Commercial roof in need of restoration.

Replacing a commercial roof is often an intensive, expensive process. That’s why, whenever possible, many business owners opt for commercial roof restoration, instead. Roof restoration adds a new surface to your existing roofing system that protects the building from weather and may even provide cost savings when it comes to energy bills.

As long as the underlying structure is sound, this type of roof coating can extend the roof’s lifespan by a decade or more. But, what are the ins and outs of commercial roof restoration and when should you consider it as an option?

How Does the Restoration Process Differ from Commercial Roof Repair/Replacement?

Commercial roof restoration adds a coating on top of your existing roof, creating a new watertight membrane. Since it’s on the top of the flat roof system, it’s the part that’s exposed to weather on a daily basis. This slows the degradation of the underlying system, extending the life of your roof.

Why Should I Consider Restoration over Full Roof Replacement?

Restoration costs about half as much as a roof replacement, and a good portion of this cost reduction comes from labor savings since a tear-off of the old roof isn’t necessary. Of course, like any outdoor work, timelines shift depending on the weather.

While the coating system doesn’t turn back the clock on the rest of the roof, it slows aging considerably. On average, the restoration process can add another 10-15 years to the life of your existing roof

Typically, roof restoration has its own warranty, and like a standard roof, it will likely require periodic inspections and regular roof maintenance.

Savings and Tax Benefits of this Roofing Solution

Restoration systems also come with some tax benefits. 100% of the cost of a restoration can be tax deductible for that tax year. These coatings may qualify for energy efficiency tax credits, too.

Restoration coatings are also available in white, which reflects heat that is normally absorbed by a black roof. This cuts down on air conditioning use in the summer, increasing energy savings and extending the life of your HVAC equipment.

Over time, a roofing system will become brittle, making it more susceptible to damage. It also shrinks, creating cracks and holes. 

The liquid coating of this roofing solution fills in the gaps, stays flexible for years, and prevents leaks that can lead to water damage. Repairs to a restored roof are easy. If there’s a hole in the roof surface, it can be filled with more coating.

Can My Commercial Property’s Roof Be Restored?

From a building owner’s perspective, roof restoration is ideal for a commercial roofing system that is near the end of its usable life (but is still structurally sound with no underlying issues). Leaks and other repairs can be addressed before coating, but remember, restoration can’t save a damaged roof. 

If your commercial property’s roof has any of these problems, it may be not be cost effective or practical to restore:

Excessive Blistering

Blistering happens when air or moisture gets trapped between the layers of the roof. Pressure on top of the blister, whether it’s from a worker’s foot or a piece of debris, can split the roofing layer. This opens up the roof to water leaks. While it’s possible to repair one or two blisters, widespread blistering can only be fixed with a new roof.


If moisture collects between the roof’s original membrane and the insulation, these layers can separate. Like a blister, a delaminated area can split, forming a leak. Delaminated roofing is particularly susceptible to strong winds, since it isn’t anchored to the roof’s support structure. This problem is common in buildings with high interior humidity levels, like swimming pools and refrigeration facilities.

Wet Insulation and Substrates

If roof damage is left unchecked, water can reach the insulation layer and the substrate layer that the roof is built on. The only way to fix this is with a complete roof replacement.

Low Tensile Strength and Brittle Components

UV rays break down molecular bonds in roofing materials, especially plasticizers. Once this happens, the roof surface becomes brittle, making it easy to damage. Instead of absorbing forces from impacts, the roof surface splits. While a new roof membrane adds elasticity, this coating can only do so much to protect the underlying layers.

Loose Fasteners and Lack of Adhesion

Like blistering and delamination, this separation causes problems below the new membrane, and these problems have to be addressed to keep the roof in place.

Retrofitted Roofing

A retrofitted roof covers an existing roof. This second roof can’t support a new membrane layer.

Incompatible Surfaces

Coatings can be applied to most types of roofing, including metal roofs. However, the rougher the existing surface is, the more material is required to create the new membrane. Some built-up roofs (BURs) have a rough top coat of asphalt and granules, and this layer has so many gaps that it is nearly impossible to coat.

What is Involved in the Roof Restoration Process?

The process starts with a roof inspection from a reliable commercial roofing company. The roofing contractor looks for cracks, holes and other damage on the commercial building’s roof surface, as well as signs of leaks inside the building, like wet insulation, mold growth and stains. 

The roofing professional then puts together an itemized list for the restoration, which includes roof repairs, cleaning, materials and labor.

Work begins with cleaning. The roof is pressure washed to remove dirt and debris buildup, creating a clean surface for maximum coating adhesion.

Problem areas are then fixed, stopping leaks and structural issues. This includes repairing or replacing broken tiles and damaged metal sheets, as well as re-bedding loose layers and sealing gaps.

Like paint, the restoration membrane won’t adhere directly to the roof. Before sealing the surface, a layer of primer is sprayed down. This coating bonds to both the roof and the restoration sealant.

Finally, the membrane coating is applied. This seals the surface, protecting your existing roof.

Get Commercial Roof Restoration Project Started Today!

Tema Roofing Services has helped businesses nationwide with their commercial and industrial roofing. Afterall, we don’t just do commercial roof replacements and new installs. We also offer roof restorations, repairs and roof asset management! 

Contact our team to get a free quote for your roofing project!