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Commercial Roof Due Diligence

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The roof is a major component of a building and creates the most concern for a new owner. Almost all owners have purchased a building only to find out that the roof leaks or worse yet, needs to be replaced. Those types of surprises are what all real estate developers aim to avoid.

Commercial Roof Inspection

If you are considering investing in a commercial property, seeking a professional who can guide you through the multi-stage process is a must. At Kapella Roofing we have experienced members who follow industry guidelines, take appropriate safety precautions, and provide clients with a clear, comprehensive, and unbiased assessment. Whether or not you choose to use us for your roof repair or replacement needs, we pride ourselves on breaking down the process, providing solutions and leaving our clients satisfied.

What Goes Into The Due diligence Process?

When assessing the condition of a senior living, multi-family or healthcare property, there are specific steps that must be followed when checking the condition of the roof. The due diligence process starts with the visual inspection and is followed by the thermal infrared if needed. After inspection, a report documenting the findings provides roof repair or replacement options and costs, if necessary. If you are in the process of acquiring a senior living, multi-family or healthcare property then it is important to identify the roof type and material. It is important to start with the material because the next steps will depend on that variable.

Visual Inspection

During the visual inspection, we first identify the roof type and material. Common commercial roofing materials include TPO, EPDM, PVC, and Asphalt Shingles.

Next, we determine the roof age by looking for visible penetrations, repairs, patches, and cracks. This indicates that there has either been previous damage or wear and tear which is a telltale sign of age. For asphalt shingle roofs, the shingle’s granules protect the waterproofing asphalt from the sun’s UV rays. As shingles age, the asphalt dries out, which causes shingles to lose granules. As a result, we can determine a roof’s age by the granules left on top of its asphalt shingles.

Flat roofs age can be determined by the design and insulation as well as the presence of any organic growth, adhesion failure, bubbling and blistering. If more information is needed, the building permit or a copy of the receipt or record from the roofing company who last built or replaced the roof should be obtained.

The visual inspection goes even further than the rooftop, especially when there is a lot of visual damage. Going inside the building and examining the ceiling tiles for yellowish or brown stains reveal water stains which in turn, equates to leaks. Popping out the stained ceiling tiles and those surrounding and inspecting any pipes, vents and the foundation for stains, cracks and rust will help confirm there has been leaking problems and at that point we can determine if there has been bigger damage that needs to be evaluated such as to the HVAC system, any piping or to the foundation of the roof.


A visual inspection will generate enough information to create a detailed report for an asphalt shingle roof. For flat roofs, a visual inspection often does not provide enough information to create a comprehensive inspection report. Infrared inspections identify items missed by a visual inspection including energy loss, hot spots, and moisture intrusions. A professional will always recommend an infrared inspection in conjunction with the visual inspection for a flat roof. The report is an overview of what has been assessed. It includes the pre-existing condition, material type, age, area of damage, pictures and concludes with the most effective solution.

Infrared Inspection

The Infrared roof inspection comes after the visual inspection for flat roofs and it detects trapped moisture within the roof.  Infrared roof Thermography prevents unforeseen failures, budget increases, and extended timelines. It also helps building owners and property management companies find roof problems that the visual inspection can’t detect. Getting the Infrared Inspection confirms any problems immediately. This lowers repair costs, reduces unscheduled down time and can even lower insurance premiums due to reduced losses.

Wood Crest Apartments Case Study

Built in 1971, the roof on the  Wood Crest Apartments was screaming for attention. Luckily, our Production Manager, Casey and a few experienced suppliers of ours went to take a look and assess the damage. “We got together with our ABC and Mulehide Reps to inspect the property and the underlying conditions of the roof. We discussed the problems and possible unforeseen problems that will come with making repairs.” Explains Casey.

Visual Inspection

Wood Crest’s roof was an old TPO roof with a layover of Gaco spray on coating. No crickets were installed so it had major pooling and leaking that caused the material installed to fail. Knowing that there was major interior damage and possible mold, we decided to conduct a thorough investigation from within the building. From our observation, there was a significant amount of hail damage present. Due to the fact there was an excessive amount of visible damage, an infrared inspection was not needed.

Report & Challenges

Our professional recommendation for this property was a full roof replacement. The results of the report concluded that this was necessary due to the age of the roof and the severity of the damage. After presenting our findings, our roofing professionals put together an execution plan for the potential buyer, but with any big project comes challenges. We overcame these obstacles by putting together a new taper system for proper drainage as well as a staging plan for the new material. When it comes to a commercial property keep in mind that there are people who are active within the vicinity, so proper staging is crucial. Ensuring that carways, walkways, and doors are not blocked and avoiding open balconies are key. After getting the staging procedures in place Casey, our Production Manager put together material orders and agreed upon pricing with our flat roofing specialist. We completed job costing and submitted the proposal to the property owners.

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