Independent Roofing Consultants
Providing building owners and managers unbiased, objective roof evaluations. Learn More >
Independent Roofing Consultants
Developing comprehensive roofing and waterproofing project documents. Learn More >
Independent Roofing Consultants
Independent Roofing Consultants
Independent Roofing Consultants
Clients get peace of mind in knowing all their projects and properties are in good hands. Learn More >
Independent Roofing Consultants
We provide a conditional assessment on a single building or comprehensive project management on multiple buildings. Learn More >

By lynn Jardinico

The tightening economy combined with shrinking commercial property values and dropping lease rates means cost effective roofing options are critical. 

Tenant retention is important; after all, happy tenants are long-term tenants.  But how can a property manager or owner keep a tenant happy when faced with a leaking roof and a capital budget limited by current economic woes?

Roof Maintenance Coating Systems

Maintenance coating systems have become an increasingly popular tool in the roofing toolbox.  White surfaced maintenance coatings are economical, given the right circumstances, and are very affordably priced.  It is important to understand however that this is not a “new” roof, but rather a remedial system for an existing roof membrane.  That being said, the existing roof membrane must be in such a condition that it provides a suitable base for the maintenance system.  Typically the existing system should have a couple of years of service life remaining and must be free from large scale defects.  The underlying deck must be in good condition and structurally sound.  Installing a maintenance coating over a failed roof system will produce extremely poor results and ultimately higher costs.

Understanding that a roof maintenance coating is a “system of components” is also crucial to getting the best results per dollar spent.  A quality maintenance coating system is generally reinforced with a woven fabric that provides additional tensile strength to the entire system.  The proper quantity (gal. per sq. ft.) of coating materials must be specified for best results and long term performance.  Finally, proper preparation of the existing roof system and correctly executed repairs prior to maintenance system installation reduce potential problems and ensure satisfactory results.

When properly specified the roof maintenance coating system can be installed with minimal additional weight, generally little impact to tenants, and lower cost than traditional roof replacement.

Roof Recover Systems

Traditionally, a roof replacement has meant removal of the existing roof system down to the underlying deck and installation of a new roof membrane system.  Under certain, limited circumstances however, an existing roof membrane may be recovered with a new system, typically a single ply membrane.  Single ply membranes are lightweight, generally easy to install over an existing roof membrane, and are minimally disruptive to the building tenants.

Unlike a maintenance coating system, the roof recover system is a brand new roof.  It may be installed over an existing membrane that has reached the very end of its service life.  It is still critical to make sure that the underlying supportive deck is structurally sound and able to support the small amount of additional weight of the recover membrane.  Certain design issues must be addressed with respect to the type and thickness of the new membrane, slip sheet or recover board requirements, and flashing details.  The single ply membrane may be PVC or TPO or any other of several propriety formulations, but all have available manufacturer guarantees.

Again, when properly designed and specified, the single ply membrane recover system represents another cost effective and minimally disruptive roof replacement option.

Aggressive and Proactive Repairs

Sometimes, roof replacement or remediation is not an immediate option.  When an existing membrane is approaching the end of its service life, aggressive roof maintenance and proactive repairs are an option while budgeting for replacement. 

A thorough roof inspection is the key in determining the extent of both reactive and proactive repairs.  An inspection that provides a scaled roof plan with all roof top penetrations and equipment noted, a location and list of deficiencies, and a list of recommendations for repairs and preventive maintenance will maximize roof membrane performance.  An annual inspection that builds on the historical record of roofing activities provides systematic steps for optimizing the remaining service life of the roof membrane.

Aggressive roof maintenance will give building tenants the confidence that their concerns about roof leaks are addressed, while allowing a building owner adequate time for capital budgeting.

Your IRC consultant can guide you through the steps of determining the best course of action for your particular building.  Based on the condition of the existing roof and your current budget constraints, the consultant can discuss your potential roof options and specify the most cost effective system to meet the goals of maintaining your building asset.

To make an appointment with a IRC Roofing Consultant please call our office or fill out this short form.