Commercial Roof Restoration vs. Replacement: Which Should You Choose?

December 8th, 2021 Commercial Roofing

roofers repairing commercial roof

Maintaining a commercial property can be a complicated process. Just keeping the lights on, the building heated, the plumbing working, and the Internet connected can be enough to keep a building owner or property manager busy year-round. However, the ultimate test of your building’s health lies in its ability to withstand the conditions of the outside world.

Your building is getting older every year, and so is its roof. Most commercial roofs have a 15 to 30-year life expectancy. If you’re coming up on that deadline or are worried about your roof already, you may need roof restoration or replacement.

Roof Restoration vs. Replacement: What’s the Difference?

  • Roof restoration is more than just performing roof repairs. While repairing damage can be part of restoration, the actual restoration process essentially “revitalizes” an old or inadequate existing roof using modern roofing materials and technology.
  • If the damage or wear and tear is significant, a thorough roof inspection will need to be completed by roofing contractors to ensure a roof can be, or is economically worth, restoring instead of replacing.
  • Roof replacement is the removal and replacement of part or all of a building’s entire roof. A complete roof replacement is exactly what it sounds like.

Should You Choose Commercial Roof Restoration or Replacement?

Let’s say you’re looking for service for your commercial roofing in Dover, DE. Before you contact a commercial roofing contractor in the area, you’ll need to decide if you will choose commercial roof restoration or replacement. Here’s a handy guide to help you make up your mind.

When to Consider Roof Restoration

You want to fix surface damage to your roof

“Surface damage” on the roof of your building is often what makes it look old or worn. If your roof is otherwise in good shape, but you have a few damaged spots or want to address wear and tear before it becomes worse, restoration might be what you need.

You need the roofing process to be minimally disruptive

Are you operating a bustling business with lots of foot traffic? Do you need to keep the building’s doors open to ensure you meet your bottom line? If keeping your building accessible throughout the construction process is important to you, consider roof restoration. Because it involves improvements to your existing roof, restoration is less disruptive than if a roofing contractor replaces your roof entirely. This means you will be able to keep your building open and/or accessible throughout more of the process.

You have a metal roof already

Metal roofs are some of the longest-lasting roofs on the market due to their durability and quality. If your building has a metal roof, you may be able to take advantage of that when it’s time for repairs. Metal roofs still age and/or lose structural integrity, however, and a metal roof that is too damaged can still require complete replacement.

You’re seeking a budget-friendly option

The sticker cost of roof restoration is lower than roof repair, and sometimes the more budget-friendly option is the only one you can choose. If your roof can survive with restoration, it can save you some money short term, especially if you spend a lot of time buying or selling property. If you don’t intend to own the building longer than 10 to 15 years and your roof’s damage is minimal, consider commercial roof restoration vs. replacement.

You want to make minor aesthetic improvements

While restoration can’t make your roof sloped if it’s flat or the other way around, it can make your building look newer and more polished. Small aesthetic improvements can and do make a big difference for your roof.

You want to extend the life of your existing roof a while longer

During the restoration process, commercial roofing contractors often add a “coat” or “seal” to your roof in order to increase its protective capabilities. This can extend the life of your roof for several more years and reduce some of the conditions that caused it to need restoration in the first place.

When to Consider Roof Replacement

Your roof has structural damage

In order to decide when a roof is too damaged to restore or repair, roofing contractors operate off of a rough standard of 25%. That is, if the roof is more than 25% damaged, you will likely need a replacement. Sagging or denting, cracks visible from inside the house, and broken or weakened support beams are all signs you can see that might mean you’re overdue for a roof replacement.

Contractors will also examine the roof’s membrane, which is the last line of defense between you and the weather. If the damage goes down to the membrane, the roof most likely cannot be restored, and you are in need of commercial roof replacement services.

Your roof’s insulation is wet

Insulation is the next layer in your roofing system after the membrane. Wet insulation indicates the damage to the roof has passed the membrane and is beginning to penetrate the actual structure of the building. The reason insulation exists is to repel energy. However, when it is wet, it absorbs energy, meaning you’re paying more in energy bills as your heating and cooling systems struggle to maintain effectiveness. Energy bills might not be the only bills you’re saddled with, either. Over time, wet insulation can cause water damage to the entire framework of the building, including the walls, floors, and support structures.

Your neighbors are having their roofs replaced

Take a look at the buildings around your property and see how their roofs are doing, especially buildings that are structurally similar to or the same age as your own. It’s not about keeping up with the Joneses; it’s about monitoring what could be going on out of your sight. Whatever weather or age-related damage buildings near you have been exposed to is also damage that your building might have experienced. If multiple buildings near you are having their roofs replaced, this can be a clue that it’s time to replace yours.

You have recurring problems with your roof

If your roof keeps leaking after repeated coats of sealing, or you feel like all you do is schedule the next repair for your roof, you might be spending more money on roof restoration/repair than you would on roof replacement. Anyone who’s ever heard the phrase “money pit” understands that choosing between commercial roof restoration or replacement isn’t always a simple decision. Sometimes, it can be more affordable to invest in a total replacement than to keep repairing a perpetual problem.

You want to make large aesthetic improvements

Do you want to change the entire structure of your roof? The safest and most structurally sound way to do it is starting over entirely instead of potentially weakening or building off of what already exists and could be old or unstable. Commercial roof repair or restoration also might not be enough because if you’re merely changing what already exists, you can’t start from a blank slate when designing the roof of your dreams.

You want to be sure your roof will withstand another 20-30+ years

While restoration can extend the lifespan of an existing roof, a complete replacement ensures that you have the newest protection and technology that is guaranteed to last you 20+ years after your investment. Many commercial buildings have flat roofs, and flat roofing can age poorly over time, especially when exposed to foot traffic or water buildup. While modified bitumen roofs can still be an affordable and reasonable choice, some older modified bitumen roofs from the late 90s and early 2000s do not have the protective qualities available on the market today.

You want to help the planet

Replacing your roof using more eco-friendly materials and methods can help you lower your building’s carbon footprint, not to mention your energy bills. Older buildings’ roofs were not built with the changing future of the climate in mind, but current roofing trends consider environmentally conscious consumers.

Investing in protecting your building’s roof is a common-sense decision for any building owner or property manager. Whether you’ll be choosing commercial roof restoration or replacement, consider Lane Roofing & Exteriors the next time you’re seeking services for commercial roofing in Dover, DE, or the surrounding areas.

Still unsure if you need restoration/repair or replacement? We offer assessment services, which combine a full inspection of your roof with our contractors’ recommendations for what your roof might need. Based on our assessment, your goals, and your budget, our team will inform you about the next steps you should take. Get in touch with us today!

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