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Flat Roof Replacement vs. Repair

Roofer working on flat roof with roofing felt
Your commercial facility has a flat roof. That flat roof has a problem. That leaves you facing a familiar dilemma. Should you repair your roof? Or, is a flat roof replacement a better option?

Flat Roof Repair vs. Flat Roof Replacement

Calling a flat roof flat is technically inaccurate. As The Spruce explains, a flat roof generally has a pitch between 0.25 and 0.50 inches per foot. This is just enough to allow water that lands on the roof to drain. However, it’s small enough that issues in construction or repair can result in real problems, so working with a trusted professional for installation, maintenance, and repairs is vital.

If you do encounter trouble with your flat roof, how do you know whether you should opt for a repair or a replacement? As you weigh your options, it helps to have a basic understanding of the types of flat roofs. Then, you’ll want to explore questions to ask when deciding between flat repair and replacement.

Types of Flat Roofs

All flat roofs aren’t the same. The Craftsman Blog offers a handy overview of the three types of flat roofs:

  • Built-up roof: A BUR roof sandwiches alternating layers of roofing felt and asphalt between an insulating coverboard and a protective gravel top coat. The result is a reliable and cost-effective roof with a lengthy lifespan and great repairability and durability. However, it is heavy.
  • Modified bitumen roof: Modified bitumen roofs use overlapping asphalt-based sheets. These sheets can be either single- or double-ply and either heat-activated or self-adhering. Modified bitumen roofs are tear-resistant and durable. They’re more expensive than BUR, but they’re lighter and easier to install.
  • Single-ply membrane roof: Single-ply membrane roofs include TPO, PVC, and EPDM systems. They all use waterproof sheets crafted from synthetic materials to form a protective barrier. The installations, repair options, and durability standards vary depending on the type of single-ply membrane roof you choose, so you’ll want to do your research carefully.

Questions to Ask When Deciding Between Repair and Replacement

Should you repair or replace the flat roof on your commercial facility? There are several factors to consider, and the countless ways that they can combine make attempts to offer cookie-cutter advice frustrating. However, there are questions to ask that can help you sort out your best move:

  • How old is the roof? A newer roof may do well with a repair. It may make more sense to replace a roof that is nearing the end of its lifespan.
  • How bad is the damage? Minor damage is often solved with repairs. Significant damage that requires costly repairs could tip the scales toward replacement.
  • What kind of flat roof is it? Some flat roofs are easier to fix than others. They also have different lifespans and different repair options.
  • Are you dealing with high energy bills? If you’re experiencing high energy bills, consider if your roof might be to blame. If you believe an old or leaky roof is allowing your climate-controlled air to escape, it might be time to upgrade to a new flat roof system that will offer increased efficiency.
  • Have you experienced leaks? Water damage inside your building can be a nightmare. If your flat roof is showing signs of failure, more than repairs may be needed.
  • Are you interested in a short-term solution or a long-term solution? How long do you plan to remain in your facility? If you’re planning to sell in the near future, you may simply repair the roof. On the other hand, if you intend to remain in the facility for the foreseeable future, you may want to safeguard your building and its contents by being proactive with a roof replacement.

If you aren’t sure whether a repair or a replacement is the right choice, having your roof inspected by a trusted professional and reviewing your options with them is often a smart way to move forward.  Contact Taylor-Made Roofing for help. With over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial roofing, Taylor-Made Roofing is a company that you can trust with all of your roofing needs. Our family-owned business offers quality services, a reassuring warranty, and free estimates. For more information, please give us a call at 417-326-8778 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

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