The Cost of Deferring Rooftop Preventive Maintenance and Repairs

Budget concerns are a daily challenge for every commercial building owner and managers. Roof maintenance and repairs should certainly be in the budget conversation, as the roof is a critical building component. Here are a few reasons why delaying roof maintenance projects may not be in your best interest.

Increased Liability Risk. When your commercial roof is neglected, it can also put your workers and visitors at risk. For example, a roof leak can make floors hazardous. Unseen moisture in the walls creates an ideal environment for mold to develop, which can create health issues. Both of these situations can lead to worker compensation claims or liability lawsuits.

Equipment Vulnerability. Regardless of the type of facility your own or manage, you’ve certainly made an investment in furniture, computers, production equipment and/or inventory. Damage to any of those could be costly. It’s important to know that, when there’s a roof leak, the penetrating water can run anywhere within the building structure before it appears. That means that your investment in those assets is at risk if they get wet. Repairing or replacing the damaged items will be expensive and disruptive.

Cheap Repairs Now vs. Expensive Replacements Later. Finding room in the budget for routine inspections, maintenance and repairs is probably more cost-effective than leaving those “minor” issues to become big ones later. Valuable building contents and structural components are vulnerable to water damage – and several times more costly to deal with than a small leak repair.

Productivity Loss and Tenant Departures. It’s important to maintain a clean, safe and aesthetic workspace for employees and, if you rent space to other businesses, tenants. An uncomfortable or even hazardous work environment (think water on the floor or mold in the drywall) can lead the way to dissatisfied and non-productive employees and the departure of tenants. Also, consider that a serious roof leak may require you to temporarily relocate some of your building operations – affecting your bottom line.

There can be serious cost consequences in overlooking periodic inspections or postponing maintenance and repairs. The more regularly you deal with current issues, the less time, expense, and disruption it will cost you overall. If your commercial roof needs attention, give the pros at Tusing Builders and Roofing Services a call today.

 

Sustainability and Your Commercial Roofing System

In the world of commercial construction, “sustainability” means that the building has a positive ongoing environmental impact over its lifespan. Commercial roofing can help building owners and managers achieve this goal because of several factors.

The first is the most obvious: the capability of the roof to deliver measurable energy savings. Highly reflective “cool” thermoplastic roofing systems reduce the load on rooftop HVAC systems, especially during peak demand hours in the middle of the day. This reduction translates to utility cost savings for you and less strain on the power grid. In addition, cool roofs help preserve the long-term effectiveness of rooftop insulation by reflecting harmful IR and UV radiation that penetrates dark roof membranes.

Increasingly, commercial rooftops are being considered usable spaces that add value to a building and deliver environmental benefits. Chief among these are solar and vegetative systems. Rooftop solar provides renewable energy to the building and reduces dependence on the power grid. Vegetative systems help reduce a building’s energy consumption, provide sound insulation, preserve the underlying membrane and manage storm water runoff. Each of these technologies – and others that are emerging – require a reliable watertight roofing membrane underneath. If you are considering one of these systems and, depending on how old your current roof is, it might make financial sense to install a new roof before the solar or veggie system is applied.

Cool roofs can also have a positive impact on the community. Traditional construction surfaces, including asphalt pavement, sidewalks and dark rooftops, absorb heat and retain it. In a dense urban setting, the aggregation of these surfaces causes a phenomenon known as the urban heat island (UHI) effect. City temperatures are raised sufficiently to increase smog production and create unhealthy breathing conditions. Reflective roof surfaces don’t absorb or retain solar heat; they reflect it back into the atmosphere, helping mitigate the UHI effect.

Recycling is also part of environmental responsibility, and many of today’s roof manufacturing processes employ recycling during the production process, minimizing scrap. Also, single-ply PVC, TPO and EPDM membranes are all recyclable, and several manufacturers have programs in place to recycle old roofs into new products for construction and other purposes.

At Tusing Builders & Roofing Services, we look forward to meeting with you to discuss how a new roofing system can provide your commercial facility with years of watertight protection and help you meet your sustainability goals.

Commonly Asked Questions About Commercial Roofing Systems

Unless you spend a lot of time on the roof of your commercial building (which is actually a good practice – more about that below), there may be some important aspects of it that you haven’t thought about. Here are some questions and answers about commercial roofing systems.

Water isn’t draining off my rooftop. What’s going on?

Even though you might have a “flat” commercial roof, it wasn’t designed to be or built as completely level. All flat roofs should have some slope to them to enable water to run off, either into gutters around the perimeter of the building or into drains that channel water through the interior. If you have lingering ponding water, that’s a sign that the roof is sagging, and you may have structural problems caused by the water weight. A roofing contractor can possibly address the water flow problem with rooftop accessories called crickets, but structural problems would need to be corrected by an engineer.

Can a new roofing system actually save me money?

The short answer is yes. The commercial roofing trend in recent years is toward highly reflective thermoplastic systems that can reflect up to 85% of the sun’s energy. This translates into a reduction in summertime cooling costs by as much as 40%. Cool roofs reduce the strain on rooftop HVAC systems and have been shown to extend the life of both the roof system itself and the underlying insulation. All of these benefits improve your bottom line.

Don’t all commercial roofing systems do the same thing?

At the most basic level – yes. Roofing systems have the fundamental job of protecting your building from the elements, in all seasons. Much of their ability to do this depends on the quality of the actual installation performed by the contractor; most commercial roofing problems that develop over time are traced to human error at the time of installation. Some systems offer advantages in certain circumstances. Lightweight thermoplastic systems can often be installed over an existing roof without an expensive tear-off and building disruptions. PVC systems are resistant to greasy exhaust that’s common on restaurant roofs.

As a building owner, what’s my roofing responsibility?

Spend some time on your rooftop. Periodic visual inspections of your roof should be part of your maintenance routine and it’s a good idea to have a formal, professional inspection at least twice a year that can uncover and address potential problems before they become major headaches.

Who should I call for all my commercial roofing needs?

The answer to that is simple: Tusing Builders and Roofing Services. We’re experienced in all facets of commercial roofing, from simple repairs to inspections to completely new roofing systems. We invite you to contact us at your earliest convenience.

 

Pros and Cons of Different Commercial Roofing Systems

There’s a wide variety of commercial roofing systems on the market today, and each offers advantages and disadvantages. Here’s a brief overview.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

  • Pros: Long track record of installations on commercial facilities. Low maintenance over roof lifespan. Durable. Good protection against hail and other impacts.
  • Cons: Labor-intensive to install. Installation requires products that emit noxious fumes. BURs are heavy and it’s not uncommon for them to cause sagging in the building structure over time.

Modified Bitumen (Mod-Bit)

  • Pros: Evolved from BUR technology, using proven fiberglass and asphalt materials; good track record. Easy to repair with common asphalt-based roof maintenance products.
  • Cons: Commonly applied with dangerous torch-down methods or noxious chemicals. Not especially energy-efficient. Doesn’t stand up to ponding water well.

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer)

  • Pros: Single-ply (essentially, rubber) roofing system is lightweight and flexible. Product cost is relatively low. Good lifespan on the roof, especially when covered with a layer of ballast.
  • Cons: Usually installed as a black membrane, which absorbs heat (not energy efficient). Not hot-air weldable and must be installed using adhesives to bind membrane sheets together; membrane seaming is not as reliable, long-term, as on heat-welded thermoplastic systems.

TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin)

  • Pros: Inexpensive thermoplastic roofing material. Installed with safe and reliable hot-air welding tools. Reflective and energy-efficient. Flexible and lightweight. Can be mechanically attached, adhered, or ballasted to the roof deck.
  • Cons: Relatively narrow temperature window for rooftop seaming. Multiple manufacturers mean multiple formulations that are not necessarily compatible with each other (implications if repairs are needed down the road). Studies have shown that some TPO membranes don’t hold up well in prolonged intense sunlight.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride)

  • Pros: Flexible, lightweight thermoplastic membrane can be installed in virtually any weather condition. Installed with hot-air welding. White PVC membrane is highly reflective and saves summertime energy costs. The membrane is “non-curing,” meaning that any repairs are easily taken care of by welding a patch to the old membrane.
  • Cons: More expensive than other roofing systems. Early PVC membranes had a reputation for shattering in extreme cold (since corrected).

If you’re in the market for a new roof, the experts at Tusing Builders and Roofing Services would welcome the opportunity to discuss all the options available to you. We invite you to get in touch today, call 866-584-2712.

 

Who is on your roofing team?

New Commercial Roof in Your Plans? Know Your Team.

The installation of a new commercial roof is a major project. Choosing the right roofing system for your building is important, as is understanding the responsibilities that each member of your project team has in making sure the project goes as smoothly as possible and that the new roof performs up to expectations. Here’s a brief summary of roles and responsibilities.

Contractor. Ultimately, the responsibility for the quality of the installation falls to the commercial roofer you choose. Commercial roofing systems vary by technology and manufacturer, as well as how they are installed. The contractor you choose should be well-versed with the roofing system being considered and be authorized to install it by that manufacturer. A competent roofer will also share the installation plan with you, which should include both pre-and post-job activities.

Manufacturer. You should have some basic knowledge about roofing system manufacturers. Most in the United States have been in business for decades and have systems in place to ensure product quality. But if product-specific issues arise, will a manufacturer’s representative be available? You should also understand the details of the product warranty and how it applies to your project. The manufacturer should also be able to tell you if there are other contractors in your area who can service your roof after installation if yours retires or leaves the roofing business.

Yourself. Because a new commercial roof installation is a big investment, it makes sense for you to be an active participant in the process. Before the project begins and depending on your company size and processes, you might include a purchasing manager or the head of finance. If the current roof is to be torn off, do you need to temporarily relocate staff or equipment underneath the work area? Keep in mind that roofing materials can be extremely heavy and awkward to maneuver. How will the contractor get them to the rooftop – via crane, freight elevator or other means? You or a member of your building management/maintenance team should regularly interact with the contractor to make sure that the project is on track.

At Tusing Builders & Roofing Services, we’re committed to being your best partner on any commercial roofing project you’re considering. Please contact us at your convenience.

Leaks, Lawsuits & More: Hidden Costs of Commercial Roof Problems

If your commercial roof is doing its job – protecting your facility from Mother Nature – congratulations. Other building owners and managers aren’t so lucky. According to some estimates, up to 75% of new roofs experience leaks within five years of installation. Perhaps more sobering is the fact that although the initial cost of a new roof is less than 10% of a building’s total construction cost, as much as 70% of construction litigation is related to the roof, and a lot of that is related to damage from leaks.

The point is that roofs can and do fail. Even if it is not a massive problem (for example, large sections of deck membrane missing), a small leak can create big problems in several ways. Here’s how.

As mentioned, leaks can lead to lawsuits. Water on hard facility surfaces (such as concrete and vinyl composition flooring) creates conditions that are ripe for slips and falls, which are common grounds for lawsuits as well as worker compensation claims for employees.

Another hidden (literally) consequence of a leaky roof is the development of mold. When moisture seeps in from the rooftop, it can find its way to virtually anywhere in the building. Wet insulation is a prime place for mold to develop, and it thrives in warm, moist environments, like what may be present above ceilings and behind walls. Mold mitigation expenses can add up, not to mention the costs of code violations and disruptions to business operations – not only to get rid of the mold but also if employees become sick and miss work.

Wet insulation also leads to another cost issue: higher utility expenses. Insulation is installed at the rooftop to help keep the interior warm in the winter and cool in the summer. When moisture seeps into insulation through leaks, even small ones, it loses its insulating ability and you’re likely to see an increase in your energy costs.

These are just a few potentially expensive consequences of what may seem like a minor leak problem. Although there is a cost to finding and repairing commercial roof leaks, it’s small compared with the cost of these other situations. Make it a priority to add rooftop maintenance to your building management budget.

When you choose Tusing Builders & Roofing Services for your commercial roof installation or repair project, you can be confident that we will handle the project with quality. We look forward to hearing from you.

The Impact of Strong Winds on Your Roofing System

Every season of the year presents its own unique weather challenges for your commercial roof to handle. In the spring, along with increased precipitation in much of the country comes more intense wind. Strong wind can have a significant impact on the integrity of your commercial roof system in several ways:

  • Wind uplift. This is a common problem with flat membrane roof systems. If you have a wind uplift problem, you’ll see it exhibited if sections of the roof billow when the wind is blowing. This happens because wind moving across the rooftop reduces air pressure above the building. The relatively stronger air pressure inside pushes up against the bottom of the membrane. The stronger the wind, the stronger the uplift.
  • Perimeter problems. The edge of your commercial roof bears the brunt of strong wind forces, whether on the surface itself or the exterior, where gutters and other plastic and/or metal details are attached. If these components are not secured properly, wind can pry them from the building and they can become projectiles, endangering people on the ground. Also, these pieces likely help hold your roofing membrane in place, so if they detach from the building, your roofing system will probably become compromised.
  • Small openings becoming larger. It’s important that small gaps in the seams of your roof’s deck sheets and flashings be re-sealed or welded, preferably before being exposed to strong winds. These forces can pull at the increased surface area in the gaps and, over time, can widen those gaps to the point where moisture can penetrate. This is most likely to occur at the perimeter where winds are stronger but can happen anywhere on your roof.
  • Scouring. Some roofing systems, notably built-up and EPDM, have a layer of rock ballast applied over the top to both hold it in place and to protect it from the elements. Scouring (or scrubbing) occurs when a strong wind event (or multiple) blows rooftop ballast stone around, potentially damaging the roof’s surface, and leaving it exposed to severe weather.

All of these issues should be addressed a soon as possible to help preserve the longevity of your roofing system. It may be necessary to bring in a professional, experienced contractor to take care of these “roof system” problems:

  • Securing membrane that uplift forces have separated from the deck.
  • Reattaching metal components on the edge and elsewhere.
  • Re-sealing / welding small gaps in the roof membrane to guard against water penetration. Your own maintenance team may be able to make sure that ballast remains evenly distributed across your rooftop.

Our team of experienced commercial roof professionals is ready to serve you. Call on Tusing for all your roofing needs (866) 584-2712

3 Reasons for Installing PVC Commercial Roofing

PVC roofing is a popular choice for commercial facilities of all types throughout the US, for several reasons.

Here are three:

  1. Proven rooftop performance. PVC systems have been installed in the US since the 1970s, and some PVC roofs have been in place for 25 years or more. PVC roofing systems are durable and flexible and can handle a building’s normal expansion and contraction as seasons and temperatures vary. Appropriate for new and retrofit applications on all types of buildings, PVC roofing is an excellent product on roofs that are exposed to chemicals and other substances that can damage other materials. Restaurants in particular benefit from PVC because it’s highly resistant to grease that’s vented onto the rooftop. PVC membrane is also resistant to moisture, including ponding water, and doesn’t deteriorate in intense sunlight.
  2. Environmentally friendly. White and light-colored (“cool”) PVC roofing systems are highly reflective, meaning that less solar energy is conducted into the building on hot sunny days than with darker systems. For non-conditioned spaces (e.g. warehouses, agricultural buildings), this means a cooler, more productive work environment. For facilities with rooftop HVAC units, those systems will use less energy (therefore be more cost-effective) on hot days because the surrounding air temperature will be significantly lower than the temperature on a dark roof surface. In addition, PVC is recyclable. At the end of its rooftop life, PVC roofing systems can be made into other products. Some manufacturers have programs in place that take old roofs and recycle them into commercial flooring and other products.
  3. Flame resistant. PVC is made from two basic components: natural gas (typically) and salt. Although PVC does have a carbon content, it’s much lower than that of other types of commercial roof systems. Plus, the salt ingredient provides chlorine, which makes PVC roofing inherently flame resistant; once the source of the flame is removed, PVC membrane will not continue to burn. That means that less toxic gas is produced in a building fire than with other types of roofing. Although a commercial roof’s fire rating depends on many factors, a better fire rating may be easier to achieve with PVC roofing.

Although PVC roofing systems have many attributes that make them a great choice for virtually any commercial application, the quality of the installation comes down to the experience and ability of the roofing contractor doing the work. At Tusing Builders & Roofing Services we would welcome the opportunity to discuss our capabilities with you. Please contact us today!

 

Handling Snow on Your Commercial Roof

Winter has arrived in the northern part of the US and with it, accumulating snow. As a responsible building owner or manager, you’ll take the necessary steps to keep your property clear of snow to allow access for staff, customers, and other visitors. But what about snow on your rooftop? It’s not visible, so you’re less likely to manage it. Here is some advice for handling snow on your commercial roof.

  • Pay attention to it. A square foot of wet, heavy snow that’s six inches deep can weigh 10 pounds. Multiply that across (for example) a 5,000-square-foot roof and you’ve got 50,000 extra pounds of roof weight that your building structure needs to support.
  • Light, drifting snow is probably not likely to pose much of a problem; normal wind patterns should blow most of it away. But if a storm has dumped a load of heavier snow on your roof, you probably should take steps to remove it.
  • When you’re on your commercial roof in the wintertime, be extra cautious. Being on a roof during non-snow seasons can be hazardous enough, but dangers are multiplied in the winter. Surfaces will be more slippery, and skylights may be covered with snow and not visible. Ponding water from seasonal storms can depress and weaken sections of your roof that have poor drainage. These areas are less obvious when the roof is snow-covered.
  • When clearing snow, make sure to drop it to the ground away from walkways and building entrances and exits. And use tools that won’t harm the roof surface, such as plastic roof rakes or shovels; avoid sharp-edged tools, as they can puncture roof membranes.
  • Make sure that the snowmelt has a place to go by clearing snow and other debris from the areas around your drainage points. It’s likely that there will be freeze-and-thaw cycles during the winter, and if your drains, gutters, and downspouts are blocked, water will have no place to go. If its re-freezes, keep this in mind: an area of only 100 square feet that’s got three inches of ice on it can weigh 1,500 pounds. If you need to use an ice-melt product, check with the roof manufacturer to get one that won’t harm the surface.

At Tusing Builders and Roofing Services, we’re standing by and ready to assist you with your commercial roofing needs, regardless of the season. It would be our privilege to serve you.

Make Your Commercial Building Watertight with Single-Ply Roofing

Commercial facilities with flat roofs require a different roofing solution than steep-sloped buildings that traditionally use asphalt shingles or architectural metal systems for protection from the elements.

Built-up roofing (BUR) systems are so-called because they are literally constructed on the rooftop by “building” alternate layers (plies) of asphalt and reinforcement fabric. They’re usually topped with a layer of stone or gravel. Built-up systems have been in use for well over a century.

In recent decades, advances in chemical and manufacturing technology have enabled the development of single-ply membrane systems; flexible sheets of synthetic materials manufactured from a variety of chemical components. Here are some of the most common:

Modified bitumen systems have a composition like built-up roofing – but made in a factory. They’re layers of asphalt that also include synthetic materials and a fabric layer for reinforcement.

Thermoset membranes (primarily EPDM today) are vulcanized materials (rubber) made from cross-linked molecules that provide elasticity. Once the material is “set,” it’s hard to bond and can’t be heat-welded; EPDM membranes require adhesives for installation seaming.

Thermoplastic membranes (PVC, TPO, and some others), first used in Europe in the 1960s, do not contain cross-linked molecules, so they do not “set.” These materials “flow” when heated, enabling membrane sections to be heat-welded together during installation.

Regardless of the type of system you choose, commercial roofing projects can be highly complex. Make sure that your contractor is experienced with all the technology involved.

At Tusing Builders & Roofing Services, we’re experts in installing several types of roofing systems. We would welcome the opportunity to prepare a quote for you. Reach out to us at 866-584-2712.