lasting and durable roof. Metal roofs also have low maintenance requirements.
- Cons of replacing metal roofs: Commercial roof replacements can become costly, and they aren’t as quick as a repair. If you’re in the food industry, your operations may have to close down for a period when the construction is taking place to avoid contamination. Most other industries can remain open, though. You’ll also have to pay for old material disposal costs, landfill usage fees, higher labor expenses and new roofing materials, which all add up and are much more costly than having a roof coating applied.
Single-Ply and Rubber Roofs
Single-ply roofs are flat and most commonly constructed using a rubber or plastic base that forms a single, waterproof layer. The roof sections are sealed at the joints by using an adhesive material, heat, or mechanical process. The seal ensures no water will enter the roof. Single-ply roofs are beneficial because they’re lightweight, flexible and cost-effective compared to other options.
There are five primary types of single-ply roofs:
- Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM): EPDM is a lightweight and flexible rubber material used for industrial and commercial roofs. The rubber can withstand the elements and serves as a durable, long-lasting option for an industrial roof. One of EPDM roofing’s best advantages is that extreme temperatures don’t cause expansion or contraction, so it’s excellent if your area sees severe weather events or dramatic temperature shifts. The material will eventually degrade over time. Repair options include patching damaged sections, applying sealant tape to reinforce seams, and applying a roof coating over the entire surface.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): PVC is a form of plastic roofing and is one of the most popular commercial roof options. The seams are heat-welded to create a watertight seal, which removes the need for tapes or adhesives. The welded seams can handle high winds and other harsh weather conditions. PVC roofing also offers high solar reflectivity, so less energy is required to cool your building.
- Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO): TPO roofing is an eco-friendly and cost-friendly option. It’s notably energy-efficient due to its solar reflectivity. Much like PVC roofing, TPO seams are thermally bonded together, which increases weather and water resistance.
- Thermoplastic polyolefin elastomer (TPE): TPE roofing materials are 100% recyclable, and they’re one of the most straightforward roofing types to repair or replace. Small punctures that develop in the roof can be corrected by heating the damaged section. Seams for TPE roofs are welded at lower temperatures than other single-ply roofs, making the process more efficient and convenient.
- Polyisobutylene (PIB): PIB is another fully recyclable material and can last for up to 50 years. It’s the oldest single-ply roofing material and has no negative impact on the environment.
If you’re looking to have work done on your single-ply or rubber roof, consider these factors:
- Pros of repairing single-ply roofs: Commercial roof repair for your single-ply roof is a cost-effective, fast and practical method. Single-ply roofs have many repair options, such as applying patches for small holes or tears, reinforcing seams or applying a full roof coating for total protection. Roof coating is quick to install, results in no downtime, offers enhanced heat and ultraviolet (UV) reflection, renews the roof’s waterproofing and extends roofs’ life spans by 10 to 20 years. You can also recoat the roof in the future to further extend its life.
- Cons of repairing single-ply roofs: There are very few cons to repairing your single-ply roof. You should have a professional inspect your roof, and if they determine a repair is feasible, that’s likely your best option. Repairs are low-cost compared to replacing a roof, which can help your budget.
- Pros of replacing single-ply roofs: If your roof is unable to be repaired, consider replacing your roof to prevent further structural damage. One significant benefit of replacing a single-ply roof is that you’ll get a warranty on the new model. Single-ply roofs can often last for decades if properly maintained. They are also durable and energy-efficient, so they’re an excellent option for an industrial roof replacement.
- Cons of replacing single-ply roofs: Replacing a roof is a much more time-intensive and costly process than a repair. Your business operations may be interrupted, especially if noise from workers on the roof disrupts your company.
Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roofing is a sturdy material sprayed on flat and low-slope roofing units to provide a durable and insulative covering for commercial buildings. The SPF material effectively seals the building from air and water, and it’s an excellent choice for a low-maintenance roof. Another advantage of SPF roofing is that the spray method doesn’t require any seams. The lack of seams creates a superior watertight barrier.
Applying SPF roofing will also even out your roof’s surface, which further prevents water from pooling in sloped areas. As with all roofing materials, SPF will eventually begin degrading or become damaged over time. If you notice any signs of water leaks, have your roof inspected as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the building’s structure.
Advantages and considerations when upgrading your roof include the following points:
- Pros of repairing foam roofs: The most common problem that impacts foam roofs is blistering. Blisters occur due to poor installation or water vapor buildup within layers of foam, which rises to the surface. You can have a professional roof technician repair the blistered sections of your SPF roof through a process called scarfing. Scarfing involves identifying the problem areas, removing them and then reapplying foam.
- Cons of repairing foam roofs: If your roof is in repairable condition, there’s no real downside to repairing it. A commercial roof restoration for your foam roof is much more cost-effective than a commercial roof replacement. Scarfing is a fast and effective process that will keep your roof in good condition. You can recoat the entire roof with an additional SPF application if it’s nearing the end of its life span and damaged in many areas. Repairing your roof will save you money and keep it functioning properly.
- Pros of replacing foam roofs: Foam roofs can last for decades with proper maintenance and care. If yours has reached a state where roof technicians can no longer repair it, replacing it with a new SPF model will provide you with a long-lasting and energy-efficient solution. SPF roofs are generally easy to apply and shouldn’t cause much downtime for your business.
- Cons of replacing foam roofs: Foam roofs are fairly cost-effective, especially when compared to some other roofing materials. However, you’ll still pay more money for a roof replacement than a repair, and it’ll be a longer process.
Tar and Gravel Roofs
Tar and gravel roofs are installed with laminated layers of asphalt sheets, tar and roofing felt to create a durable roof with a long life span. Tar and gravel roofs are some of the most affordable roof types and offer protection from water and UV rays, making them energy-efficient. They’re also attractive roofing options, which is a great choice if you have an easily visible roof or offices overlooking roof sections.
Should you repair or replace your tar or gravel roof? Make an informed decision by checking out this information:
- Pros of repairing tar and gravel roofs: Tar and gravel roof repairs are budget-friendly, and numerous repair and care options are available. You can prevent water pooling and seepage by clearing the roof of debris such as tree branches. If your roof is leaking, you can prime and patch that specific area to stop it. The most effective method of repairing tar and gravel roofs is to apply a roof coating. A roof coating will seal the entire roof, waterproof it and limit the number of future leaks and repairs needed.
- Cons of repairing tar and gravel roofs: If a roof is heavily damaged and has had little maintenance, it may not be possible to repair it. Have a roof technician inspect your building — they will provide you with advice on the best option for your roof. If restoring it is feasible, then there aren’t any downsides to repairing versus replacing your roof. A roof repair will save you money and protect your building from the elements.
- Pros of replacing tar and gravel roofs: When your roof has become significantly damaged and a technician can no longer repair it, replacing it with a new model can be a fitting choice. Installing a new tar and gravel roof will provide you with a long-lasting option that can withstand the elements for many years and offer UV protection to keep your cooling costs low.
- Cons of replacing tar and gravel roofs: Tar and gravel roof installation will take much longer than a roof coating application, and it may disrupt your business operations for some time. You’ll also pay more money to replace a roof than to repair it, which is something you should consider regarding what your budget is and how much you’re willing to spend.
4 Factors to Consider When Deciding to Repair or Replace a Roof
Deciding whether to go through with an industrial roof repair or replacement is a big decision. Here are four factors to help you choose the answer that will work for you:
- Time constraints: An all-out roof replacement will take much more time than roof repairs. Many roof repairs can be completed in a single day, while a replacement can take weeks. If you want to quickly and effectively resolve your leaky roof, a repair is the better option.
- Age of current roof: If your roof isn’t near the end of its expected life span, consider repairing it instead of replacing it. Most industrial roof types will last for several decades but will require normal maintenance and repairs as time goes on. Extreme weather and volatile temperatures can be particularly damaging to a roof, so keep your area’s climate in mind.
- Emergency situation: If an emergency occurs with your roof, such as a significant leak that’s damaging your building or possessions, you likely won’t have enough time for a complete roof replacement. Instead, have that section — or the entire roof — repaired so a technician can seal it against water again.
- Experts’ advice: Ultimately, it’s in your best interest to have a professional roof technician — or multiple ones — come to your building and inspect your roof. They’ll review and analyze your roof to determine the correct course of action and advise whether a repair or replacement is needed.
Alternatives to Roof Replacement
A roof replacement is a costly and lengthy process that can impact your business’s daily functions. Get in touch with a roof technician as soon as you begin noticing leaks coming from your roof to prevent the problem from worsening. When you catch the issues quickly, you can select from several options for repairing or restoring your roof instead of committing to an entire replacement.
While different repair methods exist depending on the roof type, the best option is to have a coating applied over your existing roof. A roof coating is a polymer-based liquid compound that can be sprayed or rolled onto most roofs, including spray foam, metal, single-ply, built-up, rubber, flat, modified bitumen, low-slope and many other roofing materials.
The roof coatings can last between 10 to 20 years and significantly lengthen a roof’s life span, enabling you to get more use from your building. The roof coating is typically white, which reflects UV rays and stops your building from becoming too hot. That quality can also save you from making frequent repairs to your HVAC system and its components.
Roof coatings require only three steps:
- Cleaning the roof to remove debris and dirt.
- Making any necessary repairs to the existing roof.
- Applying the coating directly onto the roof.
You’ll benefit from the new roof coating immediately — and for many years to come — and avoid paying the high costs of a roof replacement.
Exploring Your Options
When you notice your roof is damaged, degraded or suffering from water damage, you should immediately contact a roofing professional to assess the situation. The longer your roof is in poor condition, the more damage your building will face.
Depending on your roof type, you have various possibilities for repairing or replacing it — you only have to pick one that’s right for your building and budget. Some roof types can be patched or resealed to correct the damaged areas, but this repair isn’t preventative. Nothing is stopping another leak from happening a month later in a new location.
The most significant preventative measure you can take against future roof damage is having a roof coating applied to your entire roof. Roof coatings are incredibly effective on nearly all roof types and are notably successful at preventing future issues from occurring. While you may think your roof needs replacing, you may be surprised to find a roof coating is the type of restoration you need to keep your facility looking attractive and maintaining its functionality for several more decades.
Contact Capital Coating for Industrial Roof Restoration Services
At Capital Coating, we pride ourselves on being the premier roof restoration company in the Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland areas. We offer quality service with superior attention to detail to provide you with the most reliable commercial roof repairs and flat roof restorations. In most cases, you can forgo replacing your roof and have a coating applied that will keep your roof in excellent condition for another decade or two.
If you have a roof that needs repairs or you want to learn more about our services, you can reach us by phone at (717) 442-0979 or fill out our online form today.