Retrofitting Commercial Roofs: Get Answers To The Questions You Have

6 January 2017
 Categories: , Blog


If the roof on your commercial building is failing, you may call in a commercial roofing contractor to repair it. However, if the roof is at, near, or past its expected lifespan or is in poor condition, the roofer may inform you that a new roof is needed. In order to protect your building, you may have the option of retrofitting your existing roof or replacing the roof. Unfortunately, many commercial building owners are not familiar with retrofitting a roof, and as such, have no idea if this is the best option for them. Taking the time to get answers to the questions you have will help you decide if it is a viable option for your building. Here are a few of the questions you may have about retrofitting a commercial roof.

What Does It Mean to Retrofit a Commercial Roof?

Retrofitting a roof means that you essentially build a new roof on top of the existing roof. In many cases, you use a different material to this. For example, you can typically place metal roof panels over an existing rubber roof. However, some materials, such as built up roof membranes, or BUR roofs, are designed to have layer upon layer of the same material built on top of them as the existing roofing materials wear out.

What Is the Difference Between Replacing and Retrofitting a Commercial Roof?

The biggest difference between replacing a roof and retrofitting a roof is that when you replace a roof, you remove all of the existing roofing materials. When you retrofit a roof, those roofing materials stay in place. In some cases, you may have to replace the roof and remove all of the roofing materials, simply based on the weight of the material and the load that your roof can carry or based on the type of material you want your new roof to be made from. Other times, you may want to simply build atop the existing structure.

What Are the Benefits to Retrofitting a Commercial Roof?

The biggest benefits to retrofitting are time and cost savings. Because the existing roof does not have to be stripped away or removed, the process of having your new roof installed can be faster. Additionally, because you are not paying a commercial roofing contractor to remove the existing roof and then haul away the waste, you are spending less money in labor and disposal costs, helping those on a budget afford a new roof for their commercial buildings.

Deciding whether to retrofit a roof is a big decision. If you are considering this, always ask a commercial roofing contractor whether they recommend you do this. They can give you the exact pros and cons based on the existing condition of your roof, the materials your roof is already made from, the material you want your new roof made from, and the amount of weight your roof and trusses can support.