An area rarely looks as beautiful as when it’s blanketed in a fresh snowfall but that pristine white coating of snow can have sinister effects on the roof of your commercial building.
Unlike residential roofs, which can count on their slope and gravity to help lighten their load, snow on a flat or low-slope commercial roof isn’t going anywhere. And while snowflakes may feel fluffy and insubstantial when you catch them on your tongue, in large quantities they can quickly become far heavier than your commercial roof can handle.
So just how heavy can snow get? Well, 1 foot of light, powdery snow on your commercial roof adds about 5 pounds per square foot to its total load. That doesn’t sound like much until you do the math and realize that, for a 10,000 sq. ft. roof, that’s an additional 25 tons of snow load to support!
A foot of heavier, wetter snow can add 10-20 lbs per square foot (so up to 100 tons of snow for that same 10,000 sq. ft. roof) and a foot of snow that’s been through one or more freeze/thaw cycles can add as much as 60 lbs per square foot. That’s 300 TONS of snow on our hypothetical roof!
So what can you do to protect your roof from this dangerous additional weight? Well, as with most things concerning your commercial roof, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That’s why our first recommendation is to have your roof inspected by a professional in the fall. This way any vulnerabilities or problem areas can be addressed before severe weather hits.
You’ll also want to check out the areas surrounding your roof for potential hazards. Anything that could present a threat to your roof in the event of high winds or the addition of ice or snow (trees with dead or low-hanging branches for example) should be taken care of before they get the chance to cause damage.
The next step in preparing your commercial roof for a rough winter is to be sure you have a snow monitoring and removal plan in place before the season starts. And, by this, we mean a plan that involves roofing professionals. Not your building’s janitorial staff or the snow removal service you hired to do your grandmother’s driveway for her!
Unless these folks can prove they have the proper training for working specifically on commercial roofs, we’re talking about hiring actual commercial roofing professionals for your building’s snow removal needs. It’s imperative, for both the integrity of your roof and the safety of the removal crew, that your commercial roof’s snow load be addressed by people who understand the unique materials beneath all the white stuff.
Workers who are unfamiliar with the ins and outs of commercial roofing materials run the risk of damaging them by using tools like metal shovels or ice picks or even by wearing improper footwear. Removing the additional weight from your commercial roof won’t do you much good if your roof looks like a pincushion when you’re done!
Hiring non-experts can also leave you exposed financially, first by running the risk of voiding your warranty and second by increasing the likelihood of injury. Workers may be unfamiliar with the slippery nature of some commercial roofing materials and the proper safety precautions they may require, putting them at greater risk of an accident.
Most commercial roofing contractors offer winter maintenance and snow removal services. Calling a trusted roofing professional is the smartest (and safest) way to lighten your roof’s load without risking damage to it and your wallet.
Our final recommendation is to be proactive and review your roof’s insurance coverage and warranty information ahead of time. This information should be stored together, along with the contact information for your commercial roofing professional, and kept in an easily accessible location.
Winter roofing emergencies can catch you by surprise. By reviewing your coverage ahead of time and knowing where to easily find the documents and contact information you need, you’ll be less panicked if an emergency does arise. It also gives you the opportunity to catch any gaps in coverage before it’s too late to fix them!
Winter can be a tough time for a commercial roof but these simple preparations are your best bet for avoiding negative outcomes from harsh weather. If you don’t already have plans in place like the ones mentioned here, there’s no better time to start than today!
A commercial roof is a significant financial investment so it’s no wonder that the building owners we speak to would often do almost anything to avoid a complete replacement.
One of the best ways an owner can protect their investment is by having a professional crew install a commercial coating over their existing roof.
Commercial coatings create a seamless barrier that keeps the elements out and precious utilities in, while also extending the lifespan of the roof by up to 30 years.
The History of Commercial Coatings
Building owners that are unfamiliar with commercial roof coatings may balk at the idea of trusting their investment to an unknown product but commercial coatings have been proving their value for the last 40 years, with stellar results.
The first elastomeric roof coating was developed in the 1970s by Conklin Roofing Systems and was such a success that it launched an entire product segment devoted to restoring, rather than replacing, commercial roofs.
Today, these formulas have been further refined, making commercial coatings the most cost-effective option on the market for stretching your commercial roofing dollar.
Quick and Easy Application
Commercial coatings can be rolled or sprayed over your existing roof with minimal disruption to your daily operations. The process is much quieter than a full replacement and far quicker too, averaging 4-5 days for a 20,000 sq. ft. roof. The average replacement time for the same roof is 2-3 weeks!
The reflective properties and airtight seal of commercial coatings translate to additional energy savings on your monthly utility bills and reduced heat island effect for the building’s surrounding area. Damaging UV rays are reflected back into the atmosphere instead of being absorbed by your roof and costly heated or cooled air stays where you want it: inside. It’s not unheard of for a commercial coating to pay for itself in saved utility costs over time. Often in as little as 7 years!
Commercial coatings are an ideal solution to the wear and tear that threatens the integrity of your roof. Problems like leaking seams, rusted or rotted fasteners, and roof membrane deterioration can all spell disaster for your commercial roof if left unaddressed.
By restoring your roof with an elastomeric commercial coating you’ll not only avoid future trouble from these issues but reinforce every square foot of your roof, providing it with protection from the elements for years to come.
The environmental benefits of commercial coatings don’t end at simply reducing your building’s energy usage and the subsequent heat island effect it may cause.
Environmental advocates recommend using what you already have when aiming to reduce your ecological impact. Applying a commercial coating over your existing roof makes the most of the roof you’ve got. By saving a building from at least one (if not several) reroofings, commercial coatings prevent (literally) TONS of waste from ending up in landfills.
Reapplication and Warranty
Conklin’s commercial coatings are designed to allow for multiple applications over time. They’re more than a simple stopgap between your commercial roof and the full replacement you’re trying to avoid. With proper maintenance and reapplication, commercial coatings can help your roof outlive the building it covers!
Conklin also backs their coatings with non-prorated warranties, something that’s practically unheard of in the roofing industry. These warranties protect your investment and sometimes result in the coating paying for itself! How’s that for value?
Conklin’s outstanding warranties are a large part of why River Run Roofing partners with them. Their commitment to their customers, along with their leadership and innovation in the commercial roofing industry, gives us the confidence to recommend them without hesitation to our own clients.
If your commercial roof is showing signs of wear and tear and you dread the thought of replacing it altogether, consider asking your contractor about applying a commercial coating. It could be the perfect way to buy your roof another 20-30 years, at half the cost of a complete replacement and installed in half the time!
No building owner wants to hear their commercial roof needs repaired or replaced. It’s expensive, time-consuming, and overwhelming, all for something you don’t even really think about most of the time. But just because it’s out of sight doesn’t mean it should be out of mind.
Keeping your commercial roof in good shape is key to protecting your bottom line. Not only does letting your commercial roof fall into disrepair open you up to huge liability risks in the case of an accident, it can also cause your utility costs to skyrocket due to energy-inefficiency.
So now that you know that maintaining your commercial roof is in the best interest of your budget, how do you go about choosing a commercial roofing contractor? We’ll give you 5 steps to help you choose a reliable contractor, along with the #1 thing you MUST do before signing on the dotted line.
Step 1: Shop Local
Sticking with contractors who are based in your area has several benefits. A business with a permanent physical address (a P.O. Box doesn’t count!) in your community will be far more likely to be invested in their reputation within that community.
A local address also means they’re less likely to be running a scam. Scammers can’t do what they do if you know where to find them. That’s why they often use a P.O. Box or an unverifiable out-of-town address for their “business.”
While verifying a company’s local address requires more than a simple Google search (and here’s why), it shouldn’t take you more than 5 minutes.
In most places, it’s as simple as finding the website for your Department of State and complete a business entity search. Here’s Pennsylvania’s, for example.
Hiring a local commercial roofer also makes your life easier should your roof need repairs in the future. Having a local contractor who can get to you quickly in the case of an emergency can sometimes be the difference between minor repairs and widespread damage.
Step 2: Get Multiple Quotes
Getting quotes from multiple contractors does more than help you find the lowest bid. It can help you spot deals that are too good to be true.
If the majority of your quotes are in the same ballpark and one comes in significantly lower, it’s a good indicator you should probably examine it more closely. Is the lower quote using subpar materials or come with a more limited warranty?
Chances are the bargain price comes with a trade-off. Having multiple quotes to compare it to will help you pinpoint what that trade-off is.
Step 3: Ask Questions
With a big investment like a commercial roof, it’s almost inevitable that you will have questions for the contractor. But, even if you don’t, ask some anyway.
A contractor that takes the time to thoroughly answer your questions is more likely to apply that same conscientious consideration to their work.
You’re paying good money and trusting them to protect your building. They should be happy to take the time to put your mind at ease!
Step 4: Check References and Online Reviews
Online reviews are a great way to quickly get an idea of what a company might be like to work with. But, for good and bad, they don’t tell the whole story. Stellar reviews can be faked and negative reviews may be biased by circumstances the reviewer conveniently left out.
Taking it a step further by asking for references (we recommend asking for the contact info of at least 5 clients they’ve worked with in the last year), allows you to speak to other business owners who have recent experience with your potential contractor.
Getting reviews and testimonials from multiple sources is a great way to ensure you’re not missing any red flags when it comes to your potential contractor.
Step 5: Ask About Warranties on Their Work
Not offering a warranty on their work is a good sign that the contractor cuts corners and only cares about making a quick buck.
When asking about warranties, be sure to clarify what applies to the materials and what applies to the actual labor. Roofing materials may come with their own warranty from their manufacturer so be sure to ask if the contractor provides a separate warranty covering their own work.
While what is included may vary from business to business, a contractor that cares about the quality of their work and their reputation among former clients should offer some sort of warranty on their projects.
The #1 Thing You Must Do Before Signing a Contract: Ask for Proof That They’re Licensed, Bonded, and Insured
Maybe you’re in a hurry to get your roofing project underway and feel like taking a risk on a contractor you haven’t fully vetted. We’ve all had times where we just can’t research a decision as much as we’d like before pulling the trigger.
If that is the case, the one thing you absolutely MUST do before signing a contract is asking for proof that they’re licensed, bonded and insured.
Any reputable contractor should have no problem providing this proof. If they do, it’s a giant red flag that you should not be signing with them.
Licensing requirements differ by state and county so you should check on what the requirements are for your location and be sure anyone you let touch your commercial roof meets them.
Being bonded and insured means you, the customer, are protected if an accident occurs while they’re working on your building or if the contractor doesn’t meet the terms of their contract.
The last thing you want is to be stuck with the bill if someone gets hurt, or left in the lurch if the project isn’t completed as promised. This simple step protects you from both scenarios and is well worth the time it takes to make it, even when you’re in a rush!
Are you a Central PA business owner on the hunt for a reputable commercial roofer? We’d love to answer your questions! Contact us today!
By September, your commercial roof has already been through the wringer for the year. It stood up to the frigid temperatures, snow, and ice of late winter, the rain and hail of spring, and the pounding heat of summer. After all of that stress, the best thing you can do for it is to have it inspected by a professional.
Your commercial roof is the workhorse of your building’s envelope (the seal that keeps moisture and the elements outside where they belong). Keeping it in good condition is the key to avoiding many headaches as a building owner. Annual or semi-annual inspections by a commercial roofing specialist are the easiest way to maintain your roof’s integrity and spot problems before they start.
It’s never a BAD time to have your commercial roof inspected but there are a few reasons fall is the PERFECT time for it. First let’s talk about the year-round reasons regular inspections are the smart choice:
- Having a professional assess the condition of your roof and recommend any necessary actions BEFORE you’re faced with a roofing emergency will allow you the time to research and choose the contractor that’s right for you, instead of being forced to accept the contractor that can get to you the soonest. Don’t put yourself in a position to make a rushed choice!
- Having your roof assessed before serious problems occur also protects the rest of your building from damage. It’s far better to deal with the minor inconvenience of a roof repair or replacement than to also have to coordinate repairs for the interior of your building due to water damage from a leak, or worse.
As we mentioned, having roof inspections and subsequent work done in the fall comes with benefits you won’t find at other times of the year. Here’s why:
The benefits for commercial roofing in autumn mostly boil down to the weather. Fall temperatures and weather conditions are ideal for both commercial roofing materials and the professionals that install them.
Obviously, roofers have to take storm forecasts into account before beginning any work. Nobody wants their building to be caught in the rain without its hat! Less inclement weather in the fall means fewer delays to the start and completion of your project.
Being the coolest and driest season means fall is also ideal for the roofers themselves. Being able to work all day without worrying about heat exhaustion or frostbite means roofers can work faster and longer in autumn than at any other time of year. This translates to projects being completed quickly, with less inconvenience to businesses within the building.
Autumn’s moderate temperatures provide ideal conditions for commercial roofing materials, as well. Some commercial roofing systems, like EPDM, can’t be installed in temperatures below 40 degrees because the adhesives used won’t seal properly in frigid temps. If the work on your commercial roof requires adhesives, installing in autumn gives any thermal seals the time they need to fully settle and become airtight before harsh winter conditions put them to the test.
Whether the commercial roofing professional that inspects your roof recommends repairs, a commercial coating, a full replacement, or gives you the all-clear, knowing where you stand before you head into winter will give you immense peace of mind. Have you scheduled your roof’s fall check-up? If not, call us today!