Professional roofers working on a commercial roof replacement.

You’re here because you’re a commercial business owner (or building owner) wondering if you need a commercial roof repair vs. replacement, and you’re in the right place. As pricey as commercial roofs are, you’d think they’d last forever. But regardless of which roofing system you have, this isn’t the case. Over time, your roof weakens. It also could take on minor damage that leaves it vulnerable. And, of course, time itself plays an integral role as well, no matter the type of roof.

So do you repair sections or replace the entire roof? That’s a difference of tens of thousands of dollars, so it’s an important question to ask. The answer is even more important. We’re going over the signs, causes, and considerations involved with making the decision whether to repair or replace your roof.

Signs You Have Roof Damage

The first thing you have to determine is if you have roof damage in the first place. The following are signs you need to call a commercial roofing contractor.

Damaged Flashing

Metal roof flashing is used to seal roof transitions. Damaged flashings are one of the most common causes of roof leaks. You’ll find flashing where your roof joins a dormer at the base of chimneys or anywhere there’s a hole used for a feature installment.

Over time, these sections can slide out of place if the caulking cracks or nails get loosened, leaving them vulnerable for water to seep in. Once water makes its way in, it could puddle under the flashing and eventually get beneath the leak barrier.

Stains on the Ceiling or Walls

This is a sign of water damage. When the water is inside, it will gather and start to stain ceilings or walls. If you notice water stains anywhere inside your building, you likely have a leak.

Mold or Foul Odor

When water sits and evaporates in an enclosed space, mold develops. The scary part is, it doesn’t take long – within 24 to 48 hours. Once this happens, it compromises the structure around it. If left unnoticed or untreated for a few weeks, it will start permeating a foul odor. If you smell something musty or unpleasant but can’t find the source, it could be mold in your ceiling or walls.

Puddles or Drips

Puddles and drips are the most obvious sign of roof damage. It tells you that the water is now coming straight through the roof. You need to call a roofing professional to check out the extent of the damage as soon as possible.

The Big Question: Repair or Replace?

So, when do you know if it’s time to repair or replace your existing roof? Some signs are obvious.

If your roof has severe storm damage that left a part of it missing, you need a new roof. Or, if you’ve had your roof repaired several times already. Your roof needs placed if it’s at the end of its lifespan (nearly 30 years).

In the past, an owner may have opted for a commercial roof repair. Today, with energy-efficient roofing available, owners are taking advantage of the new technology. But, other times, knowing if you should repair or replace the roof isn’t as obvious. That’s when you need the following guide to help you decide what’s best for your situation. To make it more complicated, with commercial roofs, you have two more options: recover or recoat.

When to Repair

If the problem is small or isolated, you may be able to repair it. Here are some other considerations for a roof repair:

    • The membrane is in good shape
    • The roof has a fitted flashing
    • The roof has optimal insulation
    • A newer roof took on minor storm damage
    • You have to keep costs down

Repairing a commercial roofing system is usually cheaper than replacing it. But, if your roof’s age is a concern or you have done some patching work in the last few years, a full roof replacement may be a better option.

When to Re-Cover

In some cases, under the above circumstances, you can re-cover the roof, especially if there’s only a single-ply membrane like TPO. You’d have another membrane put on top of it. But, you can only do this once.

When to Replace

If a roofing specialist can’t repair your roof or it’s already been re-covered, an entire new roof installation is your best (and only) option. Here are other instances where replacing the roof is more suitable:

    • Repairs are extensive
    • More than 25% of a damaged roof
    • Insulation is wet, old, or falling apart
    • It’s an old roof
    • You want to make the switch to eco-friendly materials

The benefits of having a commercial roof replaced are plentiful.

First, you’ll have a lower maintenance cost. This is because the roof 1) is under warranty and 2) the roofing company may offer a maintenance plan which includes commercial roof inspections.

Depending on the roofing type and materials used, you could see substantial cost savings on energy bills. Of course, you’ll have an initial outlay for the new roof. But having an eco-friendly roof built will save you money in energy costs.

New roofing materials and technology also mean – in most cases – an improved lifespan.

Coating Benefits

While commercial roof coating doesn’t exactly fall into either category listed above, it does extend the age of the roof. But, it also provides other benefits aside from longevity: It improves the look of your roof and it’s cost-effective.

A coating is a thing layer of material applied to the existing commercial roof to prevent further damage and roof problems down the road. They include acrylic, silicone and polyurethane, and professional roofers can apply them to asphalt, bitumen and EPDM roofing systems and flat roofs. It’s not a common process for commercial buildings with shingles.

There are two ways coating your roof saves you money on energy bills. First, it reflects the sun’s rays and away from the roof. This keeps it cooler inside. The coating also reflects dangerous UV rays away which reduces the risk of damage.

The Clearest Solution? Contact a Roofing Contractor

You now have an idea of commercial roof repair vs. replacement. But you can’t know for sure unless you call a reputable roofing contractor for an inspection. Calling a reliable and accredited roofing specialist guarantees you’re making the right decision.

At TEMA Roofing Services, we’ve installed more than 50 million square feet of commercial roofing. We’re family owned and operated and have been in business for over 50 years. Our time-tested commercial roofing process is easy. We identify the problem then work with you on finding a solution.

Our job isn’t done when the project is. We provide maintenance and even more important — peace of mind. Contact us today and let us get to work on solving your commercial roofing issues.