Signs Your Commercial Roof Needs Replacing

When your new commercial roof is installed, you should expect it to provide weather-tight protection for your building for 15 years or even longer, depending on climate conditions and if you are attentive to rooftop maintenance issues. 

In Michigan and other parts of the Midwest, roofs are subject to the full gamut of weather, from intense heat in the summer to rainy and windy springs to wintertime freeze and thaw cycles. All have an impact on the roof system, especially as it ages. Eventually your commercial roof will need replacing and it’s a good practice to do periodic inspections of your roofing system for signs that it may soon need to be replaced. Here are some things to look for:

Roof Membrane Wear & Tear

With single-ply roofing systems, the top film layer of the membrane can wear away, exposing the scrim layer, which compromises the ability of the roof to remain watertight. Some other roof membranes shrink over time, pulling away from corners, curbs and parapets and creating gaps between membrane sheets.


Bubbles on the roof membrane (also known as blistering) can be an indicator that water has penetrated the roof surface. Depending on how extensive the blistering, it may be more cost effective to replace the roof than to repair it.

Missing or Separating Flashings or Other Components

Roof flashings “connect” roof transitions – often between horizontal and vertical surfaces. These areas are among the most vulnerable roof system components, and weather stresses can exert forces strong enough to create separations. Sometimes, metal flashings or roof edge components can be easily re-attached or replaced, but if left unattended for too long, interior water damage may be substantial.

Metal Roof Deck Corrosion

Rust and separating metal roof panels are obviously problems on a standing seam metal roof. These issues can be repaired with patches for a while, but eventually, corrosion will win the battle and water will come through.

Other Signs

In addition to the obvious rooftop problems, keep an eye out for other clues, like water spots on interior surfaces. Also, as your roof ages, your heating and cooling bills may increase. Studies have shown that, over time, dark, heat-absorbing roofing systems have a deteriorating effect on the underlying roof insulation, causing them to lose their R-value and effectiveness.

Once repairs are no longer cost-effective and/or leaks are causing too much damage to your interior, Versatile Roofing would welcome the opportunity to discuss options with you. We’re experienced in all types of roofing installations, including retrofit systems that can be installed right over the existing metal roof deck (see our recent blog article for more information). Plus, a highly-reflective new roof from Versatile can help you save on your summertime cooling costs and preserve your rooftop insulation. Please contact us at your convenience.