Let’s face it, roofing is no one’s first choice for allocating and investing annual dollars from the budget. Given the choice, most people would put money towards something else. But your building’s roof is easily one of the most important and expensive components to your asset. According to RoofingContractor.com, the average building owner invests more than $127,500 on roofing alone over the lifespan of the building, a steep figure no doubt. However, maintaining your roof and keeping up with repairs can save your business as much as 50% (that’s thousands and thousands of dollars) over the life of an average 30-year roof and should be an integral part of your comprehensive building maintenance plan.
Commercial Roof Maintenance
Just like regular car maintenance, you want to take a similar approach to your commercial roof maintenance. The same way that if you let your car maintenance slide, don’t change the oil or neglect getting an alignment and rotating your tires, your car will inevitably start to have issues and in most cases, the cost for repair far exceeds what the regular repair costs would have been.
Commercial roof maintenance works the same. Sometimes a small leak left untreated isn’t noticeable until it’s already penetrated the entire roof. Consequential costs may stretch beyond just that of the roof repair itself including disrupted business flow, affecting productivity and profitability of your business. Asset and building damages can sink companies quickly. If your building sustains damage from a storm, accident, or otherwise, the cost to repair those damages can be enough to send your business spiraling downward financially. With thin margins and cutthroat rates, most businesses cannot afford to repair their damaged roof. More than 80% of roofs are replaced prematurely when a replacement could have been avoided with a regular maintenance program.
Roof Maintenance Programs
What Should My Commercial Roof Maintenance Program Include?
Regardless of what type of roofing system you have (metal, flat, etc.) all programs should cover the same bases and have the same foundational components:
A visual, on-site inspection at least twice a year, Fall and Spring are recommended
Photographic, written, or digital documentation of current roof conditions
A schedule for regular routine maintenance and repairs
Any maintenance requirements of your roof’s warranty program
Any upgrades necessary to remain OSHA compliant
Quotes for recommended work
How much does a Commercial Roof Maintenance Program cost?
Most commercial roof maintenance programs on average cost between 1% – 3% of the total estimated replacement costs, with the average 10,000 square foot roof costing roughly $42,500. Pricing of roof maintenance services will vary depending on several factors including:
The size of your roof
The age of your roof
The location of your business
Environmental factors specific to your area (i.e. snow, wind, or hail, extreme temperatures, etc.)
Type of roofing material
Taking a proactive approach to commercial roof maintenance can help to significantly reduce the overall cost. According to industry studies, taking a preventative/proactive approach will cost you on average around $0.14 per square foot and should ensure that your commercial roof lasts at least 21 years. On the contrary, having a reactive approach (i.e. waiting until there is already a problem) will cost you on average somewhere around $0.25 per square foot and roofs with little to no maintenance typically fail around the 13-15 year mark.
Metal Roof Maintenance
When it comes to specific types of maintenance services for your metal roofing system, seams are one of the most important components to regularly inspect. You’ll want to make sure that all the seams are laying flat with no indents and that all screws are still flush, otherwise water could leak in. You’ll also want to keep your eyes out for any areas on your roof that are starting to rust as this is one of the most common indicators of failure in metal roofing systems.
You should have your metal roofing system inspected at least once a year, ideally right before winter as they’re more susceptible to ice damming. Ice damming is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow and water from draining off the roof. This can cause water to seep in, damaging ceilings, insulation, walls, and other areas. Left untreated this can lead to mold and mildew causing health hazards in your business especially for those with respiratory issues. If maintained properly, the average metal roof in Colorado will last up to 30 – 40 years.
Flat Roof Maintenance
When visually inspecting a flat roofing system, you’ll want to watch for water ponding or pools of water that build up and sit on your roof for more than 48 hours after precipitation has ended.
Evidence of water ponding on a commercial flat roof.
Some indicators of this are spots of dirt that get left behind after all the water has evaporated and in some extreme cases, you may even notice vegetation. When water sits for more than 48 hours, the harmful effects of UV rays from the sun will be magnified by the water and will cause your roofing system to deteriorate more quickly. Ponding can compromise the structural integrity of the roof leading to cracks, holes, leaks, and other forms of roof failure.
Similar to metal roofs, you’ll also want to make sure that the seams are properly adhered at all times and that scuppers are properly placed and are coming out from the building or leading directly to the drain pipes. These should be regularly inspected to make sure that they’re clean and free of any debris that could cause blockage.
Lastly you’ll want to keep a close eye on any penetration points including HVAC systems, roof jacks, pipe jacks, or any other points that could be compromised. It’s best practice to have these areas resealed at least every 3 years to prevent leaks.
You should get your flat roofing system inspected twice a year, once during Spring runoff around April or May and again during Fall. If you have a heavy hail season you should have your roof inspected after every hail storm. When properly maintained, flat roofs can last up to 20 years.
How Long Should A Commercial Roof Last?
The lifespan of a commercial roof will vary depending on several factors, including the type of roofing system you have, however most commercial roofing systems will last anywhere between 20 – 50 years. See below different types of roofing systems and their expected lifespan when properly maintained:
TPO Roofing: Over the years TPO has seen some great advancements, which contribute to its increased lifespan. Prior to these advancements, a TPO roof would last 3-5 years. Now, TPO roofs on average last between 10-20 years. What this means is that your investment will last longer in your roof when you choose TPO than it would have nearly a decade ago.
EPDM Roofing: Even with only minimal attention, an EPDM roof can last 50 years or even longer. Beyond fatigue resistance and overall strength, EPDM is well known to be impact resistant. This means it presents a robust defense against threats like smaller-size hail and minor windblown debris from storms. Additionally, when EPDM systems are designed correctly, they are wind resistant. In fact, EPDM is compliant with highly stringent building codes in hurricane-prone regions like Florida. If your building’s roof has sustained storm damage in the past, this fact may be a crucial consideration for you.
PVC Roofing: There are many variables that come into play to determine a roof’s lifespan, but on average, you will see a PVC roof last somewhere around 25 years. The weather, climate, and upkeep of the roof all play a huge role in how long it will last on your building. This is why it is crucial to be proactive on your roofing system so that you can get the most for your money and make the roof last as long as possible.
Metal Roofs: One of the benefits of a metal roofing system is the longevity of the materials. Most metal roofs will last two to three times as long as asphalt roofs. They are also more resistant to weather elements like hail, snow, and wind. Most metal roofs when properly maintained will last 40 – 70 years.
Asphalt Roofs: Asphalt shingles are one of the most popular types of roofing systems for their low cost. If properly installed and maintained, a commercial built-up asphalt roof will last up to 40 years.
Factors besides your roofing material that can affect the lifespan of your commercial roofing system are:
Installation – It’s important to always go through a licensed roofing contractor who is a vetted local expert. Any flaws or mistakes in the installation process can significantly affect and reduce the lifespan of your roofing system and even jeopardize the warranty.
Slope – Flat roofing systems tend to require more maintenance and are at higher risk for failure because of water ponding. When water builds up in low spots it eventually impacts the structural integrity of the roof and can lead to other problems.
Ventilation – Hot summer temperatures can build up under your roofing system and when not properly ventilated, it can lead to moisture build-up, rotting, and mold.
Maintenance – It’s important to take a proactive approach selecting and planning your roof maintenance services so that problems can be prevented or treated early-on before they turn into more serious issues.
Weather – Harsh weather elements like hail, wind, and snow can take a toll on your roof. Hail storms can create dents in your roofing system leading to water ponding or leaks and high winds can lift shingles or compromise penetration points.
Are you ready to join the ranks as a smart property owner? Our commercial roofing experts are ready to help you take control of the health of your building’s roof. When you call to schedule your commercial roofing inspection, our experts will go through a mini-consultation with you, asking targeted questions about your building’s roof. Next, our experienced service personnel will do a comprehensive inspection of your roof, documenting items such as defects, areas of deterioration, and compromised/damaged roof accessories and assemblies to name a few.
After the checklist is completed, our experts create a customized list of roof maintenance services we recommend specifically for your roof. This includes a detailed written assessment with photographs and repair or replacement solutions. This inspection is hassle-free, but when we hand you that list of potential issues, we take it seriously — just as you should. Our mission is to keep you from having to pay for structural repairs, replace your roof, and potentially lose your business because you didn’t get it inspected at least once per year. We’re here for you, and we want you to succeed.
Jeremy has been in the home improvement industry for over 5 years. He specializes in exterior remodeling, roofing, gutters, windows, siding, attic insulation and entry doors. Jeremy started his career in Chicago and has worked with many homeowners to complete their home restoration projects successfully. Jeremy has a great deal of integrity; displaying honesty and fairness in his client relationships and produces quality results. In his spare time, he enjoys watching and playing sports, riding his bike and playing with his rescue pup, William.