Commercial Flat Roof Replacements
Flat roofs are their own challenge especially when it comes to replacements. Flat roofs are most commonly found on commercial buildings. They are easily accessible and are less expensive to install and maintain. They are also handy to use for solar panels, installing air conditioning units, and for satellite dishes.
Every roof is susceptible to damage and wear and tear. Regular inspections by a professional roofing company in Toronto is recommended, but as a building owner or even if you are only renting, it is important that you go up and take a walk around periodically to inspect for damage. Tackling problems before they explode into a roof collapse and endanger the people and equipment is critical.
• Age – Depending on the materials that make up the roof, it can last anywhere from 25 to 100 years. Check the documents to see if it is approaching its age limit. If so, schedule a replacement.
• Leaks – Water damage can be serious especially in a business. Leaks can mean holes, seams not holding, flashings damaged, or bad sealants. Black mold is very dangerous and can cause irreparable damage to even the strongest person.
• Energy Bills – If you notice that your energy bills have increased out of proportion to any increases in rates that the utility company has applied, you could have seams that are compromised, insulation that needs replacement, or other issues.
• Visible Issues – When you are on the roof, check for anything that recently could have occurred between regular inspections. Seams parting, flashing problems, and blisters are the most common. These smaller issues can generally be repaired rather than replacing the entire roof.
Commercial Flat Roof Replacement in Toronto
When it comes time to put on an entirely new roof, you will need to decide on the best products to use.
• Built-Up Roof (BUR) – Using layers of tar, asphalt or fiber or fiberglass, it is topped with a substance. A roofer can use crushed stone, river rock, artificial mulch or other material. Today it is sold in rolls with the asphalt and fiberglass, or felt, sandwiched together. Using heat or a chemical, it is applied to the surface. Heat is the most common method but there are some products that come as self-adhesive.
• Membrane – There are a number of synthetics or natural products that make up this type of roof. Commonly the base is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This comes in a solid sheet and can be applied with a cement-like product or it comes self-adhesive. This is a more contemporary product, easier to install and theoretically longer lasting. They are higher in cost, more difficult to repair, and extremely difficult to remove if you need to build a new roof.
If the roof is not repairable and it is time for a new roof to go on, there are two ways of going about it. The first is tear away, or tear off, where the existing roof is removed entirely and a new roof is installed. The other option is to place a new roof over the existing one.
• Tear Away – It is a significant amount of work to remove adhered roofs whether they are membrane or layers of asphalt. The stiffness that made the roof so good is now difficult to remove. It takes heat to make the material malleable enough to pry off. This is more expensive but at the same time better because you are not just adding another layer.
• Adding A New Roof – The alternative is to make all the necessary repairs and then lay a new roof on top. Eventually you will need to strip the entire roof down and if this method has been used in the past, it may not be feasible. At some point, this will not work and you will need to go down to bare bones.
The decision to repair or replace is not easy. Some of the things to consider is current age and projected future lifespan. Repairs are usually cutting the blisters and reapplying adhesive and following with caulking. Any open seams need to have additional tar and sealant. Flashings are pretty easy to replace.
Replace the Roof
If you are definitely going to replace the entire roof, solicit at least three bids and look at the different types of materials. Consider each’s projected lifespan, overall cost (including labor), and maintenance for the new roof.
• PVC – This is more expensive than a single-ply, commercial product but it does have its benefits. It is resistant to impact damage and cracking. It is low maintenance and has a long lifespan.
• Metal – While it is the most expensive because of the cost of the metal itself and the labor to install it properly. However, it also has the longest lifespan, is incredibly durable and won’t crack. Its downside is that it is susceptible to leaks at the seams and edges.
• TPO – Thermoplastic Polyolefin is a single-ply roofing membrane. It is a single layer of synthetics and reinforcements. These are white roofs that are energy efficient, a lifespan of about 10 to 20 years, and require less maintenance. The seams are usually heat welded to prevent leaks.
• Modified Bitumen – This is an asphalt membrane and has shown to be susceptible to cracks and blisters. The upside is that it is very inexpensive. It only has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, but if a new roof is necessary and you anticipate an upturn in business in the future, it would make a pretty good stop gap.
It is a major expense to maintain the building and careful consideration needs to be given to this decision. Make sure you contact a commercial flat roof replacement team in Toronto for help today.