Professional roofers during a commercial roof replacement.

If you’re a commercial business owner, it’s important to be proactive when it comes to the condition of your building (and in particular, the roof). Having a reliable and secure roof is essential for protecting both staff and inventory from the elements.

But, how do you know when is it time to replace rather than repair? We have seven signs (mostly stemming from water damage) that indicate you may need a commercial roof replacement.

1. Moderate to Severe Roof Leaks

If you’re dealing with persistent or moderate roof leaks, your commercial roofing system may have reached its maximum lifespan. Roof leaks that are beyond repair or that continue to happen despite repairs mean it’s time to install a new roof. Ignoring roof leaks can compromise structural integrity and the safety of employees and equipment.

2. Damaged Roofing Membrane

Water will trickle into a damaged roofing membrane, which eventually leads to other issues. Whether you have a flat roof or low slope roof, a damaged roofing membrane can be a critical problem. Common examples of roofing membrane damage include punctures to single-ply roofing systems (TPO, PVC or EPDM roofing), corrosion on metal roofs and shrinkage.

3. Musty Smells

Musty, dank odors in your commercial space can be a strong indication that there is mold or mildew growth stemming from water trapped in your roofing system.

4. Blistering or Bubbling

Blistering or bubbling appear when air or water are trapped underneath roofing membranes. If this issue is widespread, it’s time for a commercial roof replacement. Blistering can often be seen on commercial flat roofs like membrane systems and built-up roofing (BUR).

5. Old Flashings

When the flashing is damaged, it allows moisture and debris to infiltrate the roofing system. This clears the path, so to speak, for a weakened roofing system. Also keep in mind that when flashings are old, they can be easily compromised by severe weather or consistent weather conditions.

6. Loose Roof Material

Loose commercial roof material can stem from a few things: poor roof installation, severe weather, or the age of the roof. It’s imperative to have your roof inspected once you determine that the material is loose (for example, falling shingles), since water and debris can make their way into the roof via the compromised area.

7. Clogged Drains

Sagging or clogged drainage systems can be a telltale sign of water damage. Are you noticing that there is less water making its way through gutters and downspouts during rain and thaw events? Reduced drainage shows that water is sitting longer on your commercial roof than it should.

Determining Commercial Roof Replacement Options

Once you determine that your commercial roof is plagued by the above-mentioned signs, it’s time to call a roofing company to perform a roof inspection. (Find them through the National Roofing Contractors Association if you need a starting point.) A professional roofer can give you a full report of what they find and discuss whether a commercial roof repair or full replacement project is needed. If replacement is the route you need to go, a commercial roofing company can review which type of roof is best for your commercial property. Below are some popular commercial roofing options.


Thermoplastic polyolefin is a single-ply membrane that is great for flat roofs or low-slope roofs. Typically, TPO roofing is a white membrane (which helps with energy efficiency thanks to its reflective properties), but it’s available in other colors, as well.


Another white single-ply roofing membrane, polyvinyl chloride is another great option for energy efficiency. PVC also is resistant to weather and punctures.

Modified Bitumen

Asphalt, synthetic rubber and other components are attached to fabric layers, which are then soaked in bitumen. This type of roof is resistant to foot traffic.


If you have a steep slope, metal not only looks great, but it’s also helpful during winter thaws.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are fiberglass-reinforced shapes that are then soaked in asphalt. This type of shingle roofing is common on steep slope roofs.

What to Expect During Replacement

When it’s time to have your existing roof replaced, it’s important to be prepared for the actual process so your employees and operations aren’t disrupted.


Your commercial roofing contractor will begin by removing the old roof. During this stage, there may be disruption to HVAC or utilities, depending on where they are situated on the roof (if they are at all).

There will be noise from extraction, installation and large vehicles that haul away the old roof. Since most of the work on a commercial roof replacement project is on the roof and out of the way, there shouldn’t be a mess to clean. If there is any debris left, roofers will clean it up during or after the project is complete.

What About Skylights?

Skylights will likely be temporarily removed during the replacement roofing project. Once the roof is installed, the skylights will be reinstalled, with new flashing.

Get the Most of Your Commercial Roof

Between commercial roof replacement projects, there are commercial roof maintenance practices you can do to keep – or extend – your roof’s lifespan:

  • Bi-annual inspection
  • Inspections after severe weather
  • Regular cleaning of any debris
  • Avoiding walking on the roof
  • Removing snow after heavy precipitation

Failing to inspect or maintain your commercial roof can void your warranty. Work with your roofing company to understand what’s covered in your warranty.

TEMA Roofing Services Is Your Commercial Roof Replacement Contractor

As a business owner, it’s important to be diligent and proactive about repairs and potential replacement. There are many scenarios in which a commercial roof replacement is necessary, from age and normal wear to storm damage or heavy accumulation of snow or other debris.
If you think it’s time for a replacement or have questions regarding when it may be necessary, call TEMA Roofing today. With our technical staff and fully certified technicians, we guarantee you will receive industry-leading advice when it comes to solutions for the long-term success of your commercial roofing needs (and peace of mind knowing it will be a job done right).