The two questions that come to the mind of a commercial building owner when considering roof replacement or roof installation are:
- How much would commercial roof installation cost?
- How long does it take to install a commercial roof?
Commercial roof installation is not a one-man job; instead, it requires a team of roof installers working simultaneously to quicken the process. When done correctly, a commercial roof can last up to 40 years with regular inspection and maintenance; else require maintenance within a decade. This means installing a commercial roof involves committing to it for a long time, and the decision to get a new one cannot be rushed.
Commercial Roofing Installation Factors
A commercial roof replacement can take from three weeks to even two months to complete. While the size of the roof plays a role in determining the time taken, there are other factors as well. Let’s take a look at all the factors involved:
Size of the property
As mentioned earlier, the size of a roof impacts the roof installation timeline. Specialized asphalt strips need to be laid in, which requires it to be heated during application. So, as the roof size increases, preparations and planning go in to determine the best layout for the strips to be laid. Moreover, large roofs mean additional exposure to the sun, and a specialized protective layer needs to be sprayed on top of the installed roof, which can only be done in multiple stages as the layers take time to set.
Roof Material Types
There are three major types of roof-based materials used:
- Built-up roofing
- Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)
- Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)
In this type of roofing, a base sheeting is attached to the existing roof. Tar, concrete, adhesive, or heated tar is applied on the base layer that acts as a sealant and an adhesive. A gravel layer is laid over this adhesive layer that provides strength from weather elements such as rainwater or hail. Finally, another layer of tar or heated asphalt is poured over for final sealing. This type of flat roof type paired with a good gutter system is incredibly effective in high rainfall or snowfall areas.
Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)
This type of roofing material was originally developed for pond liners and was adopted for commercial roofing in 1989. This type of roofing involves laying a polymerized membrane made of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber and fastened using adhesives or fasteners. The white rubber top layer reflects most radiation and becomes thermally insulative. This is a low cost and effective roofing solution for flat or light sloping roofs. The only challenge in the case of TPO roofing is the waterproofing at the seams. While roofers use heat to seal the seams, it is really important to maintain the membrane’s thickness else it can easily be punctured.
Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)
Similar to the TPO roofing, Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) is a membrane made of monomeric chains of Ethylene and Propylene, bound together with a Diene comonomer that supports cross linking via vulcanization. These are available in three different thicknesses: 0.045, 0.060, and 0.090 inches. The thinner sheets are ideal for crimp & creaseless installation, but you need to add an additional insulation sheet below the membrane. It is thermally tolerant in an extreme temperature range of -49oF and 300oF without signs of cracking or deformation. The installation method is similar to the TPO roofing membrane, i.e., using adhesives or fasteners.
Both TPO and EPDM roofing installation only takes a day’s worth of work, but it depends on the material availability. While built-up roofing may take more time but the materials would be readily available. On the other hand, the durability in built-up roofing supersedes the other two types, so the choice is between installation duration and longevity.
Pieces of equipment on the roof
Most commercial roofs are where the outdoor units of HVAC, antennas, or satellite dishes for telecommunications are placed. When considering roof installation, all such equipment becomes obstacles and hence need to be removed. Depending on each units’ size and weight, you either need to hire specialized handymen or have roofers manually dismantle them. This manual labor of dismantling (and reinstalling) adds up to the roof’s total time to be replaced. Similarly, the chimneys or vents also need to be considered during roof installation.
The weather conditions
For efficient installation, it is important for the roofing surfaces is dry. On the days of maximum precipitation, most roofing contractors don’t take up roofing projects. Depending on when you opt for commercial roofing installation and where your building is situated, roofing contractors will give you a time window based on the weather predictions.
The crew strength
The more, the merrier. When you have more people working on the roof installations, they can get more work done within a specific amount of time than a smaller team. Yet, the increased crew members can affect the installation costs as well. Hence, while discussing your roof replacement project, ask your contractor about their crew strength.
Roof Installation Inspection
Another huge chunk of installation time is directed to the post-installation inspection. To prevent any later stage deformation or leaks, roofing contractors need to have their roof inspected before handing it over to their customers. Any paperwork required for installation approval can take time for processing and indirectly contribute towards installation duration. Moreover, you need to book appointments for inspectors, and they might arrive when there is no one present on-site, forcing you to reschedule the inspection.
Common Reasons for Delays in Roof Replacements
- Demolishing before Installation: Manual labor goes in removing the existing roof or at least chisel out the affected areas. Post removal cleanup is an additional delay in roof installations.
- Temporal Waterproofing: When the older roof is removed, the underlying machines or structures need to be protected from the weather elements. This means installing temporary tarping or any other waterproofing solutions before while a new roofing is being installed. This can easily take a couple of hours every day to add or remove the temporary waterproofing.
- Hazard Protection: Since roof installation is a construction project, it is important to take ample precautions about the different types of hazards such as tripping, electrical, fire hazards. Additional time goes into clearing all the different hazards in the roofing project.
When in the market for qualified Commercial Roofing Company, it is important to consider that roof installation takes time. It is important to consider all the factors that affect the deadlines of a roofing project. We assume that the above-listed points cover most aspects that extend the commercial roof installation project and help you set a realistic deadline after discussing with your roofing contractor.