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What to Know About Commercial Roof Restoration

July 26, 2023

Business owners and commercial landlords alike are well acquainted with the cost of building upkeep and the negative impact roof leaks can have on their ability to provide goods and services to the community. Regular maintenance is the best way to get the most out of your existing roof assembly, but all roofs have a finite lifespan. Depending on where your roof is in its life cycle, there are a few options to consider to restore your building to a weather-tight condition: roof coatings/surfacings, roof re-covers, or roof replacements. A qualified roof professional can help assess the type and condition of your roof and advise which option will best serve your needs.

Today we will look at what you need to know about restoring roofs in this compact yet comprehensive guide. Let’s begin with some definitions:

Roof Coverings

The building code defines a Roof Covering as the ‘membrane that provides the weather-resistance required by the code’. Roof Coverings include metal roof panels, shingles and shakes, built-up roofing, single ply membrane roofing, spray foam roofing (SPF) and liquid-applied roofing.

Roof Re-Covers

When you have only one roof covering on your building, you can add a second roof covering. Manufacturers provide instructions on how to properly prepare the existing roof before installing the new covering; This includes ensuring there is no moisture in the existing roof assembly and disabling the original roof so that it won’t trap water between the roof layers.

Roof Replacement

Since the building code allows only two roof coverings on any roof; a tear-off to deck is required when the second roof covering fails. This is called a ‘roof replacement’ and is more expensive and intrusive than a re-cover. When a tear-off to deck is required for a roof replacement, the new roof assembly must also comply with the energy code which may mean adding rigid insulation above the deck.

Liquid-applied Roofing

A liquid-applied roof membrane is a continuous roof membrane constructed in place with a liquid resin and reinforcing material. It can be asphaltic, acrylic, elastomeric, or silicone based and has single or multiple plies of felts, mats or fabrics laminated together.

Note that most manufacturers promote their liquid-applied roofing systems as a ‘weather resistive barrier’ and it is considered a ‘roof covering’ by the code. For these reasons, liquid-applied roofing systems should be included in the number of roof coverings allowed.

Roof Coatings and Roof Surfacing

Coatings can be a fluid applied, adhered coating used for roof maintenance or roof repair, or as a component of a roof covering system or roof assembly. Roof coatings are usually unreinforced and are not considered part of the weather resistive barrier. Surfacing examples include granules and pigment added to asphalt based roofing systems, and acrylic or silicone topcoats over spray foam or single ply roofs. Coatings and surfacings are typically added to reflect heat, extend service life or provide added protection from foot traffic and have no role in waterproofing. Since they are not considered a ‘roof covering’ the code does not limit the number of coatings or surfacings allowed in a roof assembly.

Talk to National Roofing About Your Commercial Roofing Needs

Replacing your business’s entire roof is a scary proposition that can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars. While safeguarding your office, staff, products, and assets is priority number one, the cost of a total roof teardown is hard to swallow. Fortunately, a commercial roof restoration options like roof re-covers, surfacings and coatings can help you squeeze extra life out of your existing roof for a fraction of the cost. Need help to determine what your business’s roof needs? Schedule a roof walk to find out which option is best for your Commercial Building.

Featured Image Credit: Wichai Prasomsri1/Shutterstock

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