A commercial building is a huge investment. Whether you’ve purchased or leased a commercial building to house your business, or you’re in the business of real estate itself, maintaining your property investment takes knowledgeable staff, ongoing work and rock-solid budgeting.
While wear and tear is a normal part of a building’s lifespan, a proactive inspection and maintenance program helps identify aging building materials and potential deficiencies. Without these kinds of programs, failing components of the building envelope can lead to water intrusion, mold growth and structural damage. When that happens, your commercial building’s budget goes, often quite literally, through the roof.
The best way to avoid costly repairs to your building is to plan ahead. If you and your team are able to identify issues while they’re relatively minor, you’ll be able to address them before they become larger structural or occupant health problems.
As part of your inspection program, trained workers, whether they are building maintenance staff or third party roofing contractors or consultants, should document the overall condition of your roof system. Many warranties will have regular, documented inspections as part of their requirements.
A qualified roof inspector will not only be able to identify areas that are damaged or in need of repair, but they will also note materials where roofing materials are showing signs of aging. They can even help support capital planning efforts, so you know how much money to set aside in future years for maintenance and ultimately for repair.
Choose the Right Roofing Solution
Roofs go through a lot. They’re constantly exposed to all the elements. From extreme cold to extreme heat, high winds, damaging hail and freeze-thaw cycles, roofing materials take a beating. A roof in good repair not only keeps out water but is also a key component in managing your building’s energy efficiency.
When damaged and aging roof materials are identified, it’s easy to go for an all-or-nothing approach. Some owners will choose the fastest and cheapest option to patch the obvious cracks, while others may prematurely choose to go with a large-scale replacement to avoid future hassles.
When roofing deficiencies are found, building owners should consider the following:
- The total damaged area: Is damage localized to a single portion of the roof or are areas in need of repair throughout?
- The extent of the damage: How deep does the damage go? Is it only the top membrane that is affected or has materials beneath, including insulation and structural supports, been impacted?
- Past repair history: Has this area of the roof been repaired before? By whom? With what materials? How frequently?
- The overall age of the roof: A newer roof may warrant more extensive repairs to help amortize the installation cost, while an old roof at the end of its lifespan may not be worth repairing.
- Cause of damage: Is the cause known? Is it an ongoing issue due to poorly installed equipment or is it a more isolated event like a hail storm?
- Other considerations: What other capital costs are you expecting to incur in the near future that will impact your ability to make large-scale repairs now? What other initiatives (such as improvements in building energy efficiency) could impact your decision on the type of roof repair you’re ready to take on?
Once you have all this information, you’re in better shape to make a decision on the type of roof repair that will work best for you.
How Roof Coatings Can Help Manage Your Commercial Building’s Budget
While localized and small-scale repairs can be done with patches and high-quality elastic cement, if your roof is so old or damaged that your contractor or consultant is recommending a full tear-off and replace, this type of project can become very expensive, very quickly.
A full tear-off and replace is exactly as it sounds. All existing roofing materials are removed and replaced with a new roofing system. You’ll need to pay for all the new materials and labor, and may often have to pay to dispose of the old roof as well.
If structural damage has been identified beneath your roof, then a full tear-off and replace may be your only option, so that contractors can also reach and repair those damaged areas. If your building is still structurally sound, contractors may recommend that you install a new roof system directly over the old one, to save on labor and cost.
A third option, though, is to install a roof coating system over your existing roof. Roof coatings are an extremely cost-effective way of helping to manage capital repair budgets. The cost of raw materials is significantly less than a full new roof system, and coatings can be applied in a fraction of the time, further reducing labor costs.
Western Colloid’s acrylic and asphalt emulsion roof coating systems are compatible with many metal, single-ply and built-up roof systems. The can be applied directly over your existing roof system. They can be customized to fit your budget and long term needs giving you permanent results.
Choosing a roof coating is a great way to extend the life of your aging roof. If the existing system is in relatively good repair, then roof coatings can enhance the system’s waterproofness and general resistance to the elements. Look for a roof coating that is FM4470 rated against hail damage for extra peace of mind.
How Roof Coatings Can Help Your Budget for Years to Come
Along with reducing the cost of a new roof installation, roof coatings can help reduce your building’s cost of operations for years to come. With rising energy costs, building owners and operators are always looking for ways to save money on their utility bills. While many have already implemented energy-efficient windows, lighting and HVAC systems, the right roof coating can also help contribute to energy savings.
Cool roof coatings are a type of Fluid Applied Reinforced Roof (FARR) system that is finished with a white acrylic coating. They are shown to reduce building energy costs by as much as 30%.
How? Unlike traditional roofing materials, cool roof coatings come in a white finish. They are designed to reflect solar energy, rather than absorb it like other darker-colored coatings and systems. By not absorbing this energy on sunny days, cool roof coatings reduce the load on building HVAC systems, which reduces energy costs and prevents premature aging of building envelope materials.
Ready to Start?
Managing your building is a complex and costly endeavor. If you need help understanding which roofing solutions are right for you — and that won’t break the bank — contact Western Colloid today.