Do I Need a New Industrial or Commercial Flat Roof?

Do I Need a New Roof

Modern membranes for industrial or commercial flat roofs are designed to last for a long time—but not forever. There comes a time when every building owner or property manager asks, “Do I need a new industrial or commercial flat roof?” In some cases, repair work is enough. However, the truth remains that every roof will eventually need replacement. The question is how to know whether or not a complete replacement is necessary.

One thing is certain. Your roof’s problems will only become bigger the longer you wait to act on repairs on a roof that is no longer functional. It’s best to understand which path to take earlier rather than later so you can schedule the work and budget for the expense. The information below can help you determine the likelihood of replacement or repair, at which point you can contact a qualified roofer so you can arrange for inspection, advice, scheduling, financing, planning, and scheduling.

Important Questions About Commercial Flat Roof Repair Versus Replace

There are many factors to consider about whether to repair or replace your industrial or commercial roof. While you shouldn’t make this decision without consulting a professional roofer, you ought to first talk to your internal team to help you prepare for this conversation. 

Some critical questions to ask include:

 What is the extent of the damage on the flat roof?

If the damage is limited to a small area, but most of the commercial flat roof appears to be in good condition, repairs may help you extend the roof’s life, save money and avoid disruption to your business. However, a good rule of thumb is that replacing a roof is more cost-effective than repairs if the damage covers 20 percent or more of replacement cost. Severe damage may include structural weakness, wet insulation, and previous repairs that no longer keep the premises dry inside. 


Do I Need a New Commercial Flat Roof? Blog Image.


 Is the damage affecting business operations?

The extent of the damage is one main factor. Another is the location of the damage and its effect on critical business operations, uptime, inventory, or expensive equipment. If repairs in these areas are not holding up and you keep incurring damages, a complete replacement or similar alternative may be necessary. Wet insulation also decreases the efficiency of roof insulation by a significant amount resulting in higher energy costs.

How long do you plan to hold the building?

If you plan to own the commercial building for just the next few years and the damage is only moderate, the best solution may be repairing the roof and doing maintenance work to meet code inspections and ensure safety during that time frame.  On the other hand, roofs are often an issue in due diligence inspections and a roof replacement can sometimes cause a prospective purchaser to walk away from the negotiation table.

What type of membrane is on your industrial roof?

While the exact lifespan of each type of roof varies, manufacturers have warranties and guidelines for flat roof replacement. In general, most types of roofs last around 20-25+ years, but it depends on many factors. Some of the main factors are proper installation, preventive maintenance, number of roof layers, swift repairs, weather, type and thickness of insulation, and ventilation.


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Some specific factors to explore when determining if you need to replace your commercial or industrial roof and if it falls about the 20 percent factor mentioned earlier include:

External Factors 

Damage over the entire roof membrane caused by inclement weather such as hail storms, fire, freeze/thaw damage, UV rays of the sun, a fallen tree or object(s), damage by other trades using the roof as a working platform and other external factors.


external damage


Water Damage and Mold 

Moisture and water damage from leaks, snow, wet insulation, and other factors can extend far beyond the visible wet spot to a good portion of the roof, as well as floors, walls, and ceilings. Moisture, condensation, and leaks can also cause mold or mildew, which may result in health issues.  


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Sagging Roof

A sagging roofline can signal leaks that compromise the roof’s integrity. It may be possible to repair the compromised area unless the damage is severe and has implications for the entire roof structure.  

Blistering and Bubbles

Bubbles or blisters may indicate an underlying problem that can be repaired. However, recurring blisters may indicate that the entire roof membrane is damaged.


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If you spot any of the signs above or other suspicious elements on a roof, contact a professional commercial roofer for inspection, repair, or re-roofing. Scheduling roof inspections after every storm can ensure no damages occur.

Inspection and Maintenance Extend the Life of Your Commercial Flat Roof

Your commercial flat roof may look okay to the untrained eye. However, only a professional roofer can thoroughly identify problems caused by leaks, aging, structural weakness, a damaged membrane, and other potentially serious issues. A trustworthy roofer can advise you on the best course of action given your situation and the roof’s condition. Repairs may take care of problems, but ultimately, you may better protect your investment by replacing the roof. Contact Elite Roofing, the experts in the Toronto area, for a complete roof inspection or to schedule maintenance and repairs.