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What to Consider When Selecting a New Commercial Roofing System

If you’re a commercial building owner or manager in the market for a new roof for your facility, you have a lot of choices available. Several factors could impact your roofing decision and whether your new roof installation will be a long-term success. Here are a few considerations.

Obviously, commercial roofs vary widely in their construction and composition: low-sloped and steep-sloped roofs; standing seam metal or concrete decks; new construction compared with roof retrofits; roofs that are open versus those that have multiple penetrations. These are just some of the variations that can present challenges for a new or replacement commercial roof installation. 

Along these lines: make sure that the contractor you choose has experience in commercial roof installations; low-slope roofing systems are completely different from, for example, steep-slope residential (shingled) projects and require an appropriate set of skills and tools to install.

If yours is an older building, the roof may have developed low areas over time where water can pool or “pond.” Because this situation can shorten the lifespan of your new roof, the installing contractor should make modifications to the underlying deck by installing “crickets” to create positive drainage. The new roof membrane would then be installed on top.

Another age-related issue is whether your new roof system can be installed over the old one. Today’s thermoplastic systems are typically lightweight and can often be installed over the current one, without an expensive tear-off that can interfere with your building operations. This method largely depends on local building codes.

A recent trend in the commercial roofing market has been the shift toward white, reflective, energy-efficient thermoplastic roof systems. Even in Michigan and other northern locations, “cool” roof systems help lower summertime air-conditioning costs and, for non-conditioned spaces (like agricultural buildings and some warehouses), create a cooler environment that promotes higher worker productivity. Other advantages: HVAC units on reflective roofs don’t have to work as hard to cool the ambient air, and reflective roof surfaces have been shown to help preserve the R-value of rooftop insulation.

An important aspect of your new roof installation is the warranty that’s provided by the manufacturer. Some amount of coverage should be included in the purchase price, but more protection for hail, for example, or an overburden – a solar or vegetative roof system – will cost more. If your roof does have ponding water issues, will the warranty exclude coverage? You should also find out if the contractor will stand behind the installation with a warranty that covers their installation work.

There’s a lot to think about, and if you’re considering a new or replacement commercial roofing system, the commercial roofing pros at Versatile would welcome the opportunity to discuss the options with you. Please contact us at your convenience at 989-239-4667, or by completing the form on our contact page.