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The Business Owner's

Guide to Commercial Roof Replacement

Your commercial roof is a vital component of your business infrastructure, protecting your assets, employees, and customers from the elements. However, over time, even the sturdiest roofs deteriorate and require replacement. If you're facing the daunting task of replacing your commercial roof, you've come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the essential steps involved in commercial roof replacement. Whether you own a warehouse, office building, retail store, or any other commercial property, this guide will provide the knowledge and insight you need to make informed decisions about your roofing project.

welcome to our commercial guide

From understanding the signs that indicate it's time for a roof replacement to selecting suitable materials and managing the entire process, we've got you covered. We understand that embarking on a roof replacement project can be overwhelming, but with the right information and guidance, you can ensure a successful and cost-effective outcome. As you know, (you responsible business owner, you) a well-maintained roof is not only crucial for protecting your property but also for maintaining the reputation and profitability of your business, and if you’re roof may be falling short of certain requirements and needs of a new replacement, you may be asking yourself:


A.) How much is this going to cost me?

B.) Can I trust the roofing contractor to do their best work?

C.) What are my roofing options?

D.) Why me; why now?!


And so forth. There are a million questions that a concerned business owner can conjure up when inviting someone else to fix their property; the special oasis they’ve worked so hard to create. Trust us, we get it. 


That being said, you’ve got questions, and RoofCrafters has answers. We’ve been helping business owners like you replace their roofs for the past 30 years, and if there’s one thing that we choose to pride ourselves on, it’s the fact that we keep your best interest at heart. Everywhere, every time. We know that your business is your biggest asset, which is why your comfort and happiness are always at the forefront throughout your roofing project.


Part of being comfortable with the roof replacement process is being knowledgeable about the entire journey. From start to finish, RoofCrafters believes you should be educated. In this guide, you will learn every question you may ponder before you decide to have a roof replacement. We’ve taken nearly 3 decades of experience in the roofing industry and compiled it in this guide for you for one reason: to educate you on all things roof replacement so you feel comfortable sitting in the driver's seat on the arrival of your project’s commencement. 


Take the Guide Home with You

A commercial roofing project is no small task, which is why RoofCrafters has created a comprehensive guide to help you understand each step of the process and answer each of your questions. Have all the answers at your fingertips when you access the Business Owner's Guide to Commercial Roof Replacement! Complete the form to download the guide.

Chapter 1

What Factors Determine the Cost of My Roof Replacement?

What determines the cost of a new commercial roof?

Roof Size: The size of the roof is a significant factor in determining the cost. The larger the roof area, the more materials and labor will be required, leading to higher costs.

Roofing Material: The choice of roofing material greatly impacts the cost. Different materials have varying prices, durability, and installation requirements. Common commercial roofing materials include built-up roofing (BUR), single-ply membranes (such as TPO or EPDM), metal roofing, and modified bitumen.

Roof Complexity: The complexity of the roof's design and structure can affect the cost. Roofs with intricate shapes, multiple levels, slopes, or features like skylights, vents, or chimneys may require additional labor and expertise, leading to higher costs.

Commercial Roof Inspection

Removal and Disposal: If there is an existing roof that needs to be removed before installing the new one, the cost will include the labor, equipment, and disposal fees for the old materials. This step is necessary to ensure a proper installation and will add to the overall expenses.


Roof Accessibility: The accessibility of the roof plays a role in cost estimation. If the roof is easily accessible and requires minimal setup, it will be more cost-effective. However, if the roof is difficult to access, requiring special equipment or safety measures, the cost will increase.


Local Climate and Environmental Factors: The climate and environmental conditions of the location can affect the cost. Areas prone to severe weather, high winds, extreme temperatures, or heavy rainfall may require more durable and specialized roofing systems, which will be more expensive.


Contractor Selection: The expertise and reputation of the roofing contractor you choose can impact the cost. Established and reputable contractors will charge higher rates but provide better quality workmanship, warranties, and customer service.


Permits and Inspections: Depending on local regulations, permits, and inspections may be required for a commercial roof replacement. These additional costs must be considered in the overall budget.

It's important to note that while cost is a significant factor, quality should not be compromised. Investing in a high-quality roof replacement can provide long-term benefits, such as improved energy efficiency, reduced maintenance costs, and increased property value. Not to mention, a new commercial roof provides enhanced protection for your property, assets, employees, and customers. It can effectively safeguard against water leaks, structural damage, and other potential hazards that can arise from an aging or deteriorated roof. This protection helps maintain a safe and secure environment. Wouldn’t you agree that the safety of your employees, patrons, and yourself is certainly worth the cost? By investing in a quality, stable roofing system now, you save on costly repairs for unsafe conditions later. 

roofers on a steep commercial roof repair
Chapter 2

What Happens During a Commercial Roof Inspection?

what happens during my commercial roof inspection

Roof Inspection & Assessment

The inspector starts by visually examining the roof's exterior and interior components. They look for signs of damage, such as cracks, blisters, loose or missing shingles, punctures, rust, or signs of water infiltration. They also check the roof's drainage system, including gutters, downspouts, and drains. The inspector walks on the roof surface (if safe and accessible) to closely examine the roofing material.


They look for any areas of wear, aging, or degradation. They assess the condition of the roof membrane, flashings, seams, and any other installed components. If applicable, the inspector evaluates the condition and effectiveness of the roof insulation. They look for proper insulation thickness, moisture or water damage, and any insulation deficiencies that may impact energy efficiency.

Accessory & Structure Examination

The inspector inspects roof penetrations, such as vents, chimneys, skylights, and HVAC units. They ensure that flashing and seals around these penetrations are intact and effectively prevent water intrusion. The inspector may examine the structural components of the roof, including the decking, support beams, and trusses.


They check for signs of sagging, rot, or structural damage that may compromise the roof's integrity. Roof inspectors use various techniques to detect moisture within the roof system. This may include infrared imaging, moisture meters, or core samples. Identifying areas of moisture infiltration helps pinpoint potential problem areas that require repair or replacement.

commercial inspection

Documentation & Reporting

Throughout the inspection, the roofing professional documents their findings, taking photographs and notes. After completing the assessment, they provide a detailed report outlining the roof's condition, identified issues, recommended repairs or maintenance, and an estimation of the roof's remaining lifespan. Once these steps are completed, you’re almost on your way to your roof replacement!

Schedule an Inspection The Roof Replacement Process

Chapter 3

What Happens During the Roof Replacement Process?

roof replacement process

The commercial roof replacement process begins with an initial consultation and assessment. A roofing contractor visits the property to evaluate the existing roof, discuss your needs and budget, and provide recommendations. Once you agree on the scope of work and terms, the project moves forward.


The next step involves obtaining any necessary permits and coordinating logistics. The contractor schedules the start date, arranges for material delivery, and ensures proper safety measures are in place. They may also notify tenants or employees about the upcoming construction to minimize disruptions.

Project Start Date

On the designated start date, the roofing crew arrives with the necessary equipment, tools, and materials. They begin by removing the old roofing material, which may involve stripping off layers, disposing of debris, and preparing the roof surface for installation. This process ensures a clean foundation for the new roof.

Once the roof is cleared, the installation of the new roofing system begins. The process varies depending on the chosen material but typically involves laying down insulation, applying underlayment or vapor barriers, and installing the main roofing material. This may include single-ply membranes, metal panels, or built-up roofing layers.

roll roofing

Installation Process

During the installation, the roofing crew pays close attention to critical areas such as flashings, vents, skylights, and any other penetrations. They ensure proper sealing and waterproofing to prevent water infiltration and maintain the integrity of the roof system. As the installation progresses, quality control measures are implemented. The roofing crew conducts inspections to verify that the installation meets industry standards and manufacturer specifications. This helps ensure a durable and long-lasting roof.


Commercial Roof Replacement

How long does a commercial roof replacement usually take?

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Can my business operate normally during my roof installation?

Can my tenants occupy their residences during my apartment complex roof replacement?

Clean Up & Walk-Through

Once the new roof is installed, the final steps of the process include cleaning up the work area, removing any debris, and conducting a thorough inspection. The roofing contractor performs a detailed assessment to ensure the roof meets their quality standards and your satisfaction. They may also provide you with warranty information and maintenance recommendations.


Finally, the project concludes with a final walkthrough and handover. The roofing contractor reviews the completed work with you, addressing any questions or concerns you may have. You receive the necessary documentation, such as warranties and maintenance guidelines, and the roofing contractor ensures that you are satisfied with the new roof.

commercial collage
Chapter 4

What Material Options Do I Have?

what are my commercial roofing options

*For a deeper look at each roofing material, click the underlined text*

Built-Up Roofing

Built-up roofing consists of multiple layers of bitumen (asphalt or coal tar) alternating with reinforcing materials like fiberglass or felt. BUR provides excellent waterproofing and durability. It is often used for low-slope or flat roofs and can withstand heavy foot traffic.

built up roofing system

Single-Ply Membranes

Single-ply membranes are flexible sheets of synthetic materials that are mechanically fastened, adhered to, or ballasted to the roof substrate. The two most popular types are:

RC-1-1  Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO): TPO membranes offer excellent resistance to UV rays, heat, and chemicals. They provide energy efficiency and are relatively easy to install and maintain.

RC-2-1  Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM): EPDM is a synthetic rubber membrane that offers superior weather resistance and durability. It is resistant to UV radiation and can withstand extreme temperatures.

roofing crew installing TPO on a commercial building

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a popular choice for commercial properties due to its longevity, strength, and low maintenance requirements. Metal roofs can be made of various materials, such as steel, aluminum, or copper. They offer exceptional durability, fire resistance, and are suitable for steep-slope or low-slope roofs.


Modified Bitumen

Modified bitumen roofing is an asphalt-based material reinforced with modifiers like APP (Atactic Polypropylene) or SBS (Styrene-Butadiene-Styrene). It combines the waterproofing benefits of BUR with the ease of installation of a single-ply membrane. Modified bitumen is often used on low-slope roofs and provides excellent flexibility and resistance to extreme weather conditions.

torching mod-bit flat roof roll

Green Roofing Systems

Green roofing systems involve the installation of living vegetation and plants on the roof surface. They offer environmental benefits, such as improved insulation, reduced energy consumption, and stormwater management. Green roofs can be extensive (with lighter vegetation) or intensive (with deeper soil and a variety of plants).

The choice of material depends on various factors, including the building's structure, climate, budget, and desired aesthetics. It is advisable to consult with a professional roofing contractor who can assess your specific needs and recommend the most suitable material for your commercial roof replacement.

green roof in city
Chapter 5

What Ventilation System Should I Choose?

ventillation system options

Choosing the right ventilation system for your commercial business depends on several factors such as the type of business, the size of the space, local regulations, and specific requirements. It's important to consult with a professional HVAC engineer or ventilation specialist who can assess your specific business needs and provide recommendations tailored to your requirements. They can evaluate factors like the building layout, occupancy levels, air quality considerations, and local regulations to help you choose the most suitable ventilation system for your commercial business.

Schedule an Inspection Choose My Warranty


Exhaust Fans

Exhaust fans are a simple and cost-effective solution to remove stale air and pollutants from your business premises. They work by pulling out air from the space and can be installed in areas such as kitchens, restrooms, or workshops.


Supply and Exhaust Ventilation

This system involves the use of both supply and exhaust fans. Supply fans bring fresh air into the space, while exhaust fans remove stale air. This type of ventilation system is suitable for areas that require continuous airflow, such as warehouses or manufacturing facilities.


HVAC Systems

Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are commonly used in commercial buildings. They provide both heating and cooling along with ventilation. HVAC systems can be central, where air is distributed through ducts, or they can be split systems with separate units for heating/cooling and ventilation.


Natural Ventilation

If your business is located in a climate that allows for it, natural ventilation can be an energy-efficient option. It relies on strategically placed windows, vents, or louvers to allow fresh air in and let stale air out. This method is commonly used in buildings like restaurants or cafes.


Heat Recovery Ventilation (HRV) or Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV)

These systems are designed to recover heat or energy from the outgoing air and transfer it to the incoming fresh air. They are suitable for buildings that require high levels of ventilation while minimizing energy loss, such as offices or healthcare facilities.

Chapter 6

What Types of Warranties Are Available?

types of warranties

Manufacturer's Warranty

Most roofing manufacturers offer warranties on their products, which typically cover defects in materials. These warranties can vary in duration, such as 10, 15, 20, or 30 years. The coverage may be prorated, meaning the coverage decreases over time, or non-prorated, offering full coverage for the specified period.

12 (1)

Commercial Contractor Warranty

This type of warranty is provided by the roofing contractor and covers any issues arising from improper installation or workmanship errors. Workmanship warranties can range from one to ten years or more, depending on the contractor and the terms agreed upon.

roofing crew doing flat roof repairs

No Dollar Limit (NDL) Warranty

An NDL warranty is a comprehensive warranty offered by some roofing manufacturers. It covers both materials and workmanship and typically provides coverage for a specific period, such as 10, 15, or 20 years. With an NDL warranty, the manufacturer is responsible for all costs associated with repairing or replacing the roof, regardless of the cost.

slate roof repair

System Warranty

Some roofing manufacturers and contractors offer system warranties that cover the entire roofing system, including materials, workmanship, and specific components such as insulation or membranes. System warranties provide more comprehensive coverage and may have longer durations compared to individual warranties.

rolled roof installation

It's important to carefully review the terms and conditions of any warranty before proceeding with a commercial roof replacement. Pay attention to what is covered, the duration of coverage, any exclusions or limitations, and the process for making warranty claims. Additionally, consider the reputation and financial stability of both the manufacturer and contractor when assessing the reliability and value of the warranty being offered.

Schedule an Inspection

Chapter 7

Ready for Your Replacement?

conclusion commercial guide

When it comes to replacing the roof of your commercial business, careful consideration and planning are essential. A well-executed roof replacement not only ensures the protection of your property and assets but also contributes to the overall comfort and energy efficiency of your establishment.

Assess your needs: Evaluate the condition of your current roof, identify any specific requirements or challenges, and determine the goals you have for the replacement project.

Consult professionals: Engage with experienced roofing contractors and seek their expertise. They can provide valuable insights, conduct thorough inspections, offer recommendations, and provide detailed cost estimates.

Choose quality materials: Select roofing materials from reputable manufacturers that offer a range of options suited for commercial applications. Consider durability, performance, energy efficiency, and any specific requirements relevant to your business.

Consider warranties: Understand the warranties available for both materials and workmanship. Review the terms, duration, and coverage to ensure you are adequately protected against defects and installation errors.

roofcrafters on site

Plan for disruption: Roof replacements can disrupt daily business operations. Coordinate with the roofing contractor to create a detailed plan that minimizes disruptions and ensures the safety of your employees, customers, and visitors.

Budget wisely: Obtain multiple quotes, compare costs, and consider the long-term value of the investment. Remember that investing in quality materials and workmanship can lead to fewer issues and lower maintenance costs over time.

Stay informed about regulations: Familiarize yourself with local building codes, permits, and any regulations specific to commercial roofing replacements. Compliance is essential to avoid potential penalties or complications.

2 roofers installing TPO on commercial building

Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of this guide. That was a lot of reading, but it paid off! Now you know that by following these guidelines and working closely with professionals, you can make informed decisions and ensure a successful commercial roof replacement. A well-designed and properly installed roof will provide protection, durability, and peace of mind, allowing you to focus on running your business efficiently and effectively.


RoofCrafters is a BBB-accredited, GAF Certified Roofing Contractor, and we’d be honored to have you consider us for your commercial roof replacement needs. Be sure to hit the “schedule inspection button” down below, and one of our experts will reach out to you and schedule your appointment at your earliest convenience. We look forward to hearing from you!

Schedule an Inspection

Take the Guide Home with You

Congratulations on making it through the Commercial Guide! As you know by now, a roofing project is no small task, which is why RoofCrafters has created this comprehensive guide to help you understand each step of the process and answer each of your questions. 

Have all the answers at your fingertips when you access the Commercial Guide! Complete the form to download the guide before your inspection takes place.