Frequently Asked Roofing Questions

The professionals at RoofConnect understand that maintaining the roof over your business is critically important, and we know you likely have many questions about the process. As a leading commercial roofing company in the United States for over 20 years, we have helped hundreds of business owners protect their assets and properties by keeping their roofs in excellent condition.

We hope that the information, guidance, and resources provided will help you and your business make informed decisions regarding your commercial roofing needs. We know how stressful any issues with your property can be, and we want to provide trusted expertise. Please feel free to explore all of our FAQs, and don’t hesitate to reach out with any additional questions. Our knowledgeable commercial roofing specialists are always happy to discuss any project and provide recommendations tailored to your unique situation and needs.

How many years do I have left on my old commercial roof?

To best estimate the remaining years on your commercial roof, you’ll need to know the roof type, age, maintenance history, location, usage levels and quality of installation. A professional roof inspection can also help determine its condition and lifespan. Regular inspections are recommended to catch problems early. Contact our office with more specific information and we’ll gladly provide you with more detailed information.

How soon can you start?

Our skilled roofing crews can often start within a few days or weeks of your call, depending on the project scope, permitting needs, and our current schedule. We want to help restore your roof as soon as possible. Contact us today to get started as soon as possible.

What about building permits?

Building permits are likely needed if your roofing project involves structural changes or extensive repairs. We will submit the required permits and handle the entire permitting process for you, ensuring you have peace of mind.

Are you licensed and insured?

RoofConnect is fully licensed, bonded, and insured for liability and workers’ compensation coverage. We meet or exceed all state roofing contractor requirements.

What is the most common type of commercial roof?

EPDM rubber is the most common commercial roofing material. It is durable, versatile, and cost-effective. Other common commercial roofs include built-up (BUR), modified bitumen, thermoplastic, and thermoplastic olefin (TPO) membranes.

What is the best roofing for commercial roofs?

TPO is an excellent commercial roofing choice with a lifespan of 20+ years. It stands up to weather, resists chemicals and UV rays, and has excellent seam strength. Other top commercial roofing options include metal, PVC, and modified bitumen.

How many layers does a commercial roof have?

Commercial roofs are often multi-layer systems with up to five layers. These include the structural deck, insulation, vapor barrier, waterproof membrane, and, optionally, a protective top layer. Multi-ply assemblies enhance durability.

What are most commercial flat roofs made of?

TPO and PVC membranes are common for commercial flat roofs today. Modified bitumen and EPDM are also widely used. Built-up roofs with alternating bitumen and ply sheets were more popular in the past but are still seen on older buildings.

What is the longest-lasting flat roof material?

Copper has the longest-lasting flat roof lifespan, typically 40-70+ years. Lead is also extremely durable. Among single-ply membranes, thermoplastics like TPO and PVC last 25-30+ years. Modified bitumen can also endure 15-30 years.

What type of roof is most expensive?

Slate and clay tile roofs are the most expensive roofing types. Copper and zinc are also premium materials. Asphalt shingles are the most budget-friendly. Generally, the higher the cost, the more durable and longer-lasting the material.

What is the strongest, longest-lasting commercial roof?

Overall, PVC and EPDM are often considered the longest-lasting commercial roofing materials, with expected lifespans of 30-50+ years with proper installation and maintenance. The specific climate, building usage, budget, and desired warranty length also help determine the best roofing system. Regular maintenance is key for any commercial roof.

What is the best flat roof to have?

TPO is an excellent flat roof choice, offering durability, longevity, and reliable waterproofing. Other top options are PVC and modified bitumen, which also have long lifespans. Fully adhered thermoplastic systems make the strongest flat roof assemblies.

What is the strongest commercial roofing material?

Metal and TPO are often considered the strongest and most durable commercial roofing materials, with the longest lifespans. But factors like climate, roof slope, and budget also impact the best choice. A roofing contractor can advise on the optimal material for a specific commercial building.

What is the strongest roof shape for a commercial roof?

Hip roofs tend to be the strongest shape for commercial buildings. The combination of evenly sloped sides and angled design allows hip roofs to withstand heavy loads from snow, wind, and rain. The best option depends on the size and specific needs of the commercial space.

What is the life expectancy of a commercial roof?

With proper installation and maintenance, a commercial roof can be expected to last anywhere from 10 years (for cheap materials) up to 30+ years for high-quality materials and ideal conditions. Many roof warranties range from 10-20 years. But the roof will need periodic inspection, maintenance and repair during its lifespan.

What goes on a commercial roof?

Common rooftop elements on commercial buildings include HVAC equipment like air conditioners, vents and fans, skylights, smoke hatches, service doors, solar panels or green roofs, lightning protection, communications equipment, signage, and architectural features. These elements on your commercial roof make it imperative to hire a trusted roofing contractor with years of commercial roofing experience.

How thick is a commercial roof?

A typical commercial roof assembly is 1.5 “-7” thick. This includes layers like insulation, cover board, vapor retarder, waterproof barrier, and protective top layer. Thickness depends on insulation needs, roof traffic, and codes. Lightweight options can be as thin as 1/2”. Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roofing membranes are produced in rolls at standard widths of 4, 6, 10, and 12 feet. The thickness of the TPO membrane is measured in mils, with common options being 45, 60, and 90 mils thick. (1-mil = 0.001 inches).

What are the different types of roofing materials?

Common roofing materials include shingles, metal, tile, slate, EPDM, TPO, PVC, modified bitumen, built-up roofing (BUR), wood shakes/shingles, thermoplastics, and commercial single-ply membranes. Each has pros and cons.

When is the best time of year to get a new roof installed?

The best time for roof replacement is late spring to early fall, when the weather tends to be milder and drier. Avoid winter temperatures or extreme heat. Coordinate around the rainy season and storm peaks, too.

How do I find and choose a reliable roofer or roofing company?

Get 3-4 recommendations and check sites like BBB, Google Business Profiles, and Angi. Confirm licensing, insurance, warranties, and experience. Ask about workmanship guarantees. Check reviews and contact references to help find an established, reputable roofer.

What questions should I ask potential roofers before hiring them?

Key questions for roofers include: Are you licensed locally? How long have you been in business? Can I see a portfolio? Do you offer written estimates? What manufacturers and materials do you use? Do you provide a workmanship warranty? Can I have references to call?

What is the process for filing an insurance claim for roof damage?

First, document damage with photos/video. Contact your insurance company to start a roof claim and provide evidence. They will send an adjuster to inspect your roof. Get multiple repair estimates if approved. Read all paperwork carefully and advocate for your claim as needed.

How can I tell if my roof has storm, wind, or hail damage?

Here are some tips for checking if your commercial roof has storm, wind, or hail damage:

  • Look for missing, cracked, or broken shingles/tiles. Storms can tear shingles off the roof or crack them by blowing debris into them.
  • Inspect flashings around vents, skylights, and chimneys. Storm damage often tears or dislodges flashings, allowing leaks.
  • Check for punctures or soft spots in the roof membrane. Hail can puncture through shingles and membranes, while wind suction can create soft spots.
  • Look for water stains or moisture on ceiling tiles or walls. This indicates roof leaks that may be caused by storm damage.
  • Inspect roof attachments like HVAC units and vents. Strong winds can tear units loose or bend vents.
  • Note any sagging or bowing roof decking. Wind uplift can warp the roof decking underneath.
  • Take photos documenting any visible damage or defects. This provides proof when filing an insurance claim.
  • Consider getting a professional roof inspection. An expert can check for less visible wind and hail damage, like tiny fractures in shingles.
  • Compare the roof to pre-storm photos if available. New damage will be apparent.

Regularly inspecting and maintaining your commercial roof can help detect damage early before further issues arise.

What are roof venting systems, and why are they important?

Roof vents allow air to circulate, preventing heat and moisture buildup that can cause rot and reduce shingle life. Proper ventilation extends the roof’s lifespan. Common vents are ridge, gable, soffit, and rooftop turbine vents.

How can I make my commercial roof more energy-efficient? What are cool roof options?

Here are some tips for making a commercial roof more energy-efficient with cool roof options:

  • Install a reflective roof coating or membrane. These products reflect sunlight and heat away from the building, reducing cooling costs. Popular options include white thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) membranes and acrylic or elastomeric roof coatings.
  • Consider a vegetated green roof. The plants and soil absorb heat and act as natural insulation, lowering the roof temperature. Green roofs also help manage stormwater runoff.
  • Install reflective shingles or tiles if you have a sloped roof. Look for products made with reflective granules or coatings to reflect sunlight. Metal roofing, like aluminum, is also quite reflective.
  • Add a radiant barrier. A radiant barrier is a thin sheet of aluminum foil that blocks radiant heat transfer in the roof assembly. It can be installed on the underside of the roof deck.
  • Increase roof insulation. Adding insulation above the roof deck will reduce heat flow through the roof. Common types of insulation include rigid foam boards, fiberglass batts, and dense-packed cellulose.
  • Install energy-efficient rooftop HVAC units. Make sure any rooftop HVAC equipment is Energy Star-rated for maximum efficiency. Consider additional shade structures for the units if needed.
  • Maintain the roof regularly to preserve reflectivity and insulation levels. Inspect for damage and recoat reflective surfaces when needed.
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