What To Do With That Old Metal Roof?

Metal roofing dates back to about 1000 B.C. when a temple in Jerusalem was built with a copper roof. Later on in human history, metal roofs caught on in certain parts of the world, like the Virgin Islands, and were effective for several reasons. They were strong enough to resist earthquakes, dramatic heat, and tropical hurricane winds. They also had an appealing look to them, which as we know, is very important in the design of structures.

Most people don’t know that there are really two types of standing seam metal roofs: architectural and structural. Architectural are those you can see from the ground. They are aesthetic in design and intended to look good on the building.

Architectural Standing Seam Roof

Structural standing seam roofs are flat/low-sloped roof decks that are intended to be more functional than aesthetic.

Structural Standing Seam Roof, Before and After Duro-Shield Metal Retrofit Installation

Modern metal roofs are among some of the most practical and long lasting available. They offer great security and protection to the building, and they are usually a reliable and worry free long-term choice. However time catches up with everything and rusted roof decks and leaks may start to compromise the building’s integrity.

With over 60 billion square feet of metal roofing in place in the United States and two billion more installed each year, that adds up to a lot of leaks – and a lot of money spent fighting them. When the integrity of the structural metal roof deteriorates, membrane retrofit solutions can provide a better option than replacing the metal roof or continuing to repair it. Membrane retrofits are a cost-effective, single-ply roofing solution that can usually be installed directly over existing metal roofs.


Duro-Shield Metal Retrofit Roofing System

We offer the Duro-Shield Metal Retrofit Roofing System to protect the building against rain, temperature changes, interior drips, ice build-up, as well as rust and corrosion. Our prefabricated membrane is custom designed to fit the metal roof exactly, and is assembled in our factory, eliminating 80-85% of rooftop installation labor. This solution keeps Mother Nature outside, while your inventory, equipment, and workers stay safe and dry inside.

Roof Dilemma: Maintain or Replace?

Is roof replacement a better option than maintaining it when the roof’s watertight integrity – its primary function – fails? In other words, at what point do roof leaks become intolerable, and it’s time to replace the roof?

Think about how roof leaks can affect the bottom line:

  • Interior damage: To ceiling tiles, carpet, computers, gymnasium floors that could cost $500,000 to replace.
  • Production downtime: Shutting a line down for a day could cost thousands of dollars in lost productivity.
  • Lost business: Roof leaks at a four-star hotel can make the priciest rooms unavailable for guests.

Delaying roof replacement can add costs to a new roof project once the decision to replace it is made. Ineffective and inconsistent patching and other maintenance can allow water to penetrate the membrane and cause irreparable damage to roof system components, including insulation and the roof deck itself. Here are some potential added-cost considerations:

  • Tear off – add $1-2 per square foot.
  • Roof deck replacement – add $2.50-6.00.
  • Asbestos removal (possible for some older facilities) – add 10% or more.

The roof contributes – on average – 5% to the construction cost of a building, but is the most litigated component of a commercial building.

Building owners/managers should use their experience to establish a projected average service life of roofs. Several factors will influence a roof’s service life: design quality, installation integrity, products, maintenance, roof use, and weather.

Here’s an example: If you manage a million square feet of roofing that has a projected life expectancy of 20-30 years, you might consider budgeting to replace 1/20 or 5% (50,000 square feet) per year. If the average installation cost is $5 per square foot, look to budget $250,000 each year.

So when you are deciding between maintaining or replacing, look at your annual maintenance costs and if they are exceeding what your annual new roof budget is, it may be time to replace.


The Art Of Specifying A New Or Replacement Roofing System

Putting a new roof on a building is a major undertaking. Assembling the right team to plan and carry out the project can help ensure that the job proceeds smoothly, and that the finished product looks and performs up to expectations.

Who’s Involved?

An important first step is determining who to include in the decision-making process. While the exact titles will vary with each project, two individuals or groups are key. One is the employee most familiar with the current roof, any problems it’s been experiencing, and the solutions that have been used.

Not surprisingly, it’s also helpful to include the individual who will have final approval over the decisions to install the roof and the amount to be spent. Depending on the company, this individual may be the facility manager, building owner, purchasing manager, company owner, or head of finance.

In addition, roofing systems slated for installation on new construction often require the input of an architect or designer. Including them early on in the process helps ensure that all concerns are addressed up-front.

Another key member of the roofing team is, of course, the contractor chosen to install the roof. Facilities professionals evaluating contractors should consider the experience each contractor has with different roofing systems.

The Contractor’s and Manufacturer’s Roles

Before re-roofing begins, the contractor should complete a thorough investigation of the current roof and determine what, if any, problems have arisen.

The contractor also should ask the building owner or manager about any constraints the installers might face, such as, if there are times during which the noise that accompanies a roofing job would interfere with building operations.

Building owners and managers should also stay in contact with the manufacturer of the roofing system. If the contractor that installed the roof retires, for example, the manufacturer should be able to help the building owner locate another one.

Other Considerations

When a new roof is installed, the initial cost typically is top of mind for most building owners and managers. However, there are other costs that facilities managers should factor into roofing decisions. The warranty also plays a key role in the overall costs of the roof. What does it cover and what does it exclude? Some warranties cover damage to a building’s interior that results from a leaking roof, while others don’t.

Equally important to consider are the ongoing roof maintenance costs and its expected life. The less it costs to maintain a roof and the longer it lasts, of course, the lower the overall cost will be.

Assembling the right team, keeping the lines of communication open, and considering both the initial and long-term costs of different roofing systems help ensure a successful roofing project.

It’s October – Will Your Roof Survive The Winter?

If your commercial building is in need of a new roof, there is still plenty of good weather to complete the process. Often, the need for a new roof is forgotten during the drier summer months, but as the end of the year approaches and cooler, wetter weather sets in, building owners and managers should consider whether their roofs will be able to outlast another winter.

Now is the perfect time to evaluate the integrity of your roofing system. In the fall, leaves, branches, and debris often collect on a roof and clog drains and vents, causing water to pond and possibly damage the roof. It’s a good idea to take a roofing expert – perhaps a local contractor you can trust (get references) – up on the roof to help you determine whether to repair or replace it.

If you decide to replace your roof, the Duro-Last roofing system is formulated so it can be installed with top-quality results during the marginal weather that affects much of the country in the last quarter of the year. A Duro-Last installation does not require a specific daytime temperature range, and is not affected by humidity variations.

If you need a contractor, we have relationships with local roofers across North America. If you are already working with a roofing contractor on a new Duro-Last installation you still have plenty of time to complete the process and get the roof installed before the arrival of harsher weather in the first quarter of the year.

Performing a little rooftop “due diligence” now could prevent the formation of a bucket brigade inside your building next spring.<-->