Every business owner thinks they are prepared for it until it happens. That’s right. We’re talking about commercial roof repair. When you find a leak or notice that your roof is not performing as it should, you start to think about how costly the repairs might be and how long it will take to complete. Understanding the steps to commercial roof repair can save you a lot of time and money, especially if you are dealing with issues during the hot summer months or during the winter.
Commercial buildings often suffer damage from inclement weather, including things like sun exposure. Continuous sun and heat can cause premature aging, and strong storms with high winds can cause curling, pooled water, and torn membranes. This leaves the building vulnerable—and that is when you need repairs more than ever.
To help you get those necessary repairs completed quickly and efficiently, we have created a step-by-step guide for you to use. Keep reading to learn more about commercial roof repair.
The Steps of Commercial Roof Repair
When a problem first arises, such as blow-offs, standing water, faulty flashing, or punctures in the membrane, you need to assess the situation and decide what comes next. Many repairs are going to be straightforward, but if you are having trouble diagnosing the problem or need help solving the issue, you can hire a professional commercial roofing contractor to assist with repairs. Otherwise, you might decide that you have the experience and tools to do the repairs yourself.
If you decide that the problem in need of repair requires a contractor, then you begin the process by locating one who is right for you. Knowing what to look for in a professional or a company is going to help you with selecting the right person or group. Here are some tips to help you make the right call:
1. Comparing Contractors
First, you should always do some research and come up with a list of reputable contractors located near you. Be sure to check out their websites, learn about them from social media, read the customer reviews and testimonials, look at the before and after pictures from projects (if available), and check if they are licensed and certified.
For the latter, seek out badges on the web page or a mention of their Better Business Bureau rating and affiliation with the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA).
2. Ask The Right Questions
Following your research, you need to interview the companies or the individual to see what they offer. During this time, you will be requesting an estimate for the commercial roof repairs you need and comparing the numbers and responses of every single candidate. Clarification ensures that you can make a truly informed decision.
Here are some questions to ask:
- Do you have general liability and workers compensation insurance?
- How will you dispose of debris and other garbage?
- Will you (or the team) inspect the roof at the beginning of the job?
- What payment options are available?
- How long have you been in business? And do you have any referrals?
- What kind of materials do you use?
3. Choose Professional Contractors
Even if some businesses provide satisfactory answers to the questions above, you need to consider a few more things. A quality roofer is going to make you feel at ease about hiring them, not nervous or apprehensive. A professional you can trust is always going to display the following qualities:
- Holds a proper license
- Commitment to quality work
- Ethical business principles
- Technical competence
- Well trained and has plenty of experience
- Commitment to safety
When you request an estimate for the repairs, you need to ask the right questions and provide the right kind of information. This not only helps the contractor when coming up with the estimated labor and material costs, but it is the only way you can get an accurate estimate so you can budget accordingly.
Here are some tips to help you get better estimates:
1. Give Detailed Info About Your Building
There are a few things you need to disclose to the contractor. You should give them as much details about your commercial property as possible. Are you operating out of the building? What kind of industry? Are there hazardous materials nearby? Do you have tenants? Is it a mixture of commercial and residential? The contractor will need to know these things so they can follow code and take any safety precautions into consideration.
You should also talk about building accessibility. Tell the contractor about the size, shape, and number of entrances/exists the property has. This enables the contractor to figure out how many trucks they may need and how to get materials and equipment in and out of the property.
Lastly, disclose all of the issues the current roof has, even if you think they are minor.
2. Know Your Quotes
Once the roofer has your information, they will crunch numbers and make calculations. Be sure to look for the following details in your estimate:
- The project timeline – discusses the expectations for progress and deadlines
- Payment dates and termination policies – establishes the dates for payment installments and other policies concerning money and cancellation of the project
- Responsibilities of the contractor(s) – discusses the roles and duties of the technicians and workers who will be on the job, allowing for smoother communication and a faster job done
- List of materials and prices of the products – this is mainly for budgeting and quality control. The more you know about the supplies needed, the easier it is to calculate the overall final cost.
Note that all good, professional contractors will have this information in an estimate. If any of this is missing, you should be cautious.
3. Warning Signs
As mentioned above, you need to be observant when reviewing the details of the quote. Any absent information poses a risk. The estimates should include all the information listed in the above section, as well as any information about labor costs, warranties, and how to pay and when. Look over the warranties, because some contractors might have warranties on services that don’t last as long as the product or other clauses that can change the quality of the service.
Depending on the issues present with your commercial roof, you will need to consider what kind of repair and maintenance is necessary. Do you tear off the whole thing and start new? Or do you repair the roof in patches? It’s a problem many business and properties owners face throughout the year. You also need to think about building tenants if you are a landlord.
Some tenant-friendly roof repair options include installing a roof coating system over the new roof. Roof coatings are sprayed on existing coverings. The liquid application means that you don’t have to worry about tear-off. A self-adhering membrane also has little to no fumes. This helps keep the air clean and the workers safe.
Another option is asphalt emulsion. The ingredients required are asphalt, clay, and water. The blend contains no harsh chemicals, has no fumes, and is a strong, long-lasting option that will protect your commercial roof for many years.
Be sure to discuss these options with the roofing contractor before beginning repairs.
Roof Repair Know-How
Now, knowing that you have two main options—using a contractor and doing it yourself (DIY)—you may decide to go with the latter. Note that you should only do the repairs on your own when the issue is minor. Otherwise, you should hire a contractor, since they will know how to solve even the most worrying of problems.
You also need to know about various roofing membranes for commercial roofing. There are traditional materials, such as bitumen, mastic asphalt, and tar and gravel blends. However, there are also metal membranes made from aluminum, copper, and steel. Recent developments also include synthetic types, like thermoplastic olefin (TPO), rubber, PVC plastic, and glass-reinforced plastic (GRP). All of these membranes have various strengths and weaknesses, so be sure to do your research.
When To Perform Commercial Roof Repair
The roof is an essential part of the building. Without a roof, anything inside the building will be exposed to the elements and could get damaged. By performing routine maintenance and repairs, you can extend the overall life of the roof and keep workers and equipment safe.
Here are some common commercial roofing issues that often lead to minor repairs and temporary fixes:
- Leaking and other signs of water damage
- Pooling water on flat roofs
- Roof aging
- Moisture and bubbling in the membrane
- Cracked, curling, or missing shingles
- Collections of debris
If you notice any of these signs, you should never ignore them. This could lead to bigger, more expensive issues later on.
Steps For DIY Commercial Roof Repair
Simple roofing repairs do not always require a professional roofer to complete. If you are equipped to finish the task, then you most certainly can. You will need to have the correct materials first, such as safety gear (glasses, gloves, boots, and hard hat), flat roof materials that match the current membrane, roofing nails, and so on. Next, you follow the steps below.
- Inspect: Get on the roof and search for problem areas, like missing shingles, warping, sinking, and pooled or stagnant water.
- Clean the area: Be sure to remove any pooled water and accumulated debris that you find. This may uncover more problems. Be sure to dispose of any water and items properly.
- Remove blistering: If you find blisters, you need to slice it open to release the air or moisture. Do not cut into the roofing felt. Lift the loose section and cut that.
- Remove water: Again, seek out water or moisture and soak it up with rags. Always let the damaged areas dry out completely before proceeding with repairs. Any trapped moisture could become an issue later.
- Add cement: Use roofing cement to cover any damaged areas. Spread the coating thick enough to cover the damaged surface and extend it out into the undamaged areas. Scrape it flat and add another coating if necessary. Repeat the process for any holes or cracks that you find.
- Add roofing membrane: The last step is to add new membrane. Measure out the materials and cut it to size. While the cement is still wet and setting, place the roofing membrane on the surface. Make sure the membrane covers the entire area. Smooth it out to remove any air then nail the membrane down with galvanized nails. You can also seal the damaged regions with an additional aluminum coating or place the aluminum over the entire roof. The added coating can block intense UV rays and extend the life of your roof.
Commercial roof repair and replacement can be costly and take a long time to complete, but it is an investment that you need to make. That is why you should know what is required in roof repair and how to find a professional contractor who can lessen the burden. Do not wait for the problem to spread, because that will negatively impact your business or commercial property and everyone involved.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to commercial roofing. Every client is different. If you still have questions about commercial roof repair,, need to request an inspection or an estimate, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us. Fill out the contact form, and we will be in touch!