flat white roof

Roof Restoration May Be Your Better Route Than Replacement

Is your commercial building’s roof leaking? No matter what the cause of the problem, from age to weather-related damage, a single small leak can begin a nightmarish struggle for your business. But, you don’t have to let roof leaks win! And the best news is that your building’s flat or low-sloped metal, EPDM, PVC, or other type material roof can probably be restored instead of totally replaced. Afraid that a leak could mean completely tearing up your roof and replacing it at great expense? We’re here to assure you that this most extreme scenario is likely unnecessary.

There are multiple options for commercial roof restoration depending on what your building’s roof is made out of or how it was originally constructed. Today we’re taking a look at what those options are and how each can effectively stop leaks. Unlike full replacement, all available types of restoration will provide minimal business disruption. They will also last for at least 18 years, and many last even longer. Which option is right for your roof?

Metal Roof Restoration

If your commercial roof is made of metal, a new coating system can restore it to provide excellent protection. By the nature of their material, metal roofs begin to rust over time and develop weak spots, especially along seams, that can lead to potentially widespread moisture infiltration (aka leaks) if not addressed. As many metal roofs cover warehouses filled with valuable inventory for retail and wholesale businesses, leaks can quickly mean ruined products that are unsellable. If your metal roof has not received routine maintenance over the course of its life, leaks are a guarantee in the future. So, what does metal roof restoration entail?

Designed to specifically address those problematic seams, metal roof restoration is heavy on carefully preparing the surface and seams to receive the final coating. In fact, techs will spend most of their time during a metal roof restoration in prep work. Priming to neutralize any existing rust and protect against future rust is the first step followed by caulking every single fastener head and potential weak spot. This thorough process assures that old problems cannot escalate and stops new ones from forming.

The process of waterproofing seams with butyl tape or fabric material is next, and then two layers of base coat are applied to compress the material and assure that a watertight bond is established. Once all of this preparation is in place and base coats are dry, the reflective topcoat is applied. This hardworking final coat may actually save you money on your energy bills in addition to stopping leaks since it reflects the sun’s rays.

Spray Foam System

For flat and low-sloped roofs, no matter what they’re currently made of, polyurethane spray foam (aka SPF) is a restoration option that’s been gaining in popularity in recent decades. It’s guaranteed to be 100% leak-proof when applied by experienced commercial roofing professionals and is backed by a strong warranty on both the product and installation service. Our Spray Foam System here at Unlimited Commercial Roofing has many benefits including its natural reflective and insulative properties that reduce your business’s cooling bills in summer and heating bills in winter. It’s also easy to renew and refresh in the future with additional applications.

The most important part of the restoration process with an SPF system is careful installation. Because of the nature of the material as a sprayed liquid that expands into a foam, your building’s existing roof must be clean and dry to assure proper adhesion. Loose dirt and debris will first be carefully cleaned away by sweeping and vacuuming. Installation can only take place in warm, dry weather on days that are not windy, so depending on forecasts, you may have to wait for the weather to be cooperative before the project can begin. Of course, the durable strength of SPF systems is worth a little patience with the installation process!

Our SPF system is applied in three layers after your roof has been prepared. First, a base layer that’s about an inch thick is applied over the entire roof surface to provide insulation. A coat of acrylic latex comes next, which is followed by a final coat known as Puma XL. Once all three layers are in place, your roof will feature a rigid, waterproof barrier that will last for many years. It’s so sturdy that you can even walk on the entire surface without fear of creating damage or weak spots.

Membrane Coating

If your commercial roof is currently made from some of the most common roofing materials including PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride), TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin), EPDM/Thermoset, another type of single-ply rubber, or modified bitumen, a waterproofing membrane coating may be your best restoration option. It stops leaks and addresses problematic weak spots by creating a seamless protective barrier that gives your roof a new ability to protect against all kinds of weather – even hail. It is also reflective, which will save you real money on cooling costs during hot summer weather.

As with our SPF system, the first step to properly restoring your roof with a membrane coating is creating a surface that promotes strong adhesion. Your roof is thoroughly cleaned before installers begin working on carefully sealing current seams. As we already mentioned, seams on roofs of various types are the weakest points. In the membrane coating restoration process, these are covered with a 5-inch Spunflex fabric that features an embedded base coat and creates a robust and waterproof barrier. After all of this vital prep work is finished, the final, reflective coating is applied directly to the roof.

Single-Ply Membrane

This restoration option goes beyond coatings, which makes it unique from others. Ideal for restoring flat or low-sloped roofs of various types, single-ply membrane is 100% waterproof and leak-preventative, but it features the advantage of being able to be installed in any season. It also performs well in any climate and is particularly resistant to high winds.

The process of installing a single-ply membrane system begins in much the same way as the installation of many coating options – with thoroughly cleaning your roof’s surface to assure that no loose dirt or debris interfere with creating a smooth surface. This is particularly important, as the next step in the installation process is the application of board stock (sheets of wood) to create the best possible substrate for the membrane. The membrane is then applied with precise overlapping of the material to aid in water runoff.

Ponding water on commercial roofs is a common issue, but this method of overlapping the membrane alleviates standing water. While these overlapped areas do create seams in the material, our single-ply membrane restoration system guarantees a watertight seal through use of a robotic seam welding machine. After seams are welded, every single remaining nook and cranny on your roof is carefully sealed with a weatherproofing sealant to assure that water cannot creep in anywhere.

As you can see, there are a wealth of options when it comes to restoring your commercial building’s old roof. Stop dreading the possibility of a total roof replacement and all of the business disruption such a major project will entail and consider the much business-friendlier restoration process. If you’re in our service area in eastern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland, we’ll visit your site and give you an honest assessment of your options, costs, and timeline for installation right away.